Icebear moves to Georgia

Icebear decided he wants to live in Georgia and has run away 😦 😦 😦 Georgia is a wickid place and we have been very tempted to just stay here the full 360 visa-free days and open a little bar or something. But in the end we decided against it. So when Icebear heard we’d be leaving soon, he ran away.

One evening, just before finding camp, he hopped off the bike and scurried off. He was still there when we stopped in Zestaponi to grab some supplies. But when we got the beer out in our chosen camping spot, he was nowhere to be seen – and Icebear never misses a slurp of beer!

At the time I’d left my problematic bike in Batumi and we’d been riding two-up on Pippa. It was getting dark so I had to hurry. I grabbed the keys and rode off, all the way back to the shop scanning the roadside, looking for him. After all, last time he’d run off, we’d found Icebear by the roadside, trying to hitch a lift to where we were. Not so now though. No little furry thing with a spiky helmet by the roadside. The people at the shop recognised him immediately when I showed them a photo, and said he’d sat on the back of the luggage all tied on, when we left.

So he must’ve jumped off after. It was dark by now and Pippa’s bulb was broken. So I crawled along at 10mph, trying to see by the bikes dim parking light. You can’t imagine how many shadows by the roadside I stopped for, even turned around for! But they invariably turned out to be coke bottles or cow poo.

At some point the cops came towards me, spun around and pulled me over. Shit! I’d left my driving license in Batumi with my bike! I was praying Pippas papers were under the seat, as Aidan had said. And my passport? It was with Aidan in the tent! F**k! I pulled over and turned off the bike, trying to look calm while my mind was racing… would I get away with a sop story of how I’d lost Icebear, showing them a photo? Or would they just deport me straight to the loony bin?

I slowly got off the bike and turned around. The cop said something in Georgian on his megaphone…. and waved me off! He didn’t have to say that twice! I jumped back on Pippa before he could change his mind. No need to speed away though, he’d spun his car around again and was off. Maybe something to do with the police being told to be nice to tourists, ever since government had weeded out the corrupt guys (about 80%) and replaced them with educated officers on a decent salary that doesn’t necessitate supplementary bribe cash. Maybe he spotted the foreign number plate and decided that an unusual bike with almost no light swerving along at a snails’ pace, the rider staring at the ditch on the side, was no cause for concern.

And that’s exactly what I resumed doing. But no luck. By the time I returned to the tent several hours later, Aidan was real worried (the ride normally takes 15 minutes). The next day we rode back to Zestaponi again, hoping to find Icebear by daylight. But nothing, and not on the return journey either. Back at the camp site I was in tears.

In town I had seen something spiky stick out of a puddle. At the time I thought it was a leaf but now I had a nagging doubt and I told Aidan about it. “I wish you’d mentioned it before” he said, but turned around one more time none the less. Again I had my eyes glued to that side of the road. Back at the puddle it turned out it really was a leaf.

We bumped into another biker from Slovenia on a R1200 GS traveling around for a few weeks by himself. We shared travel plans by the roadside, a welcome distraction for me. Suffice to say that even the 6th time along that road, Icebear was nowhere to be found. And when we returned days later and stopped at the shops again, just in case, no one had seen him still.

There was nothing else we could do. Icebear has obviously decided he doesn’t want to be found. He wants to stay in Georgia, where there’s beer and Chacha aplenty and always some friendly people to share it with. I guess one day everyone’s baby has to grow up and go their own way! Here’s a little tribute to all the good times we’ve had:

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