Georgia Tour with Ride East – Day 1 – Tbilisi to Stepantsminda
In the morning of day 1 Sandro and his partner Dimitri deliver the motorbikes to our hotel. Sandro as guide and mechanic is riding a KMS K750, Thomas and Elke are riding a Dnepr MT10 and Martin and Petra are riding a Dnepr MT11, as well as Eileen and I.
We leave the hotel and have the first stop at a fuel station. After refueling we leave the chaotic traffic of Tbilisi. In the outskirts of Tbilisi we make another stop to buy mineral water.
We leave the highway just behind Mtskheta and turn north on the Old Georgian Military Road. We pass small and smallest villages and have a first photo session above Lake Ananuri.
Of course, we also stop for photos at the old monastry in Ananuri, one of my favourite places on the route.
On our way to Stepantsminda we meet several cttle herds, sheeps, goats, cows, donkeys and horses – walking on the main road, blocking all traffic.
In Pasanauri we have to stop at another of my favourite places – a private junkyard for old vehicles. The place is a dream for all photographers and I always wonder how the vehicles made their way to Pasanauri.
Before arriving in Gudauri, a famous Georgian ski ressort, we have to climb up a serpentine road, gaining several hundred meters of altitude. On some bikes the carburators need to be adjusted to the altitude, but that’s not a problem for Sandro, who has a lot of mechanic experience from his time in the United States where he worked as a race mechanic for motorbikes.
Unfortunately Sandro has to fix his own bike as well and we have to stop, enjoying the scenic panorama of High Caucasus.
In Gudauri, approximately 2,100m high, we make a fuel stop. Sandro recognizes that his tank is leaking into the tank folder, where the battery of his bike is placed. Whilst Sandro is fixing the problem, I ride with the others to a Soviet monument just outside Gudauri and the Cross Pass, where we meet with Sandro again.
At 19.00h we arrive in Stepantsminda. As it is too late already, a planned horse tour to Monastry Gergetis Sameba is postponed to next morning.
We are accommodated in the guestrooms of a Georgian family and take the dinner in their kitchen. Khachapuri, Lavashi, Georgian chicken and Georgian salads, beer and Cha Cha are very tasty and we enjoy the hospitality of the Georgian hosts.