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Korea, Russia, Stans To East Europe (page 75)

Zaqatala Azebaijan To Omalo To Tianeti Georgia

With 40 km to the border what could possibly go wrong…Police.

Minding my own business I came around a bend, Police car coming the other way….the lights come on. They turn around and take chase and stop me. I am thinkin what for this time.

The officer starts talking in Azebaijani and I said I don’t understand, as quick as a flash he said you speak English then and I said well yes.

He said you were speeding and it has consequences, me, I said no way, Officer said I will get the radar and promptly brings it back showing 121 km/hr, I laughed as I said no way, as luck would have it I had reset the odo and max speed that morning at the gas station.

The screen on the radar looked really dodge and almost like a sticker.

I invited the officer to have a look at my GPS which he duly took up with confidence, my max speed ….79km/hr in black and white and very English.

Looking slightly sheepish but trying to hold his composure he said you were speeding, I said to him, understanding English you will know the GPS’ed speed is extremely accurate, he acknowledged this reluctantly, I said my bike is a 250 with luggage and I had just come around a tightish corner, again he sheepishly acknowledged this.

It came down to 1 word at that point from me…..”goodbye” … the look on his face was one of dismay and his offsider (who could not speak English) wondering WTF just happened, the officers own English had smacked him badly and there was nothing he could do, I put my hand out we shook hands and I rode off laughing my arse off.  

The smell of their beer just dried up.

Was only a couple more km to the border, exiting Azerbaijan very friendly and quick, handshakes and thank you from customs.

Entering Georgia was a friendly affair and formal, all paperwork done and dusted it was down to the luggage inspection guards before leaving the border.

I rock up, happy to be there and the guard asked for my Passport which I show him, seeing New Zealand his eyes lit up, he could speak damn near perfect English and he turned out to be quite a hoon.

Guard, with a silly smile on his face … many dead bodies do you have in your bags?

Me, only 2, not enough room in here for lots of body parts and too heavy to carry on a 250…. 250 cc not ideal for mass murder.

Guard, (larfing hard) yeap I see your point, please open anyway (to do his job properly)

Me, sweetas bro, opened the bags and he said yeah happy not see any arms or legs in there (while larfing)

Had more chats for a coupla minutes then the next car came along in the queue so we signed off with a big welcome and handshake, welcome to Georgia.

I hit the currency exchange then bolted to Omalo. Finding my turnoff to Omalo then making my way I got up a wee way up the valley, a stop for lunch was in order.

Nanas on bread and some fruit.

The first zig zags and it started pissing down and got very cold, heavy snow was forecast for the next afternoon so this was my window to sneak up and back.

On the way up
Road getting narrower

With 33 km left to do I met a bulldozer coming down so I pulled over, he stopped and advised the road was closed, a big landslide too big for him to clear so they essentially closed the town for winter…bugga just missed it but lucky I was not up there as 45 would have been on the wrong side of the slip for winter and that would be interesting. I continued a wee way up but it was pea soup at best. 

My turn around point
Randomly, 2 horsemen and some horses appeared which startled me a little.

Tail between my legs I had to make Plan B pretty quickly, John with the F800 was coming up too so I thought I would find wifi and tell him not to come up.

Just back down the hill the Moto Gods sent me an apology and cleared the fog so I could get a drift on my surroundings, I grabbed the camera out as quick as I could to grab a photo before the curtains were pulled for the final time. 

Stunning, need to go back in the sun

Heading on back down the fog wafted in and out and I caught up with the Bully Driver again 

Looks similar to Skippers Canyon in New Zealand in the autmun
Slowly making his way down, a slow and rattly affair

As if the Moto Gods made their apology it seemed the Travel Gods decided to hand me a wee apology bonus too, the Eagles/Hawks/Vultures I am unsure what had a nest atop of an exposed rock pillar, no shelter from the elements whatsoever and they caught my eye. 

Pokin their heads out
The second set of horsemen I had just passed then stopped to see what I was looking at and they too gave it the big thumbs up. Just see the birds on the top.

Further down towards Civilization it was back through the gorge, this time a totally different perspective. At many points along the road there are memorial, crosses etc to honour the many that have died on this road.

This is what I missed out on

The gorge
See one of the many crosses in the background
The town of Omalo, will get there next time.

As I exited the last of the steep switchbacks John came up the road so I saved him a lot of drama.

We turned around and headed to Tianeti and got a hostel, on the way picking up some wine, cheese and bread etc so we were armed when we finished the day.  

A little (lot) disappointing not making it to Omalo this time however that is the way it goes. 

Good times, nice food and wine to wash away the failed attempt of Omalo LOL ...any excuse eh.
Author of this article: Twomotokiwis