(33) Defrosting 2 Turkeys
Tuesday 13th November
After a good nights sleep but still feeling we could do with another hour in bed, we packed our things and sat outside for breakfast. It was a sunny and fresh morning but we knew it would warm up . We had breakfast and said good bye to John and Monika who we had met the day before. They were touring Turkey in a camper van with their son Filip. We loaded the bikes and left about 10.30am.
We climbed up through the village and enjoyed a nice scenic road to Devilli. After picking up supplies we started the long climb over the pass.
With over 1000 metres to climb it was going to take a while. We stopped halfway up at a garage to have lunch and dry the rest of our clothes.
We continued to climb and Tim even managed to hitch a lift holding onto a slow moving lorry much to Sharon’s disgust (she was jealous!) We reached the top with great veiws of the valley and started the descent. We dropped from 1170 to 900 mts where it levelled out on to a high wide plateau. We stopped to get bread – Tim came out with a huge loaf that we named Bernard. Bernard looked like he was going to feed us well.
It was dusk by then but we decided to ride on for another hour or so. This was short lived as we had to stop shortly after to mend a puncture on Tim’s bike. We pulled up outside a small cafe to use their lights and were invited in for a cup of tea . We chatted to the owner for a while but with it dark outside and needing to do a few more miles we got going . After a mile or so Tim noticed a strange noise at the front of his bike and looked in horror at a massive boldge where the tyre had failed. We went on a hundred metres to the next garage to get some proper light on it and put in the spare tyre.
With that fixed we eventually found a spot on the side of the road behind some trees and pitched the tent. The mountains made a great back drop and were lit by the moon. When Tim was fixing the puncture earlier he noticed the bearings in the dynamo hub were getting lose. We had to make the decision whether to ask Tim’s mum Sue and Fred to bring a new one to Cyprus. Sharon cooked tuna pasta in the dropping temperature and discovered she’d lost her Norway wooly hat. Gutted, Tim handed over his so she could carry on her duties…
Wednesday 14th November
We woke to the sound of water dripping in the tent but fortunately the sun was shining. It had been a cold night but we managed to stay warm enough. The sunshine on the end of the tent tried to coax us out but we needed a little longer. Sharon’s alarm went off so we opened up the inner to the porch to see the condensation hanging from the roof. As Tim went to wipe it off he found it was droplets of ice!
As we were packing up, Tim noticed a stick insect who had come to visit (above). We loaded the bikes and noticed Sharon’s front tyre was soft again so decided to get on the road to find a suitable place to stop and fix the puncture. We also decided to change the rear tyre as it was well past its best and with a long descent coming up could be dangerous.
By the time we had fixed it and got going again it was almost 11.30. We got our heads down and the road gradually climbed in the increasing heat. Sharon had dropped back and Tim was concerned with how long it was going to take to do 50 miles in this terrain. Tim reached the first summit and rode past a junction to find a place to stop and wait only to find Sharon right behind, having stopped to grab hold of a truck that had offered her a lift! Sharon has been too nervous to try beforehand but with the truck knowing she was there it felt ok until the driver sped up to 30 MPH! We rode on and got to another climb. A tractor and trailer passed just at the right speed and we both managed to grab hold of the trailer for a short lift. We reached the summit and stopped to fill our water bottles up at a restaurant and were invited in for tea. We chatted for a while then rode on to find a good lunch spot . On our way we spotted a guy selling apricot jam – the perfect partner for Bernard bread so we stopped, picked up a large jar and found somewhere nice to eat. We finished lunch and continued up the mountain. 10 minutes later our arms were aching as we had managed to hold on to another slow moving truck.
We got to the top and waved our thanks to the driver who was cleary finding the whole thing rather funny. We descended into a moonscape at 1400 mts and rode along a flat plateau where we could see the next climb ahead. It ended up being much further then it looked and the road continued to climb for what felt like ages. Finally at the top the road dropped into another wide high valley with another climb .
By now it was dark and before we tackled the next hill we stopped at a garage to get a packet of biscuits to keep us going. It was a hard climb topping out at about 1550 mts only to drop then climb again. We finally hit a long descent with a short climb at the end before dropping down into the town. We were both shattered and hungry so we stopped at a bakery and bought Bernard the 2nd and some small biscuit cakes. We picked up supplies from a supermarket and rode on out of town . It was freezing and we were both shivering as we asked a guy if there was anywhere to camp near his petrol station. They showed us a sheltered area which was suitable but we ended up pitching the tent in the field next to it. A couple of guys came over and said we were welcome, disappeared only to return armed with bread and loads of apples. It was a great day for veiws but tough going.
Thursday 15th November
During the night the temperature dropped even more so Tim put his longs on and after that managed to stay cosy. Tim woke before the alarm and had slept well but with the sun was not quite up so decided to have another half an hour. Sharon didn’t wake as Tim loaded the bikes and got the kettle on the go . We had stewed apple and apricot jam in a wrap for breakfast and took our time getting ready. We were high up and knew we would have a long down hill. A few people came over to see what we were doing and looked impressed with what we were eating – actually maybe they weren’t that impressed as they turned us down when we offered them some!
