Erzin (14-08-2000) till Dogubayazit (24-08-2000)
My goal was Adana where my father had sent a small package to the TNT office containing the palmtop. I had asked around for any address to send this package to, but the Dutch embassy and the AMEX-office both said they refused it 'for security reasons' and private persons refused to give their address as soon they heard there were electronic parts inside the package. Turkey customs would ask then for additional payments. So sending it to the TNT-office was the only solution left.
But I couldn't make it to Adana today and I parked along an orchard of orange-trees. The owner visited me and said it was dangerous to stay here as they were hunting around. But one of the hunters was with him and so knew I was here so I wasn't really worried. Also it was already getting dark and I didn't want to look for a different place.
I was not even 5 minutes inside my sleeping bag when a police van appeared and 6 armed men demanded that I pack my things. I wasn't really impressed (more pissed off that they didn't leave me alone) and started to pack my bike under everyone's full attention. Both my baggage rolls went into the police van and I had to follow the van to the police station. There they checked my passport and after a brief lecture I was 'free' to leave and had a free police escort back to the highway. There I drove a little bit further and parked (and slept) along an orchard as well without any problem. In fact, the next morning someone came by and switched on the pump, which pumped up groundwater to irrigate the field so I had a great opportunity to clean the bike and myself.
Then on to Adana where I found the TNT-office after asking a few times. I entered the office fully ready to battle with Turkish customs but was really surprised when they told me my package was already waiting in their office for a couple of days. Everything went through customs without the slightest problem. According to the office manager it was because his name was mentioned on the papers but I didn't care at all. Finally, after 2.5 months, I had my palmtop back. I could even use their computer to write an email to my father that I received the package.
I drove on to Mersin to visit the Internet caf?where I copied some files from floppy disk to the palmtop. Because I didn't want to travel that day anymore I went to a garage trying to repair my GPS-antenna. I had found out that there was a broken copper track on the PCB in the antenna, which I wanted to fix by soldering a piece of wire to bypass it. They indeed had a soldering iron and I managed to fix the wire. Immediately I went outside to see if my GPS was picking up any satellites now and... indeed it did. It worked out perfectly well! Carefully I glued back together the antenna and was in a very good mood: Today I got my palmtop back and repaired my GPS.
The rest of the afternoon I went into the mountains north of Mersin and reorganised the emails on my palmtop (and reread them). I needed also most of the next day to sort out all the emails, which I did at a teahouse in a small mountain village. I was sitting on a terrace drinking a cup of tea occasionally, a really pleasant relaxed atmosphere. In the late afternoon I went back to the Internet café to copy the resting emails but when I saved the file I got an error message in Turkish and got the owner who 'solved' the problem by exiting without saving. I was furious: 2 hours work had gone. She also realised her mistake and disappeared. As did I without paying.
The next morning I went back and repeated all again and had everything done in an hour. So I went back to Adana and visited the BMW-dealer along the road. They were very friendly but hadn't any motorbike spare parts on stock (I needed only some unimportant parts). I also wanted to take 5 litres of motor oil with me so I could exchange the motor oil somewhere in Pakistan or India, as high grade motorbike oil was impossible to get there. They had a 5 litre jerry can but it didn't fit into my tank bag. So they gave me the address of a hypermarket in Adana where I also could buy oil for a motorbike as well as a jerry can. And indeed they had the required motor oil but only in 1 litre packs.
Single jerry cans weren't sold so I bought a 5 litre jerry can 'Anti freeze', drained the contents in the toilet and replaced it, at the parking, by the bottles of motor oil. I also bought a new pump, to replace the one which was fatally damaged in Wadi Rum by sand, but the gauge wasn't displaying the right pressure. Replacing the pump for another one didn't bring any improvement. So I ended up throwing away the defective pump and kept its gauge. And after replacing my front brake pads I finally I was ready to head for Iran.
Martin Rooiman in Turkey
But first I had to go through Turkey for some days. Taking small roads doesn't really help to cover the distance fast but the scenery is much more breathtaking. I headed for Mount Nemrut and hope to drive some off-road. The road to the mountain was really nice but all paved. Not the best pavement but paved. It's necessary while all the minibuses are going up the mountain twice a day, for sunrise and sunset. The next day I wanted to drive around the mountain on secondary roads. I stopped in the first village I passed to buy a replacement for a lost lock and was offered some tea. When they found out where I intended to go to they told me it was a very bad road; I'd better drive back. But when they found out I liked off-road driving they advised me another route straight through the mountains. This really sounded great to me so I headed to the explained directions and ended up in a small village.
