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Old 06-20-2009, 03:33 PM   #151
StinkyCheese
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Absolutely fantastic post! Amazing trip and pictures... The stuff of dream trips! Thank you for sharing it.
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Old 06-20-2009, 08:12 PM   #152
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Simply breathtaking!

you made it out of Iran just in time! thanks for the awesome pics and detailed report!

Now, let's see your new boots!
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Old 06-20-2009, 09:17 PM   #153
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Wow!!!!!!!!!!!

Fantastic photos and great reporting............ be safe and keep the reports flowing.

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Old 06-20-2009, 11:24 PM   #154
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bouldergeek
Happy Antarctic Mid-Winter! Jared, Shaun, Amy, Jeff, and Jeri will be coming by for a cookout today. We'll toast to you.
Say Hi to everyone and ask Cpt. America to put in a good word for me. I need to get back into her country in fall.
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Old 06-21-2009, 08:19 PM   #155
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This is one amazing ride. I love your pics and writing style.Tough times a positive attitude and no whining.Way to go.
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Old 06-21-2009, 08:20 PM   #156
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Dont leave your boots behind, again! Awesome but hair rising experience! The good thing is that there are more pluses than minuses... Great report!
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Old 06-21-2009, 09:27 PM   #157
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One of the best RR's I've read in a long time - glad you're having a great trip

It's really too bad that the bean-counters at Yamaha have their heads up their asses and seem to feel there's no market for the XT660Z in the USA - if they ever wake up and bring the Tenere here, I'd be very tempted to sell my Transalp to buy one
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Old 06-22-2009, 01:43 AM   #158
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Great ride, great report. Got it in one go.
Despite some issues all seems well ok for you, glad to see that.

PM me if you should need any help in or around Istanbul when you come or for any other issue, i.e.

Like to have your comments on new Tenere and fuel quality in Iran and its consequences on mileage....

ride safe.......
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Old 06-22-2009, 07:22 AM   #159
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Thanks for a truly inspiring ,informative and entertaining ride report.
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Old 06-24-2009, 06:51 AM   #160
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Death or Glory

Quote:
Originally Posted by guenael
Boots, politics, cops, monuments, deserts... this ride report is extraordinarily exciting! It is also remarkably well paced, well balanced and well written. The embedded maps are a great idea, and the photos are stunning. We all know how difficult it is to post to the forum while we are riding, so extra kudos to you for making it so polished as well!

Guenael
Couldn't have put it better myself. The photos - once you click on them - are so, so good.

I'm no fan of vandalism or graffitti. But I myself am prepared to make an exception when there's some history behind it:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boarder06
Sadly, the picture below is only one of many carvings of early western visitor left on the Gate of Nations. Fools are truly international.

The Skull and Crossbones is the regimental badge of what is now called the Queen's Royal Lancers. "Death or Glory" is their motto. The QRL incorporates 17/21st Lancers, previously 17th Lancers, previously 17th Light Dragoons. Hence the "17th L.D." in the picture.

17LD were involved in the American War of Independence:
A decade after formation, the Light Dragoons were in action in British-ruled America. Their best achievement was routing a large militia force of 450 men in Philadelphia, losing just nine out of their 300 soldiers. But they were also at the heart of Britain’s ultimate surrender to America as political tides turned in 1781. Captain Stapleton of the 17th handed over the copy of British capitulation to George Washington.

Then



Now. Back in Persia, 200 years on



Dragoons were soldiers who rode into battle but fought on foot.
Not much changes.

Note the date



A detachment of 17LD were sent as bodyguard for Sir Harford Jones's
1810 diplomatic mission to the Court of Qajar.
Sir Harford rejoiced in the title Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Persia. Not a man to be mucked about, then.

Here he is again (in the middle), in 1808 at the Court of Fat'h Ali Shah

Sir Harford's main achievement was getting the Persians to sign a treaty which effectively denied France a land route to India. He also arranged for British instructors to train the Persian army. Setting the scene for two centuries of British involvement in and dominance over Persia/Iran/Iraq. Culminating in this week's Tehran burning of British flags.

Funny isn't it? We wouldn't have known any of this had an English fool not 200 years ago carved his name on a piece of rock.

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Old 06-24-2009, 06:55 AM   #161
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I agree 100%!