We got going at 11am feeling tired from the day before. We started with a down that soon turned into an up hill and continued for about ten miles enjoying the stunning views.
We were then finally rewarded with a nice long down hill. We thought we would have seen the Mediterranean sea by now but it was still hiding away behind tall mountains and woodland. We had covered 25 miles and stopped at a garage to have lunch before reaching Antalyia. We rejoined the highway and rode into the city. We could have looked around but decided not to as the was light fading. The highway which was wonderfully flat continued on past an airport and we watched a couple of planes take off. We got about 15 miles to the south of the city and asked at a farm machinery supplier if we could have some water, thinking we might camp in the field behind. They said yes to the water but were keen to close so we rode on and asked some ladies if we could camp at their farm. They said it was ok but the ground was too rough so we rode on and stopped at a pottery yard. The owner was just leaving, looked a little surprised but said yes and we found a good spot off the road next to his workshop. With access to water and a toilet it was perfect. We were invited in for chi and the night guard gave us some food . We stayed there for an hour then left to cook a bit more before heading to bed.
Friday 16th November
We got up and started packing our things when the boss turned up and invited us up to his office for breakfast . We had olives, bread and a jam that tasted just like Turkish delight to our delight ; ) As we were eating, a potential customer turned up and after driving away the owner and his son looked disappointed that they didn’t make a sale. It was interesting to see it from the other side. We finished drying the tent and wiped the clay off the ground sheet. We said goodbye to the owner who had arrived earlier in a suit, to find him in work clothes covered in clay. He looked very comfortable in both outfits.
We rode on and soon arrived in Serik. Tim was feeling really drained even with a good nights sleep . The going was good but after we had covered 30 miles we stopped at a garage to have lunch . Sharon noticed there was wifi so got the code and we skyped home to check we had got everything sorted before meeting up with mum Sue and Fred in Cyprus. During our conversation we found out that Tim’s younger brothers baby wasn’t well and needed hospital tests. It made us feel so far from home.
Tim felt loads better after a rest and some food and we stopped at a bakery to pick up half a kilo of shortbread biscuits. We sat outside and ate the lot much to the amusement of the owners . We continued through the town of Manavgat and still hadn’t seen the sea properly yet. After about 10 miles we finally arrived at the coast and wheeled our bikes to the water. It felt strange and surreal to be there. We grinned at each other, trying to take in what we had achieved. Tim went for a swim in the warm sea while Sharon relaxed on the side.
We had cycled so far and were so proud of each other. We rejoined the road and as the sun was setting we spotted a piece of ground near the sea to camp. We asked at a family cafe and were invited in for chi. They showed us a great spot right in front of the water, after explaining the gravel spot next to the cafe wouldn’t be suitable. We cooked tea and pitched the tent, went back to the cafe and had a lovely evening with them trying homemade soup and sweets.
Saturday 17th November
We both slept well apart from when Tim woke to check the bikes and was so tired he didn’t close the inner tent letting 4 mozzies in for their dinner. We woke to the view of the sea right at the end of our tent. We were on the road by 9.30 and really enjoyed the ride along the flat roads. We had ridden 20 miles by 11am so decided to stop early as we had reached Alanya.
Sharon did a shop while Tim got the kettle on the go and sat on a bench in front of the sea. We enjoyed tuna sweetcorn and mayo baguettes but it had got really hot so we soon got back on the road. We took a wrong turn out of the town which only took us 5 miles out the way but with wanting to do a longer day we could have done without it. We got back on the highway and after a few miles we started a climb that topped out at 250 mts, it was steep but ok- the problem was it didn’t take long to get back to sea level again. The road continued to rise and fall for the rest of the day but with amazing scenery we didn’t mind so much.
It was starting to get dark as the road passed through Gazapasa and continued to climb again. It was now 5.30pm and pitch black so we called into a garage to get water and find a place to camp. Sharon asked if there was anywhere we could sleep and we ended being invited inside. We cooked our dinner on the forecourt and shared our food with the owner Karmel. We were grateful for a warm place to sleep – there was even a shower! We showed him pictures of our trip whilst drinking tea together.
Sunday 18th November
Karmel would be woken by the odd car or lorry needing fuel and on occasion we would both also wake. Tim got quite good at waking on the arrival of a customer and would wake him. It didn’t result in a good night’s sleep and we both woke up really tired. We sat on the forecourt once again to eat breakfast with the Karmel. He sent a staff member off telling him to run and we wondered what might be wrong. He came back carrying a bag full of olives and cheese – we should have known by now. We provided bread and apricot jam, it felt so good to be contributing to a meal for once. We said our thanks rejoined the road and continued to climb.
