This is the beginning of the Sixth section of our around
the world trip.
Complete Trip Overview & Map
Coming from the Fifth Section, Turkey
4-5/11/99 Sydney airport is about the only major one in the world that has a night time curfew, it closes between 11 pm and dawn. Our connecting flight, two hours late, had to be diverted to Melbourne and we had to overnight in Sydney. That meant that the connection in Bahrain didn't work and that meant the H-D dealer in Istanbul was closed for the weekend. Luckily Gulf Air rebooked us onto singapore Air and we were in Istanbul Saturday morning to collect the motorcycle.
6/11/99 The H-D dealer had not only stored the motorcycle but between themselves and Dunlop they had fitted new tyres, new wheel bearings and changed the oils plus minor servicing. Having arrived at 7 am after 52 hours since leaving home, collecting the motorcycle, repacking everything, fitting a 95 model air filter, better for Africa than the 1994 original, and attending an evening wedding we were absolutely stuffed. The "registry wedding", popular because of cost, our hostel owners attracted 400 plus guests. The event takes only 15 minutes, the doors open to the big hall, the guests flow in, music plays, in come the bride and groom, they say their vows and leave. In the adjoining room guests now kiss the bride and groom, give them gold and pin money to the grooms clothes as presents. This is the legal wedding, the religious part, Muslim, may be just a formality in their home or at the mosque.
7/11/99 Istanbul – Ankara, 450 km. Along and over the Bosporus Straits and back into Asia, leaving Europe for the last time. Past Izmit where the worst of the earthquake damage occurred just two months ago and with all the rubble cleared, tents and transportable homes dotted around, people readying themselves for a winter in temporary housing. Met Thomas, a Norwegian travelling to Thailand, traditional route through Iran, Pakistan on a Suzuki, hopes to be there for the new year, a quick trip. Still recovering from jet lag.
8/11/99 Ankara – Sivas 450 km, started at 7 am and two degrees centigrade with the frost on the roofs and grass, clocking over the 100,000 miles mark (161,000 km) this morning. The days being short with sunset at 4.30 pm we thought it best to start early. Good roads with the scenery becoming more Asian the further east. This plateau at 1400m runs with us now right through Iran as does the cold weather altitude brings. Arriving at 3 pm we had padlocks sewn onto the new bike cover, the old one finally dead after five trips, thousands of sprayings by dog and cat piss and two slashings during attempted thefts. Also purchased a chador (black robe of devout Muslim women) for Kay, essential to travel in Iran.
9/11/99 Sivas- Erzurum 440 km, again an early start and colder at –1 degrees, thank goodness for the Widder heated vest, I wonder what the wind chill factor is at 110 km per hour. Still on the plateau but now with mountains either side covered in early autumn snow. Rested in sunshine half way to adjust the fuel mix for the new air filter as we were burning 20% more fuel than expected and the bike is running rich and sluggish. Could also be the cold air over the air cooled motor.
10/11/99 Erzurum –Dogubayzit 300 km, just 30 km short of the Iran border, 3 degrees start and stayed that way all day, with drizzle on the flats and snow over the mountain pass, a strong head wind and a pain in the neck days riding. Had to stop roadside to sort out money, away from everyone, and hide some in the motorcycle before crossing to Iran. With ears dropping off and hands almost not working we made the stay as short as possible. This desolate region of Turkey only hosts a few hardened villagers, who certainly would not be here other than their parents were born here. The small stone huts with turfed roofs, cow pats pilled high in neat cones the only fuel on the treeless hills and haystacks waiting to be eaten by stock in the oncoming winter.
11/11/99 The rain of yesterday frozen on the road and with a dusting of snow a treacherous fairyland. 32 km to the border and the road unnavigable for all vehicles due to ice. A dirt track paralleling the road our only choice and with 75 mm of snow it wasn't long before it jammed under the mudguard locking the wheel and the first of five droppings and sliding on the crash bars. Later we found it easier to ride on the gravel road edge where the water had sunk into the ground before it had a chance to freeze. Travelling at 30 kph going down in a long icy slide with just the crash bars gouging the ice on the road, each time the bike heavier to lift. The ice might let you slide without gravel rash but the distance you fall onto your hips and shoulders each time is the same, sore bones, muscles and joints.
Move with us to Iran
or go to our next visit to Turkey
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