We must be in Yerevan Armenia to apply for the Iran visas, but as yet we do not have actuation numbers. So essentially we have time on our hands.
The first stop was to the cave city of Uplistsikhe, which is identified by archaeologists as one of the oldest urban settlements in Georgia.
It was very windy!
You exit the city thru a secret tunnel.
From here we continued on the 63 to Mtskheta, which is the old capital and then on to Tblisi. It is super windy today, but luckily we mostly had tail wind. We booked into a hotel just off the S1 and north of the city.
These pipes are the gas lines that are very common here and in Georgia.
We arrived to the hotel and were warmly welcomed. Too warmly as we were plied with Georgian wine and chacha (Georgian hazelnut and honey brandy). So much that we were drunk by 2 pm. We had to get a schwarma and then we were all asleep by 4 pm!
Today is Saturday and the guys will do a day ride out to Omalo, but as its mostly off road poor Lulu can not go. This way they can go without luggage.
This was a long day and they turned back so they would make it back before dark.
Wolfgang has done a mini blog of the ordeal of the shock!!! Shown how much work he put into this.
We had been contacted by a Belgian rider Joris who we knew from FB and he was headed to the city with a German rider Ben. They asked for a hotel recommendation and if we were still in the city. So we had an even bigger biker gang at the Hotel Mimino. More Chacha. It was nice to have a kitchen and cook for everyone.
Sunday we decided to play the tourists. We managed to find the collectivo #6 on the main road nearby and this took us into the old city. Here we did a bit of walking to freedom square and then to visit several of the churches. There is a strange contrast as the fortress and old town are on one side of (the very stinky) river and there are ultra modern structures on the other. Our chef Orvar whipped us up an amazing spaghetti and meatball feast.
These walnuts dipped in thickened grape juice are sold everywhere….not a repeat treat.
The first event of the day it to brave the Georgian drivers and get to Pit Stop Moto for oil changes on the 3 BMW’s. The guys at the shop were great and efficient. We also installed the new DID chains and sprockets we had brought from Canada.
While we were there 4 Czech guys showed up to buy tires to add to their luggage.
We were contacted by Ana from UPS who was super helpful. She flagged the package urgent and said it might be here Tuesday. She also told us that we needed to go to a revenue services office to get a duty exemption form.
We had a small incident with the 650 even though they were being very careful the bike fell from the stand and the ABS sensor was damaged. We did not see this until we were leaving and the RED ! was still on 2 blocks later. We stopped, checked the oil and then returned to the shop. They were very apologetic and the owner very accommodating. They said they would do what ever it took to fix the situation. It is possible to get a Bosch part on eBay from Lithuania, a BMW from Athens, or they were willing to pay us the 150$ for the part. Nice guys.
Our mission now is to get to revenue services before 5 pm. The address is 1 Sarajishvili Street (with no other info), but when we went there it was clearly an apartment building at 1 Petre Sarajishvili St, Tbilisi, Georgia. Lucky for us a young guy who lived there stopped to ask us if we needed help. He said the problem is there is 2 streets in the city with the same name and we want the other 1 David Sarajishvili St. He did not know exactly where it was, but marked on the GPS the approximate area and we found it. We dropped one of the bikes at the hotel since it was on the way. The point we marked on the GPS took us to #2 Sarajisvili, which seems like it should be across the road from #1, but its not. Luckily I had searched it on google and we still had it on my phone so we could see where we were in relation and it is about 800 m away back over the overpass and up a small single lane road where lo and behold in the parking lot of a very run down apartment building was the “Revenue Services” office. The staff was very helpful and since they did not understand what we wanted they called Ana at UPS who sorted it all out for us.
Now time to make decisions, should we check out tomorrow or stay again and wait for the shock? The problem was solved as the shock arrived to Tblisi in the morning. Thanks Ana for the early email. We had been told by UPS Germany that we could not go to the depot to pick it up, but had to wait for it to go out for delivery to the shop. Ana was amazing as she arranged for us to go to the depot and get it so off we went. The entire office there was waiting for us and so excited for us! Even the random UPS driver out side wanted a photo with us!
Now back to the shop. Iura the mechanic was great he and the team did a fantastic job. They did the install for us gratis after the issue with the speed sensor.
The first snag was one of the lower shock bolt was torqued on way too tight and it took some doing to get it off. Iura managed to borrow a hardened steel driver and a 4 foot long pry bar, but off it came.
It was incredible to see the totally destroyed old shock!
Next when they initially tried to seat the new one it did not look like it would fit. The upper frame bolt was in the way, but flipping it around solved the issue and it fit perfectly.
This shock is even lower than the previous and it can be cranked up into the usable range and I can sill touch the ground! This will hopefully prevent the overheating issue. Also we thing the shaft was bent probably last year on the goat path in Albania!