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Old 11-17-2008, 02:42 AM   #1
meto OP
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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.
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.



Other Preparations...

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.
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Old 11-17-2008, 03:02 AM   #2
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Location: Izmir, Turkey
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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.



A little hanging around then sleep...
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meto screwed with this post 11-21-2008 at 12:32 AM
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Old 11-17-2008, 03:26 AM   #3
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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.
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meto screwed with this post 11-21-2008 at 12:34 AM
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Old 11-17-2008, 03:34 AM   #4
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meto,
Let's gooooooooo
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Old 11-17-2008, 03:36 AM   #5
Pastor John
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Terrific! More! More!

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Old 11-17-2008, 03:51 AM   #6
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Awesome trip!! Let's see the beauty of Iran!!

Thanks for a great intro!

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Old 11-17-2008, 05:51 AM   #7
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Talking

I'm going along. Looks like a good time.
What caused the flat? Nail? Sabotage?
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Old 11-17-2008, 07:33 PM   #8
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Subscribed!! Waiting to hear more.
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Old 11-18-2008, 12:41 AM   #9
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Location: Izmir, Turkey
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03 October, Friday
Tabriz – Kandovan – Tabriz (142 km)




We were lazy this morning and slept till 08.30. There was no riding today, just wandering in Tabriz. Shahryar Hotel's breakfast was delicious. Especially honey & cream.
We jumped into a taxi and told him to take us to the centre. We learned that there are a lot of centres in Tabriz and after a while he just dropped us somewhere. When we asked a teenager where to go, he invited us to their car. Bryan Adams was playing on the tape. I don't understand Farsi but i guess his father told him "What the fuck is this, change this crap" and suddenly an islamic tune started.
First thing we want to see was Arg-e Tabriz. A citadel from 14th century which was used to hang criminals. Of course it was in restoration. Like this is not enough, we learned that some other attractions on our list were in restoration too. Also because it's friday, everwhere was closed. Friday is sunday to them. We figured out that there's no point hanging out in Tabriz and decided to go to Kandovan.
We got back to the hotel and prepared. It was already 12:00 and we don't want to be late. Finding the Kandovan road was difficult, so complicated but the road was very good.

Kandovan is a mountain village at 2200 metres. It's highlight is the troglodyte homes, a reminiscent of Cappadocia (Turkey) but a very small replica of course.





We started to climb like goats.



The place had become a touristy attraction. It was a little crowded because it was friday. Azeri Turks live in these ice cream cone-shaped houses regardless of the curious mass.





After conquering the narrow and steep streets i was exhausted and want to continue in plain grounds across the -once- river.



Locals set up a small bazaar selling chestnuts, almonds, dryed apricots and grapes.



We were hungry but couldn't find good food in Kandovan. After chatting with a lot of people (because again we were the centre of attention) and taking a last photo of Kandovan, we were on our way back to Tabriz.



Wandering around Tabriz, i saw a burger shop and we stopped for lunch. We chatted with the two kids inside. They were constantly peeking on our bikes. I said "Come on jump on". You should see the joy and excitement on their eyes.



We hung out in the lobby a while. I kept my journals.



It seems like our hotel is a little modern. There was a thing in the ballroom and men were wearing ties in their suits. Wearing a tie is forbidden in Iran. The ladies were very elegant too.

Our hotel



Following the tips on Lonely Planet guide we went to Karim Khan square. The taxi driver was complaining about the gas quotas.
The square was insanely crowded.





It was packed with cars and people. Seems like this is the place where girls and boys checks out each other. Girls are 18 - 20 years old max. with tight jeans, converse snickers, head scarfs that will fall if you blow a little and the nose jobs. All the girls are crazy about nose job. We ate at Fanoos Pizza with Coca Cola.



