Hosted Travelogs and Stories from the Road - Caucasus coast of Black Sea
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05-29-12, 06:55 AM
Idea of the tour by Caucasus Black Sea coast inspired in my head spontaneously when I came out from two planned spring cycle tours. The first one collapsed owning to problems with the work at the main tour organizer. I refused from the second due to very cold weather conditions. I took solution that it’s better to visit Russian South in spring where there is not so heat, and especially to Caucasus when the waterfalls are the most full of water. Furthermore I felt desire again to do the step toward my dream – to cycle around all Black Sea. I took vacation in account to have 6 riding days. I invited two peoples but it didn’t have success. There are not many people who can go spontaneously in 5 days before the departure. So I went in pride loneliness. I provided transportation there by train “Moscow – Novorossiysk”. I went back by train from Adler. The total run was 570 km. As always there was not a lot of time to explore all the sightings.
Novorossiysk met me by clouded and cold weather not the same as on enter to Krasnodar Region at all. I unloaded from the train and got ride along of seafront to search cycle shop. I needed to buy a removable rear light. There were no problems to do it. The searched good was found not in that but in the next shop. Then I began to ride to the center. I visited the park and museum of town history. This town like others on Caucasus coast doesn’t have so long history like in Crimea. All that territory came to Russia after Russian-Turkish War and all belonging to it begins its history since 19th century. Novorossiysk was initially established like large sea port and further it became a large producer of cement. During the World War II it was conquered by Germans however they couldn’t advance further to mountains. But on this territory they had consolidated a position thoroughly regarding the port as important strategic object, and drove away all local population. It didn’t remain stone on a stone after storm and relief from Germans. But the town was rebuilt anew very quickly due to importance as port and due to necessity of cement to the country.
05-29-12, 06:57 AM
In afternoon I started movement to Gelendzhik has turning by the way to Kabardinka. The road here is much curved but doesn’t abound in large height drops. I was moving with my usual speed of 30 km/h and enjoying Kiss music. I arrived to Gelendzhik at 3 o’clock. At first I moved to north part of the bay to wine store and purchased there a half-liter of Kuban wine. This part of town more resembles a village. Here the sea is behind high fences and industrial zones. But another part on other piece of the bay strongly varies. Here is the longest and the most well-appointed seafront. Among museums I visited exotarium with snakes, spiders, and tortoises.
05-29-12, 06:57 AM
05-29-12, 06:58 AM
At 6 o’clock I headed for overnight state place at Sail Rock. Initially I returned to federal highway and then I took the road at the right. Initially the road went gradually down but two serious passes began after Divnomorskoye. After 30 km of tiresome way by mountain serpentines I finally entered to the shore at rest home “Sail”. That place is much visited; there was much crowd on the seaside. I came behind the Sail Rock and saw the same place occupied by other tent tourists where the stones are not so coarse. I asked them to allow me the setting up my tent beside and dated with them. They are locals from Krasnodar. They were interested in dating with skilled cycle tourist because they are not indifferent to this hobby. The purchased wine was also very to the point. The run of first day was 100 km. The sea water turned out cold because there was not the season yet. As soon I came to water to wash sweat I just came out.
05-29-12, 06:59 AM
Second day the way was going to Pshada Dolmens. Initially I intended to cross the mountain by dirt road and come out to Mikhaylovsky Pass. However the detailed story of local citizen urged me to refuse from that intention. The road has many branches astray and sometimes it’s badly visible and the places are perfectly wild. If you get lost – nobody will help you out. Trying there without GPS navigator is adventure. So I needed to return back to 30 km by mountains. At midday I was in already familiar place – Vozrozhdeniye ad came to the park of Janet River Valley. There I had a lunch of very fresh and tasty food in refectory on not less fresh air. I gazed the one of Dolmens where I was earlier and headed for my target – Pshada River Valley.
05-29-12, 06:59 AM
After some kilometers after Mikhaylovsky Pass I turned at first to more one park with Dolmens. It’s well-equipped and the entrance here is for sale – 150 RUR. Then I entered to Pshada Village and took another road from the center by pointer “Dolmen Village”. On the suburb there is the hotel where one can stay for 600 RUR a day. Here I left heavy panniers, found out the quick route at proprietor, and headed for exploring by stony road. Here the Dolmens are situated directly in wild forest and one can observe them free. The largest cluster of 8 dolmens is called “Dolmen Village”. There are also single dolmens nearby. The most of them was preserved very well but some are ruined to the ground. Pshada River flows near that is constantly driven wade by Jeeps and UAZes to admire waterfalls.
