From Moscow to Georgia and Turkey - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-20-2016, 01:50 PM Thread Starter
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Arrow From Moscow to Georgia and Turkey

I have decided to make a short review of our trip to Georgia and Turkey on May 2015. Excuse me in advance for probable mistakes. English is a foreign language for me

That is an overview of the whole trip. Don’t forget about English subtitles.

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Our group consisted of 4 motorcycles. Sometimes one or two guys joined us for a while, but permanent group was:

- Yamaha Super Tenere 1200

- Suzuki V-strom 650 1 gen

- Suzuki V-Strom 650 2 gen

- Kawasaki Versys 650

We met each other early in the morning on gas station near Moscow, connected our Scala Riders, discussed rules and order and started at 6 o’clock. We faced a first trouble in 3 hours. One of V-stroms dried There were 320 kilometers between gas stations and it didn’t reach it. Thanks to big side coffers and a strong wind fuel consumption was about 6.5 L/100km. (39 mpg).
Fortunately, we had a pipe with a pump and Versys and Super Tenere shared some gas.



Our first night we spent in tents. That was my first "tent experience".



To the end of the second day, we arrived at Vladikavkaz and stayed in a hotel to wash ourselves and charge all our gadgets. It’s the nearest city to Georgian border. At the end of the route, we’ve ridden through 6 police posts and we were stopped to check at every post. It was a legacy of Chechen war. That region is still not very safe.



By the way, during our short riding through Ingushetia (Ingush Republic) black Mercedes outran us and when it was near me (I was the first in our column) driver put his hand with a pistol out of the window, shot three times into the air and drove away. Be believed it was some kind of a greeting or respect.


Our aim was to get to Georgia as fast as we could and not to hurry at all in Georgia. To enjoy riding, watching interesting places and relax. So first two days we were riding about 800-900 kilometers per day.
On a third day we had to cross Russian-Georgian boarder. And the only road where it’s possible to officially cross a border is the Georgian Military road - 212 kilometers between Vladikavkaz and Tbilisi. The road is picturesque and it includes asphalt pavement with unsurfaced parts because of mudflow, serpentine with long dark tunnels in the mountains and straight speedy roads on plains. The highest point of the road is 2379meters. There was a lot of snow in the mountains at the end of April.



Unfortunately, we gave up an idea to reach a very beautiful Church, as the rocky road was impassable for our motorcycles. I can only show you someone’s pictures to understand the beauty.



It was the first serpentine in my life and Versys allowed me to enjoy it very much! I said to my team that I’ll ride faster and left them behind. By the way, I had the softest suspension adjustment for more comfort.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-20-2016, 01:51 PM Thread Starter
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We had a perfect lunch in a café on the road. Traditional Georgian cuisine is extremely delicious! Hinkali, self-made cheese, fresh fish, vegetables and bread were on our table. And it costed about $4 for a person if I’m not mistaken.



We found a tiny gest house in Tbilisi. Parked motorcycles in a courtyard and spent the rest of the day in a restaurant.



Next day till 2 o’clock we enjoyed Tbilisi. Guys went to famous Tbilisi sulfur baths. I had a short ride around neighborhood and walked up to the ancient Narikala fortress established in the 4th century. There was a nice view to the city from that point.



After lunch, we moved to Akhmeta Municipality, which is famous for its wine production. We expected this curvy road to be exciting for riding and it was!


I adjusted the suspension to the hardest settings and my bike changed! I had to accustom myself to new behavior. Versys is not a sport bike of course but I enjoyed handling and acceleration very much.

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-20-2016, 01:52 PM Thread Starter
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There is an oldest 900-years tree in Telavi town.



After that we had a winery tour with wine degustation. Bought 5 bottles of a perfect Georgian wine and went to find a place for a night stay near the river. During riding on grass, I drifted a bit and of course fell down
The place I fell down was very picturesque and we decided to stay there.



To be continued…
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-20-2016, 04:46 PM
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-21-2016, 12:26 AM
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Great pictures and a good story so far! I'm interested to see where you went in Turkey.

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-21-2016, 12:42 AM
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WoW... Nice trip. Dyakayu
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-21-2016, 02:22 PM
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...Bought 5 bottles of a perfect Georgian wine and went to find a place for a night stay near the river. During riding on grass, I drifted a bit and of course fell down
The place I fell down was very picturesque and we decided to stay there....
I HOPE you did NOT break your 5 bottles of wine....

(Or did you "drift a bit and fall down" AFTER drinking them...?)


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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-21-2016, 03:28 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fasteddiecopeman View Post
I HOPE you did NOT break your 5 bottles of wine....

(Or did you "drift a bit and fall down" AFTER drinking them...?)
Unfortunately we broke one bottle next day because of off-road riding. V-strom's coffer and all the stuff smelt delicious

We didn't drink before riding usually but that day on winery we tasted different kinds of wine and didn't notice how we drank 5 bottles!