Ta'arof

This is a thing that you will recognize at the end of your first taxi trip when the driver says "kabili yohtur" means "no, i can't accept money". The funny thing is the driver still expects to get paid. This is Ta'arof, a system of politeness among eveybody which can be confusing for foreigners at first. The solution is to insist on paying three times. By this time if he's still rejecting money, you can accept it. This is not all about money. A dinner invitation or a stay at a strangers house. They always want to give. But first you should reject in order to give them the chance to back out. If they're insisting, accept.

On our way back to the hotel i decided to test the system. The taxi ride costs 3000 toman approx. When we got to the hotel i asked the price and the driver said "Whatever you give ?" I gave 2500 toman and he replied "ooh this is not enough, give 500 toman more" So, he understood that i'm a foreigner and we laughed it away.

This is the room.



While searching for water in the minibar we found these but our joy and shock lasted till we read the writings.

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Old 11-18-2008, 01:38 AM   #10
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OK...I`m in too.....

Excellent report so far.....


More please!!


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Old 11-18-2008, 04:41 AM   #11
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Fantastic ride and report!
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Old 11-18-2008, 04:55 AM   #12
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Location: Izmir, Turkey
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04 October, Saturday
Tabriz – Ahar – Ardabil – Khal Khal – Masuleh (478 km)




My alarm went off at 05:00 in the morning. After riding in the dark to Tabriz, we agreed on waking up as early as we can to finish the ride in daylight. The guy at the reception told us last night that they can serve early breakfast for us but all we could find in the morning was a jug of water. We dranked 1 glass each and hit the road.
The family we asked directions to.



We found the Ardabil road easily. The weather got cold suddenly with threatning clouds. Lucklily, there wasn't a single drop of rain. If we had started our trip 3 days earlier, in would have been a another story. We entered Ardabil with a really bad traffic. There were policemen on every rounabout but they don't solve anything. We hardly found a place to eat. Mc Donald's in Iran.



Never ending curiousity... These guys also told that the road to Masuleh was seriously deteriorated due to heavy rains.



We filled up in Ardabil.



The conditions of the gas stations are really bad.



Also in this gas station they told that the road is completely blocked because of the rain. We agreed to take a chance.
Just before reaching Khal Khal we spent 20 minutes in a police checkpiont. Very funny conversation took place here.
Khal Khal road is fantastic. Asphalt quality is superb.





We started to gain altitude slowly while the scenery got better and better.



The map didn't lie and 60 km left to Masuleh, we found the hard pack gravel.









The clouds we admired looking, struck us badly when we entered in them. We were immidiately wet and the road turned into mud. It's unnecessary to say how front Scorps don't like mud. A wrong selection of line and i was down.



Riding with wild horses takes all the negativity away.



After playing in the mud a bit, we arrived to the wonderful Masuleh. We parked the bikes to find our hotel.



This is the last spot bikes can enter. All transportation is on foot in the village. Fortunatley, Hotel Mehran was very close to our bikes.
Masuleh scenery from our hotel.



18 EUR for a triple room, not bad. It was a relief after the hotel in Tabriz. It was about to get dark, so we got out very quickly.



We found the Moallem Restaurant and tried mirza ghazemi which is an eggplant dish special to the Gilan Province.
After conquering the silent streets of Masuleh and puffing on qalyan we threw our tired bodies to the bed.



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Old 11-18-2008, 06:05 AM   #13
ronsolo
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Fantastic! Thank you for taking the time to share your journey.

Of course, nice bikes too.
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Old 07-14-2009, 02:18 AM   #14
Clansters
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Location: Izmir/TURKEY
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Hi guys,

Just came accross with your thread. Great to see familiar faces from my hometown.
Simply stunning report!! Not many riders followed that path around here
Hope to see you somewhere around and hear the story in person.
Cheers!
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Old 08-01-2009, 03:30 AM   #15
Uzay
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I remembered our trip to Iran, i was on a 950, if i had the posibility, i would visit there again., very good report, nice pics.


I missed Yazd
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