Travels with Goodenough. A lap of the Black Sea.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Flyred, May 11, 2019.

  1. Flyred

    Flyred Who is John Galt?

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2006
    Oddometer:
    960
    Location:
    Burien, WA Turbine Whine Country
    Is problem

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    This is ride 2019, around the Black Sea. A continuation of my ride in 2018 that started in Casablanca, Morocco and ended in Athens, Greece.

    Morocco and Lower Europe 2018: https://advrider.com/f/threads/travels-with-goodenough-morocco.1318050/

    South America 2017
    https://advrider.com/f/threads/travels-with-goodenough-south-america.1234266/

    Around the World in 2014
    https://advrider.com/f/threads/travels-with-goodenough.974271/

    Back on Goodenough, a 2014 F800GSA. and away we go.

    We arrived into Athens on Air Canada Cargo.

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    And left the next morning to catch a ferry to Cesme, Turkey. There is a lot of conflict in the Black Sea region starting with Greece and Turkey. There is little choice with ferries first off. A massive RORO overnight ferry from Athens to Chios, Greece with a cabin with 4 bunks. For those on a budget,every chair was taken and every piece of flat surface had a sleeping body on it. It was Orthodox Easter weekend here and everyone was headed to an island resort

    I met a rider from London going solo to the Pak-China border to meet a group heading to Bejing. This is Andre on the right. He is also on a F800GSA 2017 model. We rode together to Izmir

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    Of course your typical madhouse trying to get on board

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    Every passageway, every place imaginable

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    After an all night cruise happy in my bunk, we arrive in Chios and again the madhouse trying to get off the boat. You know, to celebrate Easter

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    Chios

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    The Greek navy

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    A few hours later I realize I have been standing by the connecting ferry to Turkey at the pier.
    It's an old tour boat that can handle 3 bikes and 2 mini cars and about 50 people.

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    Using the finest para cord to safely lash the bike down ( or up in this case )

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    Thankfully it's only a 30 minute ride to Cesme, Turkey.

    On arrival in Turkey at a major port I find no place to exchange Euros for lira and worse no place that sells insurance. Immigration is threatening to send me back to Greece but then the agent for the Turk ferry shows up and makes a few phone calls and produces the required paperwork.

    I am on the road at last.
    #1
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  2. Flyred

    Flyred Who is John Galt?

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2006
    Oddometer:
    960
    Location:
    Burien, WA Turbine Whine Country
    Turkey

    On the beautiful and fast toll road to Izmir. There are no toll takers, you need a electronic pass. I dont have that so I happily blow through each toll plaza without paying.

    Initially the plan was to stop in Izmir, but that is a large, smelly, crazy place, so a high speed run to Selcuk, where the Virgin Mary was to have retired to after Jesus was killed

    It is the second largest intact antiquated town on the planet. It is also full of tourists.

    A great dinner in the town and a cold beer ( my last for a few days ) and off to a very quiet room.

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    The view from the hotel roof

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    Stork

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    The other side of the stork

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    Amazing detail

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    Missing heads or faces usually means there was a revolt

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    Turkish pizza -Pidi. The end of my diet

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    Aquaduct through town

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    Now is fun time!

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    #2
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  3. Flyred

    Flyred Who is John Galt?

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2006
    Oddometer:
    960
    Location:
    Burien, WA Turbine Whine Country
    Turkey day 2

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    The kindness of strangers

    I stopped at a roadside market for a chai and the fruit vendor was there. He bought me my tea and gave me fresh strawberries.

    I let him sit on Goodenough

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    My map said this was a lake

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    A fuel stop and this totally chromed out little Chinese bike was there.

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    Everybody is looking at Goodenough. I am looking at this

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    Turkey is really mountainous and beautiful. It also has the lowest speed limits I have ever seen The big divided roads are 110kph, the multi lanes are 100, the 2 lanes are 80 or 90 but there's almost never a sign except to tell you there are radar cameras and cops everywhere. I got busted for 250kph in a 100 zone. No F800 can go 250, so I agreed to 150kph in a 100 and went to the police station to pay the fine...
    $10

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    #3
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  4. Flyred

    Flyred Who is John Galt?

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2006
    Oddometer:
    960
    Location:
    Burien, WA Turbine Whine Country
    Turkey

    I think the cows are RADAR guided here?

