Iran - Alti ustu macera (...an adventure after all) 2 x KTM 990

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by meto, Nov 17, 2008.

  1. meto

    meto Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
    56
    Location:
    Izmir, Turkey
    04 October, Saturday
    Tabriz – Ahar – Ardabil – Khal Khal – Masuleh (478 km)


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    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.

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    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. :thumb

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

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    We filled up in Ardabil.

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    The conditions of the gas stations are really bad.

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    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. :lol3
    Khal Khal road is fantastic. Asphalt quality is superb.

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

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

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    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.

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    Riding with wild horses takes all the negativity away.

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

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    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.

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    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.

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    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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    #21
  2. ronsolo

    ronsolo Hooplehead

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2007
    Oddometer:
    826
    Location:
    Pacific Northwest
    Fantastic! Thank you for taking the time to share your journey.

    Of course, nice bikes too. :D
    #22
  3. K_N_Fodder

    K_N_Fodder Long timer

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    Nov 1, 2006
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    Location:
    Ten Sleep, WY
    Awesome. Amazing that the scenery you passed through in Turkey could be Wyoming in the states. All except for Mt. Ararat :D. The picture before your crash picture is front page material. The crash picture... good thing you didn't go much further off the right side! Looks like only fog and clouds that way...
    #23
  4. aurel

    aurel Cheese&Wine!

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2006
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    Location:
    Toulouse, France
    :clap :clap :clap
    #24
  5. Frgich

    Frgich Long timer

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    Location:
    Europe-Croatia-Zagreb
    Nice ride you had there, and the pics of course not bad at all :D . Keep uploading them please :evil , and great write up also :clap:clap:clap
    #25
  6. the venturer

    the venturer Long timer

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    Location:
    Thrace and Istanbul
    Subscribed.Well done you two.Thx for sharing with us.
    #26
  7. Viking

    Viking Ækt trønder!!

    Joined:
    May 30, 2003
    Oddometer:
    444
    Location:
    Haliburton County-Canada
    Great trip, :lurk
    #27
  8. dr.vedat

    dr.vedat Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2007
    Oddometer:
    23
    Location:
    balikesir, turkey
    harika bir serüven.sabırsızlıkla yeni hikayelerinizi ve resimlerinizi bekliyorum:clap
    #28
  9. easyman05

    easyman05 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 15, 2008
    Oddometer:
    152
    great report, amazing pix! tnx a lot for sharing!
    what was the price your paid for the modern hotel in Tabriz? What's an average cost of overnighting? of food - meal in a restaurant?
    bike security - did you leave them out for the night?
    TIA
    #29
  10. meto

    meto Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
    56
    Location:
    Izmir, Turkey
    We paid 100 EUR each for two nights. 50 EUR/night/person is low for a hotel like that but it was too much, if you're in for 15 days.
    25 EUR/day will be midclass. You can go below and above according to preferences.
    Parking is no issue. There's always somwhere protected. But we left the on a street for three nights. Locked them up, and there was no issues.
    #30
  11. easyman05

    easyman05 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 15, 2008
    Oddometer:
    152
    thank you, meto!

    and how did you search the hotels? there are no i-net there, I believe.

    also, what is the quality of the gas in Iran? Did your Katooms feel it?
    TAI
    #31
  12. meto

    meto Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
    56
    Location:
    Izmir, Turkey
    Lonely Planet is a huge asset.
    The quality of gas is shit. :wink: Like 70 octanes or smthg like that. Katooms felt it of course. We switched to the low octane injection map. We had to go a gear down on the slopes. It felt like a lorry. :D
    #32
  13. meto

    meto Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
    56
    Location:
    Izmir, Turkey
    05 October, Sunday
    Masuleh – Rasht – Ramsar – Chalus – Karaj – Tehran (471 km)


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    Woke up at 05:00 again. After inhaling a little bit of Masuleh air we took the other road to the coast, which is asphalt. After Izmir, it's the first time we descended to sea level.

    Entering every little town, we saw portraits of people in groups of 5 - 10. Seemed like movie stars to us. Reality is they are the local heroes which was killed during Iran - Iraq war.

    I saw a car wash in Rasht and we decided to gave the Katooms a bath. The chain was very muddy.

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    After i washed off the dirt, it was time for a detailed attention.

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    This is the king of bikes in Iran. The one you' ll always see.

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    After Rasht, we reached the Caspian coast and continue by the coastline. Mete had a headache so we stopped for lunch.

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    We couldn't achieve a ride tempo in this road because in every 3 kms there is a speed bump and let me tell you, Iran has some speed bumps. :wink: Also, a lot of cars trying to u turn to our lane from the opposite and usually these guys don't bother having a look if someone's coming. We always slowed down and let them pass. Another problem was we had to change money.
    We only changed 50 EUR at the border cause we didn't want to get fucked. So, we were out of money and every bank i stopped refused money exchange and told that, we should do it in Chalus at the central branch of Bank Melli.
    After an unefficient ride to Chalus, we found the bank with the help of local bikers. Again suddenly there was 5 people till a took my helmet off. I ran in the bank to found the man in charge. He turned out to be the slowest and dumbest man in Iran. First 15 minutes, he took my passport and just looked at the pages. His brain was not processing what it saw. He was looking meaninglessly to the empty visa pages. When he returned to the page with the photo, he asked my name. What an improvement ! Then he tried to explain that i don't have a visa. Then i tried to explain that i don't need one. Turkish citizens can enter with only a valid passport. Because we couldn't communicate they gave me a phone with an english speaking guy on the other end. I told him that their officers stamped entry to my passport, and asked how this would be possible if i did something wrong. During this hassle, i guy was constantly pulling me from the shoulder and pointing outside. I somehow told him to leave me alone because there is my friend there with the bikes. After 10 minutes Mete came in with sweat dripping from the tip of his nose, in a mode he could laugh and cry at the same time. Of course i asked him why the hell he left the bikes alone. He replied " What bikes ? Bikes are gone. :huh :eek1

