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Countour ballooning, at the market, water seller in Turkey.

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Week One Chapter: 03 May ~ 09 May - Turkey (Turkiye)

"An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered." G. K. Chesterton

Starting location for this week: Istanbul, Turkey
Ending location for this week: Ürgüp, Turkey
Planned mileage for this week: 620 miles/992 kilometers

Merhaba ("Hi/Hello" in Turkish)!

Preparations and planning are now behind - along with that one vital widget that absolutely, positively had to be packed. This week, the Silk Road Adventure begins in Turkey. Anxious to begin, many of the riders arrive early in Istanbul, immediately heading out to explore on their own.

At dawn's first light, the wavering call of the müezzin will be a spiritual reminder they are thousands of miles from home and things familiar. The calls to prayer will be a constant companion for the first part of this journey. But it's all good. Even in the homeland of Turkish coffee and ubiquitous tea service, the familiar logo of Starbucks dots the landscape.

That will change.

The caravans of old rode camels as their "ships of the desert." Our riders have something less tempermental in mind. Reclaiming motorcycles from Turkish customs will be the first order of business. The bikes will be carefully inspected, the bureaucratic forms and rituals observed, battery cables connected and panniers mounted. Tanks will be filled with some of the most expensive gasoline in the world. The fact that several police patrols in Turkey ride BMW R1150GS authority motorcycles will be a sobering reminder of the traffic and road conditions ahead. Within minutes of the departure for Xian, our group will pass from the continent of Europe to that of Asia.

Unless otherwise noted, all photographic images were taken by Helge Pedersen.

Welcome to the Silk Road!

Mike, Your Webmeister

* * * * * * * * * *

To see where the group is now, visit our Navigation Technology Chapter.

For more information about Turkey, please visit:

- The US Central Intelligence Agency's World Factbook

- The US Department of States's Consular Information Sheet

- The World Clock to find out what time it is there (wherever "there" may be!)

GlobeRiders in Istanbul - Click for a larger image

(Click thumbnail for a larger image)

Helge Pedersen İstanbul'da

GlobeRiders' Helge Pedersen Gives World Touring Multimedia Presentation in Istanbul, Turkey

On 02 May 2005, Helge was invited by BMW Motorrad Turkey and Kazoom Moto Adventures to present his World Touring Multimedia Show to a rapt audience of fellow enthusiasts and riders in Istanbul, the start of this year's Silk Road Adventure.

The event was also the first opportunity for many of the actual riders and passengers on the tour to see one of Helge's presentations. What better way to satisfy the joy and fascination with global touring than to not only "see" it but "live" the experience simultaneously?

Talk about a captive audience . . . .

To the left is the announcement posted and sent to approximately 6,000 subscribers from the combined email lists of the two sponsoring organizations and other active motorcycle lists in Turkey.

For more information about the sponsors, please visit:

- BMW Motorrad Turkey's home page in Turkish

- Kazoom Moto Adventure's home page in English

29 APR 2005 - Istanbul, Turkey

From: John LaChapelle

Sent: Friday, April 29, 2005 2:26 PM

To: Silk Road Live!Journal

Subject: day one

Day One –

Exhausted and sick as a dog I make it to the airport at 5:30 am. I am so spaced out I don’t even have that realization of “Holy S***. . . I’m going.” My friend who drops me off says, matter-of-factly, “Have a good flight.” The ticket agent is so surprised by all of the crazy visas in my passport that she declares it Show and Tell Day, marching down the line of agents showing everyone.

I’m about to hack up a lung, I’m achy, too tired and so wishing at the moment life had a fast-forward button and I was sitting on the plane with the door just having been shut. I always feel better when that door is shut and locked because at that point there ain’t no going back. Not without a police escort anyway.

Flight was typical; annoying child next to me to New York, and beautiful model who won’t give me the time of day next to me to Istanbul. Model won’t talk? Fine. Pop an Ambien, a couple of Vodka Tonic’s and the wheels hit the ground at Ataturk Airport in seconds flat. Little cold, little rainy.

As I leave the airport I do realize that I’m not going back through there, that I now have to get my ass to Shanghai two months from now, and not just get my ass there, but ride my ass on a motorcycle a quarter of the way around the world. I’ve got some work in front of me.

