Offroad through Western Anatolia
(Red. Jochen) We come in the south of Turkey often in the embarrassment to be on natural roads on the way. But what does embarrassment mean, these are wonderful tidbits!
Only the Turks, who want or are supposed to show us the way, warn us and generally send us in a direction where there is a well-built road that allows a brisker pace of movement.
Nobody can understand it, if we drive then nevertheless into the direction, of which they claim, the road is there to end. It never ended (at least not where the Turks wanted us to believe), but continued as a gravelled path through the often barren, but mostly beautiful landscape.
Shortly before Antalya (we definitely spare ourselves this big city) we turn north – off into the mountains. Even after a relatively short time, the landscape promises to be varied moving forward. Two nice small reservoirs (two with the same name, which differ only by Nr. 1 and no. 2 different from each other) are right next to the road. "Steffi" thinks we have to turn left into the mountains in the middle of this lake. Not quite true, but the turnoff comes after another two kilometers of driving time. The road leads up in comfortable curves. The surface is no longer as grippy as on the main road (a lot of grit), but can be managed well by balancing the entire load.
In the middle of the pampas
(Red. Elke) We decide to do it "Steffi" despite their rough maps to hand over the power of action over our further travel route. This was the best decision of the whole tour! Away from the big roads, through small to smallest villages, pure country life, partly short gravel passages in the middle of the village.
Tractor meeting points (we assume in the middle of the village square. We stop in a nameless village under one of the millions of Atatürk monuments that exist in Turkey and get our bearings with the map.
Not far from us at a farm they wave us to them. We are asked to sit on the cushions at the house wall and supplied with coke. Holla! No tea? Is it a special honor to be served coke instead of tea?? In any case I like the coke better than the black tea. In Germany I do not drink both. But you don't want to refuse every invitation. With hands and feet (and map) we explain our itinerary.
Here again we notice a phenomenon: If you show a map section of an area you are moving in to a Turk, he unfolds the map completely and then returns to the map section with his eyes and fingers. He can not orientate himself in the large area. He may know how to get to the next larger town, but where to go from there is of no interest. One does not come out of the Kaff. The whole family gathers. A young girl tries her hand at some English mini-questions. But already at our answer she has to admit mostly shrugging her shoulders that she doesn't understand the answer.
Salda Gölü – see in the middle of lonely mountains
The route leads us in between again and again through wonderfully untouristy, but scenically very worth seeing areas. So we reach sometime in the west Anatolian inland the lake area (Göller Bölgesi) near Burdur and Isparta.
The most beautiful lake up there is the Salda Gölü. Turquoise blue in front of a graceful mountain scenery! And white beach. At first we think we are standing at a salt lake and that the white on the beach is salt: but smell and taste are not quite right.
The water tastes rather chalky (women have to put everything in their mouths, right?)? ;-)) and the white looks like lime mud. Now (thanks to internet ;-)) we know, it is not a salt lake. Mineral lake is probably the better name. It contains mainly soda and magnesium and the deposits on the shore are therefore magnesium salts. We do not see bathers or vacationers. We park at a hotel to walk down to the beach, but also this hotel looks deserted.
And at some point our dear "Steffi" says: "There you have to turn to Mugla!" The road runs after relatively short time (at least from the tar surface) in the sand. Oha, this becomes a slope again! In the villages the people don't quite understand what is coming and what they have lost here. But no matter "Steffi knows its way around here – she has been here before. Pure gravel. But since it is a signposted connecting road, the size of the gravel is kept within limits. It is fun to enjoy the landscape like this. It is already late in the afternoon. Time seems to be a bit short for us, as it gets dark relatively fast here in these latitudes.
Hand painted Mugla signs
(Red. Jochen) | The first river crossing is approaching. Extremely unspectacular, but just a water crossing. Oh, that is wonderful! These are exactly the situations you dream of 340 days a year. Then the time has come and after a few moments of getting wet boots and shiny eyes, we can dream again for 340 days!
