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Korea, Russia, Stans To East Europe (page 78)

Gyumri Armenia To Kutaisi Georgia

Had a great breakfast to make a good start, being efficient this day I was on the road at 8.45 am…FREEKIN cold.

A little bit of gravel and dirt road overlanding then back to the main for a while.

Snowy mountains
Steep zig zag had been concreted

With a few Armenian dollars left I tanked up and hit the border. The first customs control man was a little abrupt at the window at first, then he bravely came out of his booth to do his job in the minus whatever temperature.

He spotted my Armenian flag and instantly we were mates, he yelled to his buddies about it and they seemed to be just as patriotically pleased as well. Did it smooth things and make things easy, yes in deedy they were all cool and I was through in no time with big waves.

Back to Georgia and all went smooth with open arms again, I love this place.

Having an option to go the main interstate style road (BORING) or do the Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park (or ბორჯომ-ხარაგაულის ეროვნული პარკი as we locals call it ) was on the platter, National park 55 km shorter but probably no time saving.

Stopped and fiddling with the GPS and looking at the time etc I met a guy with a Jeep curious about me and what I was up to, we had a chat as he could speak English, I asked about the park, he said muddy, snow, road works, tree felling etc and very hard …..not recommended.

A little put off by the good local advice and reconsidering my possible choices he says “where are you from?”, I said New Zealand,….larfing loudly he said argh ok you will do it with your eyes closed.

That said I was on my way goin shit now I have a rep I have to uphold LOL.

I had it all, mud, tree felling, roadworks, snow, loose rocks, frozen puddles, …and that was all on the easy bit LOL.

Muddy corner in the shadow, was shite just back from this too..

At one point I considered turning back but I had time on my side and not much distance, just difficult so the concrete pill worked.

Slipping and sliding I slowly but surely made my way to the top managing to get around most snow drifts.

Reaching the summit I was stoked, thinkin to myself I have kicked it’s arse and got this handed to me on a platter….then I headed into the shadowed side and I had my arse handed back to me...on a bigger platter.

Snow, ice, more mud, no sun, freezing cold, big drop offs….hmmm.

Icy
More to come

By this time I was not keen to ride all the way back and all the way around the motorway so the stubborn bastid in me said lets rock on and enjoy it, the safety angel said go back and be safe….I never really got on with that angel anyway.

More slipping and sliding on off camber with ice I nearly lost it so many times, no sudden moves or it would be geotechnical ice sampling time.

I committed, I could see a point probably 2 km away which appeared to be more in the sun so I thought keep it upright till then and I should be good to go, around the first bend it got worse, questioning my sanity and I almost apologized to the safety angel and I had to step it up a gear in my head, concentrate and be weary NOT to get too close to the edge or it would change the day.

Little by little idling down in second gear and sometimes first gear I made it to the sunny part and was greeted by ice and a deeper drift, the ice stealing my front wheel and I slued off to the left and wedged into the snow drift..no so bad.

Getting off 45 she was standing upright by herself as if she didn’t even need me …not feelin the love I got the camera out.       

Wedgy
45 standing by herself on an awkward angle

Getting her back on track the rest was starting to get better and I knew then I had it in the bag. Was a nice feeling to beat it, there was few moments along the way of doubt, at these points you have to step it up a notch in your mind. 

Clobbering the snowy bit I came around a corner and 3 dudes were making a bar b q and were very surprised, a quick chat with manly handshakes clearly they were very taken back. They said I would be the last moto over the pass and probably the last vehicle over the pass this year.

The rest was gravel road down a steep valley so easy peasy and very relaxing, I made it into Kutaisi in plenty of time and in the warmth which was so nice.

   

First part of the finish line
Cool rock formations
Nice ending down the valley

Kutaisi

Met up with Martina who I had met in Mongolia so it was cool to cross paths.

We took a stomp around town to check it out as Kutaisi had turned on a pearler day. 

Kutaisi
Yeah nice day

Also now there is evidence I am not a totally shallow bastid and I can be deep and meaningful and allow my picture to be taken at a church, I have to say the structure was pretty cool. 

Certified!

Earlier in the day I was getting some supplies in town, walking down the footpath I was walking slowly to check directions to the supermarket.

A local man with a guitar coming the opposite direction stopped and placed his guitar against the wall to a shop and started to walk in.

The guitar in its case started to fall away from the wall, with my superman lighting quick reflexes I dived over and saved it from hitting the ground just as he turned around to see it all happen.

I had an instant friend in Kutaisi, he was very grateful and helped me get my goodies too.

So heading back into town I knew where he would be in the main square playing his guitar so we went and caught up with him, he played a Simon and Garfunkel song for us which was very cool.

Cheers matey ... see you next time.  

Cool dude
Twomotokiwis
Author of this article: Twomotokiwis
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