It was hard going and started to undulate at the top before the road frustratingly dropped to the sea. We then had to climb to 400 mts at a very steep gradient and a slow pace. We had great veiws of the sea but the going made it a tough day and we had only covered 18 miles when Tim spotted some honey. We had tea with the owner, after Tim had purchased some of-course before descending to the sea. We had lunch, trying to shelter from the cold wind and tried not look at the climb ahead of us. Tim tried washing our pans in the sea by climbing on an old freezer that laid on the beach. Feeling like Ray Mears it was going ok to start with when a wave came in and got him soaked. We packed up and started up the next climb. It was another really steep one and as we came around the bend we spotted a tunnel that hadn’t been opened yet. Tim headed off to investigate and could see the end so ‘with light at the end of the tunnel’ we rode into the dark. We couldn’t believe our good fortune when we popped out the other side right next to the road. Feeling very pleased with ourselves we soon reached the top at 500 metres.
We finally descended into Anamur which from a distance looked like one big green house. There were thousands of them. We arrived in town and picked up supplies in the supermarket but as we had only done 36 miles due to all the uphill and it was already 4.45pm, we needed to head on despite us both feeling shattered. We needed to do another 18 miles to stay on target for the ferry to Cyprus so we rode on hoping it would stay flat. We soon covered 14 miles and spotted a nice picnic spot that would be great for camping . We pitched the tent, cooked tea and fell asleep as soon as our heads touched the pillows.
Monday 19th November
We woke to a nice day and sat at a bench and had honey on bread for breakfast. We joined the road and dropped down to a small town and started to climb seeing the road winding its way around the cliff . It was a tough climb in heat of 32 degrees but the veiw from the top was amazing . We continued to have great veiws all day and the road climbed and fell at a much better gradient than the previous day.
We stopped in a small town to pick up lunch and Sharon found kit kats on special ; ) We rode to the beach and Tim had a slight feeding frenzie before relaxing and having a swim with all his cycling clothes on to cool down.
We packed up and started another climb, it wasn’t so high and the road weaved in and out of the contours. We dropped down to a garage to get a coke, by this point it was 4.40pm and already getting dark. A very excited bus load of children kept shouting ‘hello’ to us to the point where we ended up ignoring them. We continued up the next long climb and descended into a small town to pick up bread and biscuits.
We rode on and climbed up another hill and saw a small town in the distance which we were aiming for. As Tim descended down a hill he heard what he thought was a dog chasing him. He shouted at it getting scared as it sounded really close. He slammed on his breaks as stopping would normally stop the animal in its tracks. The noise stopped at which point he realised there was no dog, just a plastic bag that was flapping in the wind. Giggling, we struggled to find a suitable camp spot as the ground was so stony. Finally we rode past a proper campsite just before the town which was £4 and right next to the sea. Grateful to be able to finally climb into the tent, we ate dinner and fell asleep.
Tuesday 20th November
With a short ride to Tusucu we could have a lie in but with the sun turning us crispy we knew it was time to get up. Tim put the kettle on while Sharon cleared the tent and we got going by 10.30am. What looked like a 560 metre climb from the outset ended up being a gradual climb to 100 metres around a hill.
However after riding the first eight miles we did climb but only to 250 metres before dropping down to sea level and riding along the coast to find somewhere for a snack . Sharon went in for a dip while Tim watched with amusement. Her enthusiasm wained as she got deeper, squealing like a girl in the cool water – you would never have known she used to be an open water swimmer!
We got going and within 30 minutes we had arrived in town and picked up food for the day. We rode to the harbour and had lunch at a cafe where the owner said we could sit and brought us a free tea each. We finished our lunch and searched for an Internet cafe to finish our last post. It was great to catch up on things and to use the time productively while we waited for the ferry which didn’t depart until midnight. We headed back to the square, found a supermarket and picked up a couple of beers to celebrate surviving Turkey. We cooked dinner by the harbour, we made it a simple one of pasta, tomato soup and tuna with onion and cheese.
We headed off in the direction of the port and it felt like we were going the wrong way as it was poorly lit and there was no one around . After a couple confirmations from passers by we arrived at the port. It took a while to get through passport control but we were finally on the ferry. We watched Manchester united playing Turkey in Istanbul on the TV with a gaggle of Turkish lorry drivers. It was a perfect end although Turkey won – we actually didn’t mind! We headed upstairs to find a spot for our thermarests and settled down for the crossing. Tim struggled to sleep so watched a movie on the laptop with Sharon snoozing beside him. Afterwards Tim went to see how far land was away only to find we were still in the harbour. We were running hours late which would make us late starting in the morning. We had over a 100 miles to ride to mum and Fred’s hotel so we hoped the captain would put his foot down to get us there on time.
Stats for Turkey:
Distance cycled: 994 miles / 1,599 km
Altitude gained: 14,840 metres
Total distance cycled so far: 6,561 miles / 10, 555 km
Total altitude gained so far: 79, 275 metres
Thanks for reading! Next instalment coming soon…