We’re about to get on the road again


KR sprays protectorate on NVII’s destination stickers in preparation for another adventure.  We’re both really looking forward to adding more stickers to his panniers. The next day we put NVII on the ship to Southampton.

It seems like ages since KR and I were on a “serious” trip.  Mexico, DC, Dallas and the beach don’t really count.  That’s all changing as we’re flying to Europe for a month of riding NVII and then going to Ethiopia for two weeks on business.  Here’s the headlines of the “plan:”

  • Fly to London, take the bus to Southampton
  • Pick up NV II, ride to Portsmouth and catch the ferry to Santander, Spain
  • Ride east to through the Pyrenees, then to the Coast of Spain and Barcelona
  • Go south east along the Spanish coast
  • Catch a ferry from Gibraltar to Morocco.
  • Ride to Casablanca, make a u-turn and go back up the coast and catch the return ferry
  • Ride from Gibraltar to Madrid
  • Leave all of our stuff with Maureen in Madrid, pick up our (business) luggage
  • Fly to Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) for business
  • Take a 4 hour bus ride to Awassa and then back to Addis Ababa
  • Fly back to Madrid, drop our clothes off, pick up NVII and ride to Santander
  • Take the ferry back from Santander to Portsmouth
  • Drive NVII to Southampton, drop him off for shipping back to LA
  • Take a bus to Heathrow and catch the plane to Seattle and eventually LAX

Just your basic 42 day plane, bus, ferry m/c, ferry, m/c, plane, bus, plane, m/c, ferry, bus  and plane trip.

Of, course who knows what we’ll actually do as this itinerary is a lot like a battle plan- it won’t survive the first contact with the wifey:)

Our first planning session occurred the night before we left as we drove to meet friends for dinner.  Karen began reading from a used book she’d picked up that day, “Vagabonding”, by Rolf Potts.  Here’s the section that caught my attention:

…” Travel can be a kind of monasticism on the move:  On the road, we often live more simply, with no more possessions than we can carry, and surrendering ourselves to chance.  This is what Camus meant when he said that “what gives value to travel is fear–disruption, in other words (or emancipation), from circumstance, and all the habits behind which we hide” – Pico Iyer, “Why We Travel”

Pico, of course, never saw Karen’s suitcase, so we all know the bit about “with no possessions” doesn’t apply to us.  But the thought that travel is about fear and disruption rings true for me.  Fear and its companion, adventure, are the most important parts of travel for me.  Going over there and not knowing what’s over there is an adrenaline rush.

As I get older, taking fear-inspiring trips is harder and harder as my urge is to seek comfort and (relative) safety.  Hence, we’re taking a m/c trip to Spain, not through the Bolivian jungle.  Let’s face it, this trip is for wimps:)

On the other hand, going to Ethiopia has a lot of unknowns.  We’ve never been to Africa, let alone Ethiopia, so it is both intriguing and fearful:)  You might be wondering why we’re going to Ethiopia in the first place, and the answer is the U.S. State Department.

The State Dept. is sponsoring a 9 day speaking tour for me since someone in our Embassy in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia’s capital city) thinks I’m a “world cleantech expert.”  I’m not telling her differently so we’re going:)

What’s the connection between LACI and Ethiopia, you’re probably wondering?  Simple, LACI has been hired by the World Bank to help make their Climate Innovation Center in Addis Ababa work better.  And perhaps help Ethiopia and other Sub-Saharan Africa countries go green.

As I write this, I’m not sure what the series of “speaking events” will be nor what I will be talking  about, but we have 30 days to figure that out and a bunch of miles and plenty of vasos de vino to figure it out.

I’ll keep in touch.


Talk about a strange land, try hanging in the back of Tony’s bar in the Arts District on a Friday night. No one over 30ish. This is what constitutes planning in the Walti household before taking off the next day:)


This is just the electronics we were planning.  I counted the need for 11 charging cords…


The little woman looking bright and bushy tailed.  This would be categorized as the “before” picture.


NVII at the Port of Long Beach, before being taken for a boat ride.  We’ll see what he looks like after his trip in a few hours.


With Squirt in Mexico City.  Squirt has a big surprise when we get back.  See below:))


KR and I visiting soon to be Dog #4.  One of these little guys will join the Walti Crew when we get back.


Thor’s feeling left behind.  Next time Big Guy.

6 replies
  1. Judi says:

    Hope you get to see a few of my favorite sites. There’s a great beach, Torremolinos, (as beaches on the Med go) just west of Malaga in the south. Also in that area is Granada. I enjoyed Toledo also but that’s up so. of Madrid. While in Spain Tell Karen I picked up all of my Lladro while in Spain (came back with 6!) At that time it was cheaper but while just in Italy…the Euro is worth more and the shops wouldn’t take US $.

  2. Rod Walti says:

    Hey Uncle Fred,

    When I went to Addis Ababa in about 1997, the country shared a 2MB connection over dialup, which we upgraded to 8MB which was the purpose of our visit, among other tasks, like implementing a firewall.

    It was a blast, you should enjoy it!

  3. Cindy says:

    Sounds great so far! Glad you arrived safely!
    Looking forward to hearing from you again.

  4. Betty Hood says:

    I left a voice mail for Karen a couple of day ago looking for the next update from The Restless Traveler and when would be a good time to have a chat. Well … the next day your email arrived. As always, am excited about your world travels. Looking forward to reading all about Spain and Ethiopia. You guys are my heroes! Blessings for a safe trip …. Betty

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