Going Walkabout on an 800xc through Russia & Central Asia...and maybe beyond...

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by GuiltyParty, Apr 9, 2013.

  1. The Exterminator

    The Exterminator n00b

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2013
    Oddometer:
    4
    Not that I'm aware of. It's just a link when he sends through when they reach camp etc. It would be good to see if he has a track log somewhere.
  2. blacktiger

    blacktiger Tigers R great.

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2005
    Oddometer:
    3,949
    Location:
    St.Leonards on Sea, England.
    SPOT does have that facility. If he leaves it on all day it leaves a breadcrumb trail. It's on a SPOT page called "findmespot.com" but we need his feed.
  3. GuiltyParty

    GuiltyParty drifter

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Oddometer:
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    London
    We called the lady who sells the boat tickets (Vika) at 11 expecting her to say ‘no ferry today, call back tomorrow’ but to our surprise she said to come meet her at the old ticket office in 20 minutes. :eek1 Our hotel was only a short walk from the office so as we wandered down in the hot wind an army truck had blocked the road causing all sorts of mayhem with the traffic. Right outside the old port entrance the military had lined up tanks 25 deep and 4 wide on one side and tanks, ballistic missiles and all other sorts of toys as far as the eye could see on the other. We had to walk straight up the guts of it so we were surrounded by these tanks and military personnel. It was like that famous Tiananmen Square scene. It was uber cool but we couldn’t get any photos because of the brass walking around.

    We sat and waited an hour and she didn’t show and I was kicking myself for not having a phone, thinking we’d missed our opportunity and would be stuck for another few days until another ferry arrived. Eventually after some back and forwards we got a hold of her and remarkably she had a ticket for us (about 200 pounds) – the catch was we had to be on it in twenty minutes…umm fuck! It took us that long to walk to the office and we still had to pack the bike and check out of the hotel. The other catch was the military weren’t allowing people to use the port entrance :huh We thought we’d give it a shot anyway and just turn up with the bike and all the gear and hope that they were impressed enough to let us through. They didn’t, so in a mad dash I had to run through all these tanks in my gear dodging some senior looking military personnel, hoping they didn’t mistake me for a guy wanting to blow up their tanks and snipe me from the roof.

    Puffing and panting and without any bullet wounds I made it to Vika’s office and managed to shriek out in my ‘the ferries going to leave us’ voice the military weren’t letting us through so she told me to jump in a taxi and take a back entrance. After an hour and a bit we managed to get through customs and on to the ferry.

    The ferry crew didn’t have the tie-downs for a motorbike that you would find on other ferries. At first they wanted to sling the chain sitting under the bike over it.

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    This isn’t a petrol tanker buddy you’re not slinging that over it. We tied it down using my straps and cushioned it from scratching with a towel.

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    At last we could relax. We scored with the rooms – we had our own room without any smelly truck drivers and new facilities.

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    Even a sit-down toilet, a bit of luxury

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    Next morning I got out the GPS to see how far we had come, only to discover we were still sitting outside Baku :huh The ship had stopped because of a storm ahead. So we waited

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    And waited….

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    And waited some more…

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    Starting to go a little crazy…

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    And waited some more, doing anything to stay amused.

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    The amount of rubbish that went overboard was astounding. Drink bottles, fat from the cooking vats, egg cartons you name it.

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    Five days later we pulled into Aktau.

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    Noah has again done a stellar job at describing the process and it doesn't need rehashing http://advrider.com/forums/showpost.php?p=21396791&postcount=1521. It’s a tedious process and took five hours. The first hour and a half is waiting for customs to check the boat and eat lunch.

    How many stamps does one document need??

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    With entry permitted we high tailed it towards the Uzbek border through the oil and gas industrial landscape.

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    I hadn’t really thought of it but I was surprised at the number of camels.

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    “Right into the Danger Zone” – reminded me of Topgun. After doing nothing but dead straight roads for the past 100km’s they had to remind us the road still had some bends in it

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    We stopped in Shetpe for these Kazakh punks to wash the sea salt off the bike.

