Iran - Alti ustu macera (...an adventure after all) 2 x KTM 990
Iran - Alti Ustu Macera
It's been a tradition for me to take at least one long bike journey every year. This year it wasn't looking good because i have spent nearly the whole year bikeless and was waiting for a thing to get my new KTM 990 ADV. There wasn't much time for the schedules to fit. So if i miss the season there would be no tour for 2008.
As always everything started with a "what if...". Next thing i know, i was looking up stuff about Iran. Gathering maps and guides. This was 5 months before the trip. There's something moving about this trip. For example, there' s nothing adventurous in a trip to Europe. Last year i did the Dolomites tour in Italy. It was fantastic but you know what's going to happen before you leave home.
About the line up. Mete said "I'm with you the next time, whereever you go." Couple of guys also wanted to come. After few months it was obvious and it was Mete and me who is going.
The preparations sped up but there was a major question mark. I still haven't got a bike. :wink:
Meanwhile, people start to hear about the tour and everyone was anxious about safety and so on. The classic reaction was "Are you nuts?" It was tiring at this stage to explain everybody that there isn't a single concern and it was as safe as to travel in Turkey. We leave that to our return.
As time past by, in the mid August i bought my brand new 990 ADV and quickly started gathering equipment like alu side cases, Wings exhaust,....30 September was our d-day so, we only had september to be prepared. Mete was also adding some farkles to his Transalp. Fortunately, our Dalyan and Kiyikoy tours came in a great timing for my physical condition to grow.
There was a little time left and the pre was on its way. We had a lot of things to do on my garage every day like changing tires, oils. Mete also wanted a 990 but in his head he has pushed it to 2009. But just one week left to departure we found a superb 2006 990 for sale. The price was right and it has akro tubes and alu cases on it. There were a lot of pros and cons about changing the bike in the last week and going with the same bike. On the same day we sold the Transalp and bought the 990. A black and an orange looks fantastic together.
The reality struck quick and things were in a deadlock. Because we are in Izmir and we bought the bike from Istanbul, there was no time for Mete to get a new licence plate and registration. Your name has to be on the registration to get a Carnet. We got a powering document from the ex-owner to get a Carnet and Mete will be travelling with his bike officially. Of course he paid the bikes money.
There was a thing that was bothering us for some time. If we enter Iran and they stamp our passport, will it be a problem later to obtain a US or Shengen Visa ? Thanks to the Security Department they have a bylaw that lets us give our original passport to depozit and get a new, fresh one. After return we are going to give the new one back and get our original.
We went to the Touring Club for the bike's documents. You have to get an international Licesce and a Carnet. Carnet costs about 100 USD and we depozited another 200 USD to the bank. When we return we give the Carnet back and take the 200 bucks back.
30 Semtember, Tuesday
Izmir - Afyon - Ankara - Yozgat (806 km)
Kivanc and Kaan who stopped to see us on their way to Bodrum from Istanbul, stayed the night and woke up at 05:30 to send us off.
Somehow we couldn't calculate the weather and started the ride with our summer gloves. We stopped after 60 km for the warm glove swap, but it was too late. They were like ice and the heated grips was the medicine.
We quickly passed Ankara with a good ride. While we were filling up the bikes in Kirikkale in started to rain a bit. But it was very light looking up the clouds.
God save the inventor of Airhawk. It was a long day without a soar ass. Hotel Camlik was a replica of the chateau in the movie "Shining" by Stanley Kubrick. We put the bike indoors and got the last drops of alcohol. :freaky
A little hanging around then sleep...
01 October, Wednesday
Yozgat – Sivas – Erzincan – Erzurum (674 km)
We woke up at 06:00 to a superb weather. Sunny and not so cold. The hotel prepared early breakfast for us. We hit the road and rode in thick fog for a while.
Yozgat - Erzurum road is fantastic. With good asfalt, fast twists and endless skies.
Dancing a little bit to beat the cold in Kizildag Pass.
We arrived to Erzurum around 17:00. After deciding to stay at the Palandoken Ski Resort, on the way i saw Mete's rear had a flat. Since we were in the city center, i looked for a tire shop but no chance. We rolled up the sleeves.
We were on the road in 40 minutes, including 10 minutes answering ridiculous questions of the children passing by.
We checked in the Hotel Palan and head back to the city for cag kebab. There are alot of places but we were told to eat at GelGor.
I tried to beat the record of Sinan who ate 33 skewers. It was not so long i understood that they hung his photo for a reason. I could only eat 6.
Kadayif Dolmasi was delicious too.
We made a little interview with the owner.
With stomachs full we returned to the hotel and to bed.
Terrific! More! More!
Awesome trip!! Let's see the beauty of Iran!! :clap
Thanks for a great intro!
I'm going along. Looks like a good time.
What caused the flat? Nail? Sabotage?
Very nice!. :clap
The pictures are really good, and the landscapes are enticing.
Thanks for posting.
