Category Archives: Turkey

@ 22 July 2015- Turkey To Iran

This  picture of a snow covered mountain was taken while riding in 31deg heat and sweat running off me! Odd sensation.
This picture of a snow covered mountain was taken while riding in 31deg heat and sweat running off me! Odd sensation.

The journey today was from Mus, Turkey crossing the boarder into Iran at Bazargan.

The road climbed to just over 2000m and as we road around Lake Van we really did see some wonderful views.  We stopped off along the shores of the lake at what looked like a deserted holiday park, only to find it open and serving drinks and a packet of biscuit that went down a treat.

The view sitting on the shore of Lake Van at the "deserted resort"
The view sitting on the shore of Lake Van at the “deserted resort”

The temps were climbing into the mid 30’s and a welcome drop in temp as we climbed over the mountains where we arrived in Dogubayazit (we named this place Dog Town as it was easier to pronounce).

We arrived at around 3:00pm and still feeling fresh(ish) we decided to make a run for the boarder to cross into Iran that evening.

We arrived at the boarder and the exit from Turkey went nice and straight forward, however the Iranian side challenged due to the language barrier. Fortunately we found a friendly English speaking person who assisted greatly with the paperwork and it was all over within a couple of hours.

Unfortunately the boarder town of Bazargan was not a good place, with what appeared everyone trying to rip you off and had a very unsafe feel to it.

Converting the few US$'s we had into Iranian which you count in the thousands! This was US$400 being exchanged.
Converting the few US$’s we had into Iranian which you count in the thousands! This was US$400 being exchanged.

Once  we found a hotel for the night we asked for the ATM cash machine, only to be informed that our cards would not work in Iran due to the country not being part of the international banking protocols (due to sanctions). Suddenly we found ourselves in a country with no access to money! All the research and discussions we made prior had not brought up this issue, fortunately Steve and I had US$’s as a backup stashed away which got us out of trouble for night. Tomorrow is another day.

@ 21 July 2015- Turkey

Steve sorting out his tyres at Harput Motorcycles.
Steve sorting out his tyres at Harput Motorcycles.

Today was all about getting the tyres sorted for Steve’s bike and U.S. Getting back on the road, oh and also hoping I was going to be feeling better from my bout of a very questionable tummy.

Well, I woke feeling a bit better and our the tyres were at the shop awaiting our arrival. Our friend came and kindly escorted us to his shop where the 3 tyres that Steve had ordered were sitting. Great to see the tyres but we soon noticed 2 of the tyres were the wrong model (tread type) we had ordered.

We had the one rear tyre fitted and that sorted our immediate issue, however it was somewhat difficult to explain and negotiate when neither of the parties could understand each other. The tyres were also non returnable to the distributor as they were a special order. Somewhere in the original conversations re the tyres our friends miss understood we think and hence the wrong order.

Steve finally worked out a solution and we were able to be on our way, but by this time it was already 1.30pm. We were kindly escorted to the highway we needed to head east and we stopped for a bite to eat before parting company with our escort and we could get on.

Having a bite to eat with our escort from town.
Having a bite to eat with our escort from town.
A young petrol attendant takes an opportunity to climb on board for a photo.
A young petrol attendant takes an opportunity to climb on board for a photo.

By the end of the day we managed approx 250km’s and have stopped in Mus for the night, leaving us a approx a 300km ride tomorrow in order to get to the border town and hopefully I will be able to eat as normal?

@ 20 July 2015- Turkey

David being taken out by locals for nuts and a special drink to cure his tummy.
David being taken out by locals for nuts and a special drink to cure his tummy.

We received news this morning that the tyres for Steve’s bike will arrive tomorrow morning which was a positive start to the day.

Unfortunately I (David) had woken up with a very queasy tummy which as the morning went on it simply knocked the stuffing out of me! So the plans for today of washing the bikes etc were shelved in favour of staying close to the hotel room.

Steve took the opportunity to visit an Internet cafe and downloaded his movie files and backed stuff up which invariably takes a lot of time and patients on Steve’s part when using foreign language computers. I took the time to lay down and rest.

