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Old 07-03-2014, 03:58 AM   #1
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Carrots Conquer Caucasus 2014

Start of a new little adventure.

It has been a long time coming and now we are working rapidly to get things "rolling" on the 19th of july.
Why carrots - cuz there should be 3 ktm-s going with us on top of them.
Caucasus - because we will be going through Russia and over the mountains to Georgia and ride as much mountains as we and the bikes are able.
Good news arrived last week on friday - the passports with russian visas are ready and the prepwork can go on.
The bikes are still being fixed, updated, serviced and also the gear and ideas and solutions for cameras, electronics and other not so importand things.

The idea of Georgia and the mountains has been hovering over us for already 2 years, since the trip to Ukraine was somewhat succsessful we got some ecouragement from that also. Here the link to the old thread, to remind who-what-where.

I left the "fluffy" V-strom as soon as I could after the trip to ukraine.
It was nice road bike, but not for the roads, that we are planning.
The new bike and it´s development can be seen here - in another separate thread, that I try to update as much as possible.

At the moment we have little "officcial" plans of what exactly to visit in Georgia, so all nice ideas are welcome and any help and connections for the route - we all appreciate.

This here is just the beginning, so no fear of the dry-ness of the text. We´ll update soon.
Clear councience is a sign of bad memory.
KTM - by adventec.
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Old 07-05-2014, 07:01 AM   #2
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Lets get introduced

Allright - it´s the last free weekend for me, so I try to organize the home stuff and get my mind set right.
I feel the anxiety of the trip taking over already. Every little thing that comes to mind, reminds me of stuff, that needs to get sorted.
Last bad news of the friday was, that I cannot get any new maps for my android based gps. Sure, Tarmo and Munk will have pretty garmin devices on their bikes, with all new maps and be sertainly up to the challenge but it will not make me feel any better.
If it was not for a very-very good friend, I would not even have the paper map - for no apparent reason it is very hard to get my hands on a caucasus or georgian maps. The one I got, was fetched somewhere from other parts of europe. So at the moment of chill, I´m doing my route planning the old fashioned "analog" way. Simply draw red dots on a map and make a happy face doing it. :)

Lets get introduced properly.

Hello, I´m Ahti from estonia.
I turned 30 this spring and I like motorcycles
Not much to say about me, other than I´m the engineer type of guy and like to take pictures and make some videos about nice places.
For me, this will be the 4th longer mototrip since I started this. Been riding now for some years and like to really get to know my bikes - so I do all the work on them myself. Use to freak me out a little at first but now, its a sort of a stress killer thing. Just like the prozac, without nasty doctor appointment - u know.

This time we have our group of 4 people and 3 bikes consisting of 3 guys and a girl. Girl (Kristi) met by us on the last trip to Ukraine and Crimea and taken "into custody" by Munk.
Munk - the little younger, faster and (shitifitdoesnotkillmemakesmestronger) type of guy, on his old and grumpy 950 adventure, with new motor and a lot of other work done to it.

Then there is the treehugger friend Tarmo - guy who likes beebites and grows all sorts weird ideas in his head over the winter.
He has the new and flashy 990 adventure, with blue-orange colors and some nice "pipework" by Wings and other small tricks up the sleeve of the 990.

Lets talk gear a little -
my choice of bike:
2005.5 950 adventure, overhauled and modified to most of my abilities and needs. some of it - here:
New seat by me - mostly for comfort, but also for reach (got short legs).
suspension setup and change - for ridability and longevity (different valving, different springs, different oils, seals, bleeders...)
Exhaust - 2into1 by Jõujaam tuning - and Djelcevic muffler - gives us weight saving, better sound, less heat, more midrange and looks gooood.
Wheels and tires -new bearings in them, torqued rods, new HD inserts, new Mitas E07 for the rear and E09 dakar for the front (when flat, can go for miles, tested).
New and stiffened up nav tower and at the moment due expences cutbacks only gps I have, is the old android device with Igo- maps. Montana 600-ish is on the way for the future.
During the summer we tested the "rally" screens - as nice as they are for short bursts and quick runs in the back yard, they make no sence, when fighting gozillion moskitos and flying crap from cagers in front of You. So I decided to use the KTM touring screen. Keeps bugs of my face and the wind in control. Does not make the bike look any nicer, but then again (a cow is still a cow, no matter if its got brown hair or blue bells on it.).

