A Viking searching for the south east end of Europe.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by JohnnyTh, Apr 24, 2013.

  1. sailah

    sailah Lampin' it

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2005
    Oddometer:
    6,159
    Location:
    Turning expensive metal into scrap
    Awesome. Ever since I visited Norway by boat, it has been my dream trip. And I liked you and your trip right up until I saw the Yankees shirt:lol3

    Red Sox fan:D Kidding, great pics and great attitude.
    #41
  2. JohnnyTh

    JohnnyTh Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2010
    Oddometer:
    245
    Location:
    Norway

    Thanx

    Nice to know someone like to read what i write. Red Sox.. ouch... i guess you cant help it :D
    #42
  3. JohnnyTh

    JohnnyTh Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2010
    Oddometer:
    245
    Location:
    Norway
    Yes it opens your eyes. I think if everyone traveled like this for at least once the world would have been a better place
    #43
  4. JohnnyTh

    JohnnyTh Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2010
    Oddometer:
    245
    Location:
    Norway
    Next morning where a little more chilly. There where a cold wind blowing from the east and cloudy. I put the liner back into my jacket for the first time since leaving Hungary and packed the tent. i where back on the bike before 0600 and heeding for the monument.

    [​IMG]
    After 1 minute of riding i passed a hotel. And after two minutes i had passed 4 hotels. I did not know that when i pitched my tent. Apparently there where a skiing resort up here.


    The monument sits on a mountain top 1441 meters above sea level and overlooking most of Bulgaria i would think. The views where spectacular. And the monument no less impressive.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I snapped a few pictures and walked around the monument. I had been told that the doors where barred but it was possible to access from the back of it. I did not find any entrance only two shafts going down into the basement and that did not tempt me to try to scale down there. So i walked up front again and just as i thought i wont be able to go in i noticed a little hole about 1,5 meter up on the wall. I peeked inside and someone must have known what he where doing. The hole was into the staircase and just inside was a stair landing.
    I climbed in and explored the monument for a few minutes. Some of the granite and marble floor where robbed away. Im sure the stone is used somewhere else. And the mosaic on the walls had been damaged, souvenir hunters I'm sure. But there are still more then enough to see how spectacular it must have been.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    The fabric that had once covered the benches are now rotting away and the roof is leaking all over and missing a lot of its copper sheets. When it was new there where 30 tons of copper sheets covering the roof.

    The windows where all broken, but the view are still in place.
    [​IMG]

    The basement was dark and even if i did have a flashlight with me i did not venture to far into the basement. Did not hear any dragons to slay, so there where no point in exploring the darkness.
    Some years ago i played a computer game called Fallout. The game is about surviving in a post global nuclear war, world and entering this monument took me back to that game.


    Buzludzha monument was build by the Bulgarian communist regime to commemorate the events in 1891 when the socialists led by Dimitar Blagoev assembled secretly in the area to form an organized socialist movement. It was opened in 1981 and abandoned less then 10 years later, with the fall of the communist regime. It took 6000 workers 7 years to complete.
    No longer maintained by the Bulgarian government or the communist party it looks like it will stand like this for years to come.

    Buzludzha will for me always be the ultimate symbol of the fall of the communism. So much money spent, on something so useless and unwanted that more then 20 years later no one have found a use for it and no one will maintain it. I did read somewhere online that there is a communist meeting once a year her. So maybe some day someone will do something to stop the decay. Personally i think it should be kept as it is as a reminder for what happened in 1989.

    Even a mug sits abandon on the decayed statues outside.

    [​IMG]

    The road on towards the Turkish border where again great roads. Roads in Bulgaria in general are great roads, at least they where on my route. Good quality hard surface and always winding its way thru the terrain. A few villages where along the way, but mostly the road took me outside of them.
    I reached the border before noon and this where the only border I had been nervous about. Knowing Turkey for previous travels, i knew they would cheek all papers intensely.
    The crossing took about 1 hour and there where no big problems. Had to buy a visa(€15) and the guy checking my passport told me i had to drive on, buy the visa and then come back to him. Kinda silly way to do it. Would be better to have the visa sale outside the visa checkpoint. When the visa was cleared i went to customs, he only stamped my passport and waved me on. One last cheek of passport and bike paper later i where in Turkey.