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    #4
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  5. Flyred

    Flyred Who is John Galt?

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    960
    Location:
    Burien, WA Turbine Whine Country
    Cappadocia

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    Big mountains here.

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    Butterflies are feasting on the pollen of the yellow flowers. They splat yellow. I killed hundreds

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    Monarchs?

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    Central Turkey

    Reminds me of Montana

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    #5
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  6. dave6253

    dave6253 GCBAR Explorer

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    Location:
    Phoenix, Arizona
    :lurk
    #6
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  7. TM1(SS)

    TM1(SS) Matthew 24:36, Ride today, ride now :-) Supporter

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Tulsa, OK
    :lurk:super
    #7
  8. Flyred

    Flyred Who is John Galt?

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2006
    Oddometer:
    960
    Location:
    Burien, WA Turbine Whine Country
    Turkey for days

    Zara, Turkey

    My hotel was $5.75

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    Notice the staircase going up the hill? There were guys running it. Zara is a college town in the mountains

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    My $5.75 hotel. Yes the room smelled like cigarettes. But everyone smokes in Turkey.

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    It pays to advertise

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    Auto row in Zara. Its all about farming in Turkey. 3 different tractor dealers on the main road

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    Up early heading to the Black Sea coast

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    Over a 2000m pass

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    Apparently the government was going to tunnel under these mountains but lost interest. The job site is deserted and there are dirt mounds at the mouths of the tunnels

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    Yes. I like rocks

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    #8
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  9. Flyred

    Flyred Who is John Galt?

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2006
    Oddometer:
    960
    Location:
    Burien, WA Turbine Whine Country
    Turkey leftovers

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    Traffic

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    Dont ride at night

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    Looks like the Swiss Alps up here

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    Nice waterfall

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    A high altitude village and they have a Fort or Castle. I cant figure out how you get up there

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    Some kind of volcanic extrusion?

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    It's very black

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    No filters. The colors are this vibrant

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    Getting cold up here

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    I ran out of daylight in Rize, Turkey. A small town on the Black Sea and considering there is no alcohol here, this place was jumping.

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    I had just pulled into town and needed a hotel and up comes Ahmed, member of the Rize Motorcycle club (RMC). He gathers a few members and get me a hotel in the heart of downtown, right across the street from a Doner place that is owned by a RMC member. So I got a free dinner there. Then Ahmed picked me up with his Africa Twin and I rode bitch to the RMC clubhouse where we told stories and played a Turk board game that I have yet to figure out the rules.
    When I mentioned my blogs, they said We know these blogs. We have heard of you

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    Most of the guys are BMW moto mechanics and all are riders. Really a great bunch of guys
    #9
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  10. Flyred

    Flyred Who is John Galt?

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2006
    Oddometer:
    960
    Location:
    Burien, WA Turbine Whine Country
    Georgia. The real one

    The next morning I made a serious tactical error. From just past Rize you can turn East and cross the border of Georgia at Vale. I met a group of German riders and they said go that way. I didn't, instead crossing at Batumi ( which took hours because my license plate has an O on it and Customs kept putting an 0 and the computer said I didnt exist. If they had asked me I would have been through in an hour or less. Now I tell them it's an O whenever I cross the border.

    Welcome to Georgia. Just kidding. They never said that

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    So tactical error? My map showed the south road, The P1, from Batumi to Vale as paved. It wasn't ever paved or even graded in decades.

    This should have been a big clue. This was the best part of the road

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    Cows loose everywhere in Georgia. Worse than India.

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    A cute little village and it's getting hot out

    RC Cola is made in Georgia, US. Georgia loves this stuff

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    Seriously. Dont ride at night

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    Start climbing

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    The road turns to gravel and potholes

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    I kept thinking this was just temporaty. Any minute it would return to pavement, Nope. 50 kms of this in first gear.

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    And then a sign said I was at a pass ( I wasnt ) and this big new ski resort is being built. So... The good road must be just ahead because they wont be driving all the building materials and workers up this crap road. Wrong again

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    Nothing was open. I had miles more to go to get off this mountain. There was one small hotel, The David, that was open. 16 rooms and very reasonable price. Home for the night.

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    Honestly I thought it was still being built

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    Buy your condo now!