There was a last minute change to my hotel in Istanbul and I stupidly forgot to bring the information with me. Reached Kaz, our local guide here and he quickly got me straightened out. Sumengen Hotel. Classic old school maison type place that had been turned into a hotel - smells like a smoking parlor, every window and door has 48 coats of paint, sounds like someone is tunneling under the place with a bulldozer. The boy who can’t lift my bags shows me to my room in the basement. Corner shoebox room, only one of the three bulbs in the “chandelier” is working and there must be 17 pieces of furniture in the 10-foot square space.


Call Kaz, who when I do meet him will get free booze outta’ me all night – first guy in town and already I need help, lovely. Kaz immediately finds me a room at the Armada Hotel and arranges everything. Thirty minutes later I am in my new room with a view of the harbor eating the most wonderful lentil soup and chicken sandwich.

God love Turkey.


Friday, April 29, 2005

30 APR 2005 - Istanbul, Turkey

From: John LaChapelle

Sent: Saturday, April 30, 2005 9:45 PM

To: Silk Road Live!Journal

Subject: day two

Day Two –

Woke up about 5 am, not bad after having slept about four hours yesterday afternoon. Feeling much better than yesterday, still got the cough although it doesn’t seem to originate from hell any longer, just a wee bit north of there. A nose that won’t stop running but beyond that, pretty hunky dory.

The smell of a city who’s cars/trucks run on diesel permeates the air, and the morning honking, begins the day. Meet up with David Ow, whom I had dinner with last night. He and I are the first staying in Istanbul – a few others have come in but have gone on to other destinations for a few days.

Walk around, see some stuff.

A lot of (cigarette) smoking in here in Turkey, duh. Maybe it’s because I come from LA, but there is a LOT of smoking here. A LOT OF SMOKING.

I look at the wet cobblestone streets and wonder what it will be like to ride a bike on their slippery surface – all of the stones worn smooth. It’s slippery even to walk on.

I keep forgetting that I’ve got this huge bike trip in front of me, well not forgetting exactly, more like it dawns on me from time to time the entirety of what it is I’m doing. We saw a couple a bikes parked on the street, one was an F650 and I got pretty excited. Mine is here somewhere, at a port, waiting for me to pick it up.

Oh yeah, Turkey ain’t got no tequila.


Saturday, April 30, 2005

01 MAY 2005 - Istanbul, Turkey

From: Dean French [Blue House Hotel Guest]

Sent: Sunday, May 01, 2005 7:49 AM

To: Silk Road Live!Journal

Subject: blue house

Early arrivers at Blue House Hotel in Istanbul meet on May Day in the rainy morning but the sun came out later and it was beautiful.

From left to right: Rick, Laura, Jay, Hans, Geri, John

Back row: David, Dean

Photographer was the waitress.

We are already having a wonderful time. Wish you were here.


(Photo courtesy of unknown waitress in Blue House restaurant, Istanbul, Turkey)

01 MAY 2005 - Istanbul, Turkey

From: John LaChapelle

Sent: Sunday, May 01, 2005 11:27 PM

To: Silk Road Live!Journal

Subject: day three

Day Three -

So a little about Turkey.

The people so far have been incredible, cordial to a fault almost. Strange, I know, but you clearly get this feeling from them that they’ve seen you a million times before – guess it comes from the Turks having seen all come and go over the centuries, playing host to the most insane of people. C’mon, all roads lead to Byzantium, Constantinople, or Istanbul, take your pick, or they did at one time – certainly the confluence of the world at one point. Honestly, they got your number, they don’t need you, but they’re happy you’re here.

Outside of the Pyramids I think the Blue Mosque at night is perhaps the most beautiful building man ever got it in his head to build. Swirling above, and only at night, are these birds, thousands of them, just soaring in circles. It’s crazy. The bottom of their wings lit up by the lights of the Mosque, just incredible.

Our friend the sun decided to wake up and show its face today, so changed the entire vibe. It being Sunday everyone was out strolling the streets, sitting in the parks, eating ice cream, satisfied. Some of us walked from Taksim Square back to the hotel – Galata Tower, Egyptian Bazaar the New Mosque, I even got to drive a water taxi across the Golden Horn. Crazy.

