Batumi, Georgia — Rune’s road trip half done

Vacation. Such a lovely concept.

Found a parking space outside the Batumi Police Department. Safest spot in town?
In my previous installment, we had just reached Istanbul. For the following two days we drove across Turkey. Not much to report; We spotted a new 9-3 with dutch license plates slumbering in the slow-lane. I changed to the middle lane, flickered on my emergency blinkers, but I couldn’t see any response so we continued at our regular speed. At the border crossing total chaos reigned as their computer system had suffered a complete and total breakdown. We were stuck in a queue for eight hours and got hustled for some money. A Georgian gentleman offered to help our progress getting through for a handful money. In the end he helped speed up our progress in the line so it was not a total loss.

Distance covered: 5000-something km
The traffic culture here in Georgia still remains an enigma for me. Luckily we arrived late in the evening, so as a driver I have not yet been exposed to the chaos that Georgian roads can so readily supply. We have only seen one car accident in Georgia this trip. Imagine an entire country filled with obnoxiously bad drivers and you still won’t be close to describing the traffic culture here in Georgia. My wife wanted to practice driving and her Georgian driving instructor told her the complete opposite of her Swedish driving instructor. A few days later she found a better instructor, one that came with a car that has working mirrors.

We have seen a few Saabs here, but they are extremely rare. Today a red 9-5 honked hard the minute we spotted each other. I have noticed that he sometimes parks nearby, so I will try to establish contact.

It seems a tad unreal to have covered 5000 km in a few days, but that is what the distance meter says. The 9-5 performed like a champ of course. I have already mentioned the mountain passes in Romania. If they ever get the lorries off the road then I will wholeheartedly recommend it.

The nozzle on the right side is under cover
Though I am happy with the progress so far, I have experienced some technical problems. The oil I mentioned in a previous entry, but now a new problem has surfaced. The right nozzle for the washer fluid has disappeared! It was not working correctly, and when I inspected it I noticed it was slightly recessed. Instinctively I gently tapped it and down it went. D’Oh! There is now only a gaping hole where there once was a nozzle. I know how to get into the aquarium on a 9000, but on the 9-5 there are no screws as far as I can tell.

I have started planning our return. Turkish roads up in the mountains proved to be somewhat of a mixed bag. It is a four lane highway all the way from Istanbul to Samsun (and further on to the border), but parts of it is under repair and has been temporarily replaced with a cattle track. Driving off-road a mere meter away from black fresh asphalt is a new experience in frustration. Guessing the speed limit as well as figuring out a safe speed that won’t damage the car will also help me pass the time. I should be able to cross Turkey in 14 hours and then spend two nights in Greece. The ferry for Venice leaves at around 9am.

A 9-7X for sale in Bucharest
Something I forgot to mention last time: I saw a 9-7X at the Saab dealer in Bucharest! I think it is the first time I have seen a 9-7X in the flesh.

Tilley
Member
5 years 1 month ago

I see your green dot on the new Map of Visitors, between the Black and Caspian Seas! Awesome road trip. A fun read as well.

Finsbury
Member
5 years 1 month ago
Nothing like this in terms of distance, but just got back from taking my 9-5 from London to Cannes and back again. A total of 3100, but 2 weeks of sun in between. Couple of thoughts: 1. This car eats the km, and with very little wear on the driver. I felt far less tired after doing an 800km run than I did in my old Turbo X. 2. Really got to grip with the fantastic display comupter – being able to switch from MPH to KM/H made sure that I kept the appropriate speed (only 15 KM/H over the… Read more »
rune
Member
5 years 1 month ago
After I took delivery of my 9-5, Nate and I compared notes on XWD performance TurboX vs the 9-5. He was pulling some insane speeds through various curves, and I am not sure I would be able to match those in my 9-5. Would be interesting to hear more of your thoughts on the 9-5 vs TurboX. As for the suspension settings, I still do not feel much of a difference between the settings. Maybe I need to drive it harder. The 9-5 is too big for my needs, but my heart is filled with joy every time I get… Read more »
tompa
Member
5 years 1 month ago

Great stuff mate!