I will list all, what I will be using this trip in the next or the post after that. There is just quite a few items still on hold - so I don´t want to be hasty.
Ihis is where I´m at now with my planning:
Clear councience is a sign of bad memory.
KTM - by adventec.
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Old 07-05-2014, 07:36 AM   #3
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Sounds great!

Nice choice of bikes btw
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Old 07-05-2014, 08:47 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Orange990 View Post
Sounds great!

Nice choice of bikes btw
exactly what he said
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Old 07-05-2014, 02:19 PM   #5
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Cool2 Good night in the garage...

Hi guys -
so prepping the bike goes along nicely.
Changed tires and set the carbs again and changed fluids for the brakes.
Somewhat set the bar for tire changing time - 24 min for a proper change on front. Not too bad I think. Since all the last tries went bad, when I broke the inner tube.
Well, here are some pics of the stuff, that got done today - it was really nice to hear the "music" again.

nice wheels...

tire choice...

riding high...

setting the carbs with the ol balancer tool -

Clear councience is a sign of bad memory.
KTM - by adventec.
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Old 07-14-2014, 04:18 AM   #6
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Prepwork in high gear.

Just a little update, so one would not think, we have gone missing in action already.
As I do need to get things done for the daily job as well, I´m currently not keeping really up to date with the report.
But so far we are prepping bikes, taking notes on the paper maps and saving all "important data" before going offline and buying stuff, thats missing from us or the bikes. For now I know, that we are planning to get moving from point zero at approx 1000am on the 19th and go to the RV point near the southern part of Estonia, to collect and regroup and setup the transit of russia. Probably will take the straight route under Moscow to Vladikavkaz and this means approx 2600km on the road, that needs to be done in 4 days, according to our visas.

Since we are really busy with all the prepwork and usual work, I don´t really have many pictures at the moment, to share. Just one fuzzy pic from phone, this morning.

HD tubes, new and improved racks and panniers, that now will have the external oil carriers and then some...
Clear councience is a sign of bad memory.
KTM - by adventec.
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Old 07-18-2014, 12:43 AM   #7
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Cool2 1Day till D-day!

Whats up - you ask?

Well, here is the list:

everything is checked 3 or 4 times now and as much as I could, things, that the bike needs, are packed in the garage.
small tools and ratchet,
big tools and ratchet,
tyre change 3levers and rimprotector,
2 spare HD tubes,
1 spare front E09 dakar,
fuel line,
spare oil 1l 10W-60,
stiffened rear frame,
new light bulbs for front,
new brake lights,
new riser bolts,
spare WP kit,
stiffened nav tower,
seat redone,
side panniers fastened,
front camera and map bag,
2 standalone chargers in glove comp,
2 cans of offroad chain oil,
1 small can of additional fuel,
and then some....

For me the stuff is still not packed, but pretty much ready for packing
here goes the list:

Cam: Drift hd ghos,
2 x 16gb memory card
2 batteries and charger,
DSLR : trusty old pentax 200d with about 2000 pictures of space,
Communication: Primary device - nokia lumia 925
secondary device: LG optimus 2x. also gps device.

Maps: 2 europe maps and 1 caucasus map with POI-s on it.
watch: casio locator with compass.

Food supply: local, just have the aluminium cans and teflon coated knife and fork.

Medpack: standard issue medpack with reduced scope for drugs and some full body sterilizer and soap.

Protection: 1condom, 6 pairs of plastic gloves (no find no latex).


Boots: sidi crossfire

Gloves: Rev-it goretex and KTM rally summer,

Helmet: ITX DS white.

Body: dainese pressure suit with full back.

Jacket and pants: 2014 KTM Rally suit, standard collar, rally pants,

3 pairs of sport socks,
batteries for headlamp,
3 shirts (coolmax)
cold weather jacket - actually just biking jacket, good with wind,
some stickers,
some boooze,

standard issue credit card VISA,
exchanged some Euros into georgian Lari and also some russian rubles.

ohh, and got a haircut yesterday,
Don´t look like an old man anymore.

some pics of the did and the bike.

