The Eastern Trail Nirvana - BE to Central Asia

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by OldManJoris, Jul 20, 2017.

  1. OldManJoris

    OldManJoris Rider

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    Baking Oil is your short answer :-). In that area they cultivate many sorts of seeds, which are used to make oil, which we are unaccustomed to. Our stomachs just don't like it that much, but it's very normal for them. They use mainly Palm, Soya and Rapeseed for cooking.
    When you have a cooked meal (hostel, restaurant) in small villages, there's high chance this oil is used and your stomach might or might not object. We had few people (including myself) suffering in Dushanbe after we ordered a pizza. Locals had no probs with same pizza. In Murghab, following the last post, we had difficulties digesting the breakfast from the hostel, which was only baked eggs and bits of meat. The bread and dinner (lamb meat soup) was all good.
    In a couple of days from last post, i'll have a full system shutdown, which was caused by eating plums from the ground.
    We never had probs with the water, just the oil. Anti-crap pills and good stock of toilet paper is a must and your best line of defense :-).
    Ah right, Ben had probs with water one time. He stopped somewhere in Tajikistan to have a chat with a local who offered him tea. The tea was cooked from water coming from a nearby river. He suffered greatly after that. Always filter or buy bottled water...

    Thanks for the note on the photos.
  2. CalamariKid

    CalamariKid Been here awhile

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    Loving this! You are an inspiration - thanks for doing this report - and my God - the photos!
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  3. BLucare

    BLucare Ambitious, but rubbish

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    Got it! So, before I head to that part of the world, I need to train my stomach on rapeseed oil here in the States :lol3
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  4. RoverMike

    RoverMike Adventurer

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    This is right up their with the best report and photos on advrider.

    Congratulations. ..... and write faster ......
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  5. OldManJoris

    OldManJoris Rider

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    My pleasure and very much appreciated!

    Something like that yeah, or just go for massive amount of toilet paper and anti-crap pills :-). And yeah, Cola is helpful.

    Thanks. On it!
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  6. OldManJoris

    OldManJoris Rider

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    By the way: we heard from the Italian guide (who was a cool guy, he deserved our beer for his pain) what the price was for the MotoGuzzi Tour. They paid the same for two weeks as what we budgetted for 10 weeks. But our budget included buying the bikes, all the gear, all the options like Satnav and Inreach, mods on the bike, fuel, service, .... Some rich fellas it seemed.
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  7. OldManJoris

    OldManJoris Rider

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    D52: June27 - 410Km - Kyrgyzstan1 - Bloody Flats

    Long day ahead, which wasn't planned. What was planned, was to ride the Khargub pass (4655m) to the border with Kyrgyzstan and find a place where we could eat steak! I had visions of steak and fries, that needed to be sorted out.
    First get fuel. Murghab is a larger town in the Pamir, but there's no power. All powerlines going to the village have been constructed by the Chinese, using wooden poles. At many places, these have been taken out by rivers, so no juice in town. Which means, pumps don't work.

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    This was questionable fuel, as the containers had open vents allowing moist and water to come in. No other option, we had to live with it.
    And we're on our way again. Tarmac went to gravel with occasional water crossings.

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    Lots of washboards to deal with, but the views were again top notch. You just can't let this pass by while looking at your front wheel, stops were frequent.

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    For a good amount of time, we rode close to the Chinese border area. It's not the actual border, more a DMZ with high tech security systems, called a fence. No guards, but they're not really necessary I suppose. There are only mountains and deserts, no roads.

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    The road continues to climb well over 4000m and the bikes (and body) start to loose power.

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    At a rest stop
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    it was time for reflection. The goal for me was reached (Ben would still have many more goals), there were no mechanical or physical showstoppers, we had perfect weather and super great experiences. Time to have a chat and give my thanks to Ben, a great person to have with you as fellow rider. No complaints, always using reason, good sense of humor and down to earth no-nonsense character. If you ever bump into this fella, buy him a beer. He'll have some stories to tell ;)

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    And the ride continues, passing the Karakul Lake

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    Time for another border crossing, above 4000m
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    Passport control is in that white cabin. A young guy sat there at a wooden table with a book in front of him, which looked like a prop from the Pirates of the Caribean movie. He has solar panels on the roof and a coal stove. I'll never complain about my desk at the office anymore.. Passports were checked and stamped, have a little chat and give him some cigarettes (always carry ciggies, even if you don't smoke ;) ). We were clear to exit Tajikistan, with a heavy heart.

