Heading for the hills
4th January - Batman to Baykan - distance 95km - ascent 270m - av speed 21km/hr - current position 41,50E 38,10N
After the delights of massages in our luxury hotel another late start was perhaps inevitable. Not helped by Dom of course who nipped off to see another dodgy Turkish mechanic who could fix a rear spoke. Such is the price of pushing a machine to the limits!! He did a first class job and straightened the wheel into the bargain. All for the grand sum of about £1.50! We headed out of Batman in thick Gotham City like mist. The first 25km were pretty grim along a busy main road without the benefit of good visibility. Nic and Jamie were even faster than usual with their renewed No.1 'Lance Armstrong' like haircuts. (Such is the pressure to keep up with Dom they have resorted to extreme measures!) Sarah took a bit of a tumble after a brief disagreement with a tractor but bounced back quickly and roared off into the distance.
At midday the traffic seemed to ease and the sun broke through the mist to reveal a stunning landscape. We stopped in a hillside village for lunch although Dickie and Ro were still behind us. Pauline and Sarah headed off to a local house where they were promptly offered a lunch of eggs, bread and strong home made goats cheese. The family in question wouldn't take any payment and it speaks volumes of the hospitality we have been offered here in Turkey. Nic and Dom stayed at the roadside and they finally managed to fix the elusive slow puncture that had been nagging Dom for a couple of days. A tiny sliver of metal the culprit. As soon as Martha arrived Ro quickly produced her usual lunchtime array of treats. Dickie preferred to take on 20 local school children single handedly to a game of rugby. Dickie won of course but then they didn't know the rules. The scenery after lunch became more dramatic by the mile. For those who have been to Utah it was uncannily similar. Rolling sand dunes and small gorges on each side of the road gave way to snow covered peaks on the horizon.
The last hour before sunset as usual was the most stunning with the mountains turning pink in the distance and the mist starting to collect in the valleys and hollows on either side of the road. This was the scenery that we had all come for and after long stretches of desert it was much overdue. The only catch is the hilly terrain which has slowed our progress dramatically, but such is the price of being in the mountains. The day finished in the dark winding our way through a narrow gorge. Nic led the way battling a fierce headwind before we found Dickie and Ro with the tent pitched and Corona beers on ice. This is our first night camping for a few days but it's long overdue after being in hotels since crossing from Syria. We will be at least another week in Turkey as we head east towards the border with Iran.
Do continue to follow our progress and again a plea for our readers to spread the word of what we are trying to achieve and why. We heard recently of a £5000 donation through our expedition to support SOS Children's Villages in Pakistan. This kind of support makes a real difference to peoples lives and is a huge morale boost to ourselves. When the going gets tough its quite timely to have a reminder that what we're doing really is making a difference. Many thanks for your continued support.