neděle, září 26, 2010

Long way to Persia - Part 2: ... Steady & ...

First day is easy, right? Just get my ass and all the luggage 200km to Brno to see Petr. Then we'll see what we have redundant to take only the necessary stuff. Then we'll have a sleep and leave early in the morning. At least that's the plan... But plans never succeed!
Only after about 500 meters I discover that something is not right. When i leave hold of handlebars they start to swing like mad. When i catch it back all is back to normal but something here is wrong... Tires have been changed few days ago but there was never issue like that before. What should I do? On the way to Brno there is a Touratech shop near the highway so I am going to stop for some advice. Quickly we've found out that the front rim looks damaged and only thing I need to fix the swinging of handlebars it is to remove the top case which will put the weight down. That's great to know but I need that top-case! The final solution is simple... Leave only few lightest things in topcase and hold the handlebars all the time. I got the feeling that things are screwing up from the start but I am not the one who just give up on the beginning. 

When I will get to Brno I hope to see Petr packed and ready. We'll just to have a few beers and shots of Slivovice to start the engine at 6am. We both wanted to make first 2000km quickly to be in Istanbul in 2-3days.
The reality is different after 3hours I am in Brno. First 214km of the worst highway (D1) from Prague to Tehran is behind me. Petr isn't packed yet and starts at midnight after we return from pub. Hopefully Hanka, Petr's girlfriend, was there to help with packing. And so after few hours of sleep "We are steady"...

Long way to Persia - Part 1: Get ready, ...

Months of preparations are over! Passport is valid and visa has been stamped just a few days ago at Iranian Embassy in Prague. All the luggage was packed few days prior to departure to ease off the initial stress. Now just finish all the work and hand it to my colleague David to fight it for next month... 
Some friends at work are joking that i may not come. This makes me think about what am I actually going to do. Why would somebody go to a country which is constantly presented as the most evil country in the world on news every week? What if something is going to happen when we're thousands of kilometers away in unfriendly country? There are no bank-machines which accepts European credit cards. What if we will not have enough cash to return to Turkey? What if somebody rob us?
But I am not afraid about the people. At least I am less afraid about Persians than about people in Europe. There are only two things I am afraid of before the trip. Sweaty bottom is the one and it can really make your life very unpleasant. But I am prepared for that. I have bargained a goat-fur when I was in Tunisia earlier this year. The second is much worse and harder to fight with. I am afraid of getting sleepy while driving. When I imagine driving 400-500km every day for following month I am really not sure if I can handle that without closing my eyes for not even a second. Well I have decided to go so we'll see about that. The most difficult thing about traveling is actually to make the decision to go!
New adventures are awaiting and my mind is clear to accept whatever lies ahead...

čtvrtek, června 10, 2010

Iran and back in one month

I am almost back from my motorbike trip to Iran. Just having a rest at my friend's place in Moravia region of Czech Republic before I finaly go back to Prauge. 13000 kilometers, 180hours in the saddle of my bike, 10 countries, 4 different alfabets on the way... all this happend in amazing last 4 weeks. You will not believe my stories about hospitaly of people on the way east - from Moravia to Iran. 

neděle, března 07, 2010

Tunisia: First touch of Sahara

Life is good when your dreams come true. One of mine is to ride the bike down through the Africa... To be closer to that dream i always wanted to try to visit at least either Tunisia or other north african country to test my skills in driving in desert. This winter I found some guys on the Internet who had the plan I could join. Ten days of holiday, one week in Tunisia on motorbikes sounds good enough for a winter vacation.
We took a van with trailer to get us to Genoa in Italy and then moved with ferry to Tunisia. Old ferry sails about 24hours and complicated process at the port on the other side adds couple of hours to it. Then it was still a long way to the desert. You have to ride another 500km to be closer to Sahara.
Touzer welcomed us with first touches of sandy roads and we did first off-road to see old star wars city from the time when George Lucas was filming his famous movie. Then we moved across huge salty lake without any watter (picture bellow) to Douz which is known as Gate to the Sahara. 
The adventure we're here for is to cross 110km of the desert to Ksah Gilane which is Oasis of original inhabitants - Berber's. Start was complicated due to issue with Patrik's Cagiva Elephant. We were crazy enough to continue after this first warning. But we didn't know what is Sahara about, yet! There was no marked road on the begining. Small dunes gave us a hard time but we made it to the sandy road. It was the best off-road I have done so far. Hard ground covered with 20cm of smooth sand. Once upon 30km there was a Berber's buffet in the middle of nowhere and they served only a cay and coke which you can find anywhere in the world!
It wasn't easy to navigate as there is no landmarks which you can use as reference point. Only thing which keeps you on the track is your GPS. But nothing what you can relly on as the tracks moves every day with the sand moved by wind which is allways present here. It was still about 30km to go when we reached real Dunes. Until now everything seemed possible but what lied ahead was stunning. Land full of waves like the sea but instead of watter it was filled with the mildest sand similar to dust. Following hundreds of meters were disaster! We were moving meter by meter slowly moving forward. Nobody had experience to be prepared for this. Heavy bikes became stones in our pockets while crawling the sea of sand. It took us about 3hours to do only 2 kilometers and we were all exhausted and running out of watter. We started to panic a bit and seek a place to sleep when we've seen that the time is running so fast and we're still not on the right track. 
Thanks god we've found our Angel! Angelo Luppi was an Italian guy with a 4x4 vehicle marking a route for a Marathon run which will be held here in two weeks. He was already helping three other Italian guys with motorbikes. His knowledge of desert was golden here. He guided us to oasis through the highest dunes. Some of them had about 4 meters and gave us really hard times. Nobody was sure rider here. As soon as we got one bike out of sand we've had to run to another. Last few kilometers the dark came and suddenly all looked like hell. Fortunately we we're not alone but we have underestimate the desert and it showed us how fool we were...