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    In the same town we drew bit of a crowd when we stopped to buy supplies and stock up on petrol (91 octane) for the 300km section between Shetpe and Beyneu which is supposed to be a slow section with no gas along the way. Since I dropped the front sprocket to 15 tooth I’m only getting a range of 300km (on 95 octane), so I carried an extra 5 litres just in case.

    This lady was so nice and gave us a bottle of water.

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    We pulled off the highway to look for a spot to camp the night.

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    And found a spot behind this hill

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    We woke to the guttural call of camels.

    The first part of the road between Shetpe and Bayneu is perfect new asphalt road

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    Shortly after that though the road works ended and became dirt. The first part of the road is clay and was a bit wet from a shower and the front was wandering a little. I was thanking my lucky stars we didn’t have any serious rain because I think it could get quite tough going otherwise.

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    Tyre in the desert

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    What are you guarding there little fella? Is there a TKC there somewhere?

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    Thanks Noah! :clap

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    We’ve done 6000 miles on our TKC and it still has another couple of thousand before I change it over

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    There was only a couple of small settlements along the road but we stopped at one of them for brekkie and these kids served us a meal. I don’t know if the town had any petrol or not, didn’t check.

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    The road was absolute shit, chopped up by so many trucks and big pot holes everywhere. The sort of pot holes that make you cringe and worry about bent rims and blown suspension. The excel rims live to fight another day

    We found some smooth road and stopped for a drink

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    It got so bad people no longer used the main road and instead used tracks in the desert either side of it.

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    Average speed 50km/h and we felt every single bump in that road because we weren’t standing up. We hated life. What should have been 300km worked out to be more like 350km once you factor in all the zig zagging and took the better part of a day to do.

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    There were sections of fesh fesh and we had to stop in the middle of it to let oncoming trucks pass us because the dust they kicked up made it impossible to see ahead. It was so thick it was dangerous because we couldn’t see any trucks coming towards us. As they passed we cut the engine until the dust settled. We handled it well though so the confidence started to soar. Patty’s a great pillion and just sits there and lets the bike and me do the work.

    Every now and again we would wander back to the main road only to smack the rims on another pothole so we took our chances in the fesh fesh.

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    The confidence was soaring until we hit this dusty section in 4th gear and we were spat from the bike. We both got to our feet spitting dust but we were ok. To add injury to insult the road work crew came over in stitches of laughter and took some photos.

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    We rolled into Beyneu with the fuel light on and the bike was struggling for some fresh air. It wasn’t starting properly either without some throttle which is the well known stepper motor problem. We topped up using 85 octane and found an air compressor to blow the dust off the radiator fins, around the stepper motor area and the pre-filter. After that it ran fine again.

    We cracked our laptop screen in the fall but it still works.

    In the shower that night dust came from every orifice.
  4. GuiltyParty

    GuiltyParty drifter

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Oddometer:
    318
    Location:
    London
    Your first post this is where it all starts :evil It's no longer "maybe" join me it's a definite now, and you have a solid bike to do it on. You charge extortionate storage fees

    Patty's keping me safe :lol3

    I don't have a tracking page just been sending 'ok' messages every couple of days to let the family know we're safe. We're in Kokand Eastern Uzbek crossing into Kyrgyzstan today
  5. mr.joke

    mr.joke Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    23
    Location:
    Barcelona, Catalonia
    I'm in !! :freaky:clap

    A question... wich are the bags that you use over the sw-motech engine protectors ? :D
  6. blacktiger

    blacktiger Tigers R great.

    Joined:
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    Location:
    St.Leonards on Sea, England.
    OK, That's much better for battery consumption. Stay safe mate.:clap
  7. sideway5

    sideway5 Mudmuppet

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2007
    Oddometer:
    37
    Location:
    Stockholm Sweden
    Thanks for the great RR and the many outstanding photos. I really wish to go on a trip like this one day, until then I keep my dream alive through your lens and words. Best of luck!
  8. RoninMoto

    RoninMoto Wanderer

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,719
    Location:
    In the mountains?
    Glad you found the tire... before anyone else did :deal
    Sucks you had an off.. glad you are both ok! (I never fell on that stretch by the way) :D
  9. GuiltyParty

    GuiltyParty drifter

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
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    London
    they are the rucksacks that fit an army yoke. they cost £30 for the pair at an army disposal store and they're waterproof
  10. GuiltyParty

    GuiltyParty drifter

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Oddometer:
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    London
    Our muscles were sore and shoulders were tight and we vowed never to ride roads like the one from Shetpe to Beyneu again sitting down. After a little practice we blitzed the dirt road between Bayneu and the Uzbek border standing the whole way (about 75km) with trucks blaring their horns in approval as we passed.

