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Joel Stewart’s Travel Diary

Wednesday, 15 Apr 2009

Location: Turkey

Map4/15/09 - 1800 km and a third of the trip is over

Yesterday was a long day from Kusadasa to Kas - through high plateaus of green valleys and going over a mountain range that we got up into the snow line. Mostly on rural back roads going up and down winding hairpin curves. I got more than my share of practice at breaking - downshifting and careful turns making sure that a bus is not coming the other way. This is a lovely little Mediterranean fishing tourist town with a Greek island about 2 miles off shore, touted as the adventure capital of the coast Ė kayaking, hang-gliding, scuba-diving, and other such sports.

With this tour all the hotel fees are covered and all the meals. Mostly this means that we go to a restaurant and the guide orders family style and we pick off of plates. Sometimes it means we get a choice of 3 or 4 of the 22 items on the menu. But always the day gets long and at the end of the day, after dinner, the beers pile up and then they switch to Raki, the Turkish equivalent of ouzo - a liquorish drink that turns from clear to white as you add water. The table put down 4 bottles of that last night. It was a slow walk back to the hotel.

A bit of rain this morning with 4 or 5 rainbows - it is clearing and hopefully the road will be dry by the time we get on the bikes and head east. My hardest time on this bike is when I am at a stop or less than 3 miles per hour. It is hell playing Can-Can and kicking my leg over the seat. Also as the bike leans I am very nervous that the weight will tip it over if I donít do it right - like one time before with my phantom kick stand. But up and running it is a solid bike and even the 50 mile per hour side winds werenít bad except for it trying to tug my helmet off. There was some gravel yesterday and it was new to me on a big powerful bike. My riding mantra is slow slow slow and get use the skills required for getting to the end of the day without a mishap. Turkish drivers like to ride right up on my back bumper so yesterday I pulled over 4 or 5 times to clear the road behind me. It is so much more enjoyable to not have a car in front or a car behind and just shift and gas as the road requires.

Off on the wet roads today.