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    From my deck at sunset. I am exhausted

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    #10
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  11. michaellmcc

    michaellmcc Dudester

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2007
    Oddometer:
    107
    Location:
    Austin, TX USA
    Really enjoy your story. My first "cross country" trip was from Paris to Baku on an 1150GS years ago, and your entries about ferries, roads, Turkey, Georgia, all resonate. I like your style of travel and usually emulate it - hotels, cabins on ferries, etc. Don't much care for the extra load of camping gear...besides, it only costs 10X to go first class!

    Ride safe and enjoy.

    Mike
    #11
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  12. Flyred

    Flyred Who is John Galt?

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2006
    Oddometer:
    960
    Location:
    Burien, WA Turbine Whine Country
    Georgia. The dreaded P1 road

    The next morning, I am up early because I need to get off this mountain. The hotel owner, I will call him David, came out to wish me well and warn me that I was 20km more of worse road than I had already ridden. He was right.

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    First off, I wasnt at the pass. That was 1000' higher up and the road literlly switch backed up a ski hill.

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    Thats where the David hotel is and I have much higher to climb

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    Did I mention I dont have my Heidenau Scout tires this trip? Michelin Anakee street tires.

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    Still climbing

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    Almost to the top

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    FFS

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    Down the other side

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    Fast moving stream to cross. I stripped of the luggage before I crossed

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    Got some dried mud off the bike, so I had that going for me

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    Ahhh. Smooth road!

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    Well shit...

    This one was a foot deep and a very soft bottom

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    Through this one and then 10km of slippery mud, potholes, cows, and no cell service.

    And then I was on pavement and on the way to Vale for breakfast
    #12
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  13. Flyred

    Flyred Who is John Galt?

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2006
    Oddometer:
    960
    Location:
    Burien, WA Turbine Whine Country
    Georgia day 2

    Vale, Georgia has an old town ( dont they all ) and a large Fort on the hill. I found a little cafe beneath the fort and had a great breakfast.
    A note about breakfast in Asia Minor. It's tomatoes and cucumbers and feta cheese with bread and tea 3 meals a day out here. Strangely, I never saw a tomato farm

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    Another fort east of Vale. It's very narrow, being built on that small rock hill.


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    Big Volcanoes here.

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    Heading south to Armenia

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    The roads in Georgia are really some of the worst n my experience. This road through a village has potholes that are 4' deep and slimy with mud. You read that right Four feet deep potholes.

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    I didn't get any pictures of the giant holes because it started to rain and the road started getting really slick. I chose speed to get past the worst stuff. It never got better all the way to the Armenian border.

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    Snow level almost to the road

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    #13
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  14. JoeBiker25

    JoeBiker25 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2014
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    183
    Location:
    Gilroy, CA
    Outstanding!!! Ride safe
    #14
  15. Flyred

    Flyred Who is John Galt?

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2006
    Oddometer:
    960
    Location:
    Burien, WA Turbine Whine Country
    Armenia.

    So I mentioned conflict in this region. There are no roads from Turkey into Armenia. After the genocide by the muslim Turks against the Christian Armenians where 1/3rd of the population was killed off, I can understand why Armenia wants nothing to do with Turkey. That was during WW 1

    But in the early 1990s, Muslim Azerbiajan attcked Armenia and captured some territory. So there are no roads from Armenia into Azerbaijan either.

    And...If you have an Armenian stamp in your passport, you may not be allowed to enter Azerbaijan.

    I didnt know any of this until I was standing at the passport control window at the Armenian border and talking to two French riders. They said DO NOT get a Armenian stamp in your passport! Get it on a seperate piece of paper. The border guard has his stamp hovering over my passport listening to the whole conversation. I ask him, Can I get the stamp on a paper instead? Staring right at me now, he stamps my passport. Of course Armenia has to use bright red ink.

    shit
    #15
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  16. flei

    flei cycletherapist

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    Western Mass.
    very in. :clap
    #16
  17. Flyred

    Flyred Who is John Galt?

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2006
    Oddometer:
    960
    Location:
    Burien, WA Turbine Whine Country
    Armenia

    My next exposure to Armenians was clearing customs and getting bike insurance.

    You have to pay about $5 USD just to clear customs

    Bike insurance was reasonable. I dont recall the exact amount but it didnt alarm me like Macedonia charging 100 Euros for a week.