    I had to show my passport a total of 5 times at different checkpoints and bike registration papers and greencard 4 times.
    Also the whether improved as i entered Turkey again and i removed the liner in my jacket again.

    I never did see any sign telling me to buy a vignette so i carried on and in a few minutes i where on a motorway heeding for Istanbul. This was a motorway of good(boring) quality with 120 km/h speed limit. Like rest of eastern Europe it did not seem like anyone respected the speed limit.
    Half a hour or so later i found myself at a toll boot. Fully automatic and nowhere to ask what to do. On the far side i could see a guy waving a red flag. I slowed down and stopped to figure out what to do. Then he started waving his flag like a madman so i drove over to him. The alarm sounded as i passed the tollbooth. And i explained to him i did not know what to do. Buy in Istanbul he told me and waved for me to cary on.

    Two hours later after a boring motorway ride i found myself at another tollbooth. But this time there where a building beside it selling vignettes. Gave him €20 and he gave me a small sticker and waved it infront of my face. I put it on top of my tank bag under the clear plastic. Thought maybe that would work as it clearly where designed to be placed on a cars windshield. I drove thru the tollbooth and again the alarm sounded. Clearly that did not work. Next time i tried to open the tankbag and flip the sticker forward toward the cameras, again the alarm went of. The last time -when exiting Istanbul- i dug it out and waved it over my head like the guy i bought it from did. And that worked. But i did feel it was suicidal way to clear the tollbooth in dense traffic. maybe there will be some fines in the mail for me when i get back home.


    I punched Hagia Sofia into my gps and it took me off the motorway and told me it was 8
    km to my target. It did not tell me how bad traffic where, but i knew it would be bad.
    [​IMG]
    The pictures do not show how insane the traffic is. It was like this or worse the whole time.

    Others had warned me that no other city where like it. And they where right. It is a nightmare. There is cars everywhere and everyone is pushing his way forward for a spot in the line. If you wait you are stuck. It took me a while to get used to ride like a Turk but when i did things started to speed up. Riding like the locals meant; riding on sidewalks, wrong way in one way traffic streets, using the lane restricted to tram only and so on.

    [​IMG]
    Even parked on the sidewalk. A few minutes after i parked a security guard came out from the bank i parked infront. I thought he would ask me to move, but no. He just wanted to ask where i where from and where i where going. Friendly guy.

    It took me two hours to reach the old city. If i had walked i would have been there sooner. But then i could not have said that i have ridden my bike in Istanbul traffic. I guess its a achievement but not sure i would recommend it for anyone. And specially not with a heavy bike with panniers and stuff.

    Walked around for a good hour and saw Hagia Sophia and The Blue Moske.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    My plans for a nice dinner to celebrate reaching Istanbul was scraped and i had a bite to eat at McDonalds. Wanting to get out of the city and be able to ride a few hours closer to my final goal before it got dark. I wanted to reach Alanya the next day and there where 1000km left.
    Istanbul sure where a busy city with loads of tourists. Even saw Americans there.
    [​IMG]

    It took me another two hours to get out of Istanbul and to cross Bosporus strait. next time i will take the tram myself.
    That was it. I had reached Asia on my Bike. I still had a day worth of riding but reaching Asia was a big thing for me.
    I stayed on the motorway and pushed on until 2200. I then found a road side motel and got myself a room. Parked in front of a restaurant that was open 24/7 and they said they would keep an eye on it. Maybe the duck walking in front of the restaurant and the dog sleeping next to it would do so to. The room was a staggering 30 ytl (about €12) And it even had excellent wifi, so i could call my wife using Viber -free calls on net- and do another days ride report.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    Tomorrow il reach my final destination and get annoyed with the duck
    #44
  5. AvgHans

    AvgHans n00b

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2013
    Oddometer:
    9
    Nice! Looks like you are taking a similar route back to the one I am taking down to Greece from Germany.