    At the border there was a queue of trucks 200 metres long but we skipped all that and went straight to the front. The process was relatively straighforward (in an eastern europe sense) but we had to wait until 1 o'clock for them to get internet to register the bikes details :huh In Beyneu we met a Russian guy hitchhiking through the 'stans and he acted as translator for us and helped the process along.

    Once through the border there are ladies converting dollars or tenge (Kazakh) to Som so we changed a very small amount over because it was unlikely we would be finding an ATM before we needed fuel.

    With three quarters of a tank left and 9 litres in the dromaderry bladder we set off. I was expecting the worst, but as 10km's of paved road became 300 we welcomed the break in the 40 degree heat. So flat in every direction you could see the curvature of the earth

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    When we stopped a car pulled in beside us and asked if we were ok.

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    It's a long way between fuel stops and lucky we carried spare fuel because as we pulled into the first town in 400km the fuel light came on. It was getting late and we wanted to stop the night and as we got off the bike and shook off the dust we could smell the shishlek on the bbq and thought this is fantastic...only to be told they had no accommodation and no fuel :cry It was 100km to the next town and we wouldn't make it without fuel so we had to perservere and eventually they called a guy to come open up the only petrol bowser in town. No idea what octane it was but it was petrol, and we used what little som we had with us.

    Every now and again the desert would stop and there would be lush greenery

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    I've never seen an islamic cemetery before and was impressed at how ornate it looked.

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    We rolled into Nukus using our last dregs of petrol from the stove and trolled the streets looking for a bank or hotel and could find neither. After awhile someone that could speak english said that in the Republic of Uzbekistan there are no atm's (cash points) and you must go to a bank.

    Next day we went to the bank and they gave us US$ instead of Som - "what do we do with this? We need Som" So he called another guy to come change the USD to Som, but luckily a dutch guy intervened and said to go to the black market where we could get a better exchange rate. The banks were offering 2000 to 1 exchange, the black market was doing 2700 to 1 and the official exchange is 2200 to 1 - go figure. We changed the money from a guy selling washing machines.

    Rock Superstar

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    Glamming up the building with abseiling painters

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    Petrol is scarce (very scarce) in Western Uzbek and noone in Nukus seemed to know where we could find petrol. Eventually we spotted a guy on a motorbike who took us to his house and filled the tank from a 5l jug. He claimed it was 91 but who knows , it looked clean so what the hell.

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    And gave us tea

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    Hurricane proof ceiling

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    A random plane in the desert

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    A local stopped on the side of the road then lead us to his local restaurant and for £4 we were stuffed

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    New gas pipelines going in

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    Roadworks along the Tajikistan border.

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    Super highway

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    Every night you're supposed to register at a hotel or guest house so the government can monitor you but it's just too far between Nukus and Bukhara so we threw caution to the wind and camped in the desert. A big thing about this trip was the camping so we'll worry about the authorities later. There are military check points every couple of hundred k's and they really slow progress. Some you can drive through, some take details and some just want to look at the bike. After awhile they become a nuisance.

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    The worst the road got, and this was only a very small section of an otherwise good road network in Uzbekistan.

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    Just before Bukhara we ran into three indian guys on enfields travelling the opposite direction.

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    One was a 1995 Enfield and between them they were carrying 40kg's of spares.

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    The queue for petrol

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    Coming into Bukhara it felt as though the clutch was slipping a little, like it was struggling to engage and take off in 1st gear. I think it's somehow linked to the stalling problem I've been having so as a precaution I've ordered new plates. I can't risk it failing on BAM or Road of Bones.