    Then after being let loose into Armenia, one of the first things I needed was cash. An Agro Bank wasnt far from the border and I pulled into the sloped dirt parking area. I couldnt get my kickstand down because of the slope so I let the bike roll back a foot and... Crunch. Some Armenian had stopped right on my tail and I backed into him. He gets out of his car, looks at his bumper, shakes my hand and walks into the bank.

    Welcome to Armenia. Just kidding. Nobody said that

    See those pipes running along the houses? Natural gas heat. I guess because of the cold winters and frozen ground and frost heaving they just installed the pipes high enough to hang your laundry on

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    Really looking like the Dempster highway to Inuvik, NWT

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    I pull into Gyurmi, Armenia. A dirty little industrial town that has seen better days. I am tired and cold and I really dont have time to get to Yeravan. After passing a few really beat up looking motels, I find this. The Nane Hotel

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    It is a full city block with two restuarants, and a coffee place like a Starbucks being finished ( Opens tomorrow! ) in the parking lot.

    The price again was cheap by American standards and the place was elegant. I felt bad scattering my filthy riding gear around, and my boots, the smell was unpleasant
    #17
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  18. Flyred

    Flyred Who is John Galt?

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2006
    Oddometer:
    960
    Location:
    Burien, WA Turbine Whine Country
    Armenia and back to Georgia

    After being warned about Azerbaijan, I figured I better get to the border and see if I could get in. So an early up-before the restuarant was open so room service brought me my breakfast, Ive never had that before. I could get used to that.

    I refuse to go back the way I came. The roads are tragically bad in Georgia. So I headed to the next border crossing to the east.

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    A lot of Armenia looks like Detroit

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    I think that was the Packard factory

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    I never saw a working factory.

    A little road maintenance. Finally

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    Getting back into Georgia was straight forward. I had my insurance already. I was through fast. The good road went almost to Tblisi before it made a right 170 degree turn back to the Azerbaijan border. My third country today and shits about to get real
    #18
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  19. Flyred

    Flyred Who is John Galt?

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2006
    Oddometer:
    960
    Location:
    Burien, WA Turbine Whine Country
    Crossing into Azerbaijan with an Armenian stamp in your passport.
    Tl:Dr Yes I did it today at the crossing on P4 from Tblisi. Dont have Armenian stickers and when asked say Armenia was shit!
    The full story. It was a clown show of epic proportions. It took me 6 hours to cross. Where do I begin? There are no lines. Just a mob of truck drivers pushing and shoving and yelling. Join that group at window 3 for a passport stamp About an hour. Now go to window 6. Same large group pushing and shoving again. About 2 hours. Get to the window and the guy walks off to lunch. Window 5 opens up. Large group runs to window 5 pushing and shoving. Stand another hour. Guy says no. Go to window 6. Group runs back to 6. Thankfully a Russian biker from St Petersburg shows up and he speaks great English. He looks at me and says You're that American rider. How do you know that? I have heard about you. I get my passport in the window. My license plate wasn't visible to the cameras ( cameras only photograph the front plate with no thought given that bikes don't have those) Go back and drive reverse path past the cameras then return to window 6. OK. I get a paper and guy points across the way to go get insurance. Stand there for 20 minutes while staff ignores me. Finally someone asks what do I want? Insurance? Window 6!
    Back again. You have to pay first. How much? Guy at 6 doesn't give me my paperwork. Go back to W6 get papers.
    Insurance guy says xx AZ bucks. Do you take Georgian money? No. US or Euros yes. Back to bike to dig for Euros. Done. Stamped and back to W6. Guy gets up and waves for me to follow. We wander around and then Im told to wait there (random spot ) guy goes back to his desk. This continues for over 6 hours. No order. Lots of wasted motion. Nothing gets completed. Very few vehicles were cleared through. And because of the mobs at the windows, cars that were back in the line got cleared first but were trapped.
    If I hadnt been trapped there I would have been laughing but it was me in my heavy riding gear sweating badly. Honestly the visual I kept getting was 12 little piglets trying to get to mamas 8 teats.
    #19
  20. Flyred

    Flyred Who is John Galt?

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2006
    Oddometer:
    960
    Location:
    Burien, WA Turbine Whine Country
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    #20