    Subscribed :D
    #45
  6. Dickyb

    Dickyb Bewildered Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,044
    Location:
    Kas-Antalya,Turkey
    Quite a place in it's day:eek1


    [​IMG]




    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    Great RR :clap
    #46
  7. JohnnyTh

    JohnnyTh Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2010
    Oddometer:
    245
    Location:
    Norway
    yes, and it still is.Just in a diferent way.
    #47
  8. JohnnyTh

    JohnnyTh Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2010
    Oddometer:
    245
    Location:
    Norway
    QUACK

    QUACK QUACK

    QUACK QUACK QUACK QUACK

    The dam duck woke me up 5 in the morning. I closed the window but that just made him annoyed and he put even more effort into it. I manage to get a bit more sleep while the Donald Duck was quacking outside.
    Still a little tired i got back on the bike and set off towards the south coast. The dam duck laughing as i set off.

    I did not have much expectations for this day. No plans but reaching Mahmutlar 10 kilometers south of Alanya, where my step dad where waiting for me. Wife and daughter would arrive the day after by airplane.

    But what a surprise. The motorway south from Bilecik towards Antalya was a pleasant one. The scenery where constant changing, mostly there where high mountains to the left and right and the road where snaking its way south. No tight corners or anything that demanded high skill. But it was more a high speed touring road that was a great joy compared to the straight motorways.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Sadly it looks like there is plans to replace this road and they where building lots of tunnels parallel to the road i where riding. Some time in the future I suppose these curves will be gone and replaced by tunnels. These roads made it hard to obey the speed limits, my bike wanted to stretch his legs. In a 50 km/h speed limit sone a police car caught up with me and when the speed limit returned to 110 i slowed down to let him pass so i could stay behind him. All the way he was going faster the the limit and after a little while we came to a 50 km/h sone. I slowed down to 80 and the police car disappeared. I don't think he slowed down at all. This would never happen in Norway. If I did 90 in a 50 sone in Norway i would go directly to jail, and not receive money even if i passed start.

    After a while i stopped for gas.. but there where none. Only diesel. But they had food and i ate a salami dish that tasted surprisingly good.

    [​IMG]
    I continued on and stopped at the next service station. Here they did have gas and two youngsters working there rushed over to help me. I think that if i had arrived in a UFO and asked them to fill up my UFO they would not been more impressed. One of the kids where filling up my bike the other where pointing to different parts of the bike and ask questions. I did not understand anything as he only spoke Turk and i don't, but it was clear what he was asking about. How fast, from where, what is the gps, what is the camera mount and so on. After a few minutes someone came and chased him away.
    At a later stop where i wanted something to drink it was the same story. Kids and adults staring at the big bike. Looks like big bikes are rare in Turkey.

    I was also pulled over by the police and i did not understand why because i was sure i at the moment had not done anything wrong. I felt sorry for him when I saw the disappointed look in his face, he realized that i did not speak turk and he did not speak english. I bet he was thinking; Oh no why did i pick this guy. But after a while we did manage and all he wanted was paperwork. My papers made him happy and soon i where free to go. I asked if i could have a picture of the two of us and this really set the mood. He looked over at his boss in the police car and he nodded yes. Now they where laughing and smiling. And the senior police officer that took the pictures would not stop snapping pictures before he had 10 of them.
    [​IMG]
    Nice guys, i hope the next one they pull over is as nice as i where.

    The weather where getting worse and soon it was raining heavy.
    [​IMG]
    The temperatures where still good but the biggest problem was that the road where very slippery when wet. Coming from Norway I'm used to ride in rain, but the road surface is very different here and i had to take more care.