Met up with more of the group, I can quickly tell this is going to be a battle as to who can be the biggest smartass. Unique and bizarre each and every one of them, but they all seem to be great people.

Having a bitch of a time with jetlag. My first couple of days I was taking big naps during the afternoon which is of course a no-no, but I figured as I was still yaking like a mule, sleep anywhere and anyhow I could get it was a good thing. Blazed through today without one, hit the wall at 9:00pm, and am now up at 4:50 am, typing this. Going to take part in that classic of all Turk traditions, a Turkish bath, today and hopefully sweat out some of the last remainder of garbage in the system, and perhaps take a boat ride up the Bosporus toward the Black Sea.

Low and behold it’s 5:00am and the first call to prayer is cranking. . . .


03 MAY 2005 - Istanbul, Turkey

From: Helge Pedersen

Sent: Tuesday, May 03, 2005 12:00 AM

To: Silk Road Live!Journal

Subject: GlobeRiders 03-09 May

May 03-09

I never thought I would say this, but the flight from Seattle to Istanbul was the best ever. I slept like a baby the whole way, hardly woke for any of the meals. Leaving home this time was extra hard with so much going on both in my private life and with the GlobeRiders business.

It is all behind now and before I knew it Sterling and I were arguing with Turkish customs agents about what I had in my large cardboard boxes. When asked about the content I told them motorcycle gear, panniers, helmet etc.

"Invoice, please invoice" one of the agents said. That was when I understood that they actually thought I had a motorcycle in the boxes. Without further discussion I started to open one of the boxes. If language is the problem, I thought a visual check would do the trick and it did. With a smile we were motioned to go on.

Sterling left to join the early arrivers of the group at our hotel while I bunked with our partner in this project, Kazim Uzunoglu, for the first couple of days.

Driving the busy streets of Istanbul made me want to pack my camera and go out and rediscover Santa Sophia, Blue Mosque, Spice Bazaar and perhaps even get lost in the Grand Bazaar. Last time that I had this wonderful experience was with Karen more than 13 years ago. But before I left Seattle, Kazim had asked me to do a presentation for BMW of Turkey on May 2nd. Just what I needed, something more to do before departure!

Badly prepared I settled in on the veranda of Kazim and Sennur's wonderful apartment overlooking the bay of Istanbul. An incredible activity of boats, ferries and ships coming and going made it quite a wonderful place to sit and edit the upcoming presentation. Actually, as I sit here in the same spot again writing these words, I feel like a captain on the bridge overlooking the ocean ahead with all of it busy traffic. Wonderful, I could settle down here for some time.

BMW of Turkey has a wonderful headquarter 30-40 minutes out of town. Motorcycles and cars share the space in a very modern building and they even have a little GS training track on the back hillside. Unfortunately there were not much time to enjoy the facilities; the show had to be set up.

With such short notice I were surprised to see about 100 people show up. There was even an Australian motorcyclist that had been on the road for 4 years now, still traveling. Having the opportunity to meet local motorcyclists is always a treat and I thank BMW of Turkey for the chance to share my travels with their customers and in this way make new friends.

Today, May 3, is the first official day of the GlobeRiders Silk Road Adventure 2005. I will be moving over to the Blue House Hotel and join the rest of the group. Wednesday May 4th is the big day when we go to collect the bikes from the container, just across the bay. I think I talk for all of the riders in the group when I say that we are just a little anxious to see our babies again.

That is all for now, thanks for your time and soon we will be back with more stories from the Silk Road.

Helge Pedersen

03 MAY 2005 - Istanbul, Turkey

From: Laura Seaver

Sent: Tuesday, May 03, 2005 6:59 AM

To: Silk Road Live!Journal

Subject: Greetings from Istanbul!!

Greetings from Istanbul!!

Yes, I'm off on another adventure.

So, today (May 3) is the first official day of the trip, but I've been here for a few days. Rick and I flew from Seattle on the 29th, landing in Istanbul about 10 o'clock Saturday morning. Neither of us slept a whole lot on the plane but we were determined to do some exploring. I certainly woke up during the taxi ride to the hotel. We had a determined taxi driver!

