2019-04-25 Day 210 Thu

Left camp at about 11:30 and traveled towards a canyon going via a narrow valley.

We stopped to take photos and while john was waiting he looked out his window into the water on the track and noticed two turtles - about 4cm long in a mud puddle.
Houses in disrepair are quite common

We drove through some more very fertile valleys. Some of the crop was already going to seed and others about to be planted. Paddocks are very small and numerous as are the little tractors.

The tractors are not only used in the fields but are often seen in the towns. I guess they are doing their shopping!!

We are seeing stork nest again but now with the stork sitting on eggs. Some small villages can have a nest on every power pole! The sparrows enjoy hanging around and maybe living there too.

With spring there are a lot of flowers so am enjoying taking some closeups.

This is the second playground we have seen in small villages. It is plonked down amongst the gravel and close to the road on the outskirts of town. No soft fall here!!

We followed this lake (Obruk Reservoir or Kizilirmak river) and stopped for a bite of lunch overlooking it.
The bigger towns seem to have many new large apartment buildings sitting empty.


In one larger towns (Corum) we thought to have EC greased. Stopped at one place and they said further along then at a shop next door we looked for a latch for our steps and found one. They couldn’t find a fan though but they did have ours spinning sometimes…. 
The guy jumped on his bike and took us to a another oil shop who then made a phone call. Guy #1 left and guy #2 was followed until he finally stopped and we waited. 5 mins later a van pulled up - a mobile grease unit with compressor and all. Job done thoroughly for A$10.
And we were away again. 
Found a camp site looking down over the town of Ortakoy and a big Turkish flag a little further along the track.
We were going to do the washing but seemed too hard so left it till morning. John cooked a stir fry outside on the camp stove.


2019-04-24 Day 209 Wed

A good day. We got back into town and arrived at the Iranian embassy. It took 5 mins to pick up the visas then we drove the short distance to the Turkmenistan embassy. The problem we had here was to try and choose the day for crossing. Deciding on the first week of June we handed in our application, drove to the bank and paid the US$10 Visa fee and returned our receipts to the embassy. There will be a US$200+ cost at the border.

We then headed back to the big shopping centre for lunch and more research on the stoves combustion fan. We found a few possibilities in Turkey but will await final reply’s on the road.

With Ankara behind us we headed NE turning onto white roads as soon as possible.

Old grave sites are common. Now I realize why they are call head stones!

 NO "soft fall" here!

In one village we stopped to chat to a couple of women and one didn’t stop talking. I, assume she was asking us, were we married, where were we going etc. John showed her the Australian map and with permission got this lovely photo…

Late in the afternoon the herds are returned to the towns where they stay overnight. This herd had a large group of buffalo tagging along at the end - the first we had seen here.

Drove through heavily farmed land some with the crop 1 foot high, some paddocks still being plowed, and all stages in between.
Some roads were better than others

Found a lovely camp site on a rise above the road. One car came past. After our big lunch just had some bread and dried fruit for dinner.


2019-04-23 Day 208 Tue

We filled the hot water cylinder with a straight vinegar sucking it in via the external water supply and running the outside shower on hot. So it is a slightly stronger solution but we have no idea of the strength of the vinegar anyway.

It was difficult to stay off the main roads. The main roads run towards Ankara (NW) and the little white ones go between them NE so cannot use them much. After we crossed our outward bound track we ended up on freeway. So made some mileage turning off onto a white to find a great camp. 

The original bridge over the river Kizilirmak which is now dammed.

We are seeing more and more livestock. Normally with at least 2 herders sometime 3 with a few dogs and the odd mule to ride. I assume the extra guys are to keep the stock off of the crops. The dogs are for protection of the herd and don't seem to be "working" dogs.

Wonderful peaceful rural scene from our camp site.
Surely this mole must of had problems with all the rocks. Although he did keep a pretty straight track!
On the way up the hill we stopped at one of the cisterns and filled up the water tanks running the outside hot water to get rid of the vinegar. Just 20km from our first Ankara camp and on the same road. So at least we know most of the track down to the embassy.


2019-04-22 Day 207 Mon

A little different driving out. The ground was a little harder and the fence post not so terrifying!
We drove on to Uchisar and walked around the town looking at the amazing underground ”houses” and strange rock formations. We spent our time off the tourist path and saw some great sites.

Then to Capodocia. We wondered up through the ruins of underground houses to the open air museum. 
We decided not to join the throng of tourists at the museum. Were interested to enter the church but had to return uphill to get the ticket so didn’t bother.

We noticed some travelers pushing their tandam bicycle up the hill. John joined in the push.
At the top we had a chat. A Swiss couple heading for China, on a bamboo framed bike!. We hope to see them again on our travels.

We walked back down a gorge which was really neat. But the water had entered a couple of “buildings” washing them out. 
We left the very tourist place. I am glad we had a good look at the “houses” in Tatlarin.

Back towards Ankara. We need to be close by tomorrow night.