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    The Kyrgyzstan side was way different. It's 12km away from the Tajikistan crossing and sits in the green. They had computers and scanners, all of the sudden modern technology was there once again. Some British travellers in a rental 4x4 were stuck there for some hours, having problems securing a vehicle import document. I gave the guard some extra USD on the promise he would buy his wife something nice, and our papers were ready in just 20 minutes. Sometimes it's not worth to play the waiting game..

    Hello Kyrgyzstan
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    Gravel is no more, now it's Tarmac time.
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    (for a little while ;) ).

    This means civilisation, which could mean STEAK!!!! My nose was set for a piece of meat, it was just too long ago. There are good trails in that area, and i had them ready on the gps, but the quest for meat was too much.
    Of course, when you really really want something…. Well karma is a bitch..

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    No probs, i can handle that. First a tire dance to please the rubber Gods.
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    Quickly put a patch on the tube and get the tyre back ont he rim… which was easier said than done. The compressor needed some help. I call it therapy :-)
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    Onwards!
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    Only to realize I patched too quickly and it didn't hold. Goddamn M$#^F..%#

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    Swapped for my first tube (the patched one from Turkey) and it held.

    That's it, no more steak today…
    Sunlight was gone, and our lights were not exactly a great help. We weighted our options and went for Osh, hoping for a comfy place to stay with access to workshop. I lost faith in my tubes so wanted to avoid getting stuck in the middle of nowhere. The ride into town was hardcore. Traffic was kamikaze style with no regard for motorbikers. Ben's light was again not pointing in the right direction, that needed a fix soon..

    We found a bed and cooked our own food. But I want and shall have my steak soon!

    For the next days, we hoped to ride to Son-Kul, but it wouldn't all go as planned..
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  8. Oldfatbeerman

    Oldfatbeerman Enroute to a PUB

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    Still enjoying this RR immensely OMJ :clap.
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  9. OldManJoris

    OldManJoris Rider

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    Thanks!
  10. BLucare

    BLucare Ambitious, but rubbish

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    When all else fails, get a big hammer! :lol3

    Regarding the currency, is USD the preferred cash in that area?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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  11. OldManJoris

    OldManJoris Rider

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    No kidding, that hammer is the most useful tool by far.

    USD preferred for all non-standard expenses yes. Shops, fuel stops, hostels, ... all prefer local currency. Kazakhstan likes Georgian currency too. EUR also gets you something these days.
    I had 5 packs of USD bills hidden away. In my wallet only lots of worthless bills from other countries, and max 20USD (usually 10) for unexpected expenses.

    I would advice to have some amount of local currency, and use 5 USD bills for other expenses. Make sure to have recent exchange rate on your phone somewhere, to avoid ripoff.
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  12. OldManJoris

    OldManJoris Rider

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    D53: June28 - 2Km - Kyrgyzstan2 - Rest & Peace

    Short one. If you would have kept track, we were on the bike for 16 days, including the desert crossing, North M41 route, Wakhan, Zorkul. We would be kidding ourselves if we would deny the hard fact that we (at least I) were spent.
    I needed to check my tubes, and Ben needed to fix his lights. Both are crucial things to do. Looking at our planned route we realized we still had some interesting trails to do and were ahead of schedule. Ok that does it, find a cozy place and rest a bit.

    The place we found the day before was very cool (brand new guesthouse, loads of space, cheap as hell) but in a busy area. Ben found another one closeby for good price. The new place was actually one of 3 guesthouses with the same name. One of them is for motorbikers, but we skipped that and went for a non-motorbiker place for some extra USD.
    We needed rest and focus. Last thing on our mind was to play the show-off game. Yes that's what we felt every time we stayed at a place with other travellers on two wheels, like there's a rule to talk about your achievements and listen to other glorious experiences. Only way to avoid that is to lock yourself up in a room. Been there done that, not again.