Our hotel is right near the Blue Mosque and several of the other big sites in Istanbul. But Rick and I weren't up for major site-seeing yet. We wandered a bit, getting greeted in a friendly manner at every carpet shop and every restaurant. We finally picked a spot to eat and had fun sitting outside watching the two guys try to get more people to eat there. It was a nice lunch.

Then we continued our wandering. Rick finally said, "Let's go in that carpet shop." Okay. It is quite an experience!! Our salesman was a young guy with a good sense of humor. I tried to make it quite clear that I was not buying anything. Rick said the same, and our friend the salesman tried gently to convince us otherwise. I'm pretty sure he believed us, but we were fun to talk to and there weren't any more promising customers to talk to. So, he taught us about carpets -- different materials, styles, origins, ages, etc. And then there was the apple tea. I'm glad it is so ubiquitous because I quite enjoy it. We were there for two rounds of tea. And didn't buy anything. All in all, it was quite fun.

Later, in the early evening, I ended up in another carpet shop. This started well, but ended not so fun. Mostly, I was exhausted so had lost some of my sense of humor about it all, and this salesman pushed just a bit too hard. So, I left with a bit of a sour taste in my mouth. Oh well. Perhaps it's best to have a buddy for carpet shopping.

I sure slept well that night! The next morning, I was having a solo breakfast around 8 o'clock, and in walked David Ow. Then Rick joined us. And John. And Hans. And Dean and Gerry. And Jay. The group is forming! That solo 8 a.m. breakfast became a party by 11!!

David Ow, John, Rick, and I decided to go walking across the Golden Horn in a newer part of town. Of course, newer here is still pretty old. Anyway, we taxied to the far end and then walked the several miles home. It was fun to wander along, checking out all the shops and people. We snacked a bit, shopped a bit, and finally sat down for lunch and a break, right near the Galata Tower. Up the tower after lunch! The tower is about 60 meters tall, enough to get some good views of the city. That always helps be get my bearings about me.

As we headed for the bridge across the Golden Horn, a boatman offered to ferry us across. John negotiated a rate and we all climbed aboard. Then John asked if he could drive the boat. Sure thing! He took us all the way across and even docked us on the south side. Very smooth landing!

Istanbul is a great town for wandering around, looking at the sites, snacking, and people watching. Visitors from all over the world! It's fun to try to determine what languages I am hearing.

People have been filtering in. I think everyone is here now, although there a couple of people I personally haven't seen yet. It sure seems like a great group. Tomorrow, we go pick up the bikes, then we have an organized tour on Thursday. Friday, we start riding!

Best to all,


04 MAY 2005 - Istanbul, Turkey

From: Hans Muellers

Sent: Wednesday, May 04, 2005 3:10 AM

To: Silk Road Live!Journal

Subject: Istanbul

Hello Everyone

Just a few lines from Istanbul. A city that is very old, about 5000 years, and it now shows in the traffic of the city. 2 million cars trying to make it thru roads made for donkeys. On top of that 12 million people trying to make a living , walking on roads with almost no sidewalks. Chaos? You bet!

But everybody is polite and helps in one way or the other. When you live under these circumstances for thousands of years you learn something. The one thing you must learn is how to get along with people.

My visit to the Grand Bazaar, build in 1461 and still very much in operation today, the hustle and bustle is like the word said - "GRAND ".

I got lost in the maze but my buddy, Jim Harding, had his GPS with him, and we found our way back.

God bless the modern gadgets.

Carpet sales folks all over. Are there good bargains here? I don't really know. I almost bought 2 old prayer rugs but then chickened out.

Other people in the group bought some examples of Turkey and the carpets they bought are really fine work of handcrafted, Turkish work.

The weather has been on our side so far. 68 degrees and cooler at night. Wonderful!

Everybody seems to enjoy themselves and the spirits are high. Istanbul itself is worth a trip. I am curious to see what the rest of the ride will bring.

