In the morning after camping at Tirebolu (I think the campground was here) we packed up the tents then noticed some rain on the horizon. We headed west again and it didn't take long before we hit some light rain. Not too bad and everything was dry again after riding through the clearer weather for a while.
Along this coast road there are a lot of foreign motorbikes and cars. I've seen a lot from the Netherlands, Germany, and France. Some Turkish riders and also one from Russia. There was a big group of Italian riders leaving Sumela Monastery too (but they had a support van following them so they don't count). We're no longer an odd sight on the road (well, Drew is...).
The highway along the coast is all about tunnels. They seem to put them everywhere they can. At one point the road turns away from the coast for a while and cuts through some hills. No really, right through them. The longest tunnel in that section was 3.8km, but then there were a few other tunnels immediately after it of 800 meters or so. Very strange for what seems like a minimal amount of traffic. Once the road turned back the coast the rain started again, but a lot heavier this time.
We took shelter in a petrol station and I put on my wet weather gear, Drew sadly lacking any for now. We waited out the rain for a while and once it looked lighter we left, but it wasn't actually that light at all. I've since learnt that the waterproof layer for my gear has a tear in the crotch which left a nice trail of cold rain running from the groin area into my boots. And also that my waterproof tank bag is no longer that waterproof, and that my waterproof gloves are able to hold a lot of water inside. All this gear worked perfectly back in Australia which was the last time I really needed it.
After suffering through the rain for we were passing through a nice town called Ünye (from what we could see through the rain), and after riding through a lot of water pooling in the streets we started looking for a place to stay. There are a couple of places with bungalows right on the beach but they were charging 140-170Lira a night ($70-85AU) and a big hotel on the beach that was apparently $100US/night. We were informed outside of the big hotel that there was a smaller red hotel just further up the road that charged half that, excellent. We went up there and got a room for 100Lira! Seems to be the going rate here in Turkey for an average room (well above the standards of some countries though). The room was small but it OK for a night, and then a second night to let things dry properly.
Ünye seems like a small town but there were a lot of people about. Not much English is spoken however. We found a small place next to the main square that looked quite popular, we pointed at what other people were getting and made some gestures to get one too. It was just a round flat bread with tomato/olive paste on it cooked like a pizza in a wooden oven, then they put a small amount of salad on it and some lemon juice, wrapped it up and then it was handed to us. No idea what it was called but they were selling a lot of them. People seemed to order two or three wrapped together but we only managed to get a single one rolled up. And all for 50cents. An older man sitting outside the place kept trying to talk to us, but no one had a common language. Later on there was a turkish guy who had been living in New York for a while, he helped translate at an ice cream shop for us! Also the taxi drivers in this town are insane. I thought I had feared for my life in Indian tuk tuks.
|Ünye at night|
|A bit more of Ünye|
After everything was dry it was time to head off again. We passed through Samsun which is the largest city on the coast. There we found a motorbike shop and Drew managed to get waterproof pants, and I found that the reason my indicator wasn't working was because the connections have been corroded. The bulb was perfectly fine and I didn't need to buy another. We also found a McDonalds in Samsun!
We followed the coast road all the way to Sinop where we stayed at the Marti Campground about 6km out of the town and near the airport. The sign said there was a restaurant, but through some sort of English amd hand gestures we found out that the cook had not arrived or had missed the bus and they didn't know where he was. So we set back out to find a shop and get some food for the night. You should note however that red capsicum paste is not an acceptable substitute for tomatoes for use as a sauce on pasta. The campground did have beer though!
|The road north of Samsun.|
|Some stars from the campground.|
|Sinop in the distance.|
The next day we set off along the coast road again. The intention was to find a place to camp off the road for free, however my insides were possibly going bad and I elected for a hotel in Inebolu instead. And a decent one right on the beach (a rocky beach) too. Only $24 each with breakfast!
|Some potential rain in the distance.|
|A small beach.|
|The town of Gülzelkent|
|The road towards Türkeli|
|Over the edge of the road closer to Inebolu|
|More of the road towards Inebolu|
We'll keep following the coast for a few more days and camping where possible. Then I guess we have to make a day of navigating in to Istanbul.