Quote:
Originally Posted by SpitfireTriple
Couldn't have put it better myself. The photos - once you click on them - are so, so good.
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Old 06-24-2009, 08:47 AM   #162
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More skullduggery.

Sorry chaps, I'm still reading up on the 1810 mission to Persia. Apparently, while Sir Harford had been sent by London, a parallel mission was being arranged by the East India Company, responsible for running India. Just days before Sir Harford arrived in India, Lord Minto, Governor-General of India, had despatched Colonel John Malcolm on a diplomatic mission with similar aims. Sir Harford therefore had to wait rather than continuing. Eventually, the news arrived that Colonel Malcolm had failed. Lord Minto agreed that Sir Harford could now try. Sir Harford set off. Ten days later, Colonel Malcolm arrived back in India. It seems he did not like the idea of the possibility of someone from London succeeding where he had failed. Colonel Malcom persuaded Lord Minto to recall Sir Harford, and instead prepare for an invasion of Persia. Which Colonel Malcolm would naturally lead.

But Sir Harford had already left. Colonel Malcolm set off in pursuit. But by the time the revised instructions reached Sir Harford, he was already deep in negotiation with the Persians, and refused to pull out. To support his refusal, he pointed out that his orders came from the Crown in London, not the Crown's representative in India. Colonel Malcolm and Lord Minto nevertheless removed Sir Harford's funding, but Sir Harford forged ahead and signed the treaty.

Turf War

Sir Harford's quarrel with Colonel Malcolm and Lord Minto involved the whole issue of whether relations with Persia should be controlled from London or from India. So his quarrel involved the important issue of whether, in the changing interests of Britain in Asia, political or commercial motives should prevail.

But Sir Harford did not go on to a glowing diplomatic career. His conception of Persia as a buffer state collided with a demand from the foreign office for an Indian-style subsidiary alliance.

I reckon there's more than enough material here for a film. Plenty of contemporary relevance too. All the producers would need to do would be to invent a love interest or two. Maybe I should write a script.

Finally, I can't help observing that the coat of arms awarded to Sir Harford - noteworthy for its use of an Arabic script motto, I've never seen that before - seems to depict the sun shining out of the backside of the British lion.

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Old 06-25-2009, 02:07 PM   #163
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Van to Lake Nemrut

Van to Lake Nemrut

Well, I stayed in Van a little longer than planned. Itís the sort of town that grows on you, plus I waited for a package from Germany, which despite the longish stay didnít arrive in time. A Belgian guy on a Ural with a sidecar also stayed at my hotel. He is on his way to Vietnam. We swapped maps, SIM cards, and stories and had quite a few drinks together. He decided to go to Iran despite the current situation.

This time I take the Northern route around the lake.








The farmers are out in the fields.








I stop for a great lunch in Adilcevaz





and take the route to Nemruth Dagi shortly after Ahlat.





Itís 30 km to the top and the road looks like it was just repaired (it was closed in early May). Some of the switchbacks are badly washed out. The road takes me through the huge crater, which has a couple of lakes.











The view from Mt. Nemrut toward lake Van is amazing.





I ride back down into the crater and find an idyllic campsite at one of the crater lakes.








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Old 06-25-2009, 10:17 PM   #164
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Lake Nemrut to Kars

Lake Nemrut to Kars




I get a very early start and return on the same road I took yesterday to Ahlat.








Just on the outskirt of town is a large, if not the largest, Seljuk cemetery. There are hundreds of graves.














After getting gas I head straight North toward Kars. Well, I could try to describe the ride but I think I let the pictures speak for themselves.



























































At times the road is sealed, with or without potholes, gravel, under construction, dirt, deeply rutted or anything in between. You donít want to do this road when itís wet. At one point I take a wrong turn but I think the road Iím on will take me back to the ďmainĒ road. I get off for a bit of scouting and run into a farmer who tells me itís OK for a motorbike. A few minutes later I find myself stuck on steep climb. No way I can get up there and I canít turn around either. Slowly I inch my way backwards. There is barely enough traction to stop my from sliding own.


Just one checkpoint near Kagizman but they didnít even want to see my passport. I roll into Kars late in the afternoon. Most hotels are full. Thatís a first on this trip! I have to settle for a place where I have to leave the bike on the street.


Itís been a long tiring day but what a ride! The most amazing landscapes and no traffic to speak off.
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Old 06-26-2009, 04:52 AM   #165
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