Until I can write again,


04 MAY 2005 - Istanbul, Turkey

From: Sterling Noren

Sent: Wednesday, May 04, 2005 9:22 PM

To: Silk Road Live!Journal

Subject: journal entry

Istanbul, TURKEY

I woke up before the call to prayer this morning to film the sunrise. Our hotel sits overlooking the Bosporus, the straits that separate the European continent from the Asian one. Below, ships pass through on their way out to the Marmora Sea and further, the Mediterranean. The sun comes up from behind the hills on the other side of the river. Mosques in silhouette. Dramatic but very peaceful at this time of the morning. Doves coo on the balcony railing next to me. I’m making pictures with my new high-definition digital video camera. It couldn’t be better.

I have been in Istanbul for four days now. We arrived without incident and I actually overcame my jetlag right away. I think that the chance to have so many opportunities for filming has helped me muster up reserves of energy that aren't always there. All I know is that I have done a lot of walking with my camera and tripod through the streets of the city, capturing as many scenes of daily life as possible.

Filming highlights of the first few days include many of the sights in the old part of the city where we are staying: the Blue Mosque, the immense dome and minarets of Ayasofia, the Grand Bazaar and Spice Market. One day I took a tram across the river to the newer part of the city. Then I boarded Europe's second shortest subway which only has one stop, and then boarded a streetcar. My destination was the Galeta Tower, which sits on a hill overlooking the city.

Before I could make it however, I was approached by a man who was interested in the type of camera I was using. He promptly invited me to a tea with his partners in a nearby cafe. It seemed that they were directors who were planning a movie of their own, and they were interested in the technical aspects of the camera. One of the men had just finished a project where he and three others rode the Silk Road by camel. They went the opposite direction we’re taking, and it took them more than a year, but they filmed the entire journey and published a book called The Last Caravan on the Silk Road I believe.

Helge and I gave a presentation at the local BMW dealership the other night. There were many local riders present including one fellow named Chris, from Australia, who has been on the road for four years. His most recent travels took him through Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran. He told me about a taxi ride he took through a hashish and automatic weapons market in Pakistan and it was kind of unnerving to think about. I'm glad that’s not on our route.

Having dinner with our guide the other evening, the call to prayer came over the loudspeakers.

"This is Istanbul", he said. "The call to prayer comes over the loudspeakers and we are sitting here drinking a beer."

We are all pretty excited to get going with the cracking open of the container yesterday. All of the motorcycles arrived safely and the process of getting our bikes through customs went smoothly. The afternoon was spent reconnecting battery cables, attaching panniers and generally making preparations to begin the ride. For me this is a bittersweet afternoon since my own bike wasn't unloaded from the container. Having other responsibilities on the tour I am riding in what was called the Princess Van, since that is where several of the rider's wives are riding. However, someone else referred to it has the Harem Van which sounds better to me. It’s a great group of folks on this tour and we’re all pretty excited to start making tracks. From where I am sitting in the hotel lobby I can see 17 BMW motorcycles sitting just outside the window, patiently waiting, just like us.


05 MAY 2005 - Istanbul, Turkey

From: Blue House Hotel Guest

Sent: Thursday, May 05, 2005 8:57 AM

To: Silk Road Live!Journal

Subject: Turkey May 5, 2005

To all those back home wondering what the heck we are doing half a world away:

This is our third visit to Istanbul and we still find the city interesting. The city is very tourist oriented and we wish we could blend in more. I guess our bright red shirts, blue pants, pale skin and height send a signal that we are not locals. Everyone is a salesman here, although we think that they are all friendly by nature. There are millions of people here and just as many cars. Because Istanbul is divided by so much water and few bridges to cross it, a lot of travel can be done by Ferry. There are both people ferries and vehicle ferries which can save hours in stalled traffic.

Tomorrow will be our first day to ride and we are ready to go. Although we have seen much of the Turkey part of the trip, we are looking forward to revisiting. This is one of the few countries we have visited that is worth revisiting. You don't need a motorcycle to visit Turkey; there are lots of tourist attractions and ways to see them. There are no shortage of busses and cruise lines here.

A point of interest for all, if you think gasoline prices are high, we are paying $8 per gallon! Thank goodness we get 40 miles per gallon.

