2009/09/13: Old Terraces Camp 61 km
We rode westward from Beysehir around the south end of the lake. The weather further north looked threatening, so we headed southwest on back roads through the mountains. We came to a place where a culvert was being installed and a trench had been dug across the road making it impassible to motorized vehicles. We looked at our options for pushing our bikes around the trench, but were being cautious of the plants we’d learned were responsible for our recent rash of punctures. The surrounding meadow was full of them.
One of the road crew, a hulking specimen, came over, lifted my fully-loaded bike onto his shoulder, and negotiated the loose earth of the trench. Perhaps spurred on by our effusive thanks, he went back for Chris’s loaded bike, which was quite a bit heavier. We could see the sweat dripping off his face as he carried it. We made a ceremony of presenting him with a Canadian flag pin, while his workmates cheered and clapped for him.
The going was slower than we’ve been used to lately, but the scenery and the quiet made it well worthwhile. We rode up into a landscape of rock crags and twisted old pines. We passed the remains of shepherd camps which had recently been left as flocks had been moved to the valleys. We saw one gypsy camp, still occupied. Reaching a pass at 1,800 m, we descended into the mist, still on gravel. Still quite high, but with arms and hands stiff from braking, We camped on an area that was terraced, and we assume had once been cultivated.
2009/09/14: Kozolu River Camp 56 km
Continuing slowly down the rough road, we stopped for Coke in a village. The cafe owner brought us a plateful of grapes and figs from his garden, and showed us where to fill our water bottles at a spring. We hadn’t yet glimpsed the Mediterranean, but we could feel the change in climate and we noticed the change in plant species. The humidity is very high here, but the good part is that we think we’ve seen the last (for now) of the tire-eating plants.
We stopped for lunch when we saw that someone had dammed a stream to make a swimming hole, and several welcome dips were taken. When we entered the Koprulu Kanyon, it was culture shock to see tour buses. This was our introduction to “The Turkish Riviera.” Stopping for cold drinks, various pitches were made to sell us rafting adventures. We tried to explain that we’d had enough of our own adventures and were in the market for comfortable lodging and good food. Continuing past several “rafting bases” which had loud music blaring, we found a secluded campsite by the river. I swam again, and we could hear water sounds as we fell asleep.
2009/09/15: Antalya 87 km
2009/09/16: In Antalya
We got going early, stuffing a very soggy tent. The dew was heavy by the river. We reached the Mediterranean coastal road, and left it again to reach Aspendos, a well-preserved Roman theatre that has been restored so as to be used. We strolled around the ruins on the hill behind it, prior to continuing on our way.
The road into Antalya was a road to get us there, but it didn’t have much to redeem it. I entertained myself by grabbing onto the back of a pick up truck that was moving only a little faster than I was. I’d made eye contact with the driver who was, for some reason, going slowly. Chris said he thought the driver, an old man, “fancied” me but I think he had motor trouble. Balancing while holding on to the truck was tricky. I’ve always been nervous about attempting this, and remain nervous having done it. The driver blew me a kiss after I’d hitched the ride. He also offered to load our bikes into his truck for a ride to Antalya, an offer we declined. Perhaps he did “fancy” me.
In Antalya we found a pansiyon, and the usual round of laundry, tent-airing, and washing ensued. We met a very interesting Canadian family, from Toronto but resident in Istanbul, who’ve given us pointers on the road immediately ahead. We also digested the various comments on our “Plan A” and made an updated route.