Odometer: 3067 km - 3575 km
Last day riding in Turkey through lots of military check points. Meeting with two pairs of cyclist and a constant rain and hail storm in the afternoon.
The villages we pass looked poorer as we advanced towards East. Flat and dried out prairie replaced the nice hilly area and the temperature rose.
We planned the first oil change for today; it has been 3000 kilometers passed since we left Hungary. First we thought we made a mistake not doing it in Erzincan as it seemed like we will even have problem finding a gas station, let alone a shop to buy motor oil.
As we are getting closer to Iran and Iraq, military checkpoints started to pop up. Not just a simple checkpoint we experienced earlier with a few police officers and the regular free tea. These checkpoints were serious with armored vehicles and tanks pointing their barrels towards the road.
Finally after one of this checkpoint we spotted a small garage with a fairly big stock of motor oils, they even had matching oil filters which really surprised us. After changing the oil, the owner –as we already very used to- invited us for a tea and let his staff wash our bikes in the main time. He even gave us free shoe shine for our boots. I will really miss this Turkish hospitality and only hope Iran will be just as Turkey.
Today we met two couples, both of them on a bicycle trip. First an Australia couple travelling from London to Sydney and another French couple on the way to Beijing from Paris. We only talked to them briefly, asked whether they need anything as there wasn’t a single village for the past 100 something kilometers. As we passed them about 25-30 kilometers we spotted a sheep farm and decided to take some pictures when two huge Kangal dog started to run at us. We barely could drive away from them. Kangal is a large bodied Turkish breed, almost the size of our bikes. Dear reader, please excuse us for not taking a picture of these beasts. Nevertheless I can’t stop thinking about those couples; I hope they passed the dogs safely.
First the wind started to blow with very strong side gusts and then the raining begins. It was so abrupt that by the time we got on our raingear I felt the wetness on my underwear. Oh well, my first shower since Istanbul so I can’t really complain.
The raining sometimes late afternoon turned into a hailstorm. Without any building or shed or any kind of protection we had to get keep going with the small pieces of ices playing an orchestra on our helmets.
By this time Little Ararat or Mount Sis was dominating the horizon. Turkey’s 6th highest mountain looked gracefully as the sun disappeared behind it.
Surprisingly we found a very decent hotel on the Turkish side of the border. For about 5 dollars we finally had the privilege to sleep in a bed, dry up our clothes and take a hot shower. It doesn’t sound very challenging not to sleep in a bed for a week or don’t shower for 3 days, we done triple the amount of that in our previous trips but after a few hundred kilometers in a cold rain and hailstorm I really think we deserve some luxury.