Till next time,

Jeff and Ann Roberg

GlobeRiders motorcycles lined up in front of the staging hotel in Instanbul, the Blue House, across from the Blue Mosque

It appears that Laura Seaver gets the honor of cutting the seal applied by US Customs, but look a the size of those bolt cutters!

The work and effort that went into loading pays off. The bikes arrived safely, hanging panniers and other gear still secured.

The unloading of any GlobeRiders container attracts pretty much everyone in the freight yard.

Jim Russel prepares his bike for it's first mix with traffic in Istanbul.

Jeff Roberg, ready to roll. Well, almost....

A smiling Frank Baughman gives a thumbs up!

A natty Bud Robinson follows suit. Notice how all these guys have found shade to work in?

The ever vigilant Jim Harding makes sure all the forms are properly filled out.

From the left: Chris Poland, John LaChapelle, David Ow.

Rick Wetzel's ever-present spinning globe is a crowd magnet wherever he travels.

05 MAY 2005 - Istanbul, Turkey

From: Helge Pedersen

Sent: Thursday, May 05, 2005 10:13 PM

To: Mike M. Paull

Subject: Pictures from container


We are leaving in 5 minutes so here are container pictures.

Helge P.

05 MAY 2005 - Seattle, Washington USA

One of the prime tenets of email etiquette says "keep it brief". Helge's email sets a new benchmark in that regard. But it's OK because attached to those five words were ten pictures. And if it's true that a picture tells a thousand words, then by that simple act, he's saved you from reading one-tenth-of-a-million.

In the opening Preparations Chapter, you saw a sequence of photos showing the loading of the Istanbul-bound container. For this "unloading" I could have simply taken the same set of photos and arranged them in reverse order, run it in rewind so to speak. Fortunately, GlobeRiders wouldn't ever resort to such subterfuge. To the left are a few captioned NEW images of a happy unloading crew.

Mike, Your Webmeister

06 MAY 2005 - Istanbul, Turkey

From: John LaChapelle

Sent: Friday, May 06, 2005 8:21 PM

To: Silk Road Live!Journal

Subject: update

Day Whatever –

Carlsberg in hand, I sit again at the keys in an attempt to extract some sort of meaning from all of this, yet in the end I find, well… beer. Lost track of the days and of course had been increasingly busy with preparations for the “First Ride Day” which was today. So, apologies for any missed days in the missive.

Got the bikes out of customs after a nightmarishly long day - if you’ve never stood underneath a 30-ton container swinging from the grips of a crawling tractor on steroids, you need to visit the port of Istanbul. No real problems with the bikes, save for one dead battery on Perry’s bike and it looked like I might have had to change the fork seals on mine. Wound up not having to change them, hail to the powers that be, wherever they may be. After a quick stop with a Turk mechanic on the fork seal issue, made my way up the Bosporus to the Black Sea with another one of the riders, great guy named Jay Yanick.

Guys who build forts certainly get away with stealing some of the most perfect locations; at the source of the Bosporus there is an abandoned fort/castle that Jay and I rolled into… literally, rolled into. Drove straight into the thing. Stunning! Not a soul around. As a grown man I found myself almost giggling, it was so much fun. It was just one of those days that creeps up on ya, taps ya on the shoulder and says, “life ain’t bad, eh?” One of my favorite rides yet, period. Here or there… anywhere.

Okay, I know as each day presses on and on I seem to be only singing the positive, the “body electric” so to speak (okay, can’t believe I just wrote that…). Perhaps I am just that content?

Fine. Traffic is a bitch. I mean it’s a right swell pain in the ass. Much like other mayhem destinations, it is rather a game of chicken, who will flinch first? Miraculously there are few to no wrecks, but damn. Jay, who was taught this by Hans Muellers (another globeriding fool), taught me how to drive not on the road, but on the tracks behind the city tram – jump the little curb and just follow it down the tracks. Of course you have to be quick to jump back off before any bridge comes upon you – there is nothing between the tracks and the water other than, well…air.

Hans, I must add, has a running battle with the taksi’s of Turkey; so far the score rates Hans one and taksi’s zero. Many of the others riders including myself are jealous. We shall see who ends up with more taksi “kills” by the end of the trip… there is rumor of money on the line. (Ed. Note: “taksi” is Turkish for “taxi”.)

