Georgia on My Mind.

Georgia

We have a short day planned today with just 2o6 km to Batumi Georgia. This gives us lots of time since there is the border to deal with and a 1 hour time change.

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The ride was pretty uneventful. We did stop for a quick power wash after the rain and mountain roads. We again passed several hundred trucks on the way.

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We arrived at a good time as the line was short. There were 2 buses ahead of us, but after the first check point where they ask for your passport and vehicle registration the one bus let us in front of him.

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You then proceed to Turkish customs to get an exit stamp.

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Dan was pushing his bike slowly as the line moved. Just before the agent his side stand caught on a metal grate and the bike pulled away from him and fell onto Sara knocking her over. No harm done to her, but the 800’s windscreen was cracked into 4 pieces. We all picked the bikes and the plastic pieces up and handed the passports for the exit stamp.

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From here you ride to the Georgia check point where they record your plate. You proceed to the next line for customs. here they want your passport and registration. Insurance is not mandatory here and they does not seem to be anywhere to buy it. There is no procedure for TVIP for the bikes.

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The town is a short 19 km away, where we had booked a hotel just off the main road. Prices and about half of Turkey here. Georgians may be even worse drivers than the Turkish! We arrived to the hotel, checked in and got washed up.

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We were starved and headed out to eat.

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This is a very interesting city with all kind of flashy buildings and a very nice waterfront.

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At night they had light shows and fountains timed to music.

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Today’s plan is to head east on the old lower road to Borjomi. Google says the 212 km will take 8 hours.

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The first 81 km to Khulo is paved , but with a lot of live stock on the road and of course quite a few crazy Georgian drivers.

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The road deteriorates for the next 60 km. The unpaved section had it all steep up and downs, switchbacks, river and wash out crossings, and mud. Mix in with this Georgian drivers and cows… there is a real challenge.

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The road goes up over the mountains and past a “ski resort”.

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The last  60 km or 25 km from Akhalsikhe is again paved.  Just after we hit the paved road we has a stop at a small 9 th century Monastery. All we had to eat was some jam from Bulgaria and some cream crackers, but they tasted great. We made friends with some of the local kids.

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From here we rode onto the fortress at Akhalsikhe.

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Now it was after 6 and we still had  50 km to get to Borjomi where we had a guest house booked. When we road up the host was outside to great us and usher us into the parking area. We had the top floor of a house with 2 room, a sitting room, and kitchen. Still since it was now 8 pm we headed to a local restaurant for some Khinkali (dumplings) and chkmeruli (traditional Georgian dish of chicken in garlic cream sauce), and some not so “dry” Georgian wine. The guys stayed up too late with some local brandy as well so were a bit foggy in the morning.

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We had a very comfortable night in Rosanna’s home. We stopped on the way out of town for some breakfast and then some gas.

The  plan today is for 243 km to Zugdidi unfortunately on the main  roads, but we did do a small dirt detour.

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We checked into another guest house Qiri in a lovely old house. It is nice to have your bedroom, but also use of a lounge. The owner is extremely helpful and the place very clean and nice. We walked into the town and found some arm long Schwarma for 4 dollars.  Then we walked over to the “palace”. I did the laundry and of course as soon as I hung it up to dry the clouds rolled in. We did a bit of a tour of the town and saw the only “sight” the Palace.  It did pour all night as well.

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