That day I passed not more 80 km but was tired from heat and felt want washing. But the hotel has a bath and the room is cool even in heat weather. Having got up and packed my things I exited from home and twice rang to proprietor to exit for payment. “So one can go away and nothing to pay” – I said. She answered that she never takes pity about and let it stays on oneself’s conscience. Such people are obviously can’t be met in Moscow.
05-29-12, 07:00 AM
Third day I might pass the most of way because the main sightings are situated at begin and the end of way. I observed only two sightings: Gebiuses Waterfalls and Tuapse Town. I wished I took sun proof cream from home. The cream bought in local drugstore didn’t provide actual proof and I could not avoid sun burns. There was heat and endless mountain passes didn’t allow me to wear even the lightest jersey. At the start I put on my headphones but soon I needed to take them off. They got wet of sweat just on first pass and began to climb down. At the moment I broke my rear view mirror and it got dangerous listen music during movement. The road until Dzhubga went by mountain vale and didn’t abound height drops. I proceeded stably to speed about 30 km/h with some fluctuations. The third day fitted to 9th of May. On the streets of Arkhipo-Osipovka and some other villages I saw many pretty worn children. And in Arkhipo-Osipovka the policemen closed federal highway to parade procession bypassing the car stream by parallel street.
On the top of pass before Dzhubga I saw the entrance to park “Gebiuses Waterfalls”. The are not a lot of them but they are the highest in district of Gelendzhik. All is equipped there by paths and ladders with usual sale for enter of 150 RUR.
05-29-12, 07:01 AM
On enter to Dzhubra the smooth road expired. There got many holes and dust on road edge and traffic increased triply. Here I had dinner in cheap and tasty café just at the road and in some kilometers the road went on along the sea. I turned to auto camping just at the sea and took some my pictures there. Further the road continued along the coast through beautiful rest villages with luxurious hotels and nice views from hill. Sometimes the road was coming down just to the sea, sometimes was coming up very steep over hill straying from the shore. The notion of plain part stopped to exist. There was anywhere a steep at least of 4 percent. I was going not bad; the most of long uphills I passed on speed not less 11 km/h, nowhere stopped and nowhere walked on foot. However on downhills all accumulated energy was wasted to scuffing V-breaks. Multiple road curves didn’t allow speeding up more 35 km/h. Height drops was reaching 400 meters. During all day way of 140 km I counted 7 large passes. Tuapse town has been spread between two the highest of them.
05-29-12, 07:03 AM
Visiting the town took about 2 hours. I left highway and came down to the sea by narrow and greet street. The traffic here is cramped but not as fast as in Moscow. Drivers are very polite and careful. The seafront in Tuapse is not long and the main its pars is situated in non-bathable place in front of moorings and cranes. But town beach is placed aside behind the sea port. Like all Caucasus beached it’s stony but with some sand most likely imported. To leave my things under care I joined to relaxing at the beach cyclist group. This time the cold water turned out very pleasant. I came to water and floated twice. By the way back I came to beautiful pedestrian street that exists in every rest town. To the evening I planned to advance more in 30 km to Sochi and have an overnight stand.
On exiting the town the long uphill began again. The road had many dangerous parts with landslides on all its distance that was strengthened by concrete plates. On that places many cars was accumulating that was waiting for a green traffic light. In one traffic jam I had short communication with two motorcyclists having asked them about existence of camping further by the route. However it can be met only in Abkhazia. I decided to spend night on a seaside like at Sail Rock. But here the place is not so suitable for that. I perch myself under Maykopse. There are rocks and coarse stones anywhere without any reference to soft land. Every hour freight trains make a noise along the shore. Seeing nearness of settlement and sometimes appearing people I put my bike into tent to not be stolen. It’s of course not comfortable to sleep and my skin burned under sun demanded soft bed but not sweaty sleeping bag on hard stones. So I was asleep at most four hours, prepared quick breakfast with Doshirel macaroni on gas stove and headed further not awaiting for day heat.