    The story is like that. So as i told before there was 5 people already the second we stopped. I ran in and Mete tried to take out the camera to shoot the guys who were asking these funny questions. But he immidiately gave up because the crowd was 20 people now. So, he looked around in order to prevent something from being stolen. While answering millions of questions, the crowd increased to 100 people. He couldn't see behind the people. It was like a wall from meat. Then policemen came with their sticks and tried to break the crowd and pulled Mete's arm saying some stuff in Farsi. An Azeri guy from the crowd told Mete that he has to go to the Police station. Also, they want the bikes in the station too. Mete tried to communicate with hands and explained that it's not possible for him too leave my bike. After a while he couldn't resist and took his bike to the station while leaving a policeman on guard beside my bike. Then he returned and took my bike too. After that he rushed to the bank but the main door was closed due to the lunch break. He found a backdoor with the help of a local and came near me. :freaky

    We had a good laugh after taking the bikes from the Police station. All this because of our bikes. I can't imagine being on a Goldwing or Electra Glide with all the lights and stuff. :lol3

    After the money exchange scheme, we headed to the much awaited Chalus - Karaj road. This is a pass road to Tehran with endless curves lasting for 165 kms. It was great.

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    A huge downside to this road is the traffic. The lack of a toll road to Tehran from north makes this road very crowded. 10 - 20 vehicle-long lines caused by slow climbing trucks...

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    When you pass the traffic, you are free for 5 minutes till you reach the other one. In this situation we didn't stop for photos, not to pass the same traffic again.

    We reached to Karaj via this great road and decided to take the toll road for the last 50 kms to Tehran. After 10 minutes a Citroen Xantia came tearing from the back and cut us. The guy waved a sign writing "STOP!" on it. We had it with the authorities today.:clap Highway patrol said "motor memnu, motor memnu" means the bikes are forbidden in the highway. We knew that but played dumb tourists. He threw us to the old road from the next exit. The old road was not bad at all too.

    After reaching Azadi Square we pulled over to figure out the accomodation. While choosing an hotel from the book a girl asked directions too us. Do we look like locals ?
    After figuring out the directions we barged in a traffic that's impossible to describe. I've never seen somthg like this. A huge four lane street is packed completely. The red light countdown was indicating 270 seconds and after that only 4 cars could pass and back to countdown again. A little later our bikes overheated and we were forced to pull over and wait half an hour. It was a complete caos. Again we were surrounded by millions of questions. Later, a guy approached speaking perfect english. At first we thought he was an American. After a brief chat, Aydin invited us to his house for the night. At first i thought this was ta' arof but he kept on insisting, so we said ok. He jumped on my back and guided us to his house. We had to take off the sidebags to fit the bike from his street. Fortunately he had a locked garage. After taking showers, we got out with his car. Stopped for sandwiches and fried mushrooms, then drove to a high place and made a picnic on the side of the road. Aydin has all the supplies and kits in his trunk. He took out the tea kit and prepared tea after the dinner. This was the view of Tehran from the picnic.

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    When we got back to the house, Aydin asked our program for tomorrow. We told that we may wander around the city. He told that there' s nothing in the city and asked if we would be interested in conquering the Central Alborz Mountains. We were immidiately in for the invite. It was already 24:00, so we jumped to bed to rest for another suprising day.
    #33
  14. kanhulk13

    kanhulk13 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    130
    Location:
    Switzerland
    This is true Adventure Riding...good luck in Tehran (esp with the traffic)!
    #34
  15. bigsteve950adv

    bigsteve950adv White Trash Adventurer

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    Location:
    Merthyr Tydfil...South Wales.
    Enjoying this...thank you :clap
    #35
  16. Mark950

    Mark950 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2006
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    398
    Location:
    Guateng South Africa
    Ok I'm in for the ride....

    Excellent report and pics..:clap :clap
    #36
  17. roadholder

    roadholder Long timer

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    Jul 28, 2007
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    2,683
    Location:
    Ottawa, Canada
    Thankyou for this.
    A great glimpse into a place most of us don't get to see. Very interesting.
    #37
  18. gagnaou

    gagnaou Long timer

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    FLint Hills
    Amazing trip!!! :clap
    #38
  19. Dirty Barber

    Dirty Barber Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2008
    Oddometer:
    80
    Location:
    Spain, Soon to be Hawaii
    Meto Abi, Great trip!

    I lived in Izmir...Alsancak for 3 years.
    #39
  20. easyman05

    easyman05 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 15, 2008
    Oddometer:
    152
    meto, what language did you talk to the locals? Since you do not speak Farsi and they do not speak English?
    Did you see any female riding a bike there? Is it legal there?
    My wife is my riding buddy so maybe one day we could ride there :)
    #40