Monday, 4 June 2012

Difficult day today

Had a very difficult day today. Woke with a very painful shoulder and headache that just wouldn't get any better. Very warm and sunny today too, so not the weather to pull apart a clutch but that's what we did for several hours, on the garage fore court next to the hotel Took the whole thing off, drained the oil, but still couldn't make it any better. So we decided to reassemble it, and limp on on towards Georgia. Progress was slow despite us tightening the clutch unit up.

Stopped for lunch down by the waterfront where some men were sitting making fishing nets .

 Got chased by their dog. Twice. Nice little location overlooking a cove. The Black Sea is very calm with hardly a ripple in it although I should think that it does have its fair share of rough weather in the winter. It is almost Riviera like though, and the light has that peachy pink tinge, reminiscent of the south of France or the Adriatic Coast.

Had a stroke of luck in the afternoon when we spotted a motorcycle garage that was open – not bad for a Sunday. Got the bloke to look at the clutch, which he managed to fix, and it now runs Ok It hadn't been installed properly by the mechanic in Sinop and the plates were worn despite it only being on the bike for a day – thanks for that you twat; it cost us another day, plus money of course. The money aspect is annoying but that's what happens, but its the time that we loose that we can never get back. We have now lost 7 days of our Russian visa and given that we only had 30 to get across that massive country and the places that we need to see in between, its not good. But we must be due a bit of a good run by now, so we're hoping.

But whilst we were there trying to explain to him whet had happened, two men appeared from nowhere. They spoke good English and were really helpful, so that was good. One lived next door to the garage and had been a merchant seaman for 40 years and also spoke Norwegian. How weird to hear a Turkish man in rural Turkey speaking English with a Norwegian accent! Ended up having coffee and cake with him and his wife and 23 year old son. Very nice people, and we sat on their balcony overlooking the sea, road and garage, watching the mechanic do his thing.

Got back on the road by 1800hrs and made for the border which was actually closer than we thought. It was the maddest border we've been through yet – on a par with some of the African ones from an earlier trip. A traffic jam of trucks and people yelling, car muddled up amongst them stretched back from the actual border post, but being on small bikes, we just rode round them.

 A herd of cows arrived at the same time as us and wandered through, which was a bit bizarre. They were really pretty alpine cows too – brown with black faces and bells around their necks.

Despite the chaos, we got through very quickly, again a huge source of entertainment for everybody there – police, truckies, passers by, the cowman, car drivers and passengers. Quizzed, stamped, requizzed and waved through with 'welcome to Georgia' from everybody as we progressed. And no visa needed either. 

But it was dusk by now and we had to do the thing that you're really not supposed to do – ride in the dark. There are street lights but they seem to light the sky rather than the road, and after about 3 kms a diversion sent us up a rough track, so there we were, fully loaded, in a new country with new rules that we didn't know, off roading in the dark amongst border traffic with no lights and people wandering along. We found a motel about 12 kms further on. A truckie motel, right by the airport but ok and the bloke told us to ride our bikes into the lobby, which we did. He also cooked us some dinner which was great. But we had no local money, there is no ATM either but Nadine found some US dollars which saved the day. We've also got some Euros but he couldn't remember the exchange rate for them, so dollars it was.

Had a bit of difficulty with some drunken men last night who managed to get into our room. I didn't hear them but Nadine got rid of them. Good old earplugs. Suspect they were probably truckies but harmless enough and they left with a bit of Anglo Saxon persuasion.

Bright sunny morning now and we're on the hunt for an ATM then heading towards Tiblisi. Long ride ahead.
 Not the greatest of views but our home last night!