05-29-12, 07:04 AM
In early fourth touring day it was turned out the Russian pits and bumps caused breakdown of a spring in my saddle. I also spoiled much sweat to my camera and caused getting wet optics. It’s very bad. The most interesting just begins. I took it off from my neck and put to more protected from sweat place to dry. The road was proceeding to wind by serpentine up and down; there was many beautiful views but my camera got dry only to park “33 waterfalls”. And it was a blessing that it got dry to that interesting moment. I turned left from Golovinka. Traffic, dust, and noise instantly expired; only creak of my saddle vas violating the silence. The view to fast and water full Shakha River Valley was opened from the road. When I got to Big Kichum all people told me that it’s in a kilometer forward. But in a kilometer, two, and three there was no reference to waterfalls. Then the road became absolutely empty and narrow, the houses expired, and I had no idea how much more to ride under the scorching sun. It turned out very a bit but I didn’t regret for turning around to village. I came just in first yard with two opened UAZ cars standing at enter. The master explained that not difficult to go there but the taxi service will cost 1000 RUR. I said the price is acceptable I’m tired from the sun, and feel like transferring me to the spot. He poured me a coffee, let me wash and re-wear, and said that I will just find out what is the prime Caucasus hospitality.
The normal asphalt road began to be built to park “33 waterfalls” but part of means went to saw cut (In other words was embezzled), and about pair of kilometers stayed stony with deep holes. Many visitor drivers leave their bumpers here. Yuri, the driver of UAZ, explained me thet the main route is equipped by normal ladders and if you fall somewhere the park administration will save you and will repair you in a hospital. In fact there are 47 waterfalls but further 33th the usual path goes on. Administration doesn’t respond for all that can happen further. So it isn’t worth to come there.
05-29-12, 07:04 AM
This place is the most beautiful I saw on the route. Falling water shone bright under the sun. And the fanciful thicket added much coloring. There are many benches where one can sit down and keep his glance. It was cosy and silently but it’s only in May. After beginning of rest season more 1,000 people a day walk this place. It seemed my camera can’t manage so much contrast range but when I uploaded it to my computer all looked wonderful. Going back Yuri decided to show me the class of water drive. It’s the thing that presents Jeeping fascination. Powerful water streams were flying from the wheels. In summer the cheerful groups in swimming suits cleave the air leaning out of open upper with squeals and screams. Finally he tooke me into his home and offered me to get a picture in papakha with horn in my hand on his family emblem. His family inspires since something of 1500th. The last I asked was to repair broken mirror. The hollow tube was broken. It should screw iron screw into it what was fulfilled in 5 minutes. It will just not break down in this place.
Further I needed to get nearest café and urgently have a meal. I was riding more 6 hours without a meal. Café mentioned by Yuri didn’t work yet but further after long uphill I found a grocery store and after downhill I visited a café and satisfied myself fully. In 20 km I decided to stay by his advice in Loo in the same distance to Sochi. All housing further costs in five times more expensive than here. Here I felt long waited civilization goods and relaxed. Due to strong insomnia before I was inclined to asleep but didn’t fall asleep owning to a bit of noise. It’s very difficult to find housing by so low prices for one night. It’s non-profitable. One single old man agreed to let me spend the night. He was repaired his house and even didn’t call the price. He said, pay what you want. I estimated the state of his house in 400 RUR. Tonight a fog and clouds was coming from the sea. It got very cold and I put on all warm I had. I had a good sleep next morning I felt myself very lot of pep.
05-29-12, 07:05 AM
Fifth day I was riding by Sochi and I reached the final point of the trip – Adler town. The most interesting Central Part of the city follows just after entrance that is preceded by two passes with spreading between two mountains village – Dagomys. One of passes I was cycling on the lowest transmission so forcing than two traffic policemen told me I am too overloaded. It’s really that such panniers with equipment are too hard to ship on the rack by mountains. But so the last long downhill began and I entered to the city. Fortunately the weather stood cloudy and cool. I didn’t overheat and didn’t burn under the sun.
Sochi city met me by multi-kilometer traffic jams nothing inferior to the Moscow. Palms and cypresses grow around that I saw in abundance further in settlements. Those plants can’t be met in a forest. They were imported from hotter countries especially to arrange green spaces in towns.
05-29-12, 07:05 AM
I had a huge list of objects worth to visit but didn’t have time to do it as always. At first I visited Rivera park, had a meal with sushi in the bar resembling a cheburek house, explored the retro car saloon. Then I rode past sea station, came to the seafront.