Old fart

New and handsome:
of course the complimentary KTM shirt. ;)

bike with new tooltube and nice clean- ish bottom:

Some of the small tools that went in:

And all snug with new tire pressure gauge :

And we are off tomorrow morning...: :)
Clear councience is a sign of bad memory.
KTM - by adventec.
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Old 07-19-2014, 07:43 AM   #8
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Hi guys and girls.
At the moment we have already lne bike down with bad slipping clutch. So munk went back home (about 200 miles) to get the old clutch set and we will have a long night ahead of ourselves to get it working.
I think that on my side my carrot has been behaving nicely. With new tires and less restrictive exhaust minor vibration and fuel consumption is down to 5,6l/ 100km.
Clear councience is a sign of bad memory.
KTM - by adventec.
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Old 08-15-2014, 01:39 AM   #9
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And the RR will begin...

Lets start from the beginning...

On the last trip to the Black Sea and Ukraine, we decided, that the other shore of that sea must be visited also by carrot racing team.
On the 19th of july we had the 2 carrots ready to roll from Tallinn and Saue on the north of estonia. I started from Tallinn at around midday and Monk with Kristi started from Saue at around 1500 pm. (more to how that went right away).

The start nr is :

So, by later afternoon I reached Tarmos house in the southern part of estonia just to be greeted by lonely big dog and hungry bees, guarding family secrets.
Just made myself cozy and started off without them and switchen on the tv, to see the reports on Tour de France. :)
By 1700 pm It started to look weird and I phoned Munk - "whut the hell is going on"? - Well, he stated that they had reached about 100km from home and then had to turn back, because the clutch he had in the motor, started slipping badly (he had a spare one at home). To be reminded - we had not tested the bikes fully laden, so this was the first sign of "prepwork gone wrong".
Anyhow, a bit later than 1900 Tarmo reached home and also Munk and Kristi and then also my bikes additional weight - Kärt.
All there to start the usual verbal assault on the oncoming trip and the bikes and grill and so on...
But the most important thing would be of course to find out, that one of the visas was not for 5+5 days of transit through russia, but 3+3 days. Meaning we had 72h of going 2600++ km from home to the border of Georgia and also the way back.
Knowing all that, the decision was made, we will not departure until lunch time to russia and try to have as many km under our belt by night - we feared, that the border crossing might be closed during night time - like it is in the winter (they fear slides and ice on the road during dark and cold nights).
Since Munk had the other clutch with him, we took the bike apart fast and made one good set out of the two. Some springs were better than others and some plates were less worn, than others.

Here is Munk having the clutch on the brink of getting together and everything looking pretty again.

And here is Tarmo, getting the essentials ready on the bike :

The essentials being -

and here is Kristi - enjoying the awesomeness of "igotnothingtodo".

This day would end with sauna, grilled meat (got eaten by the hungry dog, who helped himself to the tray) and restless night, waiting for the morgning runoff.
Oh, and it started raining.

The end of day 1.
Clear councience is a sign of bad memory.
KTM - by adventec.
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Old 08-19-2014, 12:44 PM   #10
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The race goes on...

The morning of the second day.

We wake up to the sad barking of Tarmo´s dog.
Its raining outside. It appears, that the weathergods are not on our side.
So as it was decided, we would be leaving at 1100 hours and with full raingear.
Nice. 2 days of owning the rally suit and I get to test it in cold and rain.
We loaded the bikes, made up the "road make up" and took a few pictures to register the clean bikes and happy and "ready to race" faces.

Here is the crew up front:

And from the rear:

Then It was about 130 to the border of Russia.
It rained the whole ride. My heated grips failed and I lost charging. Nice.
Totally wet hands and frozen fingers. But the rally suit worked just fine.
Took us about few hours to sit in rain and get ourselves over the border.
Of course the usual paperwork on russian border, got some wrong, got some angry dirty russian words to our account but survived to ride another day and to reach the first gas station with cheap russian fuel.
In comparison - when I left home, 1l of fuel costed about 1.32 EUR.
In russia it was more like 0.72EUR per liter.
Just a quick run on the road towards Moscow. We take gas a few more times, buy water and a little something to eat and swet like pigs for the first time, because of the heat during midday. We stopped about 200++ km short of Moscow. Found a little lake and camped on the shore. We tried to check whats wrong with the charging and grip heaters but nothing...


Russian gas :

Good impressions:


Not too shabby - huh.

A little bit of campfire and washing the socks in the lake we fight the moskitos to the death and climb into the sleepingbags and go quiet for the night.