Waiting for more. :lurk
awesome pics.hadi gari yenilerini gönderin.
Mouthwatering bikes, ride, and food! :clap
You guys are great. I've read your previous trips on a Turkish forum. Thanks for sharing. By the way 'KTM hayirli olsun':clap
Guys, excellent report, I hope to ride in Turkey some day. Iran will be great.
02 October, Thursday
Erzurum – Agri – Gurbulak – Bazargan – Maku – Marand – Tabriz (609 km)
We woke up really early again. Quickly we were in our superhero outfit.
Hotel Palan also served us early breakfast. The weather is superb again. We're very lucky because in this time of year, it should have been really cold.
The stone bridge at the exit of Pasinler was a nice place for a brake.
Sacdagi Pass was a blast. The scenery and the twists were all amazing. The scenery in this region is very different than we used to see. Simply there's nothing. Endless plains sorrounded by mountains and a very few green. But we liked it a lot.
We were both wondering if we would see the Mount Ararat clearly. The nice weather in the morning led us to high hopes. Finally Ararat winked at us.
It's so magnificent that it seems like 7000 metres high. We're already at 2000 metres.
A little chat with the young shepherd.
After Ararat, we arrived to Dogubeyazit. I didn't like the city that much. When we stop at the Ishakpasa Palace, Mete told me that a boy spit on me during the city ride. I remember a little drop under my eye but didn't notice where it came from.
Ishakpasa was in restoration. It was only allowed 1 hour for visiting during the workers' lunchtime. We have the border crossing on our way so we left Ishakpasa without entering in.
Approaching Gurbulak, we saw the long huge trucks in queue. Waiting for these was a reason to cry. :cry We quicky recognised that the trucks were just parking and past all of them to reach the gate. We parked the bikes and started the procedures. There were a lot of guys wanting to exchange money.
The process in the Turkish side was going very slowly as always. The officer for the job was always missing or on a brake. Everytime this was taking away another 30 minutes.
I was familiar with the locals thinking that we are tourists from our Black Sea tour back in 2006. Here it was very intense. Two guys approached from the back of the bikes saying "Hello tourist" "What country ?" In Turkish i replied "Are you blind ?" "We have the Turkish plates, A huge Turkish flag sticker, and a huge TR sticker, should i wave a 2 square meter Turkish flag for you to recognise ?" The boys silently disappeared. :lol3
After the process in the Turkish side finalized we entered to the Iranian side. Khomeini and Khamanei greeted us.
They stamped the entry in our passports and a fixer took our Carnets and dealed with the vehicle entrance quickly. His service costed 20 YTL. They just looked to the chasis and engine numbers. No searching of luggage.
We have one last procedure, to get Iran insurance. Nobody tells you about this but if you don't want to be in a bad situation during an accident you should do it. 15 days of insurance costed 25 EUR/bike.
By the way, whoever approached us for changing money was treated as a potential hustler. Eventually we decided on a guy and changed 50 EUR. YTL (Turkish currency) is worthless in Iran. USD and EUR is always changable and valuable. International credit cards are not working so bring a lot of cash. We got 13400 Rials (1340 Tomans) for a EUR. On the banknotes Rial is written. But everyone will talk tomans. So, you have to understand what is going on.
The border crossing took 3,5 hours. We still had to eat and fill the bikes up. (We are cheap bastards because we entred Iran with empty tanks from the most expensive gas to the cheapest in the world.) No riding in the dark rule is broken in the first day.
During preparation there was the "gas card" issue. It seems that we don't need the card after all. The government issued quota on gas via the gas card. For cars, you can load 120 lt. for a month to your card. You can buy this 120 lt for 100 tomans/lt. If you want to buy more than 120 lts during the month, you should pay 400 tomans/lt. We always paid 400 toman/lt since we can't have a card. This is still way cheaper than Turkey, so we were happy.
We ate our first and possibly the worst Iranian food in a truck diner. We had 250 kms to Tabriz. The fact that it gets dark earlier in the east occured to us, but not to Iranian drivers. They don't turn the headlights on till it's completely dark. We arrived to Tabriz with a great deal of hardship. I would take some time to get used to the traffic.
Tabriz, is the second biggest city in Iran and the capital of East Azerbaijan Province.
I pulled over and called Atabek. He told us to find the Valiasr District. There is a huge interest in our bikes from the locals. Whenever we stop there is immidiately 5 people around. During the Islamic Revolution, there has been some shooting from the fast motorcycles. It's been forbidden to ride bikes bigger than 200 cc since than. This is the reason for the crazy attention.
At last i foung a fun fair an told Atabek to collect us from there.
This the usual scene of a pull over.
Finally Atabek and friend came and drove us to the Shahryar Hotel. After checking in we swapped clothes and went out to eat. They took us to a good restaurant. We enjoyed the local kebab and rice.
Atabek was a friend of a friend but he was very sincere to us. After dinner we returned to our room.
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