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Old 05-30-2013, 04:35 AM   #1
SOD_xj6 OP
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Joined: Apr 2013
Location: Turkey
Oddometer: 7
Wink The Long, Turquoise Route

Fellow riders,... we are two 30 year old friends from Turkey; Anil and Kemal. We've just completed a 2 week bike tour through the western coastlines of Turkey. We've set out from Istanbul to ride west over Canakkale and south from there on till Fethiye where we leave the coasts and head back to Ankara over Egirdir.

We've had a great time and have plenty of footage to share.
(editing the videos and putting together the diaries take a lot of time though..)

So here goes, hope you enjoy it as much as we have...
The first day of the trip:

Day 1: Year 2013, the month of May, Friday 10th

"To give life to a motorcycle journey which had been in the planning for months, my buddy Kemal Hekimoglu, just barely manages to throw himself out of the office to set out to Istanbul from Ankara. While he has a rough time under the heavy rain all day, I wait anxiously all the while hustling to get my equipment ready. What to put in which bag, will it all fit and who knows what we forgot."

"After receiving the good news of my grandpa's successful surgery and seeing him in the hospital, I decide to set out on 10th May to Istanbul. It's a very cloudy day but I'm determined to start the trip. I hastily secure my bags on my motorbike and set out in a rush. A voice inside my head keeps telling me that I forgot something crucial. Another voice is telling me I packed too much stuff. The truth of the matter will only be seen in the upcoming days.

A black rain cloud is following me throughout the way. This is the first time I'm riding under such conditions. My one hand is constantly on my visor, wiping the spray from the accompanying traffic. My hands are wet and freezing which forces me to tighten my grip, tiring me out. Which in turn forces me to give more rest stops. During my lunch-stop I meet two friends riding from Switzerland. We complain to each other about how awful a feeling it is to ride under such rain and cold. Pointing to their BMW GS' they joke: "You've got it tough, don't even think about taking this Yamaha to your Africa trip." The rest of the way passes by with the dreams of the -hopefully- dry&hot days to come."

Due to my inexperience as a blogger and the fatigue brought on by the rainy ride, I fail to write down the fellow travelers' names.

This would be the first GS we encounter along the way.

"Meanwhile, thanks to his complete technological trick-up, I am able to pin point KH's position on the map. As he crawls closer, hours pass by and finally an hour or so after sun down he arrives to our carpark. After a shower, a quick recap and planning we call it a day and go to bed. It will be an early morning for us. The bikes will need to be checked one last time at Gokhan Yeniceli's service in Kadikoy before the wheels turn."
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Old 05-30-2013, 06:06 AM   #2
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Wake up sleepy head, time to write more.
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Old 05-30-2013, 06:24 AM   #3
Joined: May 2009
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Hey Anil and Kemal, you're from my favorite country on the planet, tracing a route I did (by boat and bus, mostly) back in '73 with 3 women friends. I'm sure things have changed quite a bit in the last 40 years and I'm going to enjoy learning all about it, following you on your RR!
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Old 05-30-2013, 06:52 AM   #4
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Puke Day 2: Year 2013, the month of May, Saturday 11th

The map of our 2nd day's ride.

We say our farewells to Anil's parents to meet them down at Bodrum 1 week later and head on to Motolab:

As per planned one night earlier, we leave Motolab with oiled chains, checked air pressure, engine oil and brake fluids. My gf Inci is with us and is seeing us off. After a short stop at Motomax shop to gather up a couple of last minute details we are off at last. It's a sunny day and the wind is welcomed with joyous yells in our helmets. Using the 2nd bridge route we head out to Europe with our many technological gadgets (GPS, intercom, head cams, external chargers, etc..). It takes around 1.5 hours to leave the city traffic. First stop; meatrolls in Tekirdag. We arrive as hungry as one can be, gulping down the food in minutes. It takes us at least 30mins. to gather up our equipment each time we stop. Later, we would figure out quicker ways pack and safer ways to keep things on the bike.

We gulp down the meatrolls we've been dreaming of all morning:

Kemal seconds before jumping in.

The infamous cheese halva with ice cream. Only this much survived before I could take out the camera.