    Bukhara is a pretty city, but feels fake, as though everything has been set up and laid out for us personally. There were very few tourists possibly because of the heat so it was nice to be in a pretty city but without the tourists that normally accompany such a city.

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    Leaving Bukhara

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    We decided not to take the road most travelled directly between Bukhara and Samarkand and instead went north in a loop that we were told would take us into the mountains, just to mix it up a bit.

    Big signs

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    Some mountains to break up the flat landscape

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    We stayed the night in a guesthouse in the mountains

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    It's not a TKC or K60 so I left it there

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    Petrol with 80 octane has become the norm and the tiger is running completely fine with it. Mileage has dropped as expected but not significantly.

    Just outside Samarkand we were stopped the third time this trip for speeding. Twice in Turkey the coppers just asked where we were from and let us go, and surprisingly the Uzbek copper after realizing we couldn't speak Russian just let us go as well.

    Samarkand is also a pretty place, but in my opinion not as nice as Bukhara. More people, but big wide open streets and traffic that flows smoothly.

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    Pot hole of doom

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    Samarkand was the first city that the attention Patty received was a little overwhelming for her and for me. In the towns it's in small doses where people would ask for a photo or ask where she's from but in the city all eyes were focussed on her because she must be the only black person in the whole city. She just wanted to walk by unnoticed but once people saw her the whispers would start and some would giggle, others wanted a photo just to be seen with a black person and treated her rudely. The experience was a little upsetting for her and she wanted to end the trip here thinking it would only get worse. :(:

    After Samarkand we rode up the corridor between Tajikistan and Kazakhstan going to Kyrgyzstan. This is the only photo the now bloody annoying military / police would let me get, looking in the direction we just came from. The military were more thorough (annoying) in these parts.

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    Further along and away from military eyes

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    Sorry officer

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    As the sun set we pulled into Kokand for our final night in Uzbekistan.

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    People in these parts were much more friendlier to Patty and it convinced her to stay. This lady made us fresh bread straight from the oven

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    Take this guy with us to BAM and he can build us a bridge

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    Next up Kyrgyzstan.
  11. Honkey Cat

    Honkey Cat Tailights Fade!

    Joined:
    May 5, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,335
    Location:
    SW Florida
    omg, thanks for taking the time for the amazing pics and stories.
  12. El Viajero

    El Viajero Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2013
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    93
    Location:
    SOFl
    Awesome Trip!

    Ride safe... :freaky
  13. littlelionmonster

    littlelionmonster Custom Faker

    Joined:
    May 19, 2009
    Oddometer:
    925
    Location:
    Shenandoah Valley VA
    Great report! Enjoy the tiger. I just finished up a trip thru northern Canada and had zero issues with her. Not quite as intense as what you're doing though.

    Looking forward to the rest of your adventure. :clap
  14. Travelbugblues

    Travelbugblues Teacher on the road

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2013
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Home: Seattle. Current mission: the world!
    Very jealous! A very similar route from Oz to Europe is in the works for me! Have an excellent and safe rest of your trip. Thanks for posting the great pictures.
  15. freefall109

    freefall109 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 7, 2012
    Oddometer:
    155
    Location:
    Jersey Highlands
    Great pictures, Safe travels!
  16. GuiltyParty

    GuiltyParty drifter

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Oddometer:
    318
    Location:
    London
    Leaving Uzbekistan the border security assed about so it took three and a half hours to exit. A fight almost erupted in the queue. I've found that getting the bike on it's centre stand and taking some tools out as though you own the place generally moves things a long, or making sandwiches and pretending the wait isn't a bother. I'm not the most patient of people, Patty will tell you so.

    The Kyrgyzstan side took five minutes and the border guard shook our hands and said "welcome to Kyrgyzstan".

    We were on a mission to Bishkek to arrange a visa for Tajikistan because as you probably noticed from the beginning of the report, we haven't planned much and made things up on the fly.

    Transmission towers on each of the ripples in the mountain. I think the truck in the centre left is bogged and the blokes are trying to figure out how to get it out.

