On our map, roads are either white, yellow, red, orange, or other colors that I don't even know because those colors whatever they are mean freeway, no bikes need attempt.
We left İstanbul following a white roads. We got lost and soon were on dirt roads with signage for the small villages that these roads served that weren't on our map. We ended up on a yellow road, about 30km behind where we expected to be. Yellow roads got bigger and turned into red roads, which would in turn get bigger and turn into orange roads, back to red to yellow to orange again.
We rode through Ankara, failed to get visas; through Kapadokya, megarock formation region with ancient frescoes included; through Malatya and its oceans of apricot orchards; took a ferry across a lake with a castle; then WHOA! CANYON TIME!
After Tunceli, a small city known for its furniture stores with kitchens on the second floor cooking food for Nate and Jaco, we found ourselves in a massive canyon! Our necks were soar from looking at the eagles and the cliffs surrounding us!
A lightning storm soon hit, but we managed to stay nearly bone dry taking shelter in the ruins of a restaurant that had apparently been bombed out ten years ago. We spent a few hours there waiting out the storm with several groups of Kurds. Some were cooking and shared their tasty saç kavurma with us. Some knew mayors of nearby towns and wrote a letter for us to give to the mayor. Some were English teachers and didn't believe that we were riding our bikes to China. Everyone was happy not to be in the gale.
Which let up eventually, and Jaco and I were canyon cruising again on our way to Pülümür. The setting sun gave us enough light to land in Pülümür, and after several big welcomes we were directed to the mayor, to whom we produced our letter. He directed us to a cafe and a restaurant and a hotel, where our efforts to pay were refused. That made it our third free meal of the day, hotel accomodation, and a fine time in a fine city.
The next night we camped on the Euphrates River!