Anywho… Jay and I had a friggin’ great ride that day and I have fallen in love with Turkey so much it’s crazy, I had no idea.

So. What to do the last night in Istanbul? Street festival. Crazy out of control street festival, that on common ground I would have avoided like the clap. Not so last night, and perhaps it was the lack of translation or whatnot, but had a blast. Reminisces of Bryant South Dakota’s 4th of July block party, but with belly dancers, roving bands, fire pits and about 5,000 more breathing drinking souls.

Bed by 2:30 am and rise at 6:30 am. Nice.

Woke this morning to find the “crap fairy” had stopped by and decided to leave me with an extra 50 pounds of stuff. As I loaded the bike I honestly had thoughts of breaking the world’s record for the longest wheelie. And yes the front wheel barley touches the ground at this point. I have thoughts of dumping a bunch of stuff, but I just know the moment I do is the moment when I’ll most need that which has been dumped.

Rode South toward Bursa. Short ride. 150 miles. Not bad. Decent “wring out”. From which I determined I need to do some different packing – although I caution myself to not over-cook this – but I also figure everything will “find its place” in time and a system will define itself.

Bent one of my boxes which caused a seam to pop open and of course Helge-the-taskmaster laid into me with a verbal tirade that nearly caused the gendarmes to arrive. Just kidding, the man is a master and in seconds flat rigged his special patented rock-with-strap silicone masterpiece. I of course was sworn to secrecy on its design so can not further explain. We shall hope it holds as there is the threat of rain tomorrow.

I must get to bed. Now where’s that rain gear?


Friday, May 6, 2005

(Photos courtesy of John LaChapelle)

07 MAY 2005 - Bursa, Turkey

From: Sterling Noren

Sent: Saturday, May 07, 2005 9:27 PM

To: Silk Road Live!Journal



It seems like this morning was two or three days ago. That’s how much has been happening. With the first day of riding completed the pace of the tour has picked up... and what a day it was.

Getting out of the hotel this morning in Istanbul was easy for everyone except Hans who managed to have an altercation with a taxi cab. I filmed everyone riding past the famous Blue Mosque on the way out of town. After a short ferry ride across the Sea of Marmora to Yalova, the riding started in earnest with nice Turkish twisties served up with a side of mountain views and the sea below us. I am riding in the van, or chase vehicle, with Gerissa, Judy and our driver Guneyt.

Descending through small rural villages brought us to the town of Iznik for lunch. This city is well known as one of the important points for Christianity in that it was the location of the Nicean Creed. After lunch, Bud and Judy joined us for a stop at the Iznik Foundation’s tile factory. Many of the beautiful tiles in the Blue Mosque came from this region and the original tile making techniques are still being practiced by these modern day artists.

Just before reaching our hotel the tour van was rear-ended by a large truck and we were all jolted pretty hard by the force. Fortunately, our big Mercedes had a lot of strength and absorbed a lot of the impact, but the rear door sustained pretty bad damage. No one was injured too badly, just sore backs and necks. We transferred our things to the hotel van while our driver sorted things out with the local police.

As soon as I arrived at the hotel in Bursa, a little tired and shaken, there was a cab waiting to take David and Perry into town to visit the local Silk Bazaar, where silk cocoons are traded during the season. An ancient stop on the Silk Road, this bazaar has been operating since the 5th century and it’s known as the Stock Market of silk cocoons.

Hopping directly into the taxi cab to go film silk cocoons right after the ordeal with the van and a long day of other interesting things felt pretty surreal to say the least. And then I remembered that that’s how it was on the World Tour three years the events stack one on top of the other and every day seems more amazing than the last. When I look back at the footage I have shot so far I realize that I am not really has been a feast of the wonderful, the sublime and a touch of many other delights.

This evening we had a special dinner in a rustic and exotic restaurant next to the hotel in Bursa. We planned on indulging ourselves in Turkish baths but were all too tired to do that. Imagine - being too worn out to take a Turkish bath! Besides, I had more footage to log before bed. And thus the journey beings, only one day on the road and so much has happened.


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