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    We camped the night in the hills overlooking Jalal-Abad - I just love saying Jalal-Abad it just rolls off the tongue - Jalal-Abad.

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    Big ass mountains in the distance

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    During the night some strong winds kicked up so we were up at the crack of dawn to pack up before we got blown away.

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    This family searched around our camp site for berries. To me the hills looked barren. We disappeared before they found the 'berries' we left behind :wink:

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    Shishlek sanga for brekkie

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    We were taking the west road via Karakol. You don't need to leave the main road for some great views.

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    We explored a little for a camp site

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    The road was running out so we asked a bee keeper if we can camp and he said it was ok. In the heat we were desperate to camp next to some running water

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    First a guy on horseback arrived. We thought we were in the middle of nowhere

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    Second two kids on horseback showed up

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    Third a guy with two barrels of cherries on horseback arrived

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    Soon word had spread in town that we were in the hills so on dark just as we thought nobody else would go past two car loads of teenagers turned up for photos.

    The next morning when all was peaceful and the only sound was the running lake I contemplated skipping Tajikistan and spending that time in Mongolia doing nothing but fishing and swimming in the lake.

    A pit stop for breakfast of biscuits and juice

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    Past Karakol the scenery changed from dry red mountains to lush green high plains

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    We stopped for a photo and this guy on horseback wandered over to us and asked us if we wanted a drink, so of course we said yes and followed him down the hill.

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    He took us to a little teepee thing on the side of the road and gave us what looked like milk, but it was fizzy. I couldn't see any cows around though :huh so asked him where it came from and he pointed at his horse. So fizzy horse milk? dah, dah, harasho (yes, yes, good) Fizz in milk is wrong to begin with but coming from a horse just didn't sit right. It tasted like piss but he gave us two bottles and we accepted them so we didn't offend him

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    We pushed on with the bad taste in our mouth.

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    This stretch of road is a bottleneck of adventurers. Lots of cyclists and way more people on motorbikes than we were used to seeing.

    Some aussies from Queensland and an englishman

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    We made some russian friends who we'll stay with when we go to Moscow.

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    My clutch has been behaving since the episode in Bukhara and hasn't played up. It's holding all gears and takes off in first without any dramas. Bukhara was hot whereas the mountains have been cold so it's got me convinced it's something to do with the oil getting too hot and losing it's viscosity. I'm not a mechanic whizz on these things. I've used Motul 10W-40 in the past and since Turkey have Motul 15W-50

    I bought some Castrol 10W-40 from the famous Dima biker and changed the oil. The oil looked and felt ok.

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    We've decided we can't miss Tajikistan when we're so close so after $85 each and a quick drop off at the embassy we have the visa for Tajikistan and GBAO region.

    There are few roads to choose from going north to south in Kyrgyzstan because of the mountains so we took the road we knew would be fast and high-tailed back to Osh. We didn't stop for any photos and could hook into the corners so what took us two and a bit days to do the first time we now did in one day.

    Today we go to the Pamir Highway.
  17. GuiltyParty

    GuiltyParty drifter

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Oddometer:
    318
    Location:
    London
    Thanks everyone for following along :clap

    Loving the tiger :D There isn't any other bike I would have chosen for this trip. It's taken me everywhere I've wanted to go effortlessly.

    The clutch seems to have sorted itself out but I've ordered a spare as a just in case.
  18. jtb

    jtb Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2003
    Oddometer:
    2,323
    Location:
    Hawkesbury NSW Australia
    Mate, keep posting and we'll keep reading! It's awesome!:bow:bow
  19. GuiltyParty

    GuiltyParty drifter

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Oddometer:
    318
    Location:
    London
    You'll love it mate! When the time comes and you need info feel free to drop me a line. I've left a lot of the detail out of this report because it's been done to death by others but if there is anything I can help with I'll be happy too.
  20. WIBO

    WIBO Will it buff out?

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2002
    Oddometer:
    3,860
    Location:
    64800French Pyrénées
    Craig!!!

    You're back to Camel Land I see!!!!...and the 'odd stretch' of feche-feche lol

    Well done so far on your travels....keep at it!!

    Safe onward riding.....

    :D




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