The road is gravelled (oh!) first through hilly terrain and then through an extensive forest area with numerous ups and downs. The highlight is the gorge, which follows a river course for a long time and which we also follow. Simply beautiful here. It is a great pleasure to drive through it comfortably (which is allowed by the remaining time until the sun disappears). This road looks relatively untraveled. A car that we encounter some time later proves that there is still a runner here from time to time.
Soothingly, a nice person has some trees at forks with hand-painted "Mugla"-Signs provided. Not every fork, but so often that we do not get bogged down with some 50:50 hit luck.
After a further curve our view falls on a somewhat deeper watercourse. This time no brook, but a for us river crossing untrained quite neat little water to put down a river crossing. To lay down is the keyword. Of course we do not intend to do that. Elke is allowed to go ahead. Testing the waterproofness of their boots. I explore the water depth and the nature of the riverbed and wade with the suitcases to the other end of the bank. The full load incl. Pillion rider seems to be a bit too heavy for this project. The water depth is about twenty centimeters. The riverbed is about eight meters wide. For die-hard endurists certainly something boring. For me, however, a real challenge, because the stones are the size of a child's head and there is a rather high step under the water on the opposite side of the river. But at these situations one grows not only fahrtechnisch.
When the lumps of tar clatter against the engine guard
Done! We are through!!! A wonderful feeling. After the bend, directly in front of us, it looks as if it goes no further. The road becomes more and more rocky and does not look like it is used very often. Elke thinks that the last turn was probably wrong – which would mean: back down the river in the opposite direction. After twenty-five kilometers of gravel road turn around? With the prospect of eventually getting lost in the sparsely marked forest? To then also spend the night here? It's getting close to evening. After a short consultation we sit again on our travel tools and hobble further. Always with the knowledge in the luggage: the GS did not get its name (terrain/road) for nothing and it proves that here.
The route continues uphill quite picturesquely with light gravel. When we pass a collection of houses in the middle of the forest, we ask ourselves: Who lives here in this poorly connected village?? The question is not answered. Has this hamlet been abandoned some time ago? In the windows are partly no more panes, on the other hand still tools and agricultural machines stand in the dugouts; from humans however no trace. No animals, no sign of any inhabited place. Strange. Logically, there is also no sign for the entrance and exit of the village. If there would have been one, we would not have found it a) on our map or our Navi anyway (much too small) and b) meets us ca. 300 m after the non-existent place exit sign the blow.
Tarred road. Looks like nougat cream in black mixed with coarse rolled chippings. Shit! On the right the rock face – on the left the mountain drops gently but inevitably. Evasion? Impossible! Three times shit!
We are prepared: after all, we read at least two or three travel reports in advance that warned of Turkish road construction. That they almost always tar the whole road width and then you have trouble with the motorcycle to cross the track without a major mess. On a diesel cleaning – so happens to an acquaintance of us – where then the brakes become unusable for three days, we had no desire. But of course we hoped it would pass us by! Pling. Pling. Pling. Pling. I hear the small stones of the rolling chippings, mixed with the tar-like gruel, clattering against the engine guard and the mudguard. Slow driving I have practiced only at the ADAC to the gassing – now I know, for what.
But we are not spared anything! It is already fascinating that a gravelled way, which turns out in the retrospect as over thirty kilometers long, in the deserted wasteland simply with this tar mush is coated. Thirteen kilometers before gravel, thirteen kilometers after gravel and in between on a wooded hilltop Pampe! No machine, no tool, no humans far and broad visibly. At some point the big bad machine will probably come. Skin centimeter-thick the coarse rolling grit on the pudding puddings. How wonderful would be here a proper load of rolling grit. Which motorcyclist has ever been happy about rolling gravel??? In any case, the part is not properly passable. At walking pace we crawl in the ruts left by passing cars in front of us, making the puddle look a bit drier. In between the road shines like freshly boiled up …
Petrus, send us cold!