The end of day 2. We are asleep in Russia. (done about 700 km).
Clear councience is a sign of bad memory.
KTM - by adventec.
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Old 08-20-2014, 01:24 AM   #11
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While in russia. Day 3 of the trip.

We are well in Russia.
The morning is cold and damp and the moskitos from last night have bitten the better part of me. It is early in the morning. Maybe 0600 hours. The visor fogs up like hell and its cold to ride. I find myself in the lead, yes with no gps to help, its a little strange for a while but then again, its just a straight road from here to Moscow, so I do not worry too much. Just the speedo is off by so much, that it makes no sense looking at it.

We ride till the first proper gas station and pump up supplies. Nice little coffe is in order for many and I take some sugar with hot water on it.

We continue our ride on the big roads that go around Moscow. The so-called outer ring of the city. A lot of roadwork, a lot of traffic and some stalling on roadblocks etc. on that day we actually started counting the accidents we see on the road. Trucks, cars, buses, dogs - You name it.
The number rises fast.

Sitting here in traffic:

A lot of railway crossings, that take time.

That was just some random weird roadwork - no safety measures and both lanes occupied actually but apparently does not bother locals and the race goes on...

Here is the first nasty accident.
The truck had lost one rear wheel and tipped over. Some blood on the screen and stuff lying around on the road.

By late afternoon we are far past Moscow and reaching the far side of Volgograd. The road from Moscow to there is not as nice as one would hope or need (for example not good for road bikes, ridable but not good).
We found a nice little place on the side of the road with open cafeteria and a good place for shade. It was hot outside, but not too nasty.

Here is a little gas station example - for whatever reason they have no dots between numbers so the sum is a bit off. But at that time 1 eur = 47 rubles.

Then by the evening the lihgt starts to loose its power at around 2000 hours.
The evening is full of bugs and starts to get chilly and a bit windy.
The gps says, there is a little lake/pond type of thingy right around little forest piece.
Nooot - it is just a puddle of mud in the middle of fields. And I try to go down first time. Didn´t happen but was a little scary how a day on tarmac would kill the offroadiness abilyties.
Camp is set quickly and I have a chance to take some nice photos of "motoromance" type and we are off to "bed".

The night has fallen and the second day in Russia is done. About 1200km and a lot of hours.
My ass hurts.
Clear councience is a sign of bad memory.
KTM - by adventec.

Snowhite808 screwed with this post 08-20-2014 at 01:34 AM
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Old 08-20-2014, 03:11 AM   #12
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Volgograd to Vladikavkas.

3rd day in Russia.
We have a very - very early wake up call.
We hung out already too long.

Time is money - and of essence, so mount up and ready to go.

Good morning enthusiasm:

Then comes the steppe.

And Volgograd.

Traffic in Volgograd is not exactly friendly nor is it good for charging the miles ahead.
We take a little rest-stop after the city just to drink some water and make the clothes cooler.
The steppe is like no other. Hot, windy with no shade and endless...

After some hundreds of Km the road takes us to a field, where we see jurts.
And donkeys. And a big sign, "FOOOOD".

We put the bikes up front and others went inside to ask for food and restroom.

The place had many surprises for us.
First - eurotoilet with shower and all. (not working, due to lack of water).
Handwash on in the corridor, splashes all over and gets my pants and others wet.
And then I go outside to see the other "toilet" - jep, just a nasty hole in the ground with some truckdriver puking on it.
Then there I stand, in the carpark just on the side of my bike and hear a weird sound. And a small young horse rides by. Accompanied by a donkey
The food is good and everybody is happy with the good (better) service by the kyrgistan girl behind the counter - we still found the donkey the most important person in that place.
Here is Tarmo with the donkey :

And Kärt with donkey:

And me with donkey:

And just the Donkey:

So by now, I think U get the point, we like the donkey.
But time is of great shortage and we need to push on.

We ride for Vladikavkas. Just short of that the gps starts pulling our finger.
The roads around Vladikavkas have been changed a lot in the last years. So many new roads built, that the gps just turned nuts and led us to somewhere else. And then the mountains start and the darkness starts to fall.

