Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Back Country from the Back Seat

Hanging with the Locals in Hasankeyf

We got home a few days ago and to my astonishment, I have discovered yet another nasty element of my personality...I don't travel well with elderly men. Especially those who sit in the back seat and drive "out-loud" when it is time to brake, turn, decelerate, accelerate or perform any other activity related to the operation of a motor vehicle.
Dad and Elle

While some people can afford their own personal-shoppers, the best I could drum up was my very own personal-driving critic. I love him...but thank God this road trip is in the can, you would have thought we were driving on two wheels the whole time from his gasps, sighs and snorts. Next time (if there is one) we will use sedation and install a fake brake pedal in the back seat as a pacifier.
We cut the last three days off due to some hotel problems and the fact that we were all pretty wiped. We did have a chance to check in with a few of the villages and touch base with some friends along the way...but most of the villages are still inaccessible due to the mud and snow.
Back in Istanbul we are trying to catch up on life and enjoy the last two weeks with my folks before they head back to Grants Pass and a new career as expert motor vehicle accident statisticians.
Below, a few vignettes of our two weeks in the outback of Turkey and parts east.

Cliff Homes on the Tigris

New Grapes on the Syrian Plains

Leaving Dad Behind

Ibrahim Tepe

Safranbolu Salon

Amasya Portico Dome

City of a Thousand Churches

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Highlights of the Low Points

8000 Foot Chalk Pass

Just a quick recap while our wireless is still up...we tried to reach a snowbound village yesterday a few hours north of Erzurum and off the pavement and got stuck on a sludgy dirt road that was blocked by snowdrifts. Dad's pile of rocks, mom's prayers, a little horsepower and an hour later we broke free and decided to wait for summer and drier ground.
At first we tried to back our way out of the mess until I heard the backdoor open and dad say "I'm outta here". I guess even the chief of the backseat-drivers have a point where they just can't take any more. For my dad it was about the time we were getting a running start in reverse to try and jump the deep trench our wheels had dug. The view out of his window of the drop off to our right made him realize that he would have more fun as a spectator. He spent the next hour pitching rocks into the muck to give us a footing to grab onto.Digging In

Back on Terra Firma

The Recap

A few hours later we gassed up and washed down the muck. Heading east towards Ardahan we passed this village bridge that the kids begged to cross. Made it to Kars before sunset and got settled in for a couple of days of exploration. Today Ani and tomorrow south.
Crossing Village Bridge

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

SRE08 Test Run

We are heading out on a quick run to the borders. Kinda of a test run for this year's SRE's....You can check our Global Nomads Live window to the right> for GPS updates.
We will keep you posted when and where we can...the plan? East until we hit the Armenian border and then south to Iraq and west towards Kapadokia. Should be back to Istanbul and home in about 15 days.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Mini Break

Elle & Her Mimi

With a Visa expiration breathing down our necks we found $7.00 round trip tickets to Frankfurt-yep, it was a deal even with the $95 in taxes and fees added in. We haven't seen our family in 2 years so they met us for a few days of hanging out in southern Germany and then flew back to Istanbul with us for a few weeks of adventure and exploration.
We are planning on heading out on this year's first foray in a few days...east to the borders of Armenia and Iran and then south. We will keep you in the loop.
The 3 Stans, Small, Medium and Super-Size

Living, Traveling, and Wandering on the Far Side of the World

Living, Traveling, and Wandering on the Far Side of the World