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Old 08-23-2014, 08:16 AM   #1
cristiano OP
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From Central Asia to Mongolia 2014

From 2009 to 2012 all my summer trips departed from Ancona Port, to catch the ferry to Igoumenitsa.
Since last year they are departing from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, after a few hours flight.

27/7/2014

Bishkek, with Francesco and Ludovico: the next day we will separate from them, as they are going south, in the Pamir.



Memo and Chinara's house is a bit like being home for us, so breakfast and some relax with our friends Sambor and Ola, and with their group, just back from a ride on the afghan side of the Wakhan valley and more.



The other two already working on one of their bikes, even before starting



Mine is a few years old, but it looks still good







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Old 08-23-2014, 08:31 AM   #2
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28/7/2014



We said goodbye to all our friends and the real trip started, under the rain, through the kazakh border and on to Almaty







29/7/2014

A short visit to Almaty







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Old 08-23-2014, 03:50 PM   #3
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It's not easy to see it from the picture, but behind the city there are the mountains on the border to Kyrgyzstan







Charyn canyon



The slope is very steep and tricky, for the first hundred meters, but we want to camp down in the canyon







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Old 08-24-2014, 03:49 AM   #4
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So down into it...



From pictures it's always hard to understand how steep a slope is, but this is very steep



Into the canyon











30/7/2014

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Old 08-24-2014, 03:57 AM   #5
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Old 08-24-2014, 08:18 AM   #6
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I knew it was steep...ooohhhhh

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Old 08-25-2014, 05:31 AM   #7
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I'm ok, and this is good, the rest is a problem: I broke the clutch lever, and the bike is in the middle of the slope.
I have a top case full of spare parts but obviously I don't have a few euros worth spare lever.
We can't be able to push the bike up by ourselves, so Sabrina went searching for help.
First she went to the national park entrance (1 km), but the guard was alone and he told her their jeep was not supposed to arrive before evening, then she walked all the canyon (3 km) to the coffe, where the previous evening I saw a van, but nobody was allowed to use it.
The guys there told her that a truck was coming at 12.00, so she came back to me with at least some water.
In the previous three hours I didn't saw any human being.
Dismantled the top case, we manage to have the bike standing on the side stand, but pushing it up was impossible for us.

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Old 08-25-2014, 08:02 AM   #8
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We can only wait for someone, at least to move the bike from that position, where we cannot leave it, in the meanwhile we try to think about how to solve the problem: finding a van and transport the bike to Almaty (200 km) seems to be the best thing.
Two days before, Sambor gave me the number of Marat, a friend who lives in Almaty and organize bike trips, but our phones are not working where we are, so, when we will have moved the bike, we will have to walk to find a spot where there is signal and call him, or walk to the main road, 10 kms out, and stop vans, hoping they will be ok with coming to pick up the bike and bring us to Almaty.

"Mine is working!", Sabrina says

I dial the number of Marat, it rings:

"hello?"
"hello Marat, I'm Cristiano, a friend of Sambor, we met last year in Bishkek"
"hello, tell me?"
"I am in Charyn Canyon and I have a problem with my bike"
"what problem? which kind of bike?"
"I broke the clutch lever, it's a Dominator"
"ok, my group will be there this evening, there will also be a mechanic, we will bring levers"
"But...I mean...I understood you correctly? Are you coming HERE tonight? If I could find a van that brings me and the bike to Almaty you think I should come there?"
"I think it's better for you to wait where you are, if it's too hot go down in the canyon to seek shade, see you later"

I told Sabrina how the conversation went and she almost did not believe me.

It's Asia: nothing is easy but everything is possible, like Sambor likes to say.

Shortly after the first human beings arrived: they were an english guy with his bike and two swiss in a jeep; with their help we managed to push the bike out of the slope, and then they descended into the canyon to visit it, after giving us some more water. The english jumped on their jeep and leaved his bike out there with us (yes, I thinked about dismantling his lever while he was down and go, but I did not).







We began a long day of waiting, during which we thinked and thinked-back to our plans for the next few days, because our program was pretty tight and we were already losing time





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Old 08-26-2014, 01:27 AM   #9
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Hi Cristiano

I'm back home now. I've discovered your topic today. I will follow you to see your adventure.

Cristian / Bob
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Old 08-26-2014, 06:32 AM   #10
cristiano OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob66 View Post
Hi Cristiano

I'm back home now. I've discovered your topic today. I will follow you to see your adventure.

Cristian / Bob
Thanks Bob, I saw some of your pictures from Pamir and they are stunning!
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Old 08-26-2014, 06:36 AM   #11
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We set the tent on the side of the bike, to guarantee us a little shadow



Around 15.30 a big orange Kamaz with trailer arrives: probably is the truck that was supposed to arrive at noon.
One of the two occupants greets us and starts to turn around the bike, while the other dismounts the trailer hitch, and suggests me to put the brake lever in place of the clutch lever: pointing out that they are different is quite easy and I say him that however a mechanic will come from Almaty to help us in the evening. He laughs, probably because he thinks that we called some sort of local europeassistance, then the two of them go down into the canyon on the Kamaz.