We ride around, the darkness comes and it gets the riders nervous and makes them look for hideout. This ends with failure after failure after failure.
We find an "all night market" on the side of the road and stop there.
Its about 0100 hours and we are nackered. It takes food and a little resting to get us moving again. Something is wrong with the riding party.
We decide to find the bloody Vladikavkas and ask, if the border is working or not....

here the lowest gas station service door we have ever seen.'
Or basically - me begging fo gas.

We find the friendliest gas station clerk and ask for gas and toilet and whats up with the border????
Guess what - he sais - of course it is open 24h and the road is fine.
We have a little "discussion" about going to the border and into the mountains during the night - it was cold and quiet and dark - so dark we could even not see the mountains.


We reach the mountains after about half an hour from Vladikavkas.
Then for hours on the border being yelled at and pushed around by the russian border guards we finally are greeted by the first warmth of georgians.
Feels like coming home. We ride the new road to georgia. (do need to remind that the road over the mountain was demolished in springtime, when they had a nasty mudslide and the river destroyed some part of the border station houses and so on.
The road is twisty as hell and we are too tired to notice anything else. I just let the camera roll and keep my helmet open to get air in. Suddenly get hit by a friekishly big bug in the eye and almost lose control of the bike.
My god it hurt like hell. I try to cry it out and just ride on - keep the nose of the helmet down an hope the blurred vision will not make me hit a wall or something. I feel the tiredness is too much for any technical road by now.
And we reach lights. Many lights. Its a village with small houses and on both sides of the big road. For no apparent reason guys up front turn towards mountain village and we start climbing the wall -like streets of the slum.
We hit smaller and smaller road by every turn and see some scared faces on some windows. Its about 0400 hours. It takes Munk to try to reach the upper side of this road - but the bike just stalles and we stop. Its a trail up the mountain that the locals use to drive the herd up.
we are basically knee deep in cowshit and so tired, we could fall asleep just like that. There is a furious river just 20m from us to the left and barb wire fence on the right and about 5x3 yards of almost flat ground underneath us.
We stop right there and just dismount and put our tents up.

Then the first herd starts to come - and with them locals - one of them about 80 year old lady from whom we ask, if we can stay here.
She looks us like we are from Mars and says :" Sure, just keep on the sides, the cows might step on you otherwise. Strange people You are, there are nice places everywhere here around, why would You stay here..." So she shakes her head and continues up the mountain with her cows. The mountain side has just a small single trail on it so steep, I don´t think I could ride down that even with my downhill bike.
This is where we ended up. Pictures taken in the morning.

The third day is over and the fourth started.
We are in GEORGIA.
Clear councience is a sign of bad memory.
KTM - by adventec.
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Old 08-24-2014, 01:10 AM   #13
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Looking good.

Just got back from Poland, would love to see Georgia someday.

Keep em coming.
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Old 08-25-2014, 11:10 AM   #14
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First real day in georgia.

We wake up to a constant rumble of cows just inches from our heads.
I find myself to be still so tired, I just don´t care. At one moment some of them really touch the tent so thats a little scary but somehow they all pass.
It is not so early in the morning now and put our stuff on the bikes and decide to conquer the mountain right next to us.
On a big brown sign on the side of the road it says "Gergeti trinity church".
It is basically a small church up one level and between some of the biggest and utmost gorgeus mountains ever.
Just the road up there turnes out to be none less than hazardous.
It is about 3 km of small dirtroad up the hillside any way one can imagine.
Needless to say some fall, some stumble and finally we reach the plato.

This is where we stayed and started the day -

And here goes the road - small like a snake on green carpet.

When You reach the top, You can see the villages down below (we will be taking that route anyhow). And the church is a littlebit on the highground, just overlooking the mountainsides like a general over battlefield.
It is just the right comparison, because it is a proper struggle up the hill.

And then the view - it is not to be taken lightly.

Here is a little photo wizordom for You guys -


Locals mentioned, there is a nice place for a picnic there. We just took their word for it. Would have probably taken half a day to reach that place.

Then we park the bikes in the parking lot, in front of the church and see, that all the cows, who passed us during the night are now here and drinking from the well of the church.

And the small ones are still curly and friendly -

After the visit to the church and countless photos taken up there - we just roll down the hillside a little to the grass part of the mountain and lay down for a little rest and gathering.