All the rest I was getting did an amazing job on assisting my sprained ankle in getting better. I am pleased to report  at least one part is on the mend! Ha

We finished off the washing and we then started to hear the news of the ISIS suicide bombing in Suruc, Turkey which is a border town with Syria. It has been a terrible day for Turkey with dozen’s killed. Fortunately we are well aware of the trouble zones and are currently 300km’s away from that area.

This is the typical site when washing is done. There is a TV behind there somewhere.
This is the typical site when washing is done. There is a TV behind there somewhere.

Later in the afternoon our Turkish friend Zuilfi Dal came by as he was aware I had an upset stomach and he insisted I take a local remedy of a certain type of nut and a random fizzy drink. That was not before we stopped off at his mates shop where he proceeded to explain my problem to anyone of the locals who cared to listen, which was then followed by a good round of laughter by the locals and pointing at me! It was a funny moment however.

So I have taken the nuts and drank the fizzy drink and it’s now a couple of hours on and things do appear positive.

Tomorrow we hope things go to plan and we should be on our way to towards Iran this time tomorrow with a shiny new tyre on Steve’s bike.

 

@ 19 July 2015- Turkey

You can buy anything here! Even pistols without too much trouble.
You can buy anything here! Even pistols without too much trouble.

Today has been a rest day staying in Elazig. Steve’s tyre is not due in till Tuesday now so we shall be staying here till we get the tyre sorted. By last night I (David) started to have a distinct uncomfortable right ankle as a result of the crash yesterday. When I woke up the ankle was clearly swollen (not too bad) and very stiff. As a result we made the call to not do much and just recharge our batteries. So today consisted of washing our clothes (the hotel room is like a Chinese laundry at present), getting food supplies from the local shop catching with our Turkish friends for Cai (tea) and a chat and generally mooching about. Oh, we also had time to watch England play France in the David Cup tennis! I took the opportunity to also keep my ankle elevated whenever possible as I do not want this injury hanging around. Tomorrow we are off to the motor bike shop of our friends where we plan to wash the bikes and run a spanner over them.

Weekly Statistics;

Kilometres for the week – 1,899km

Average speed to date – 74.1km/h

Average fuel consumption to date – 5.1 litres per 100km

Punctures – 1 to Steve’s rear tyre

Crashes – 1 to David

Post Script; Shortly following posting the day’s events while sitting in the hotel lobby, a brawl started just outside the hotel. Large crowds, Police and several Turks were engaged in “conversation” with the Police doing what appeared a very good job of control the environment without undue force.

The end score was the Police “nicked” three men and when we asked what had caused the disturbance would you believe alcohol was the answer! Things are the same the world over!

@ 18 July 2015- Turkey

An ancient Turkish version of the Leaning Tower of Pisa!
An ancient Turkish version of the Leaning Tower of Pisa!

Today was going to be an easy one for us, after yesterday organising a tyre for Steve’s bike we only had a 100km ride to a near by town of Elazig to meet up with the owner of a bike shop who was to supply the tyre.

After pulling into a service station and asking the manager for assistance in directions to get to the shop, he was soon on the phone and we were advised to stay put as the shop owner was coming to us!

Meeting up with our Tyre contact person Oktar at a petrol station.
Meeting up with our Tyre contact person Oktar at a petrol station.

After a short waite a lovely chap by the name of Oktar Dal who owns Harput Motosiklet appeared and was soon escorting us into town. The next thing we pulled up outside a corner shop to visit Oktar’s brother and cousins and to have a tea with them. No rush here.

This chap was described to us as the town nutter! Everybody knows and loves him though. Ha
This chap was described to us as the town nutter! Everybody knows and loves him though. Ha

 

Oktar then left his van and jumped on the back of my bike and we were off to visit the ancient sites of Harput. It was as though around every corner there was some ancient relic. Nothing was too much trouble and we stopped after a short while for lunch in a lovely shaded outside cafe for a cooked meet and salad lunch.

An ancient church at Harput. One of many relics.
An ancient church at Harput. One of many relics.

The return trip to Elazig unfortunately went pear shape after David’s off (see other post for details). We did make it back to town and have found a hotel ($35au per night) for the next two nights as Steve’s tyre will arrive in two days  in the mean time we are meeting Oktar tonight for a meal and hopefully we can laugh at today’s events.

