Across The Black Sea to The Caucasus

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by muf722, Aug 27, 2019.

  1. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

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    Ha ha - a good start to an adventure!
    #21
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  2. bigboyxl

    bigboyxl Been here awhile

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    This is awesome!!! Nice to follow you on your journey
    #22
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  3. Don T

    Don T Bike Addict

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    ᛏᛅᚾᛘᛅᚢᚱᚴ - Scandinavia.
    Looking forward to follow your new adventure.
    I miss Georgian food. It's delicious.
    #23
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  4. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    Hungover and with 3 hours 1 min of sleep I set off for Mestia in the Caucasus. My sleep app gives a score of 61% so does that mean that I'm safe? Anyway I feel alert and will not forfeit my plan yet. The route planned was tarmac, but I keep getting pushed off to the right and end up on gravel. The middle of the route takes 3 hours instead of 1 as planned.
    Soviet era sculpture.
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    Cows rule the roads. Normally I hate cows for their unpredictability. In Georgia they live on the roads and are used to the traffic, so they do not spook and stay calm during passing.
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    Most farm animals will be on the roads including a lot of pigs. Often seen with a wooden necklace.
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    My GPS insisted that this road was the only option to Mestia.
    G0028119.jpg
    #24
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  5. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    Nice views underway. Caucasus is beginning to show some potential. DSC02697.jpg
    Raw cut tunnels
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    Slow German couple. Not hungover anymore so I pass.
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    Arrival Mestia. Last town with tarmac. Try reading the sign.
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    #25
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  6. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    Mestia. The towers are seen all over Georgia, but here in Mestia in particular.
    IMG_4418.jpg
    Two towers and the Georgian flag
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    The Georgian bread is famous. Its made fresh during the day from open ovens for a price of 50 Cents at any restaurant.
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    I have lived in the Alps 3 years and get a homey feeling. Getting some rest and will be ready for full on adventure tomorrow.
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    #26
  7. bigboyxl

    bigboyxl Been here awhile

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    Oh Georgia so beautiful
    #27
  8. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    Sun in my eyes must confirm that I found the right road heading east out of Mestia. Many cows to pass today. G0010234.jpg

    The mountains north of Mestia are majestic.
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    The first 30-40 minutes are on concrete slabs. Dual lane and soon single lane. This road leads to the remote town of Ushguli.
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    Then its mountain roads. No matter how fine and dry the weather is, then the mountain streams will find the easy path down and make mud.
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    #28
  9. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    Towers along the route. Oh its a fine day. DSC02709.jpg

    The track follows some white water.
    DSC02711.jpg
    And I'm down. Slippery stuff in places. The GS doesn't fall far with the cases and crash bars. It is safe to drop, except see the gear selector? Its resting on the ground. I broke it off once, and now it has a spring built in. Picked it up in the first try. I still have approx 30 miles ahead of me with a variety of challenges.
    IMG_4436.jpg
    So quiet and beautiful. Arriving at Ushguli.
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    #29
  10. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    Hi muf722 having just recently spent several months touring in Turkey, I can assure you that the red areas marked on your map are very safe indeed for travellers such as us. We travelled this area extensively with complete safety. Around the city of Diyarbakir there is an extremely heavy military presence and we felt a little uncomfortable, but never, ever did we feel unsafe. Don't skimp this area there is an extensive list of amazing places to see. If you start browsing about here https://advrider.com/f/threads/rtw-on-a-h-a-t-in-the-slow-lane.1172713/page-74 you may get a little inspiration. Take your time in Turkey, it's a fabulous country.
    #30
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  11. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    First part of Ushguli. Now I know why I came to Georgia. DSC02714.jpg
    Riding down Main street.
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    Part two of Ushguli. You can take a Tour from Mestia to Ushguli, but from here on east, the road is getting worse.
    DSC02716.jpg
    The high Caucasus. Mesmerizing. Its Russia on the other side of the peaks
    DSC02718.jpg
    #31
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  12. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    Time. Yes. I could use more time. But I do not have it. My plan is overly ambitious at best and without much research. I do cross red areas, but only when I have to and only after further research. In the news not too long ago, there were reports from that area near Batman with heavy unrest. I will go around.
    #32
  13. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    Rocky road going up to 2700m (8900feet) G0011157.jpg

    Most time in first gear.
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    The descent was steep at places and I had some lucky escapes. Tense and tired already.
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    River crossings were easy with little water. The bash plate served its purpose several times during the day.
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    #33
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  14. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    Another beautiful spot. These photos are all from a pool of automatic Gopro shots. G0011735.jpg

    Is it a stream or a road? Or both!
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    Roadworks ahead. Its getting worse before they can make the road better. Now I really do not want to roll in that mud. Somehow I managed to stay upright all day except for the early drop.
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    I used to hate mud, but now I'm beginning to like it. Good practice for my planned Alaskan adventure.
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    #34
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  15. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    Ok, fair enough.
    #35
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  16. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    First house you see after leaving the trail is a restaurant of course. Perfect timing.
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    Basic lunch. Soup salad bread and limonade. 13 Gel = 4$
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    The group already seated are from Slovenia. The guide from the Czech Republic lives here and take a look at my maps and plans. He calls my long daily routes a marathon. Realizing how tired I am now with 150 miles to go today, I agree. I push on and will make some adjustments when at my nightstop. IMG_4438.jpg

    Anonymous street? Yes. Until you here the name. Stalin Street.
    DSC02725.jpg
    #36
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  17. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    Great curvy roads on the way to Chiatura. G0023263.jpg

    For some reason they like to build their churches in places not easily reached.
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    This Monastery is the most famous. Tourists are no longer allowed. To go up, you need to prove yourself as a monk and not eat for some days.
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    I wanted to fly my drone, but I'm too tired. I need to rest badly. Still, I found some impossible bad gravel roads on the last stretch to Chiatura.
    DSC02733.jpg
    #37
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  18. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    Yet another soviet monument in Chiatura. Its 1715 and I'm done for today. DSC02737.jpg
    I stay at a cheap hostel and everything but the food went haywire when the power was cut. No light, air cond and no running water. Not even the toilets had water. They have a well in the yard, so that was my morning wash. I felt really beat that evening and looking at the options for tomorrow I can go up the old army road to the Russian border or go further north east also close to the border. The latter is the most difficult but more of the same as I just did. The army road is easier but has more traffic. Checking with GPS its either 7 hours or 12,5 hours and with rain coming, I opt for the shorter. In one plan I was going to do both in one day. Not a chance.
    The loop I did today will have concrete slabs in two years time and then many more tourists will come so its the last chance if you want to try the old school roads. In fact its the last chance to see Georgia. They may change the name of the country to its Asian name Sakartvelos soon.
    IMG_4439.jpg

    New day with sun. First I'm going to Gori.
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    No special parking for motorbikes, but the small triangle next to the handicap parking will do
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    #38
  19. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    Gori, Georgia is the birthplace of Josef Stalin and they have a museum. Not many statues remain of him, but here they have some. DSC02741.jpg

    Stalins travelling railcar office
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    Many halls of old photos from before the revolution and to his death.
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    #39
  20. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    Outside is literally his birthplace. His first home.
    DSC02745.jpg
    I meet a Swiss rider who is also heading for Turkey. He was in Baku and is now in need of a rear tire. His contact in Trabzon is telling him that there may be a delay, since Turkey have some sort of rubber import ban??? He had also tried to go from Mestia to Ushguli but gave up after a fall in rain.
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    I also like to park next to other bikes.
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    After lunch its up the Old Army Road with many cows, traffic, trucks and police. Next stop Caucasus. Now with rain.
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    #40
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