Whilst on the church mountain a local guy informed us of different ways to get good food and accomodation. His name was Vassili.
Drove a white Niva up and down the mountain and asked 50 lari for it. :)

We would have taken his offer but it turned out, that the house was no longer vacant, but right next door another. It was called "Maka´s" house.
You wount find better food in Georgia, nor friendlier hostess.

After lying in the sun for maybe 20 minutes we got moving.
So if getting up the mountain was hard work.
Try getting down with no rear brake (overheated and just failed) no engine braking - due to too much throttle valve opening cuz of the thin air and basically no clutch. So I used the old snow driving method.
U go from left to right bank as sharp as U can and use the edges to slow You down. stalled the bike many times and almost fell to the ground about 10 of those occaisons but managed finally to reach the bottom. Locals had fun looking at all the action on the mountainroad. Probably thought:" Stupid tourists, cant even reach a little hump."

Anyhow, Maka´s house is right in the middle of Stepantsminda and with small garden and iron gate it has the perfect lot for at least 5bikes.
We rolled them in and started working on them asap.
Today would be "fixmybikeandchangethetires" day.

Now thats a proper KTM mechanic -

loosing clothes to heat -

Everything dripping from leaks and heat -

tried here to figure out the electrical issue - with no luck again.
just saw, that the USB charging line had some nasty corrosion on the contacts.

A little help, to get the job done.

So we change from whatever we have under the front - to brand spanking new E09 dakar tires. Hopefully will give us safe ride on the rocks and sand and local asfalt, that looks like somebody just scraped the granit of the mountains.

Maka´s house is old, simple yet effective.
It had two big bedrooms and shower and a kitchen, but since we asked the stay with meal, we never had to use the kitchen ourselves.
I cost about 20 lari per person, including all. that is about 6 eur today.

And then we had dinner.
And what a dinner it was.

During dinner we discussed having a hike up the mountain to take pictures and maybe put the tent up there to take the night sky and morning pictures of the mountains.
The old lady was always on my mind - the one who just walked by with her cows during the night and it had looked as she just climbed up the whole mountain.
And we tried. Maybe reached 80 percent. Then no more.
this is what we managed from there though -

We walked down the little streets of Stepantsminda, listening the mountainriver rawr and the youngsters still play outside with some teenagers up to no good, and said goodnight.
It was a good first day in Georgia.
Clear councience is a sign of bad memory.
KTM - by adventec.
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Old 08-26-2014, 09:44 AM   #15
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II day in Georgia - we find Tbilisi.

Good morning Georgia.
We woke up to the sun coming over the mountains.
It was nice to have such a peaceful rest for a while.

Maka was prepping breakfast already and we started doing stuff, do be ready for takeoff after that. The breakfast would take some time though.

Then in the time of most confusion and running around with gear - Vassili comes by.
We decide to ask him, if he knows any good place also in Tbilisi. Of course he says :YES. We even get a business card from him and also a promise, that when we ask, we will get a discount for being sent by him.

The ludus hostel in Tbilisi :

Then we put some stuff on the bikes, take our cameras and walk around a bit and photograph, what we can.

This is Maka-s backyard.

On the right is Maka´s house and up front the main road, that goes to Vladikavkas-Tbilisi.

And this is the snowy white top of mount Kazbegi.
On the left You can also see the trinity church, that we visited.

So we pack our bags and leave the old - now "spare" front tires to Maka´s house and start our way towards Tbilisi.
The beautiful road from Stepantsminda downhill is like a little bit of croatia, a little bit of italy and a lot of Georgia. More cows on the road, more roadwork, more switchbacks than money can buy.

On the way, one will see a big distraction for tourists. Basically a small roman style wall made from concrete and the local flat gray stones. And it has somewhat historical paintings on it.

If it wasn´t for the animals, I would not know, what to think about it.
Sure, the view is great and everything but it seems just wrong. It looks like something taken from soviet times in another city and just transported here.
But everybody loves animals so here they are.

From here we can also see the little lake down below - some locals mention, that there are some resort type of thingys down there, but we never minded.
The view is great though.

And we ride on.
Mostly the road is good and the temperature rises like hell. The lower You get, the faster it seems to be rising. By the time we see the cows on the road again and fast turns go to bigger straights - we are already cooking.

The cows in georgia have a funny way of saying :" You are not important, just ride on..."

And then some more roadwork.