 

@ 18 July 2015- Turkey (David’s Fall)

Shortly after I dropped the bike. Not happy with myself!
Shortly after I dropped the bike. Not happy with myself!

Today was going so well, we had met up earlier in the with our motor bike shop contact, Oktar Dal of Harput Motosiklet. Oktar had jumped on the back of my bike and we were doing a scenic tour of his local area that he was so proud to show off. See our regular daily post for the scenery.

Unfortunately due to my (David) stupidity I managed to crash my bike on a down hill right hand hairpin bend and in the process injuring our poor host by skinning his right arm. Words cannot describe how bad I am feeling right now. You can see from the pic’s the bike has only minor scratches and my riding gear a slight tear in the right elbow and also the knee. Poor Oktar was not wearing any protection (know one does over here) and as a result scrapped his arm.

He he was ever so polite about the whole incident and kept playing it down. Sorry Oktar.

The crash was a combination of  primarily me just getting it wrong by not allowing for the extra weight, the unsuspecting slippery roads that frequently appear over here and not getting on the power early enough which simply overloaded the grip on the front wheel and the front slid out from under us.

Steve guiding motorists around. You can see where we slid by the marks.
Steve guiding motorists around. You can see where we slid by the marks.
Slight damage to David's riding gear.
Slight damage to David’s riding gear.
Aperture from the scrapes on the right hand pannier, no other damage of note.
Apart from the scrapes on the right hand pannier, no other damage of note.

This is the first at fault road crash I have ever had in my riding career (oh, I did drop my bike in a driveway once).

The crash has certainly served as a very real warning to me and for my loved ones reading this post, I shall definitely be treading more carefully from now on.

@ 17 July 2015- Turkey

We are staring to see Gypsy camps by the road side. Another sign of the changes.
We are staring to see Gypsy camps by the road side. Another sign of the changes.

Todays ride truly turned out to be an adventure, covering 475km’s, climbing to 1978m over spectacular mountain ranges and yet again more Turk’s going out of their way to assist.

After leaving town this morning aiming to see an underground city dating back to the 6th century and housing 30,000 people our plan was foiled due to the a Turkish holiday for the end of Ramadan which closed the display until 1:30pm. Oh well, time for a coffee and push on.

We made our way around some sizeable mountains, climbing and dropping as the road constantly changed direction. One particular mountain pushed through the clouds and was heavily covered in snow. This was odd to see as later in the day we would be riding in temps greater than 34dgeC.

One of the other changes we are staring to see is Gypsy camps popping up at various locations near the road side, something we had not seen prior.

The view as we ride is spectacular
The view as we ride is spectacular

We arrived at a typical road side fuel stop where we filled up and took time out for a rest and Turkish coffee when we bumped into a Turkish chap riding a GS BMW who was more than happy to chat (although he could not speak a word of English). Steve took the opportunity to asked where can he buy a new rear tyre for his bike as it is getting heavily warn.

This question lead to us being escorted for the next 298km’s to the a City and along the way stopping for Cai (tea). Unfortunately on our escorted journey Steve’s bike suffered a puncture in the rear tyre which we noticed early when we pulled into a petrol station to meet up with our Turkish escorts friends. No problem as we soon had the puncture plugged and we were back on the road and heading to our destination with our Turkish escort.

We arrived in Malatya at 6:30pm at the motor bike shop our escort was taking us to. After several phone calls the Manager of the shop drove up and checked out the bike, made additional calls and said he could not help. He then drove off. This lead to several other phone calls and we now have a tyre ordered, which is at another bike shop 100km’s away that we will travel to and collect on Sunday! Sounds complicated, well it was. Our Turkish escort finally left us at approaching 8.00pm and had a 30km trip back from where we had been to get home! What do you say to people who help so willingly. Turks are great people.

Our new friend Musum on Steve's left and another helper to the right.
Our new friend Musum on Steve’s left and another helper to the right.

The day finished with us getting a hotel room near by the bike shop and spending time having dinner at a truly local Kebab restaurant where we were clearly the only foreigners that had eaten there recently. Lovely.