Found a hill again and camped on unused/un-farmed land.

John managed to get a photo of this retreating fox. The first we have seen for a while.


 Camp site

2019-04-21 Day 206 Sun

No tea and no shower - water is not flowing!!!! An inch of new snow underfoot. I did manage to get my hair wet though!!
We traveled through wet/snowy farm land and are seeing more of these old grave stones.
We came across these natural caves that had been lived in and extended. One had a chimney up through 2m of rock well sand stone.


Hunger getting the better of us we stopped at Ortakoy for one of our best lunches. Was really tasty.

Although heading for Cappodocia - we found these underground houses first at Tatlarin. We walked up and explored them. John then climbed up the “ladder“ hole and explore the second floor. We then drove a short way to the signposted “Underground town” and were let into two churches which still had Frescos in quite good condition. The “guide” told us to go to another door and we explored a little of the underground “town” Which was probably a monastery or garrison complex. There was a room with burial crypts built into the walls from Roman times and store rooms. 100m long passage ways which was not lit so did not venture down. Quite a big area. 2 toilets, which had the catching area below for the fertilizer to be removed.

Once again finding a camp was challenging. John chose a hill top via a track which led past an military compound. The problem being, apart from the snow and rain, the farmer had sowed over parts of the track which made it rather soft, and that the army compound fence had concrete poles with the angle section pointing out at about cab window height so if we were to go sideways….

Anyway john got us up past the compound then the track took on a bit of a camber so we drove onto a bit of unused ground and parked for the night. No visit from the army.


2019-04-20 Day 205 Sat

A quiet night. A little cool as we are at 850m but much lower than Ankara’s camp at 1500m.

John put the kettle on for morning tea and it did not start. He did the normal wriggle of wires but still nothing then we realized that the light was a 2 flash which happens to be combustion fan. Then we noticed that the fan was making a very different noise. Cleaned the fan and finally got my coffee.

We had an interesting day now that we are away from big towns and pavement. The small town of Keskin was very friendly with people greeting us with big smiles. I found a vodafone place (not a shop exactly) and purchased 6GB of data for 40TL about AU$10. We asked in a supermarket where to buy bulk vinegar, they gave us a name and vague direction and off we went. We eventually found 5lt bottles of grape vinegar - which should clean the calcium that must be building up again in our heater. Our pot, just from boiling tea water of a morning, has a thick covering that is scrubbed off every day.

We cannot find a hook for the steps we really just need a strong hook to hang one's coat on.
Back across the free way onto white roads, these were all sealed. Quiet a few black clouds hanging around and the forecast for thunder storms.

Little white soft flakes were landing on the windscreen and we realize that it was not rain in the clouds but snow.
Just out of one small village we passed a big man on a little donkey riding down hill. At the bottom we stopped to take some photos and the guys working in a paddock walked over. 

We got out to chat then were invited back to the truck for a yarn and chai.

They lit the fire and put a well used billy on to boil. It was cold so one of the guys got a jacket out of the truck for me.

We learnt through sign language that the boss man owned the paddock with the crop in it that we had been photographing and the one that was presently being seeded with chickpeas was owned buy someone or the village we had come through. They split the crop 50/50.

The guy on the donkey made it down through the paddocks.
We finally had tea and they reheated very thin sheets of bread on a bushy branch over the fire sprinkled on crumbly cheese and gave to me. I wanted to share with john but one was forced on him too. Such hospitality. 

Snow flakes blew past every now and again. The tractor came back for a refill of seeds. I went back to EC for 4 kangaroos but two guys drove out and the boss man was on the tractor. John brought the last guy over for a look. I gave him the roos and explained one each so I hope they all got one. I handed back the jacket and we left.

This guy had about 50 milking cows out for their daily food. When we drove by he wanted us to take his photo - so here he is so pleased with Life!!

We passed through lots of herds of animals heading back home for the night. In one town the 4 calves took off with the herder chasing. John and I got out to help. A fun time.

There is also many acres having these irrigation line put in with large mains running down the edge of the road. Not sure whether they will be planting a different crop or like most places it is becoming drier.


By 5pm and we still had 80km’s to go, but most of the roads were sealed and in reasonable condition.
At the top of a pass at about 1440m we turned onto a little track to perch up above the road. A great view down over another lake and farmland. Karasenir dagi

John was all set to cook a curry for dinner, we felt it prudent to start the stove before he prepared anything - and just as well - no joy. We cleaned the electrics, and john braved the falling snow/cold and wind to get the compressed air hose. With the engine we gave it a good blast of air catching some of the burnt dust etc from within. Clean air in the fan and black stuff out the exhaust. Still failed.
One thing we did learn is that when the high altitude button is pressed, the fan starts……...and then when the go button is pressed nothing else happens no lights or anything. Turn the high altitude button off and it tries to start. Something wrong somewhere but doesn't really appear to be only the fan. So a cold dinner of bits and pieces and a tin of salmon.
At least the heater is working. Forecast for -5℃ tonight.