A groggy start to Day 39 after having a few drinks and staying up late playing StarCraft with some friends. I used to play almost daily and now it’s just whenever I get good internet, spare time and somewhere to sit with the laptop, so almost never. Being 2 hours ahead of them means I was in bed by about 3am too. I rode very tentatively for the first hour.
The road started to get fun after a couple of hours of dual carriageways. Winding mountain roads closely following the coast. Roads following the coast tend to be old tracks between villages that have just been paved over the years. So they tend to just follow the lay of land pass around the hills any way they can, following the path of least resistance, this makes them awesome. There’s no intervention making them safer or faster, by widening turns or blasting through a hill to straighten it out. It’s usually more dangerous for it, but that just makes you slow down and expect the worst and when you’re in the zone it flows so much better since you can just see where the land goes and follow it. After a few hours of these roads I was spent though, they’re hard work in the heat, paying 100% of your attention all the time.
There actually wasn’t a lot to speak of on the road. I expected to come through some really nice towns, or spot some relics and ruins but I really didn’t see a lot. The road was amazing and I was mostly focused on that, passing through some small farming or fishing towns with not much to speak of; other than lots of locals watching the huge noisy bike roll through town with the tall alien dressed all in black in 30 degree heat. I was happy listening to 4 hours of my audio book though (Mistborn – book 2).
I rolled into Cide about 6pm and headed straight for the centre of town. Some of my instincts don’t work anymore in Turkey. I would usually stick to the edges of towns in western Europe and know that I could find a cheap hotel with some shops around. Turkey is a little different though and some town operate very differently. Gillapoli for example had a hotel for £10 right by the port, where I expected everything to be extortionate. I wandered around town for 10 minutes looking for any hotels or hostels but found nothing except more staring locals, I look even weirder walking around than I do on the bike, 6’5 all in black, sweating and bearded like a homeless person.
I found a place right on the beach just out of town and spent the first 90 minutes fixing their wifi unsuccessfully. A fun 30 minutes of that with their IT guy, about my age but didn’t speak any English, some tech terms are universal though (DHCP, ping, ipconfig, peer, host). So I ended up sitting in the hotel lobby again with my laptop to get a good signal.
Dinner was a little odd. I spotted a hostel when I was walking around town and thought I’d take a look, see what a turkish hostel looked like, a guy caught my attention on the driveway and spoke tiny bit of English so he translated to the eldery owner. I got a price and a quick look around in case I felt like staying another night here. As I was leaving I gathered he didn’t work there, he owned a “restaurant” and pointed up the drive. I said my thanks and left. On my way back from wandering the town I walked passed the hostel and saw the guy stood in the entrance of a bus, he waved and I just stopped “whut?”. I walked up and the bus was a restaurant in the back. Everything but the cab had been converted with wood panel walls, little tables and chairs, a 42inch TV, and even a grill. He asked what I wanted and he started up the grill and cooked me a lovely Koftë. We chatted however we could while it was cooking and I gathered he had converted the bus himself now just drove around Turkey parking up wherever and cooking food. What a legend. I wish there wasn’t such a language barrier because he seemed like an awesome bloke and I would have loved to know his story, you can only get so much information from hand gestures and a map though.
I woke pretty refreshed on Day 40, a little more ready for the roads. They got gnarly today though. They started where they left off on Day 39, back roads following the land just about wide enough for cars to pass each other. Then it started flicking between back roads, single track and off road. Road works on these roads just consists of picking your way between the diggers and jack hammers tearing the road apart, literally. Some stretches went on for miles with me having flashbacks to my puncture the last time I went off road. Some sections didn’t have potholes, because pot holes requires a level surface to have holes in, it was just all holes. So I had to do some proper standing up riding for the first time. I’ve done it a few times, some to practice, some just for some small bad sections. This was the first time changing gear and braking stood up though. Very fun, made the riding so much easier in places though it is tiring. Also it does not help with staring locals problem, a 6’5 guy all in black with sun visor down standing up on an already tall bike laden with luggage, bouncing over bumps overtaking the dump trucks, feels pretty bad ass though.
The roads seemed to go on for hours progress was better than expected so I got to stop a little earlier than usual. I made it to Sinop and filtered through the gridlock to the sea front where there was a bunch of restaurants, which almost always means hotels. I found a nice place just down the road, now I’ve taken to asking to see the room first, the price, the parking and running the WiFi Analyzer on my phone to check out the connection before I pay for anything. It seemed a nice place so I chucked my stuff down, parked the bike and went out to forage for food.
Day 41 and 42 might as well have blurred into one, it rained all day on Day 41 and when I planned to leave on Day 42 but the rain was still going, and the forecast said it was soaked in the direction I wanted to ride. I caught up on some blogs, photos and video editing, watched some TV, chilled out and played a few games. I took a few walks around town, wandering to some shops and to find food usually. It’s feels like a typical Turkish town that I’ve been too so far, but there is a bit of something else to it, maybe it’s just the Turkish tourism.
Feels very weird to have stayed still for so long so I went for a ride when the rain slowed on Day 42, just circling the Sinop peninsular. A group of 4 dogs I saw were not happy about this foreign noisy thing rolling through their town though and decided to chase me, which is fairly common, and most of the time I can just outrun them. One though, wanted to be a hero, and ran directly in front of the bike, slowing down to get me to stop. Anytime I swerved he swerved, I tried pipping and revving but it just made them angrier so I just sped up toward him, he didn’t shift the first time and I think I touched his tail because when I did it a second time he moved quick. I love dogs but there was a large part of me wanted to put my boot in him as I passed, you lose all my dog love when you try and kill yourself and me.