Today we are headed south on the Gulf Coast highway to Isfahan 462 km away.
Step one get out of the city, which is much easier than getting in as the highway is only about 3-4 km away. We needed to meet the guide on the street and then fend off all the people who wanted photos so we could get moving. Having a guide is still a challenge for us. We have managed to get him to let us lead and he follows on the highway. We also have convinced him not to weave in and out of traffic in the city. Reza “don’t change lanes because even if you do we will not and you will have to wait for us anyway”. Now south on the Gulf Coast Highway!
We were very quickly in the desert and the heat, but this morning it was only 28-30 initially. This means you must stop at least every hour for shade and re-hydration. This usually draws a crowd.
We made a detour in Kashan to see the famous and more than 800 year old Agha Bozorg Mosque.
The 650 had been acting up a bit again the last 2 days with hiccups, poor power, and i noticed the voltage meter was reading 14.1 instead of the usual 14.3. Leaving Kashan the hiccups became very frequent. When we pulled over to vent the tank the gas exploded out and was very hot. Lucky in the desert and with the 43 degree heat we were pulled over by a fir tree farm where we could get some shade.
Initially we hooked up the GS 911and there were no fault codes. We noted that with the last software update several functions are no longer available…actually they are there just located in a new place…like checking the fuel pump or injectors.
Step one removed side panel and vent system. It was not blocked proximal, but blocked distally. Under the seat we could see it was pinched under the frame. This done there was venting, but the bike still would not run very long. We had sent Trevor for cold fresh gas and this did not work. So fuel pump it is. Dan is smart and we happen to have one, We moved the bike to a better spot with more shade and swapped out the pump. Now Lulu is back to her old self no issues, voltage of 14.3, and lots of power. The kinked exhaust line had killed the pump trying to suck gas in a vacuum and this had drawn too much power as well.
Our guide Reza so happy as he did not think Dan could fix the bike himself!!
That wasted 90 minutes and means we will no take the planned side trip to Abeyeh village and now must go direct to Isfahan, It is another 165 km from here thru the desert. For got to mention that motorcycles and not allowed on the highway, but no one cared, and the tolls are then of course free. In fact the law here says that big bikes can only be driven on Fridays for 3 hours and it is against the law for women to drive motorcycles of any kind. We did see one woman riding a scooter near Tehran.
It was very hot today, but it has dropped to a much more tolerable 36. The ride into the city was pretty civilized. In general the drivers here are much better.
Breezing thru the toll booths is nice. The roads here are mostly 4 lane straight highways thru the desert.
We led the guide to the hotel as Trevor and Dan had it in the GPS and we thought this was faster then him stopping to ask directions all the time. At one intersection I thought this woman was trying to cut Trevor off, but she was offering him a huge piece of traditional fruit leather. When he said no thanks she said please take it and he did! He had to stuff this big thing in his pocket before the light changed. Arriving we were warmly greeted and served cold juice.
We gave Reza the night off and we ate at the hotel’s roof top restaurant. After dinner it was much cooler and we walked to the main square. It was packed with families and lots of the kids came up to talk with us. The mosque is beautifully reflected in the pools.
Nice to have Reza’s car. This was convenient as well as we spotted a Bosch dealer and went in to buy another fuel pump. They had 2 viable options, but Dan decided to do some more research and ended up buying a pump in Shiraz for 15$.
We also used this to tour the city including the 1599 Si-o-seh pol or the bridge of 33 arches, the Vank Armenian Cathedral built in 1606, and Bird garden.
After this we visited the bazaar and the nearby 800 year old Jameh main Mosque of Isfahan. Now at 230 it is an inferno and 42. The parked car was higher.
We headed back to the hotel to hide in the air con until 7. Orvar waited until 530 to put the wheel back, but it was still blazing hot.
We walked the few blocks to the main Naqsh-e Jahan square and had a private tour of the Naghsh-e Jahan mosque. We could not visit the palace as it had just closed. We also did not have time for the women’s or Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, but the reflection photos we took later are cool.
As the light was fading we hopped in a cab to the “river” to see the Khaju Bridge
and get some night shots. Walking back to the square we decided on street food there as the restaurant we were headed for was closed. This is a common theme in Ramadan.
Next we sat by the fountain for some photos and met several very nice families.
Daniel was up with the sun to get this shot!