20-Jul-2002 -- Since this was going to be my second Confluence visit, I decided to have a look at the 39N 27E confluence point on the maps, if it was suitable for me to go on bicycle instead of more conventional means. I happily calculated (which turned out to be wrong eventually) that it was near enough and it also had an altitude of only 6 meters, same as my home city Izmir.
So last Saturday morning I set off with the sunrise. An outrageous heat had been dominating this part of the country for weeks, therefore my deepest concern was the fluid loss leading to a heat-stroke. Although I was regularly bicycling for a long time, this trip was going to be a real challenge. However, when combined with the excitement of the confluence hunting, it promised to be a day to remember. A thoughtful preparation (with the help of Motis) saved me a lot of trouble, including spares for two flat tires, salt for the loss, UV protection ointments for sunburn, fresh batteries etc.
I took the D550 highway, which connects Izmir and Çanakkale, the latter lying on what is better known as the Dardanelles. The MapQuest maps helped a lot again. When I reached the nearest point to the Confluence on the highway, I turned left and took a dusty village road for the last 5 km. I was already 92 km away from home. The path took me to a very beautiful waterfall. The riverbank felt wonderful after having pedalled about 100 km under the midday's sun. But reality slowly made its way into my mind: the river seemed very wide and deep for me to cross. Since I still had almost 4 km to go to the spot, I took the picture of the scenery in desperation and feared this visit would only be an attempt rather than a successful one.
In the shade of the trees I enjoyed the coolness of the water. Just as I was packing up for return, two guys came by the river on a tractor. I told them what my goal was and that I was hopeless about crossing the river, and they started to giggle. To my amusement the boy named Tufan got in the water and just walked to the other side. It was only knee-deep! His father Ender Durmaz was a forest watch and to my surprise he knew all about the GPS and navigation. Their sincere attitude was very refreshing. After exchanging addresses I went on for the Confluence.
The trip got harsher as I got near. I had to paddle two ponds, and mud was all over me and the bike. There were cotton fields in every direction. I walked well 3 km in the fields to reach the spot. The spot bore no particular feature. The fields would be snow white in a few weeks’ time during blossom, I thought to myself. I took the pictures of the four directions and the GPS, which was unfortunately out of focus and only partly visible.
Having satisfied my goals, I was exhausted but proud on the way back. The travelled distance on the bike computer read 142 km total instead of 200, because I had to take the last 50 km on a pickup, as it was already late night.