Shortly after repass the swiss and the english guys, which in the meantime have also loaded up a polish cyclist: some talk, many good wishes, and see you the next few days, since the programs they all seem pretty similar.
They ask us if we are hungry, but we decline, as in the case we would be self-sufficient, and do not want them to lose their time.
Then from the canyon comes the van I did saw the night before: the Kamaz passenger is its owner and driver and the vehicle is used to carry material up and down the canyon.
Igor, this is his name, almost adopt us, and every time he arrives up from the canyon he holds something different for us: water, fanta, coca cola and warm bread.
He is a nice person, Igor.





Towards evening comes also the guard with his jeep, while Igor leads out of the canyon the girl who runs the cafe, to allow her to use the phone



We begin to worry about the non-arrival of Marat and his group: maybe something happened and they are not coming and they can't communicate it to us because our phone is not working?
We try to put ourselves at the point where it works and call him again, but this time it's his phone to be silent.
Igor tells us that in the city sixty kilometers after we could weld the lever and that if we want, after sleeping in the canyon, the next morning he could bring us, loading the bike on his truck: if Marat does not arrive, the plan B is ready.
Soon after, however, appears a little ktm, followed by two quad and a jeep, from which Marat and the mechanic descends.
In 10 minutes, my bike has a clutch lever fully functional, albeit broken in half, and with some hammering we give also a partial resettled even to the gear lever, which for four years was standing with a makeshift repair, coincidentally made in Kazakhstan in 2010.
It's dark now, so we decide to leave the bike out there and go down into the canyon to eat, drink and sleep with the jeep of Marat.
I am not able to make the idea, but let's say that the driver of the jeep, in the canyon, in the dark, drives in a bit joyful way.
Mounted the tent, we have dinner and spend the evening at the coffee with Igor, then joined by the group of Marat.
I obviously pay a good part of the rounds of beer, and I'm happy with that: these are the people who, without asking anything in return, have supported us and helped us in many ways on a day which could have become truly critical

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Old 08-27-2014, 04:29 AM   #12
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31/7/2014

Anton "the mechanic", me, Marat and the girl from the coffe



Another problem is on the horizon: it is now clear that we will not leave Kazakhstan in the expected 4 days, and by the fifth we must register our visas.
In the past I've read terrible stories about the procedure, but I have never studied them: we know that the majority of people does it in Almaty.
This and the need for a stronger repair of the gear lever, lead us to decide to go back to the big city, but first we have to get out of the canyon and arrive to our bike, parked just outside.
Igor helps us one more time...







Greeted him, towards Almaty

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Old 08-28-2014, 03:46 AM   #13
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In 2008 I went in Kyrgyzstan co climb Lenin peak. I worked at that time with Marat from Kazakhstan (he arranged all that I needed). I wonder if it is the same Marat

Cristian / Bob
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Old 08-29-2014, 04:19 AM   #14
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In 2008 I went in Kyrgyzstan co climb Lenin peak. I worked at that time with Marat from Kazakhstan (he arranged all that I needed). I wonder if it is the same Marat

Cristian / Bob
He is probably the same: there's a picture a few posts back:-)
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Old 08-29-2014, 04:24 AM   #15
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Lunch break halfway, based on one of those shashlik that only Central Asia can offer



We meet an English guy who has bought a chinese bike in Kyrgyzstan and is riding it around the area: it's nice to see these young guys in this type of travel.
We started much later than them, but the important thing is we started:-)



And then back to Almaty.
Luck helps us: the whole process of registration, which for many was a nightmare, take us only half an hour, thanks to the fact that in the police station Sabrina meets a man who speaks English and helps her filling out the necessary forms.
In the same street where we just registered ourselves we find a hotel that provides the formula "half time half price."
Yes, because in Kazakhstan many hotels offer the chance to get a room for 12 hours, instead of through the night with the usual check in and out, at half price.
The problem is that now it's 18.30 and we have no intention to leave at dawn the following morning.
The hotel has a beautiful outdoor arbor that serves as a bar and restaurant with free wifi, so the solution is really easy: we stay at the bar until 21, then we take our room and the next morning we can leave at a decent time.

1/8/2014

We ask the hotel for directions to a motorcycle mechanic, but they don't know how to help, and advise us to go and ask the motorcycle club of the city, which is not very far away.
It's 10 in the morning and there is nobody, but the lady in the shop next to the club call someone on the phone explaining why we are there, and in two minutes we have the directions we need.
At MyTownMoto we weld the gear lever, so we are finally ready to leave for the north, albeit two days late than originally planned





Leaving the city, we stop to ask for directions, the driver of the car tells us to follow him because he is going in the same direction and so do we.
When we are on the right road, he asks us to wait a minute as he enters the shop of a gas station: he comes out with a map of Kazakhstan in Cyrillic, on which he write his wife's number, who speaks good English, and his, and tells us to call in case we have any problem.
Also asks us if we have a Kazakh number and when we answer no, jumps out even a brand-new sim.
Thanks Roman! Meeting hospitable and caring people like you is why we like to travel these countries, even before the beauty of the places.







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