Day 19 - Eastern Turkey

Kublai Kooks - Mongol Rally 2017
Day 19 - August 3, 2017
Cappidoccia, Turkey to East Turkey
Countries: 19 KMs/Miles: 8572/5327
Breakdowns: 7 Time @ Borders: 21h 25m

4am wake up times usually put people in a good mood but today was a little different as six surly Kooks rolled out of their tents and one from the car. But if you want to hot air balloon at sunrise, you have to tough it out. The boys were given a very specific pick up time of 4:10-4:15 the day before. But it was closer to five when the bus came leaving the team a little nervous that they'd given the he wrong meeting point. The shuttle then picked them up, drove 350 meters and dropped them off. WTF. Why didn't the company just tell them it was next door. That 45min extra sleep would have been a dream.

As the arrived, dozens of balloons were being filled in different states of readiness. Still dark, the roaring fire lit up these canvas bulbs up like Christmas lights in sync with their Shinesty jackets they were sporting for this occasion. Coffee and cake was waiting for them and helped brighten the mood...slightly. The baskets were large and took up to twenty passengers. The the loud burn of the fire heating up the air right beside them. As the balloon fill, the boys start to forget how tired they are watching as other ones light up and climb into the air off in the distance. Then they start to rise slowly and are now flying, like God damn superheroes.

Like the previous day, its hard not to pull out your camera every ten seconds. Just enjoy the moment, then oh shit, thats amazing, I need it on film! Climbing higher and higher the amazing landscape is relieved to them. All the unique rock formations are what bring people here in the first place. They used to be the homes of generations carving their dwellings in the stone. Much unliveable due to earthquakes, you can still find hotels made out of them.

So peaceful up there, cept for the clicking of the cameras. Creeping through valleys and up over trees exploring hidden caves. The pilot has optimal control of this air craft as well as radioing his coordinates, working on his computer, taking pictures, and downloading on USB to sell later. The ultimate multitasker. Once way up in the sky, the 360 view of the horizon was stunning and being surrounded by heaps of other fellow fliers was pretty special.

A minor crash landing brought them back to Earth and their wariness returned. Back at the campsite some went straight back to bed before the sweltering sun would turn their tents into ovens. Others decided to take advantage of the refreshing pool right away. They were to meet up with the U.K. team for lunch and then convoy as far as they could get towards the Georgian border. First they would explore some caves. Up the went through the labyrinth of interconnecting rooms slowing making their way to the top via stairs and and wall ladders. Super cool. The drone joining the fun records a spectacularly rare sight, triple full moons over a bunch of cock rocks.

Only a restaurant with cold beer would do so the Kooks searched the main drag to find one. Once found, they ordered an array of Turkish treats. The other team arrived and they all made a plan of attack for the long drive. The six Kooks always has trouble getting out of town, now at ten people, it would prove to be no different. It won't be because of the traffic, hardly a car on the street. Weird for a big tourist town in high season. The restaurant owner said its due to all the political unrest the country has seen in the past few years.

The three cars barrelled down the highways and wide open landscapes. The passed through vast unpopulated sections and large apartment block infested cities they had never heard of. No one in the group had ever been east of Turkey or west of India so this would be foreign territory for all. EXCITING! After a couple of time wasting stops they agreed to drive into the night to get as far as possible and find some wild camping. They haven't exactly been roughing it lately and should probably get budgeting again. The airfield covered in cow pies should do the trick!

Pitch black, they set up their tents tables and got cooking dinner. A nice Spanish omelette. Andy went to bed early, allowing the bugs in his stomach to rest up for tomorrow. The days have now caught up to the countries visited. They were fed and comfortable. A with Joel strumming guitar, a little whiskey to keep them warm, and the sweet stench of manure, they all though about how wonderful life can be sometimes. Good times, good company, good night. End transmission.