We woke up very early and started riding towards the rising sun. Already, there were some hints of road construction. I even tried riding on a closed section of unused gravel. It felt really good until I came across a pile of earth blocking the road. I tried to cross over it but the bike got stuck. I had to pull it down and go back to find a way out of the raised road surface. Then there was a sandstorm hitting us head on. Luckily, it didn't last too long. The dirt roads once again became dirt tracks above the mountains. This would really be a lot of fun on a motocross bike. I felt like riding a horse on the fresh mountain tracks. To my amazement, by the evening, the tracks merged into a perfectly paved brand new piece of asphalt. It was so perfect, I had difficulty ...Read More

I used to have a recurring dream when I was a little boy. In fact, it was more like a nightmare, surfacing from the depths of my mind, whenever I was sick with high fever. I'm in a desert, trying to walk on top of a white (oil?) pipeline suspended in the air, half a meter from the ground. It extends towards the horizon for as long as the eye can see. I try to keep in balance on the round surface like a tightrope walker. It's hard, and I sometimes fall down on the ground. It's not a sandy desert. There are sharp rocks all around. But the surface seems to flex down when I step on the rocks with my bare feet. As if there is a very soft material below the sharp rocks. The rocks still hurt bad enough, so I climb back on the pipe and ...Read More

I woke up wishing that the previous day was just a bad dream. But that didn't last long. The nearest DHL office was in Atrau. Around 500kms from where I was... I somehow needed to go there and started thinking about options. • Wrapping an inner tube around the spring to achieve a primitive dampening. • Trying to load the bike on a train. • Leaving the bike and most of my stuff in Beyneu and taking the train. In either case I had to find a cheap and safe place to stay until the part was ready for pick-up. A week ago, while waiting for the ferry in Baku, I was reading a thread about the area on HorizonsUnlimited.com. One of the guys had mentioned an old Russian motocross champion living in Beyneu and even gave directions to his shop which I luckily had noted down in my scrapbook. I decided to pay ...Read More

"Do you believe in coincidances?" Kutlu asked me... I said "Yes!" without thinking much because I was curious. He told me to turn around and read the name of the boat. It was "ERDEM-2". My name is not a very common one. I've been a student for 20 years and never had a classmate with the same name. But that's not the surprising part. We arrived in Trabzon quite late in the evening. The road was in very good condition and the scenery made it even better. This is the Black Sea coast of Turkey, a very steep mountainous shoreline full of greenery and rain. Dilan, an old friend, had been living in Trabzon for about a year, and neither of us had seen her since. We were all looking forward to it. After a very loud and animated welcome, we started walking instinctively towards the seaside to enjoy the sunset. Black ...Read More

Somewhere between Thessaloniki and Kavala, I missed the highway exit and the road took me about 20 kilometers inland. I wanted to camp on the seaside but there weren't any roads on the map. However, there seemed to be a thin road barely visible over the mountains. I decided to take it. After a few kilometers, I arrived at a hut where the road seemed to disintegrate. I took a few uncertain turns and found it again. Climbing further up, this time I ended up near a TV antenna tower. Apparently, the road existed for the construction of this tower and did not continue beyond it. Then I heard some goat bells and followed the sound. The shepherd was quite surprised to see me. I explained him where I wanted to go and he gave me directions. All in sign language... I told him my name and asked his. He ...Read More

London has done a few things. First, It forced me to reset all my know-how and habits of riding a bike in traffic due to the inversion of flow (it feels like writing with my left hand). I had to desert the bike and take the 'tube' around the city. This wouldn't be a big issue if I was staying here just for a day or two, which had been original plan. All I had to do was to receive the package Evren sent me from L.A. and move on. But of course, I did not take into consideration the UK Customs Agency. They can keep any package for as long as 30 days without notification. The delay in my case, had been so perfectly timed that the package was delivered to my friend's address exactly the day after she left for a 4 day vacation. As if all of ...Read More

The day started with quite a scene. Bintuğ took off for Los Angeles in the morning. No actual tear drops were shed, but we got as emotional as two biker dudes could get. Wind and cold made our eyes a bit wet but all was fine. Knowing that we would not be seeing each other until fall, we hugged, and of course tapped each other on the shoulders for what appeared to me as 48 times... This is a good indication of the inability of Turkish males to communicate emotions. It gets the message through without making a big scene. [gallery type="slideshow" link="file" ids="1226,1227,1228,1229,1230,1231,1232,1233,1234,1235,1236"] At that point we were quite sure that we made it to the other side of the Rockies. We couldn't be more mistaken. It took more than a few more hours to get to the summit. Road conditions were OK, but everywhere was covered in snow. It'd been ...Read More