05-29-12, 07:06 AM
Among museums I visited only the largest two: the art and historical. I very like painting and have interest to history and politics. Sochi city was founded in 19th century. It’s very young. In contrast of Novorossiysk it was initially designed as rest resort. In World War II many military hospitals was deployed there like in the place mostly favor to treat injured soldiers. At this place the railway significantly strays from the shore and goes by many tunnels while on other part of coast it strongly corrupt idyll of rest resort by thunder of trains. Seeing the evening outset I came to Rivera park for dinner and headed to spend night in Adler. I cancelled visiting Eagle Rocks because didn’t have time. Traffic jams expired outside Central Part and Kurortny Avenu turned to wide four lane freeway on piles with very low height deviations. One place instead of pass with serpentine over hill I saw the tunnel. Just here I afforded to speed up to my usual thirty. Just how I had bored to a plain!
05-29-12, 07:07 AM
Just at first gradual exit I saw the sigh #5.3 “The road for cars” indicating that I am malicious violator. The sign of its end I saw only on the entrance to Adler. One policeman in city urged me to go on foot to not hit a pedestrian. Just here the traffic policemen stood on every exit and entrance to freeway but nobody said me a word. Sometimes cyclists-crisps are driven out from the Moscow Circular Road but here all understand the road is just not so busy but it’s the same. It will be inhumanely to make a crisp walk twenty kilometers by rail ways. He didn’t deserve that punishment!
In Adler it turned out that I well forgot my maps and way notes in the café and panniers pocket is unfasten. I bought more detailed map in newspaper kiosk headed to search where to stay a night. Only five attempt I found the master agreed to let me spend night for 500 RUR. I fast took a shower, bought a food for breakfast, and went to admire the sunset above the sea. The sun disk was already not visible. I saw only red glow of the clouds.
05-29-12, 07:07 AM
Last sixth day I suspected some variants. Coming upstairs to Red Glade was dangerous to be late. I was ought to release the room at 3 o’clock. I can go to observe the project site of Olympic objects at suburb of town and also explore town center with seafront. Having seen the project site I felt no positive feelings. There is a dust around and incredible conglomeration of build materials and cranes. Having got Veseloye I saw Abkhazia border and felt strong temptation to visit Gagra and spend at least an hour there. Fortunately the passport was at me and passing point was divided into two terminals for better passing productivity: for transport and for pedestrians. Passing pedestrian terminal took not more than 3 minutes. The same questing asked to me was about goal of my visit. I answered I want to see the Gagra.
It’s marvelous abroad where all not only speak Russian but also pay Russian rubles. Just on first kilometer I felt a difference between Russian and Abkhazian roads. The air is really fresh, the surface is really smooth, and traffic is very light like on some region road. Owning to absence of heavy panniers on the rack I very easy managed steep uphills and rode downhills with speed more than 50 km/h. In 40 minutes I already got to the town.
05-29-12, 07:09 AM
he famous restaurant Gagripsh was under reconstruction. I was dispirited by dirty seafront on town suburb and decay of some buildings. At first arch I came down to seafront and bought the tastiest Abkhazian wine with unmemorizable name at one elder women and also two magnet signs of Gagra for memory. Further I headed the center. I saw both ruined and abandoned buildings of guest houses, and active looking quite good. There were many various cafés.
Anyway I had impression like I got in early 90th if to not pay attention to advertising sheets of internet speed at mobile operators. But I couldn’t stay for long time. I didn’t have a lot of time. A had a meal at grocery store and began movement back in the same racing pace. In the last descend I speeded up so than I was chasing a car about 5 minutes with speed of 55 km/h. After state border I came to market and had lunch in a café. There was interesting hotchpotch by Georgian of large amount of meat with onion and spicy tomato sauce. The master of bar is Abkhazian at a glance. Then I again rode by places resembling me the Moscow area. There are highway with hammer-stones and separating lane, heavy traffic, and powerful multi-level junctions. Day mattress turned to 90 km run.
Having got to the hotel I quickly packed my things and headed to visit local oceanarium. It’s the hugest in Russia with long glass arch on first floor. But my camera didn’t allow to get normal quality pictures without a flash at so feeble illumination. I wish I had time to visit the center. It remained only two hours to wait for the train. I met cyclist group loading to neighboring coach that have passed all Georgia and visited a bit of Abkhazia. Of course I dated with them and had interesting talking. Their story about hospitality and security in Georgia very fascinated me. It’s fraternal people that want to see us oftener. Nobody need isolation existing now. Somewhere I will visit that country.
11-26-12, 12:08 AM
Wow! Looks like a fantastic tour. That is a part of the world I would like to visit one day, and your tour is inspiring. Thanks for sharing with us.
01-09-13, 06:37 PM
Thank you for a very interesting read! :thumb:
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