So what does one play when riding a big German motorbike over the Bosphorus into Asia?
So what does one play when riding a big German motorbike over the Bosphorus
obviously, Born to Be Wild
: GREAT song.
So, passed from Europe into Asia.
I'm on my way to Mine's place of birth: Beypazari, just South of Ankara
To stay in an Ottoman Mansion.
After 4 nights in Istanbul, a bit longer than planned, but due to the Syrians no longer giving visas at the border to people riding big German motorbikes.
Well, not to anyone else either.
So I have to get a Letter of Recommendation from the British Embassy (which cost 80 pounds!!! Arghhh) and then my Syrian Visa.
That took 1 trip to the Brits and two to the Syrians. With FOUR taxi rides, and about 12 taxi drivers involved: thieving bastards. I kept on rejecting them until I got ones who seemed not too larcenous.
Left Mine's place with my usual crack of the dawn start at 12h30. Well we had breakfast on the Bosphorus and then I panicked a bit trying to find the pump for my air shock. Ended up being found wedged into the inside of the lid of my pannier. The shock needs some air pumped into it every few days and would be a HASSLE to get another. Well, at a pinch can use an mountain bike shock pump, but would need a LOT of strokes.
So, roaring along over the big bridge: very nice feeling.
Ipod on full blast.
Into new territory.
The place is great: friendly people and good food.
Have to take off my shoes before going in the hotel, but they give you slippers.
Had my own personal guy to help me take stuff from the bike: excellent service.
I walk around the town and see that there's a giant carrot statue in the town centre???
A bit weird.
Amazing landscape, and once off the motorway fantastic curving roads.
Maybe TOO curving, I'm being a responsible rider of a big overpowered german motor bike.
Actually is a bit like being a turtle: if you fall over on your bike you're really screwed.
All went well until I stopped for a leak.
I heard a noise and was just in time to see the bike fall over: parked on to much of as slope.
So, you'd think that 110 kg of Warthog Beef could pick it up.
With the panniers etc just too heavy, unless the ground is flat.
This was leaning downhill a bit.
Luckily a passing car stopped and this older guy leaped out (he was maybe in his 70's) with what seemed to be his grandfather.
They both came over and helped me heave it up.
The grandfather was REALLY strong.
Big smiles and then off they went, probably to finish plowing their fields, but without using tractors or oxen.
I feel like Vitalstatistix, the Village Chief in Obelix and Asterix.
All he fears in the sky falling.
Me, all I fear is falling over when my bike is not moving.
This is I think the THIRD time.
I need a pole either side I think.
I can lift it fine when it has no gear, but loaded...hah!!!!
I guess the plan is to take off the gear if it falls over...dang.
Or wait for someone else.
That usually happens since you only fall over when LOTS of others are watching.
Hard to be a cool biker when you have a 200 plus kg bike laying on you.....dripping petrol out as well.
OK, onto Ankara.
And more Ankara.
And MORE Ankara.
Jeez, does it EVER stop????
The sign thing doesn't help.
And my GPS doesn't seem to know what it's supposed to do.
The map is also not got the same things the sign guys think are important either.
So I pull off and ask for directions.
But I pass a really cool looking museum full of the Turkish Air Forces old planes.
So I pull off a bit late and try to back track to find it.
But I find the museum.
However I must look Greek or something because they are very suspicious of me.
Want to see ID.
I cannot park the bike in front of the gate where it's safe with the machine guns (really, for a museum???).
They bring out the heavies: two officers and a warrant officer.
Plus another (armed) sentry.
I agree to go to the parking area peacefully.
The guard is watching me suspiciously now.
I wak back with my stuff: helmet, pack and tank bag.
He says what is that.
On Road Sign Language, but I understood.
I said my friend the machine gunner would guard it.
By the shack.
I show ID again.
I get an escort.
In a museum???
I try to take a photo of something and the guy gets excited.
I point out that it's no longer in service (not for 10 years) and was made in Canada.
But he says no more photos.
I sneak one of the gatling gun when he's not looking.
We stop at the computer display and play the simulator.
Is great: I send rockets into a building.
He seems happier at that (maybe is a Greek building??).
I go outside to see the planes: LOTS of them.
I start taking photos.
Another guy comes up, Oh no not again.
But is OK, apparently they know about me blowing up the Greek Children's Hospital on the simulator so he takes my photo standing in front of an antiaircraft gun.
I leave without being arrested for espionage.
Everyone is relieved.
Back on the Ankara highway system.
Looking for Capadoccia.
Finally I get the right road and I'm off.
It starts raining.
But road is very nice, not crowded.
Go thru a HUGE puddle of water about 10 cm deep and 100m long.
Very exciting at 100 kph.
Decide to ride very carefully after that.
Ran stops sun out.
Soon I arrive!!!
Very cool place.
Lots of wild looking rocks.
Meet a bunch of other bikers from all round.
This one set is around my bike and one says I seem fairy heavily loaded.
But then his mate points out that they have a backup vehicle for their trip (they're from Oz).
A backup vehicle would indeed be a great idea but I don't think I can fit it on.
Maybe next time.....
Balloon ride in the morning.
I'm with 4 Italians from Venice and a dozen Chinese from Hong Kong.
So will cut this short, need to go eat.
Off to Syria tomorrow: apparently poor internet connectivity there.