    The whole way I had been riding between impressive mountains but as i where getting closer to the south coast i started to climb the Taurus mountains.
    [​IMG]

    The Taurus mountain range is a chain of impressive jagged mountains, with peaks rising above 3,000–3,700 stretching most of the south coast of Turkey. Some of the valleys have very narrow openings in both ends. Today i had the luxury of entering the valley thru a tunnel. And it made me think about what i must have been like when the valley was first discovered and the only way into it where up a 9 feet wide gorge. The mountains otherwise impassable. Not strange that there are folk lore stories about tribes living in hidden valleys.
    [​IMG]
    Its hard to see but there is a narrow gorge leading into the next valley.

    [​IMG]
    Here is another gorge leading out of the valley, but now blocked by a hydro electric dam.
    Exiting this last valley I could look down on the sunny and green south coast. This stretch of plains along the coast is very green compared to the rest of Turkey i had seen. The Taurus mountains causes it to rain more on this side then on the north side. And there is many farms here. But they are getting replaced more and more by the Turkish tourist industry.
    It was strange to after riding for a week suddenly come to a place i knew well. I have traveld to this areal for 9 years, but never before arriving on a bike.

    [​IMG]
    Who said the car was to small?
    [​IMG]
    Some other bikers
    Two hours laters i reached my final designation. I had a look at the beaches, and im not normally a beach person but today they where tempting.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    As any true ADV adventure mine have a camel in it to... But did not get a good picture as it cost 2Euros to take one. :rofl
    [​IMG]
    A couple of minutes later i parked at our apartment.

    [​IMG]

    This is when i noticed that one of the brackets holding the windscreen had snapped.

    Needed to fix that in some way. The bike also needed a oil change and som tlc. I will sort that tomorrow as now it was time for a steak dinner.
    #48
  9. Eyore

    Eyore Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2013
    Oddometer:
    143
    Location:
    Ireland
    Really enjoying sharing your trip,keep it all coming.Thanks.
    #49
  10. JohnnyTh

    JohnnyTh Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2010
    Oddometer:
    245
    Location:
    Norway

    Thanx. Nice to know someone is reading. Hope my poor english is not to anoying.
    #50
  11. IDRider

    IDRider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    253
    Location:
    Back to God's Country - nurturing my soul!
    What a great adventure. Thank you for sharing. :clap
    #51
  12. Clansters

    Clansters Tour Aegea

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2009
    Oddometer:
    209
    Location:
    Izmir/TURKEY
    Congrats! Great story, great family and a great bike.
    Just make sure that you open all your senses while riding in Turkey. Traffic and people are getting more and more inconsiderate day by day. Never trust the roundabouts and always watch your back.
    Subscribed, keep writing :rofl
    #52
  13. JohnnyTh

    JohnnyTh Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2010
    Oddometer:
    245
    Location:
    Norway
    Next day i wanted to see if i could get a oil change. Coming into Alanya i had noticed a Kawasaki dealer so i went back there. The dealer explained that the workshop was at another location but he would make a call. A couple of minutes later a kid on a scooter showed up and guided me to the shop.
    We had a little language barrier but in the end we agreed on hat they would do a full service, witch included a oil change and a wash. I had brought a oil filter with me from back home. Total cost 300 lira (about 120 euro) The oil alone would have cost me that back home. And the owner of the shop took me back to our apartment and picked me up 4 hours later when it was done.
    The bike looked brand new. Don't think I have ever seen it so shiny before.

    [​IMG]

    That evening my wife and daughter arrived, and I was finally able to share my travel with them. But whatever i told them they already knew. They had read it on the ADV forum of course, and enjoyed that very much. It was great to have them with me again, even if it was just for a few days. We would share 6 whole days before we say goodbye to Turkey again. They will fly back on saturday. and i will leave a couple hours before them with course for Kas and Dickyb.

