November 24, 2005 GMT
Turkey - The East

Now, I could tell about the snow plough through the 2190 meter Kizildag Pass, or the unalike easiness of the slightly lower Sakaltutan Pass. I could go straight to the description of the two remaining mountain passes, but these would not compare with the fifth high, the most unexpected encounter. I rumbled into Erzurum at dawn, rolled the bike into the reception of Kral Hotel, and got the key to what might was the shabbiest room in town. Unshaved since Germany and with a face discolored from a long day in traffic I decided for a dinner at the Güzelyurt Restorant, with the intention of returning to the sound of pigeons crawling above the stained ceiling plates in my hotel room when the lonely feast was over.

mntararat.jpg
You know that your motorcycle marathon across Turkey is close to the end when you see Mount Ararat in the horizon

To make a long story short: A Turkish girl was in the same restaurant. We were strangers. Eighteen hours later she escaped from her pedagogical studies at the university by buying a yellow slalom helmet (motorcycle helmets were not available). We rode over the icy 2315 meter Sac Pass where dirt smudged children threw stones at us, passed the notorious PKK guerrilla settlement of Eleskirt, and was forced by sunset to seek refuge at a dubious hotel in Agri, all in a days work. By noon the next day we conquered the last pass. The sky was clear, displaying the mighty Mount Ararat which became the view from our window in Dogubayazit.

turklandscape.jpg
The view from Ishak Pasa Palace

The 1700 kilometers through rain and snow had been strenuous for the motorcycle. I had not made any prior efforts to protect the electrics, and water repelling, cleaning and extensive use of insulating tape was needed. Then some lubrication here and there, and with the addition of a fresh Denso spark plug Balto responded with cheerfulness. It seemed like he felt the same kind of revival as we humans do when having a shower after a tiring journey. While he rested, the girl and I went on a bus trip to Ishak Pasa Palace, an epitome of the Thousand and One Nights castle. The light brown bricks, the clear blue sky, the fruitless but green sand, it all contributed to the utopian experience.

Traveling with the Turkish girl raised some concerns. Eastern Turkey offers a conservative culture where unmarried male and female companionship is a sensitive matter. Furthermore, according to the girls passport she is Muslim, while I am identified as a Christian. This is the way we were perceived, and the perception would only become more of an issue when crossing the border to Iran. On top of everything this “inappropriate” team would arrive by motorcycle (motorcycles with more than 200cc is illegal in Iran, though temporary import by foreign travelers is somewhat accepted). So how would be welcomed? We had no idea. There was only one way to find out. She covered her hair with a black veil while I kickstarted Balto. And off we went.

Posted by Erik Saue at November 24, 2005 02:12 PM GMT
 
 

NEW! HU 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration!

HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.

"The calendar is magnificent!"

"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"

We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!

Next HU Eventscalendar

See all events

 

HU DVD Autumn Special!

Take 40% off Road Heroes Part 1 until October 31 only!

Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers Peter and Kay Forwood (193 countries two-up on a Harley); Dr. Greg Frazier (5 times RTW); Tiffany Coates (RTW solo female); and Rene Cormier (University of Gravel Roads).

The first in an exciting new series, Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers."Inspiring and hilarious!"

"I loved watching this DVD!"

"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."

"Wonderful entertainment!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'HEROES' on your order when you checkout.



Scottoiler automatic chain oilers. The most important accessory for your next motorcycle adventure!


Renedian Adventures


Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!


What turns you on to motorcycle travel?


Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!


New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.


Books & DVDs

amazon

All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.


Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
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 ©

Sorry, you need a Javascript enabled browser to get the email address and dates. You can contact Horizons Unlimited at the link below. Please be sure to tell us WHICH blog writer you wish to contact.

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!