Our First Real Trouble
27 July 2012; 20:44
Well, the past two days have been quite trying and little else. Yesterday we woke up, ate oatmeal without milk or butter, broke a wheel, and rode in sullen silence all day. Today, we just sweated and made little progress.
Yesterday morning, we woke up at the rock quarry campsite we stayed in, and ate a less than satisfying breakfast. Our first two hours on the road weren’t the worst of the trip, by any means, as we were still in the mountains. We stopped for a sponge bath at one of the local spring taps along the side of the road, and pressed on. We got gouged on gas when we stopped because it was the only place within a hundred kilometers.
In an effort to give our poor brakes a rest, I volunteered to drive after the gas stop; the others aren’t terribly confident in engine braking. Maybe twenty minutes into the drive, we got behind a driver doing maybe 15 mph. When I tried to pass, I missjudged the width of my lane; there was a pile of rebar on the side of the road, and I planned on maybe having to clip it. I wan’t aware that there was a four inch concrete curb hidden by the rebar, and we plowed over it doing about 25 mph. It gashed our tire and broke the wheel.
I’ve never felt so stupid in my life; it was a bad decision to pass, and I should have known I needed to wait. I was just in Turkish mode and did the wrong thing. Alyx got extremely mad, though I’m not sure it was completely justified. She didn’t talk much for the rest of the day.
We made decent time after we changed the wheel and tire, and made it to Samsun before dark. There we meet up with Chase’s friend who I’ll call Chelsea because I can’t remember her name and couldn’t spell it if I did. It was nice talking to a fluent English speaker outside our little group for a while.
Since it was well after dark when we left and everyone was alseep in the car, I decided to drive past our decided spot and look for a more secluded campsite. A little after midnight, I realized how tired I was and that I wasn’t going to be able to look for a campsite and keep my eyes on the road. I woke Chase, and he found an excellent spot.
A hundred kilometers further along than we expected, we lounged this morning and played in the sea for a while, Chase and I getting nice sunburns; we’re hoping they turn into tans instead of dry and peeled skin. We stopped in Trabzon for lunch, but none of us were feeling terribly well; we decided it was dehydration and made a good point of drinking lots of water for the rest of the day. It worked, and now we’re all drenched in sweat.
Shortly before the Georgian border, we stopped and picked up a soccer ball, finally admitting to ourselves that we need some way to blow off steam other than sitting quietly in the car when we’re upset. Planning to camp short of the border and save the crossing for the morning, we were surprised when we emerged from a tunnel to find border guards directing traffic. We turned around and found our campsite; right now, we’re each on top of our own huge boulder. I’m the only one smart enough to use the tent as a mosquito net.
I’d write more, but I’m pouring sweat and anxious to try to get to sleep. Tomorrow is the border and a long haul on to Tblisi. We’re all ready for a night in a real bed and a good real shower.