When the road starts to really open up and all the twists and turns appear to be finished, this is what You see on the side of the road. Along with very active tourist sale spots. I get my first Georgian refrigerator sticker from there.

This is ANANURI castle and church.

It is located just on the side of the road and right on the edge of "Zhinvali reservoir" that seems to be the greenest lake I have ever seen.
Then again, I´m colorblind, so what do I know, right.

The place seems a little bit "off". It has elements of everything in it.

Basically Ananuri was a castle and seat of the eristavis (Dukes) of Aragvi, a feudal dynasty which ruled the area from the 13th century and also a place for the church.
The larger Church of the Assumption (Ghvtismshobeli), built in 1689 for the son of Duke Bardzem. It is a central dome style structure with richly decorated façades, including a carved north entrance and a carved grapevine cross on the south façade.

Oh, and then trouble.

I thought I heard the bell ring and found myself thinking :" maybe that time of day or smthn" - And then some minute later I hear almost screaming like voice in the entrance of the church. The watchlady starts jammin´with some guys who were in there before and decided, it would be fun to ring the bell.
So now they had it coming. They offered some money to the clerk and got back more yelling. :)
Anyhow, I knew I would not be doing that there.
Here is the belltower.

Backside of the church.

And next to the south tower with the nice grapes

We also found a dungeon tower, that was cool for pictures.
Needless to say, the bottom of it was polluted with all sort of domestic debry.

Right in front of the tower in the shade of a tree we found, that somebody had left the speeding ticket there and put a rock on it.
Hopefully for somebody else to find and think its funny. Well, we laughed.

The surroundings are not bad looking, not bad at all.
Here it is also visible the old ruins of the older smaller church.

Then - outside and waste some money.

Why have a big white refrigerator at home, if U dont put anything on it, right :)

When we take off, we find some more suicidal cows and try to scare them off and try to get our pace avoiding them.

We were about 70 km from Tbilisi and It wount show itself until You reach the city borders.
You traffic with a capital "T". From left and right and up and down.
Everything is full of honking and pushing and scuealing of brakes and heat.
We have not yet had the opportunity to spend some quality time in the heat of a city on the bikes and in traffic. Now we get full attention of that.

You wont notice the city like that - the traffic and the heat and the honking will get the best of You.
But a glimps is not bad either and it gets the appetite going.

We try to find the hostel - it is right through the city center and then on the east side of it - right next to railway. We see the door closed and some guy walking around the place - there seems to be a phone nr on a paper stuck between the door and the local guy calls it. "15 minutes" he says. "Nice" - i think. And he asks if we need any fresh water and gets us some bucket load of it. Wow, that was nice. I kinda feel the heat is a little too much and the trouble with the bike is getting on my nerves.

No worries, about 10 minutes later the owner of the place arrives and opens the big iron gates for us. The stay will cost us the same 20 lari per face but we need to find our own food.

On the inside we are greeted by a young friendly labrador puppy and grapes hanging in the garden.

We park the bikes and then take stuff off of them and disaster strikes. Tarmo can´t find his passport anymore.
We start calling everybody. Maka- Vassili, almost try the police and then the local guy also tries helping us and urges us to calm down and says, that if anybody finds it, it will be taken to Vassili or cops anyway....

Aand - voilaa.
He finds it in somewhere. Drama queen.

We change the clothes and take off to the city of Tbilisi.
Keep your boots on an look from right to left and back.
The cars are going as fast as they can and honk every possible way.
Tbilisi has a nice old town section right next to all of the center, that is completely renovated and modern.
There are little saunas everywhere and also any corner one can think of, has a cafe or two on it.

We find a nice little place right near the water and sit down for food and beer and darhun. (local lemonade)
Kristi insists of taking a sauna and disappears for about 40 minutes while we feast. After she returns, we feast some more. :)

We take a hike in the city and then go to catch a ride in the high ride of funiquleur.

The ride ends right next to mother georgia - up in the hill and overlooking the whole city. there is a nice little old castle to climb on and take silly pictures as all the tourists show us that evening.

The walk home is turning dark. We find a nice little bakery on the route and get a fresh georgian whitebread. It is so good when warm.
With some water in one hand and bread in the other we walk back home to discuss the matters of tomorrow and finish up with a little shower and warm beds.
Today was a good day in Tbilisi.
Clear councience is a sign of bad memory.
KTM - by adventec.
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