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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-21-2016, 05:52 PM
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G'day (Australian for hi there). Awesome video, photos and story.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-22-2016, 02:55 PM Thread Starter
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Next morning we moved to a very exciting place. The village Omalo is largely isolated from the rest of Georgia for most of the year. The only access road is through the Abano pass at 2850 meters (9350ft). It is the highest drivable mountain pass it the Caucasus. Due to high attitude and snowy winters, the pass is closed from mid-October till the end of June. The damaged road surface allows only 4x4 cars to go through.

It was very interesting how people live in such isolation. There is no central electricity there (only gas generators or solar batteries), no organized food supply. Inhabitants provide themselves on their own.

The road to Omalo is about 70 km (43.5mile) length. BBC called it one of the most dangerous roads in the world. We realized actually that we wouldn’t be able to reach Omalo at the end of April because of the snow in the mountains but we decided to try to ride as far as we could.

At the very beginning of the road there is a road sign that only all-wheel drive vehicles are allowed to drive. That sign was only in Georgian and we couldn’t understand the meaning

First kilometers were pretty good. Gravel pavement allowed riding rather fast and enjoying the scenery. We met a flock of sheep and Julia asked to stop. She dreamed of caressing it )))



During her endless attempts I came to two teenagers who looked after the flock to ask them if it was possible to ride to Omalo. One of the them replied that he did not speak Russian but did speak English. I was really surprised. But his English was poor. He could only say “impossible”.



In 10-15 minutes we met a car driver and later a group of builders who told us that the road was closed but it didn’t stop us. After that the pavement became worse. Several kilometers later one of V-stroms stopped and fell down near the steep. Fortunately on the left side.



We helped our mate to pick it up. A little bit later Yamaha rider stopped and didn’t manage to hold it. Super Tenere pressed the passenger foot. I heard via Scala Rider girl’s scream and ran to help them. Luckily her foot was not broken. One of the guys said it was enough and we wouldn’t move further. That upset me very much. I said I want to ride a lit bit more and asked my friends to wait me for half an hour.



We made few photographs there but all video cameras worked all the time. So you may watch this movie to see the scenery and the quality of pavement.

No Video

I hope I’ll return there once and get to that village. Abano pass is very beautiful!



When I returned in 30 minutes my group had already cooked lunch. And there was a dog! I’ve no idea where did it came from. There were at least 15 kilometers to nearest house. The rest of the day we spent to get back to Tbilisi suburbs and found а guest house.



The result of our off-road riding was Yamaha's broken spoke, broken rear damper adjuster and broken wine bottle. )))

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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-22-2016, 04:53 PM
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Looks like you guys had a great time. Thanks for sharing the adventure with us!
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-05-2016, 06:57 AM Thread Starter
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Part 3

Next morning we tried to find a spoke for Yamaha to replace. Local dealer had no spokes. Fortunately there was another group of travelers from Russia in Tbilisi who had a spoke kit (Yamaha doesn’t sell them separately, only a kit for whole rim). By the way they also had problems with one of their bikes. Honda Transalp had its chain master link broken.

While waiting I noticed an interesting feature of Georgian “architecture”. Anyone can increase their living area by any means. People usually build a “room-balcony” and houses look very funny.

That day we had to move to Batumi. It’s the second city in Georgia after its capital and it’s located at the seashore. Almost the whole day it was raining. That day we had our first conversation with Georgian cops. I outstripped a slow moving car in the same lane (without moving on a counter side of the road) as usual. It’s not prohibited in Russia. The cop saw it and stopped us as in Georgia it’s a violation. But he didn’t fine us, just told us not to do it again.

We had not enough time to reach Batumi. It was getting dark and we decided to find a place for overnight stay in Ureki that is 50 km from Batumi. With the help of local residents we found a nice place right at the seaside. We shared our dinner with a couple of dogs what protected our camp all night from cows walking everywhere.



Next day while riding to Batumi I noticed my Versys handled very strange. Checked the tire pressure and it was very low in rear one.



We left motorcycles and spent half a day walking about a city. As Batumi is a center of Adzharia we decided to taste famous Adzharian khachapuri in local restaurant.



During our lunch we discussed our further direction. We had to return to Tbilisi via Borjomi and there were 2 ways:

- Use the same road we came here

- Use Trans-Adzharian road.


Nobody wanted to return the same way. But Trans-Adzharian road is about 160 km and 50 of them is off-road riding. We decided that we had already enough off-road yesterday.
There was actually the third way via Turkey. Twice longer than Trans-Adzharian but looked pretty good on map and we decided to try it.



After lunch we bought a 500GB usb hard drive for videos and a lot of tobacco for a pipe. Looked like a drug sh...t ))

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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-05-2016, 06:58 AM Thread Starter
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Batumi is a very contrast city. New modern buildings abut semi-destroyed ones.


Looked at the city from a funicular. We expected a great view from the highest point but it was too foggy and we saw nothing.


At 5 p.m. we left Batumi. Our plan was to find a place for a night stay not far from the Georgian-Turkey border and early in the morning pass through it and ride the whole Turkey route in one day. We spent about an hour for searching but couldn’t find anything suitable for tents. So we changed a plan and passed through the border hoped to find anything in Turkey.

About our adventures in Turkey I’ll write in next part.

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