    The next few days we spent hanging out at the pool. The girls did some shopping. And i could finally have my Adana kebab. My favorite Turkish dish.
    My daughter brought a helmet with her from Norway and we did manage to go into town once. She love riding and I am glad we manage to get one small ride together.
    I did a local ride and set off to explore the Taurus mountains again.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Headding into the clouds.
    I had found a what looked like a nice round trip on the map turned out to be a littler longer then i tough it would be. But it was a nice ride. And breath taking views all around. It was a great road with ok quality surface but you don't want to take any chances here.
    [​IMG]
    One mistake and you will not land until tomorrow. Some places there was what a 1000 meter drop and nothing between you and the drop.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Sadly on the way back it started to rain and i hit some low clouds, giving me a terrible visibility.

    My bike don't look so clean any more. There where lots of roadworks and some parts the road was turned into mud 4 inches deep. I might need to give it a quick cleaning at some point. to get the worst sand off.

    Tomorrow we are celebrating the Norwegian national day here. There are so many Norwegians here that its unbelievable. I think its a little stupid to travel here and then eat Norwegian food. But one singe day i guess is ok. At least for the kids that spend there holidays here and don't get to celebrate 17 may at home.
    #53
  14. Blader54

    Blader54 Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,464
    JohnnyTH,
    Love your report! Glad to see a bike like yours on a long trip, touring and camping. Your writing style is great and don't worry about your English! It's fine and is 1.000.000 x better than almost all Americans can write Norwegian! Looking forward to reading your next entries!! :D:clap:clap:clap
    #54
  15. JohnnyTh

    JohnnyTh Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2010
    Oddometer:
    245
    Location:
    Norway
    Thank you. We are busy celebrating norwegian constiutional day. Happy birthday to any norwegians reading. Hope i can post some more pictures from here tomorrow. Need to borrow a pc as the card reader for my ipad gave up on me and need to borrow a pc to do pictures. Guess i need a new cardreader
    #55
  16. achesley

    achesley Old Motorcyclist

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2003
    Oddometer:
    3,536
    Location:
    Jennings, Louisiana
    Thanks for the updates and beautiful history of the area. Loved the two tone shorts on the one lady. ;-) Keep it coming, :clap:clap:clap
    #56
  17. JohnnyTh

    JohnnyTh Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2010
    Oddometer:
    245
    Location:
    Norway
    I have a few more pictures to share from the last few days.

    This is the guys that cleaned my bike.
    [​IMG]
    Guess that many where needed to get it clean

    Some pictures from the local marked

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Oh right supposed to be bike related, il get back to that now.

    Lots of motorbikes here but not the type we normally see back home.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Also the Kanuni is popular around here.

    This must be the car of the coolest guy in town
    [​IMG]

    It have been warm, even the dog was hot.
    [​IMG]
    Dont worry, its not dead :rofl

    Picture from our flat. The guy in the ladder on the firetruck is hanging up flags. Decorating for the Norwegian constitutional day.
    [​IMG]

    My daughter finally got to ride a camel.
    [​IMG]

    But she prefers to hang out on the beach i think.
    [​IMG]

    Dont park to close to this building
    [​IMG]
    #57
  18. JohnnyTh

    JohnnyTh Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2010
    Oddometer:
    245
    Location:
    Norway
    i also have a few more pictures from my ride up into the mountains.

    Low cost mosk
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I was running low so glad i found this guy. When i asked to take his picture he made sure his hat was straight
    [​IMG]

    Not sure what this is used for
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Reached the goal for this trip. 1925 meter above sea. But it was cold and wet
    [​IMG]
    Last time i was here it looked like a dessert. Guess they had more rain this year.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Local farmers
    [​IMG]
    This was the visibility going back down
    [​IMG]
    #58
  19. 2WheelieADV

    2WheelieADV Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2010
    Oddometer:
    605
    Location:
    NJ
    Just stunning! Thanks for sharing.
    #59
  20. Turkeycreek

    Turkeycreek Gringo Viejo

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,638
    Location:
    Banámichi, Sonora, Mexico
    Hey, happy belated Syttende Mai. Great report

    #60