We have to get this stretch behind us before night falls. After 3 km of crawling on fresh tar we have survived this nasty section safely. But nevertheless the 30 km of gravel road go down in the annals as the most beautiful part of our tours so far. At some point we leave the lonely forest area. Arrive in the next bigger town Mugla. We still drive to a hotel in Datça, visit the motorcycle meeting in the vacation center Aktur and especially the peninsula Resadiye (that in another place). After four days we leave Datça on Resadiye again to escape to the mountains, through the mountains, to Pamukkale.
From resadiye to Pamukkale
(Red. Jochen) | The warmest June days since twenty years in Turkey. Today we leave Datça. Not because we do not like it, but because it is just too warm. No, it is not warm, it is hot. Sauheiß! For this reason we leave Datça already around eight o'clock. In the hope: In the mountains it is cooler like at the arrival.
But at eight o'clock we already have 37 degrees in the shade. It is simply unimaginable. But no matter, we have decided to leave Datça and we will do so. The tour to Marmaris we know now, because we drove this way already. To be honest, we are already a bit afraid of Marmaris. This stop-and-go traffic that awaits us there. No matter, we just have to go through. We like the first traffic lights – in other words: they are green. Another is red, and then we have already made Marmaris. Before we know it, we are already out of Marmaris again. We stop to empty one of our water bottles. The temperature rises slowly but steadily. We are already one and a half hours on the road and thirsty.
Shortly after we stopped we are overtaken by a turkish BMW. Despite overtaking, he still has time to give a short honk of his horn. We still think: but he is in a hurry. Think! Hardly he is past, he stands already again beside us and asks whether we have a problem and whether we need help.
We assure him that everything is fine, he turns the throttle again and lets the clutch come relatively fast. The sporty BMW disappears as fast as it came with unmistakable boxer sound. Unbeatably friendly and helpful are the Turks, as we can convince ourselves once again live. Here and there someone honks, waves or simply greets us from the moving car.
Shortly after Akcapinar we leave the four-lane main road. Our next waypoint is Gökova. Unfortunately there are no road signs here, so it is difficult to find the right turnoff. There we do not fackeln long. Questions at the "Jandarma to. The approaching captain waves the soldiers at the entrance unmistakably to the side and must determine however fast that he has to do it with us with (the Turkish language not powerful) foreigners. He orders without further ado another Jandarmen to come, but he does not speak much better English either.
"Yes, yes" – we drive the main street (not)
The "Captain "commands" us to his office. All good things come in threes. Soon there is another "Jandarm" next to us, who then also speaks better English. Um. How do you make a probably not resident "Jandarmen" It is clear (because they are actually something like the military and may have been ordered from a distant hometown here) that you are an individual tourist and in no case the "Main Street because we are fed up with this kind of road. The still friendly "Jandarm" wants to transport us however again and again on the Mainstreet. I say to Elke (they don't understand German): "We're going to do a 'Yes, yes', get out of here and continue to search the road on our own, otherwise we'll be discussing the sense or nonsense of the ideas of individual tourists in the morning."
We drive to Steffi, respectively. At the moment after our nose. Suddenly a sign appears on the side of the road: Yerkesik. Exactly there we want to go. From here we know actually that it is probably soon end with tar. We drive on a small tarred road. I remark to Elke: "It seems to me that this is the calm before the storm!" I am right.
Slowly but steadily the gravel road spirals upwards just like the thermometer. We had actually thought, further up it would be cooler. Exactly the opposite occurs. In the meantime we have exceeded 40 degrees again. This damn thing of beak thermometer still rises. The route seems to turn into a real mountain pass, the road winds up the mountain in serpentines. We drink engine-warm water from our water bottles fixed on both sides at the height of the pillion footrests and are alone on this route. Only isolated car tire traces in the sand tell us that at least one or the other car must have strayed here before.
The BMW does its job unperturbed of all bigger boulders. It is amazing how she accelerates out of the lowest revs cleanly and smoothly. That here or there times the rear wheel spins a little bit, is not so tragic and sometimes also wanted.
We climb up to the top of this beautiful but also unspectacular gravel road. In the last third of the way there are barked tree trunks everywhere, but always in such a way that we can easily pass them.Presumably we will soon meet forest workers and their machines. This is also true. Thank God the track is wide enough to pass each other easily.