About the nozzle… I believe you’ll have to get in contact with the workshop that “semi” fixed your car not long ago. They proved themselves incompetent in some ways so why not “forgetting” about fixings for the nozzle?

Take care my friend and give your lovely wife a friendly hug from me. πŸ™‚

Cheers/Tom

rune
Member
5 years 1 month ago

Hugs dispersed!

Well, yes, the nozzle will be dealt with sooner or later, and I have been generously awarded somewhat of a ‘carte blanche’ when it comes to repairs of this nature (thanks to the shop I was frustrated with a few months ago), but: I have 5000km to go before I get somewhere where I can benefit from this.

So, if anyone has any ideas on how to get in there and perform a little DIY emergency fix in the mean time… All suggestions would be most welcomed! πŸ™‚ I have a complete torx-set at hand and some wrenches.

i. ant. kal.
Member
5 years 1 month ago

HI!

wow what a trip!
so which roads and countried did you choose?

i. ant. kal.
Member
5 years 1 month ago

a yeah…

now i saw your last post…

well its really sad for me reading all this about Bulgaria…

but after all i told you which is the better road, the highway Serbia then BG…
but the important thing is that everything is ok.
What i did not understand what did you while passing BG… did you drive too fast?
sounded a bit like that…
well next time the highway maybe πŸ˜‰

rune
Member
5 years 1 month ago
They claimed I had been going a tad too fast. When I passed the last house in the village and had a clear road, I accelerated. I do not know how fast I went. 60? But no more than 80. I studied the GPS log yesterday, but do not remember when they stopped me. My average through BG, stops and all, was 50 kph. Through Turkey, not counting sleepovers, I averaged 90 kph. The towns and cities come up fast and guessing the speed limit is frustrating sometimes. Worrying about massive pot holes also forces me to reduce my speed.… Read more »
rune
Member
5 years 1 month ago

…but I will say this: The sausages and meat I had for dinner in BG was absolutely fantastic. Great stuff!

till72
Member
5 years 1 month ago

You got a soft spot for sausages, huh? πŸ™‚

rune
Member
5 years 1 month ago
Yes, I do. In Norway, sausages contain the absolute lowest grade “meat” imaginable (except for the salty sausages not designed for cooking — they are usually very nice and often quite expensive). But I have noticed that in many countries, they put real meat into the sausages and this brings about a whole different experience for the old taste buds. Georgia, culinary wise, has yet to impress. You cannot buy proper milk or cream here (difficult to make a decent sauce) and good steaks are hard to find. I will try some smoked fish today — looks promising so far.… Read more »
till72
Member
5 years 1 month ago

Great story, mate! Hope we can meet on your way back, too πŸ™‚

david.baxter
Member
5 years 1 month ago

Nice report from both of you Rune and Finsbury!

Private question to Rune: Is your wife from Georgie?

Warm regards

David

xlx
Member
5 years 1 month ago

great road trip !

Nate 9-3
Member
5 years 1 month ago

That sounds like the mother of all roadtrips!

kenthebeardman
Member
5 years 1 month ago

Rune,
Saw your car parked outside Intourist Hotel in Batumi on july 23rd whilst having av evening stroll with some Georgian colleagues. We admired the car, and they were mighty inpressed. Nice to see a fellow swede in Georgia, and hope you enjoy your visit here. By the way – I have been driving to Georgia too – two times so far, and it’s a nice but time consuming adventure.

rune
Member
5 years 1 month ago

Ken, check your email. πŸ™‚

anna
Member
5 years 1 month ago

david.baxter Yes. I’m from Georgia

Radu
Member
5 years 1 month ago

Great stuff Rune! I am glad to see you made it all the way! Have a safe trip back! Cheers! Radu

andys
Member
5 years 1 month ago

Where can I read the previous article, Rune?

rune
Member
5 years 1 month ago

I have tagged all three articles as “road trip”: http://saabsunited.saabklubben.se/tag/road-trip should give you easy access to them. I am not sure why they do not show up as “related posts”, but at least the tag link should work.

andys
Member
5 years 1 month ago

10x!

JH
Member
5 years 1 month ago

Nice story Rune, thanks for sharing it! πŸ™‚

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