Onwards towards Bergama brought us along the highway towards Edremit. The road is long and straight as it follows the coast through community after community, villages, sitesi, small resorts, towns. It is pretty much an urban road all the way. Busses stop, pull out, stop again. The traffic compensates for this by staying wide, away from the kerbside. Trucks and long distance busses add to the local traffic. It was never heavy traffic but the road requires concentration and is not particularly interesting or pretty. At Edrimit the highway turns south and becomes more rural, hillsides covered in olive groves. I contemplated stopping at Ayvalık a town I have enjoyed a lot in the past. There are hotels, bars and good fish restaurants in Ayvalık and more across the bay in Çunda. Ayvalık is very pretty, but for this trip we headed onwards along the highway.
It was hot so we were riding with leathers open, no gloves. An hour or so from Bergama, approaching Dikili a bee went straight up the sleeve of my jacket. I got stung. We stopped, took the jacket off, Hilary took the sting out of my arm and dealt with the dying bee. It hurt a bit, was the first sting on the trip, the first of a few. I felt a little queasy, but nothing too bad, I don’t normally react badly to stings. I did some mind math games as we moved on, boring stuff like series sevens backwards from 100 as a check on my concentration post the sting – all was well.
We arrived in Bergama without further incident and it did not take long to find somewhere nice to stay. Regarding the road between Ayvalık and Bergama I have since learned there is a far prettier inland road, one for the future.
We spent a couple of nights in Bergama doing tourist stuff before setting off, next stop Pamukkale, having decided to take the inland route via Akhisar and Sahili. It was on this step of the tour we encountered some interesting roadworks. They started with a small section, a few hundred meters or so of loose gravel, larger stones and rocks. This sort of surface is not much fun on a bike, and even less fun on a heavily laden Harley. We got through it without incident, and rode on thinking the worst is over, I was wrong. We hit another patch, this one disappearing into the distance, kilometre after kilometre of it. At times there was tar under the gravel, and in places workmen were pouring more tar onto the road and then more gravel over it. I think the plan was to leave in in this state and let the traffic harden the surface.
Eventually it stopped, and we got back onto some decent road surfaces and were able to make up for the lost time. The road was pretty, through hills, passing lakes in places, pretty valleys, small villages. It was a really nice ride through the early afternoon. We eventually got close to Denizli and another highway.
Denizli was the first larger city we rode in. I was unsure of the route to Pamukkale so we stopped to get some directions. Hilary managed to find a policeman who provided what we needed – Follow the highway to a big junction, take the left towards Ankara . Follow that road for a bit and take a left to Pamukkale. Having directions helped a great deal, made me feel far more confident, the roads were busy, many lanes, underpasses, much like any large city. Scary at first, but it was all good.
We got to the turn off for Pamukkale and did the last few kilometres. As expected we got met by hotel hawkers on small bikes, we went with the flow and soon enough were parked up and resting in a hotel. It was a great day’s ride