One thing becomes now slowly clear. If we complete our further way to the aimed Pamukkale according to plan, we arrive probably only tomorrow morning there. The landscape slowly changes its appearance. Fragrant pine forests all around us. Although we cannot discover any settlement for kilometers, we meet herds of goats again and again, which are accompanied by men or women, partly also by children.
These Turks will also think: they are crazy, the tourists! Especially when these crazy people come back after ten minutes But for the time being we think we are still on the Right Way. Gently curving road courses actually suggest speedy driving, because up here, in sections, road construction has been at work again. If only there were not the liquid asphalt streams running away … Better slow down and don't throw the car into the mud. Apropos dirt. We have found our turnoff.
Coarse gravel. A tire track here and there lets assume that we are on the right way. The route is marked in the Garmin-World-Map – that bodes well.
So this road, ummm track, is an important main road of this world … Or … Not… ??? It becomes more and more violent. For the BMW it seems to be a not really big problem. However the driver recognizes his limits, resp. Here I know that we should keep at least 25% reserve up to the border, in order to be able to react appropriately. The lanes become more and more sparse. The vegetation of the path more vigorous. Grass, low vegetation. Now the weeds grow partly already chest-high in the middle of the way – there something is not right! We decide to turn around in front of us. And exactly – as we "there in front" arrive, the road simply gets lost in the pampas. So the discussion about the pros has come to an end. Contra this decision anyway done. So back to the beginning.
The entrance of before is reached and we drive again on tar, although with a lot of grit (but since we have already missed the grit once at the freshly tarred road, this circumstance does not bother us at all!).
This time we decide to take a different route. This includes another gravel section, but then leads on the "Mainstreets" to benefit from the full route function to the target. We have 42 degrees. The carriage rolls. We are making rapid progress. The airstream has at least the appearance of cooling. We make rapid progress and the airstream at least has the appearance of cooling us down.
The last gravel passage for today. The entry point has been reached and the slope is once again slowly but steadily moving up the mountain. This time we are dealing with much finer gravel to sand. For the Big Turtle still no problem. After I have learned on the last passage that it is better to put the center of gravity of the machine to the inside of the curve, than to stretch out the foot stupidly, I master this distance relatively well. Elke has meanwhile also gotten used to the slightly slipping and spinning rear wheel from time to time.
The hit is a hand-painted sign that is already peeling off again. In the middle of a pine forest at a fork in the road. It's nice that we are pointed to this YataGan Is – or whatever this place is called. It's just a shame that we don't have the place on our maps. The runway is sometimes bright chimney red, sometimes bright ochre yellow. Also slate gray it shows itself short distances.
Behind us we are dragging a not insignificant plume of dust. This flag drops shortly after we encounter a timber transport consisting of a truck and a vehicle similar to a hoisting crane. This pauses briefly with his work. Let us pass. For purely "humanitarian" reasons reasons I only accelerate slowly to see the "lumberjacks" Not to be buried in dust. They will think: what are these disturbed tourists doing here?. We don't care, besides I have to keep all my concentration on the road and its condition in order not to overturn the whole box after all. I do not throw them. So we reach "solid" again Soil. So, that was the last gravel section for today. Now we are going fast. Let's put it this way, you're only allowed to drive seventy kilometers out of town on a motorcycle, unless you don't see a speed trap. Oops, what was that? Just a fully loaded bus with the inscription "Jandarma" overtakes. The speedometer needle is at 120 km/h. Well, if they don't have a "hot wire".. To the polis and are waiting for us somewhere at the next corner.
Our thermometer with the unerringly felt beak temperature is doing a great job. Shortly before Denizli it gets a medal from us. The temperature has reached 45. Record! Hot air currents waft around everywhere. If you close the chin section of the flip-up helmet, you are in danger of suffocating, if you open it, all the whiskers immediately disintegrate into pulverized dust.
Arrived at our destination Pamukkale, our BIG TURTLE should actually get a new nickname: Aardvark. The dust has crept into every crack. Man, clothes and suitcase get the much needed shower.