Page 3 of Biker Jim Travel Blog Posts

Asia » Turkmenistan » Turkmenbashi May 22nd 2014

Turkmenbashi There were 18 other tourists on an overland adventure tour on the ferry. They are on a 6 month excursion on a big converted truck. The ferry trip across the Caspian took 14 hours. We anchored a little after noon to wait for the previous rail ferry to clear the dock. The ferry docked at 6:30, and we unloaded at 9:30. Then the fun began. The Turkmenistan entry process is incredibly slow, tedious, and incomprehensible. Everything is written by hand and stamped several times. Wehad to visit 10 different windows, some several times, make 4 different payments in two different currencies, and collect up 14 different documents (all filled in by hand). We set a new record. Into customs at 9:30 PM and out at 7:00 AM. Nine and one half hours just to get ... read more

Asia May 21st 2014

Baku A little rain and fog to start, but a nice backroad ride in the morning. We passed an accident scene with a dead cow and a crunched Lada off the side of the road. There were lots of officials and spectators. We got to drive through more herds of cows and a huge flock of sheep. Everyone was driving way off on the shoulder to get through. The sheepherder was keeping the sheep in the middle of the road. Later we got to drive over a couple of passes and valleys with 10MPH truck traffic. The final run into Baku looked and felt like Wyoming, barren with a big cross wind. Baku had very heavy traffic in town, but most of the drivers were nice ad let us cut between and in front of them. ... read more

Asia » Azerbaijan » Baku May 20th 2014

Sheki If it is a border crossing day, it must be raining! Another border crossing in the rain. That makes five in a row. The contrast between Tbilisi and the rest of Georgia is huge. Tbilisi is full of BMWs and Mercedes. The country side is less full of old and unrecognizable vevicles and the Sprinter van minibuses with crazy drivers. The country side looks quite poor and provided new traffic hazards to avoid - horse and donkey carts in abundance, and a few tractors with very wide plows. We have seen a few carts before, but today there were dozens hauling all kinds of farm stuff. The Azerbaijan border crossing was less trouble than Georgia. In Azerbaijan almost everybody waves or honks or flashes their lights. Lots of school kids were taking pictures with their ... read more

Asia » Georgia May 19th 2014

Tbilisi Yesterday we left Turkey and entered Georgia. We are now oficially in Asia, but Tbilisi has had a lot of American influence. It sure seems a lot more like the US or Europe than most of the last week or so of the trip. I have ridden more than 4000 miles in the last two plus weeks. By the time we get to Baku later this week, we will be more than half way to Xian, but have spent only one third of the time. We travel more slowly and stop for more attractions along the way. Driving in Georgia is a little strange, even compared to Turkey. There appear to be no rules and no speed limits on the two lane roads, with some wild passing and high speeds. The traffic flow on the ... read more

Middle East » Turkey » Eastern Anatolia » Kars May 17th 2014

Kars After some motorway driving, we took a really nice road along a river to Kars, our last stop in Turkey. We got to avoid more cows, goats, sheep, and tractors along the way. Finding the hotel was an adventure, becsuse the main street is closed for construction, and the one way street system has recently been changed. The GPS doesn't know the changes, but after driving through small streets and the market street I got to the hotel. I think it was largely luck, because I was trying to get back out of town to start over. Near Kars are the ruins of the ancient Armenain capital of Ani. It is amazingly large, with a few buildings remaining along with some of the wall. It is just inside the Turkish border, and there are Armenian ... read more

Middle East » Turkey » Eastern Anatolia » Erzurum May 16th 2014

Erzurum A nice day for riding with good mountain views and green plains and rolling hills. The country side doesn't look much different from the central and western US. Erzurum is a ski town in the winter, complete with 5 ski jumps and a couple of fancy hotels. We had to stop a least a dozzen times towait for herds of cows or goats to cross the road. We are working our way to Georgia and Azerbaijan and the beginning of Asia.... read more

Mount Nemrut After an interesting day of eating a lot of dust in road construction, getting somewhat lost trying to find the road not on the map, and then being sorry we did, we got to Mt. Nemrut, the home of the giant carved heads. The road is skinny, twisty, and steep. Then there is a good climb to get to the heads. Unlike many tourist sites, they look just like the pictures. Our hotel was pretty basic, and was a special adventure because they had no electricity, and therefore no lights or hot water. We ate dinner by headlamp and went to bed early. We did have lights to see to pack up in the morning and head off to Ezurum.... read more

Middle East » Turkey » Central Anatolia » Urgup May 14th 2014

Urgup After a cold rainy start and a warm afternoon, we arrived in the stone carved house area of Cappadocia on Tuesday. We are staying in one of the cave hotels in Urgup.The hotel is made up of seven old houses with some additions. Wednesday is a day off for sightseeing and cleaning and maintenance, before pushing further into Eastern Turkey.... read more

Middle East » Turkey » Black Sea » Safranbolu May 12th 2014

Safranbolu We took the ferry across the Bosporous in Istanbul and headed east to Safranbolu. It is a small old town with steep cobblestone streets and some interesting architecture. We are staying in the caravansari, which has been converted to a hotel. It seems to be a tourist attraction for the town.... read more

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul May 11th 2014

Istanbul Friday was a nice ride through some North West Greek country side, followed by lots of motorway miles to Alexandroupolis. On Saturday we got a really early start to do battle with the Turkish border anf the Istanbul traffic. We got the added adversity of cold rain and wet roads. It took two hours to get through Turkish and customs, for no other reason than inadequate staffing and domonstrating who is in charge. We rode for lots of miles on the shoulder through the Istanbul motorway system, creeping somewhat faster than the traffic. The rain let up a little before we got in at about 3PM. We had a nice dinner Saturday night, and got some extra sleep Sunday morning. After a big rsin storm Sunday afternoon, the skies are clearing. We should have fine ... read more

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