06 May – Turkey, 270 miles
A rather enjoyable day – I’e overheard a few people commenting it was one of their favourite days thus far. No real long motorway stretches, or super-twisty bits – just a lot of reasonable bends, a couple of rather high passes, and a LOT of potholes.
Many, many potholes – one would be cruising along quite happily, thinking the rough patches are all left behind – this stretch of road is looking rather new and fresh – come around a bend – and the two entire lanes of road are pockmarked in potholes, some very very nasty looking.
But – everybody made it through – although I was meaning to go down and check all the spokes on my wheels.
We’re staying the night at the main ski town of Turkey – Erzurum, 2,156 metres altitude, bits and pieces of snow around, none on the roads thankfully.
Also got stopped by the police, several times – the real police with assault rifles and what-not, not the Trafik Polisi I encountered the other day. Apparently we’re nearing the part of the country with some Kurds around – and the military and armed police presence is very very visible.
The first time – a roadblock in the middle of some back-country road – showed them my New Zealand passport, and the guy was very surprised, very pleased. A couple of other times – they initially pulled me over along with the car/bus I was behind – but then waved me through as they checked the other vehicle’s documents. One other time they started asking for passport, but decided against it when the other guy with me started pulling out his luggage from panniers to get to it. Instead, we ended up having a big chat, got a few photos taken, smiles, handshakes, etc. We left them rather confused after insisting they hold a small stuffed mouse for the photo opportunities – as the guy I was riding with, Dicky, has this mascot, from the children’s book he wrote, raising money for charity.