On my way from Tabriz to the Tacht-i-Suleiman-Palace I decided against the boring highway, which would have meant a huge detour. Instead, I chose the shortest, most direct route.
At first this seemed to be a good idea, because the landscape I was driving through had its own unique charm.
But the closer I got to my destination, the worse the road got until it finally stopped completely and turned into a dirt road.
I was already familiar with this from Georgia and Armenia, so I just drove on.
Finally, I landed in a tiny village somewhere in the middle of nowhere. Immediately half the village ran together to look at me. After I showed some men my destination on the map, they pointed to a dirt road, which led behind the village almost 45 degrees up the mountain.
I briefly thought about turning back, but that would have meant that I would have had to drive about 50km back to the main road, which I had absolutely no desire to do.
So I took all my courage and started to torture my packed motorcycle in second gear up the steep slope.
For the first 3-4 kilometers, it worked out quite well. But it became not only ever steeper but above all the underground consisted increasingly only of a flour-like, fine dust under which invisibly large boulders of stone were hidden. In addition, this yellowish-white powder dazzled strongly in the bright sunlight and was so low in contrast that I practically could not see what was coming to me in the next few meters.
And as if that wasn't enough, a strong wind blew up the mountain from behind, so that all the dust I stirred up took away my view.
At a particularly steep spot, the traction in the soft dust finally became so bad that I practically jumped forward as soon as the tires had dug through the dust to the next rock.
Finally, I lost control and couldn't prevent the bike from tilting to the right.
(PS: On the photos, it doesn't look as steep as it really was.)
Luckily I wasn't fast, so the fall wasn't really spectacular. After I had unloaded my luggage, I was even able to straighten up the bike without any problems.
But the question was, how should I go on? Should I keep trying to climb the mountain, or should I turn back?
I checked my map and unfortunately had to find out that in the following 10-15 kilometers even some serpentines were drawn in, which meant that it would probably be similarly steep there. Since the map, unfortunately, gave no information about how good or bad the road or the dirt road would be there, I decided to take no risk and turn around better.
So I put my luggage back on my bike, which turned out to be not so easy because my bike was anything but standing safe there on the steep slope.
When I finally made it, I got on my bike and tried to turn around.
But as soon as I rolled even a little bit backward, it was only with great difficulty possible to bring the motorcycle back to a standstill, as I simply continued to slip. It quickly became clear to me that the idea of reversing was perhaps not the best idea, because even if I managed to turn the bike around, I would probably not be able to brake in a controlled way while riding down the hill, as the ground was just not holding enough.
More likely I would roar like an avalanche down to the village, which I didn't feel like doing.
So I spontaneously changed my plan and decided to torture myself further up the mountain, hoping that the "road" would get better again up there.
But easier said than done because when I wanted to drive off, I practically did not come from the spot, because my wheels simply turned and only whirled up a lot of dust.
After a few swearings, I stopped further attempts and thought about what I could do.
Obviously, my weight in both directions was the real problem. Downhill I was too heavy to brake and uphill I was too heavy to go on.
So I decided to unload my luggage and leave it at the roadside, while I drive the unpacked motorcycle down the hill to the village to ask someone to pick up my luggage. This seemed to be the only solution.
Just when I had begun to unload my luggage, a dust trail announced a vehicle that was coming down the mountain.
Finally, an old Lada SUV stopped 10 meters in front of my motorcycle.
I walked up to him and luckily it turned out that he even understood some English. So I explained my predicament to him and asked him if it was possible that he would take my luggage down into the valley.
Of course, he immediately agreed.
So as I spread out my luggage bit by bit in his back and front seats, I noticed that even as he opened the back door for me, he always stood with one foot on the brake pedal. Apparently, he didn't really trust his brakes on this steep slope either.
When I had loaded everything, he asked me where I intended to go. When I showed it to him on the map, he explained that the road uphill was only about 5 km so bad and then paved again. So we decided that I would drive up the mountain ahead up to the place where the paved road begins and in the meantime, he turns around down in the valley and follows with the luggage.
I was so relieved because to be honest, even with an unladen motorcycle I had no great desire to ride down this steep mountain again.
With an empty motorcycle, I was able to start driving again and so I torture myself further up the mountain.
As soon as I was up the steep slope, the dust road became much easier to drive on.
When I finally arrived at the paved road, it didn't take long and the old Lada appeared behind me.
I thanked him heartily for the rescue from my bad situation.
After I had loaded my luggage back on my motorcycle, I wanted to give my rescuer some money for his efforts, but despite several attempts on my part he did not want to accept. So I thanked him again and then he said goodbye, turned his old Lada around and made his way back down to the valley.
Fortunately, the rest of my route went very smoothly.
Never before in my life had I looked forward to a shower, as later in the evening, when I had finally checked into my hotel.
Not only my motorcycle and my luggage were covered over and over with the yellowish-white dust, but also me. In the mouth, in the nose, in the ears, in the hair - everything was full of it.
After taking a shower and eating something, I fell into bed dead tired.
This was definitely the most difficult and strenuous stage of my journey so far.