May 31, 2013
Distance: 22.9 miles Climbing: 1154.9 ft
Amongst the cherry trees, we couldn’t tell if it was windy or not. We were hoping the fierce headwind we encountered yesterday would have died down. We ate our standard breakfast at this point, fried potatoes with scrambled eggs, cooked over our MSR Dragonfly stove, which runs on a number of fuels including gasoline. We filled up our liter bottle of 100 octane gas a few days before and have had no problems at all with the stove. It burns the gas really hot and doesn’t leave any soot on the cookware. We have been working out a technique to drain the gas from the fuel line, so when we disconnect it we don’t end up wasting gas and getting it everywhere. So long as we elevate the bottle the residual gasoline in the fuel line, it drains to the stove and burns off, making for a clean pack up. After we cooked and loaded up camp we rolled back down the asphalt. To our disappointment, the wind was there to greet us.
We encountered a number of hills, but didn’t pay much attention to them. We have been loving Turkey so much that things have not been bugging us as much as it would have in Asia. I assume it is because we are much better fed here. When Chandler asked if I wanted to get off the highway and take back roads into the next town, even though that meant a big hill, I said no problem.
Chandler wasn’t too far ahead of me when I noticed he had stopped. He was getting the camera out and staring at the middle of the road when I pulled up. There was a little turtle trying to make his way across the road before a car came by and smashed him. Naturally, we had to rescue him. Poor turtle was not so keen on the idea, because he immediately pulled himself into his shell and didn’t come out even after moved to safety.
After saving the turtle, the rest of our ride into town was very uneventful. We picked up groceries for the next couple of days and then went in search of the campground in the center of town. Turns out the GPS was a little wrong and the campground was nowhere to be found and we were in a busy part of the city of Canakkale. We headed to the coast to find another campground listed on the GPS. We are relying pretty heavily on the Garmin maps for Europe. There is internet around, but it isn’t as easy to find as on the road in the US, and since we are free camping, we either need to research a lot before we get to a region, or wing it. We tend to wing it. It was no big surprise when the campground we were riding to wasn’t actually there.
We spent t a few minutes regrouping at a picnic area on the west side of the city, figuring out what we wanted to do. Without internet and very far from the tourist office, we decided to just keep biking out of town along the coast and hoped something would present itself. As we were getting into our stride, we noticed a campground, not on our GPS. The campground was right on the beach, and there were only a few caravans parked in it, so there was tons of space. Chandler talked to the owners’ son and found out it was only 10 Euros to camp there, so we decided to stay.
As Chandler was paying, I noticed three boys loitering around the beach, looking like they were going swimming. I said hello as they walked past me and asked if they had been swimming. Their only response was: “No, Danger, Danger!” I said goodbye and continued on to the beach and finally realized what the kids had been talking about. The beach was littered with jellyfish and the water was thick with them. No way was I swimming.
We enjoyed the beach, sipping on some beers in the lounge chairs, watching dolphins in the Dardanelles, feeling in quite the Club Med mode, when some younger boys rode up on bikes. They stripped down to their skivvies and walked into the water. Chandler and I were really confused at this point. Eventually the boys came over and asked us a few questions they knew in English. The conversation turned to swimming and then Chandler asking about the danger of the jellyfish in the water. To answer his question, one of the boys picked one of the blobs and threw it at his friend. Apparently, the jellyfish were not the stinging kind and a jelly battle ensued.
Despite the fact that the jellyfish were harmless, the water was a bit cold and the beach was rocky so we took the weenie route and opted to not swim. We set up the hammock and I read for a while. Chandler went and helped some older ladies assemble a giant metal frame for a canopy tent, after their initial attempts appeared to be something out of a Laurel and Hardy movie. We cooked up a nice meal and slept to the sound of the gentle surf breaking on the beach. Another wonderful day in Turkey.