Manisa to Akcakisrak 107km
To Susurtuk 80km
To Bandirma 56km
I've camped close to a pass. The campsite is a bit more exposed to passerbys than I would usually choose, and only about 150m from the dual carriageway, but the sun is due to set, and half an hour later it will be dark, so I reckon I will be okay. As I put the last peg into the ground, the sun drops below the hill, and the temperature drops at least 10°C. I throw everything into the tent. It's 4.45pm, and I'm climbing into my sleeping bag. Oh my, it's cold.
Thirteen hours later, I crawl out of the tent. I've been pretty cozy in my sleeping bag, but now it's damp from condensation. The tent fly is stiff with frost, but there is a beautiful red sky in the east, and the sky is clear. I've got four layers of clothes on, and keep warm by packing quickly, and jumping on Fiona, and climbing the kilometer to the top of the pass. Going uphill is warming, but going down is freezing...... and then I hit the freezing fog.....
I can't see more than 50m in any direction. I've got my lights flashing, and am hoping all my reflective gear and patches are working. My toes, fingers, ears and nose feel like blocks of ice..... deja vu. Stopping is not an option. I would just freeze. After 20km I spot a flashing light to my right. It's a petrol station. I'm invited inside for a chai, and a defrost near their fire. When I can bend my fingers, and feel my toes, I head out again.......
I pass a city, 340,000, but don't see it. I know it's there because I hear the "Call to Prayer". Even in the supposedly remotest camp spots, I've been woken by the 6am "Call". I'm starting to understand the Arabic they chant. Remembering that it's sort of sung, today I'm sure I heard: "Wal..... needs his head read....... Wal..... needs his head read..... Scarey spider, scarey spider, scarey spider...... Falling wing nut..... Wal needs his head read.... Falling wing nut."
I also passed a few villages. Once again I didn't see them, but I heard their community notices. Many have speakers positioned throughout the village, and a couple of times a day announcements are made. Today's: ....Bing Bong " The PTA meeting today has been cancelled because we can't find the school. The crazy NZ cyclist is passing by today. Lock up your women folk, and unleash your dog's."
For 50km I'm in the freezing fog. My glasses have a film of ice on them, so my view is warped (as usual some will say), my panniers, raincoat and gloves have turned white. My juice and water are frozen. My normally slushy chocolate is solid hard, but I'm smiling. This is challenging. This is adventure.
Suddenly, I drop out of the fog. Along one side of the road is a kilometer of shops, including McDonald's, Burger King and Starbucks. What? It's a row of Outlet Stores, and there must be thirty tour buses parked in front of them. But I'm no where near a city? Amazing....... and none of the clients look cold. Oh yeah.They arrived in warm coaches.
I'm pretty happy I didn't have a puncture or breakdown in the fog. Would have been nasty. I had my third puncture in 30,000km the other day. Im really happy tgat im using the green slime in my tube, that fill the holes as they happen. I'm pretty sure Squirt NZ are doing something similar. Check it out.
Tomorrow...... a huge day. I'm taking a ferry across the Marmara Sea to Istanbul..... and Europe...... I can't believe it. Europe is just two hours sailing away. Oh and my handsome son graduates and celebrates his birthday. What an amazing son...... handsome like his dad, and brains.