After we free ourselves from Istanbul's traffic, we squeeze the throttle and enjoy the beautiful weather. We want to make our way through Ucmakdere since I've heard only good things about the course. When we arrive something very unexpected from my side greets me; offroad... This is the first time I'm riding on something different from tarmac. I feel fairly relaxed, having dropped the Yamaha even before the dirt started, several hundred meters before the entrance of the park. After receiving some crucial tips from Anil I learn to let the bike find its way through the dirt. (Watch the video below as he gives some pointers through our intercom) Oh what joy! I just wished we had enduros under us to really enjoy this place!

The road is dirt and difficult. Two tarmac bikes and riders are being tested. In the end we somehow make it through without dropping our bikes even once.

After the tough offroad course we give a rest-stop at a local Mocamp for a tea where we meet Colonel Alper. He has a black Transalp. He has a German wife and tells us about his plans to move there after he's retired. Unfortunately he slips his front wheel on gravel right as we were leaving. The bike drops on his leg, injuring him. We escort him to his destination, 15km away.

At Mocamp with Colonel Alper. The boys are on the right resting across the beautiful view.

IMO one of the best courses of the entire trip, summarized in the best edit possible:

We continue to Sarkoy as 3 bikes. Managing to catch the ferry to Lapseki from Gallipoli at the last minute, we arrive to Canakkale at 21:30. We're tired but happy, content. We celebrate our first day out on the open roads with a beer.

Day 2: Year 2013, the month of May, Saturday 11th

Taking the ferry from Gelibolu to Lapseki.

We sail across the strait as the last vehicles to be loaded on the ferry. Our guest, Ozgun who we know now will host us like kings for the next 2 days, greets us to Canakkale. We drink a couple of beers in his bar and fall into a deep yet uncomfortable sleep in his house.

SOD_xj6 screwed with this post 05-30-2013 at 09:34 AM
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Old 07-14-2013, 06:24 AM   #5
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Laugh Day 3: Year 2013, the month of May, Sunday 12th

Due to our busy work schedule and the recent situations in Turkey the update to our diary was a bit delayed.

Time to carry on from where we left off...
Today we have an addition to our motorcycle duo! We're riding through Eceabat. Through the war cemeteries.
The real "journey" will begin after Canakkale. Thanks to our friend Ozgun, we felt at home here.

We decide to stay in Canakkale for another day.

Ozgun owns one of the most popular bars in Canakkale; 'Lodos'. They also offer a magnificent breakfast. (product placement:)

A carefully filled plate, seconds before being mashed through

After breakfast we set out to visit the war cemetaries in Eceabat. Our bikes look extra nice on the ferry. We can feel the prying eyes peek through their car windows in awe.

Photoshopped to depict what I was observing at the time.

What a great day to visit the Gallipoli Peninsula. The sun is in the sky but it's not so hot. Ozgun brought his Kymco Xciting 250 along for the ride to show us the way around. Being a local he knows the places to see like the back of his hand. Unfortunately there is a Sunday crowd and the traffic is unbearable. Tour busses block the roads completely with no space to pass through. After hours of exhaust fumes we throw ourselves back in the ferry.

There's something inexplicable here. No matter what kind of mood you're in visiting, you can't help but be mesmerised. You remember the stories you've read, you've heard. We leave with a sense of pride and the remembrance how wretched a thing war is. No matter where it's taken place or for what reason..

A day which started as a magnificently mellow ride turn into a nightmare thanks to the traffic caused by all the tour busses. We cancel our plans to sail with Ozgun's boat and ride directly to his family gathering in a open garden. The venue is situated in a garden of apple trees (hence the name: "Elma Bahcesi (turkish for apple garden"), Great food, as any other place in Turkey, close friends and the joy of seeing our bikes looking over us through the gates.

Chaps on a boat

It turns out a feast was awaiting us in Canakkale. We ride to a venue where all the Oktem family is waiting to spoil us with an amazing dinner. But the night is far from over. We find ourselves in a friend's house, Gokhun who's a professional diver and a great storyteller. Then a friend bring out a guitar. Raki is flowing as can be expected.
The night comes to a close at Ozgun's boat in the marina. The next day will be a long ride day. We need to call it a night. We find ourselves back on the not-so-comfortable sofas in Ozgun's bachelor pad.

Our home for 2 days. My back still aches looking at those sofas!.
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