No, this was not the right track but a car coming from the opposite direction would send me up the right track which was a small track climbing steep up the mountain, but not after he made sure I had enough fuel with me. The track was quite full with stones so I had to climb in first gear mainly but made it to the top. The following descent was more difficult: even in first gear I went to fast and had to brake. I couldn't use my rear brake as I kept my feet close to the ground to control the sliding over the loose stones. So I used the front brake and once I slipped away completely and the bike felt on its right side: breaking its front blinker and its cylinder protector and bending its mirror and aluminum suitcase. I put the bike upright and put the broken pieces into my pocket. The rest was a piece of cake compared to the first hilltop and after 52 km. I reached Pütürge and the tarmac. In Maden I passed a military control post and found a place to spend the night on a track into the mountains.
At 23.30 hours, while I was sleeping a car showed up and stopped. The driver shouted at me and I totally ignored him hoping he would leave. But not this guy, his shouting was getting louder and he moved the car so that its headlights were pointed at me. When he started to use his cellphone I decided to 'wake up' and this made him even madder and his two sons had difficulties to keep him into control.
As soon as he found out I was a tourist from Holland he cooled down a bit but still I had to move so I started packing the bike under his full attention. I had to follow him for a place to sleep and we ended up in a little village where about 20 people awaited us. They all looked at the bike and we had some tea. Some local militaries showed up and needed to see my passport. No, I couldn't spend the night here but I had to follow them.
They drove back to Maden where we didn't go to a hotel but to a police station. There they had to see my passport again and I had to explain what I was doing there. Eeeehhhh, nowaaa, not very much, only sleeping. Why I was lost far away from the main roads. So I told them my story. They said it was a dangerous area, why they wouldn't tell me. Has the PKK something to do with it? That was a wrong thing to ask because suddenly I had to answer all kind of questions. After an hour (02.30 am meanwhile) I 'was a free man' although I never felt myself arrested and could go. I wanted to sleep so I asked if I could stay at the police station, which was impossible. Where should I go then? Tjsa, eehh... go back to the same place. Then I really didn't understand it anymore. I didn't care either so I drove back and saw the car that brought me to the police station. They asked me what I was doing and invited me to spend the night at their house.
There we played some cards, drunk tea, and went to sleep at 4 am.. We couldn't sleep long the next morning as the people from the village saw my bike parked outside and started knocking on the door. They arranged a huge breakfast but only men were joining. After playing some cards I decided to leave and left the village leaving behind a lot of people waving. Only after a couple of kilometers I had to stop at a military checkpoint where I had show my passport. As soon as my name was mentioned over the radio I could continue as they remembered my name from last night.
The first part was over local roads, very nice to drive on but I wanted to get to Iran now so I had to make kilometres and took the main road towards lake Van. I had learned from last night, took no risk and slept at a petrol station and continued the next day and reached Dogubayazit, the last village before the Iranian border and stayed there at a campground where there were also two German bikers coming from Iran.
They had a five week holiday and had their bikes shipped to Pakistan, flew in and drove around in Pakistan for three weeks, went in four days through Iran (so hadn't seen anything and they still had one week to cross Turkey before the ferry took them to Venice. It's a way seeing some of the world but I'm glad I've got some more time.
The next morning we had breakfast together and they left. I had a shower and it was really warm water; wonderful! I realised that I had to do some laundry as well and decided to stay another day. Went to the supermarket and spend my last Turkish money and met an American who wanted to go to Iran as well but a visa was refused at three different Iranian embassies, so he had to fly to Pakistan now.Posted by Martin Rooiman at August 24, 2000 03:04 AM GMT
Next HU Events
- Brazil: Feb 22-23
- Germany: May 29-June 1
- HUBB UK: June 19-22
- NEW! Canada Maritimes: July 4-6
- USA Colorado: July 11-13
- Ireland: July 18-20
- Canada West: Aug 21-24
- USA North Carolina: Sept. 4-7
- Canada Ontario: Sept. 11-14
- NEW! UK - Haggs Bank: Sept. 19-21
- USA California: Sept. 25-28
- Aus Queensland: Oct 3-6
- Aus Perth: Oct 10-12
- Aus VIC: Oct 24-26
- NEW! South Africa: Nov 14-16
Horizons Unlimited DVD Special - it's time to Get Ready!
Northerners! The weather outside is frightful, so what better time to start planning your next adventure! To help you get started, for February we're taking 30% off the Get Ready! DVD in the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'GETREADY' on your order when you checkout.
Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!
New to Horizons Unlimited?
What turns you on to motorcycle travel?
Books & DVDs
Membership - Show you're proud to be a Horizons Unlimited Traveller!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!
Story and photos copyright © All Rights Reserved.
Contact the author:
Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.
Hosted by: Horizons
Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!