Day 52. Tuesday, September 19. Şebinkarahisar to a former construction yard camp. 143km of riding, with 1,562m of climbing.
I can’t resist one more photo of Şebinkarahisar, taken early this morning to give you an idea of its streets coming to life. Followed by a photo of one particulate shopkeeper, his son on his way to school, and a passer-by.
This hardware store was right across from our hotel. While I was waiting for the Dane Train to assemble for the day’s ride I had a sudden thought – what a handy place to buy an essential item I’ll need in Istanbul – a small scrubbing brush for the deep cleaning of bike, camping equipment and other gear I must do to satisfy the fierce (rightly so) biosecurity people at Auckland airport in a few weeks’ time.
And thanks to the shop owner, I accomplished that small but useful task without Google Translate or a common language.
Out on the road we continued our journey through the hills of Anatolia, with its small towns and today some lakes.
There was a very big feature, though, that we needed a geologist to point out to us. Handily, Warwick, one of our riders from Canada, is one. Last night after dinner he gave us a talk on the Anatolian Fault, caused by the Arabian and Africa plates jostling with the Eurasian plate. Causing in the process the Caucasus mountains, not to mention Turkey’s high incidence of earthquakes. He illustrated this with this whiteboard graphic.
This morning’s ride turned into a field trip with Warwick as our guide to the spectacular views we were seeing of the clash of the Earth’s crust plates. We’re standing on the Eurasian plate (the lighter brown terrain in the foreground) with the Arabian/African plates being the dark brown hills behind.
Later in the day, as we travelled on down the long valley leading to Amasya, our next rest-day town, we joined a divided highway which was a joy to ride on its gentle, long uphills and downhills on a broad, smooth shoulder with only light traffic as company.
For the first time on our long journey from Almaty, which took us in the early days within 80km of the Kyrgyzstan-China border, we saw the distance to Istanbul advertised…with this second sign below another 15km or so on down the road.
Of course, by now we’re creatures of habit. Here’s the Dane Train parked up at petrol station as we refuelled on drinks and ice creams for the last 40km of the day.
While our day’s destination didn’t sound appealing – a former construction yard for the impressive hydro-electric canal paralleling the road – it turned out to be a handy, tho, stony place to pitch our tents for the night with the noise of traffic but a distant rumble. With Istanbul now less than 800km away.