    The place we found was ours, no other guests. Well… another biker showed up and we got fed up with him after 5 minutes.. So told him politely to find listening ears at the bikers place.

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    Place to work, kitchen, separate rooms, relax area, wifi, … yeah i could stay there for a day

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    And we went to work. Fixing bolts, cleaning filters

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    Fixing tubes, cleaning leads

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    All you need for a DR

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    And sort out that bloody headlight
    Plastics were torn to pieces again. Split pens and JB Weld can fix that

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    Ever wondered what the difference is between a GS650 and DR650 fuel filter? Well we both carry spares

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    … ok i carry spares, Ben only one spare for obvious reasons :).

    Rest of the day was spent trying to relax. Trying to, as my stomach started to act up. Ben went for shaslik in town and I had to admit defeat and go to bed. Well I had that coming..
    Next day we hoped for early exit and find good trails, possibly camp in Yurt. If all goes well of course… that Karma bitch.. :)
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  13. powderzone

    powderzone Been here awhile

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    I like the way you roll OMJ!
    Terrific adventure - thanks for bringing us along.
  14. OldManJoris

    OldManJoris Rider

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    My pleasure. Great to see positive responses :clap
  15. OldManJoris

    OldManJoris Rider

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    D54: June29 - 400Km planned, 0Km Done - Kyrgyzstan3 - Knocked Out

    It had to happen, and finally happened. Knocked Out!
    In the morning I was full of confidence it would be a great day. Packed my stuff, got the bike ready and had one of the biggest shocks of the whole year

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    Seems i was travelling with a porn star! Damn dude…
    Ben has to travel through Kazakhstan again soon, so he figured it was time for a shave (remember the secret service discussion). Why he left the porn mustache is anyone's guess… :-D.

    But that's the only picture i took that day. Half an hour later we were ready to jump on the bike, but suddenly the world was dancing in front of my eyes and all systems failed. Had to sit down and knew immediately i wasn't going anywhere. No fever, that's something, just everything went black and all alarms went off.

    The lady of the house wanted to help and gave us some pills.
    "They fix you, very heavy pills. But be careful, they can have side effects".

    The pills were wrapped in paper with Cyrillic tekst. Ben, careful as always, first deciphered that and looked for the properties on the internet.

    Things he found:
    "Illegal in Europe"
    "Effective against the Pest, or Black Death"
    "about 10 people died from using it, as far as is known"
    "heavy side effects"

    ….. Ok i'll just leave them and go to bed.

    We stayed another day basically doing nothing. I did feel much better later in the evening, so we would definitely have another go at Son'Kul lake tomorrow.

    Of course, we won't take the normal roads. One day on tarmac was already enough to get me sick to the stomach :-).

    Sorry about this short one, I still like to honor the "post a day" rule. More stuff tomorrow, including an absolute nutbag on two wheels, cycling RoB in winter.
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  16. Oldfatbeerman

    Oldfatbeerman Enroute to a PUB

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    :lurk
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  17. keepshoveling

    keepshoveling Long timer

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    Are you sure it wasn’t just that mortal man was not meant to behold the splendor of that mustache?
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  18. OldManJoris

    OldManJoris Rider

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    You're probably right. That mustache was impossible to process. Short circuit in the head and systems failure.

    Splendor..... my god :)
  19. OldManJoris

    OldManJoris Rider

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    D55: June30 - 300Km - Kyrgyzstan4 - Green Gras Hills

    All systems in the green, no alarms anymore, so let's roll!
    Well.. Most systems were ok, just some tweaks required here and there:
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    We left Osh as fast as we could and headed East, direction Son-Kul lake, somewhere in the mountains at 3016m height. First 50-60km where tarmac with lots of traffic. Right before the gravel starts, we stopped for fuel and met this absolute crazy mofo

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    The guy (Italian) looked like a machine build out living tissue with a titanium endoskeleton. Yet, he came over and praised our bikes and plans. He was driving in opposite direction and mentioned we were about to have a great time on the trails, unlike "other bikers who stick to tarmac, they're nothing, you guys are real deal" … ehm ok..

    I asked him where he started on his trip, and he mentioned Magadan. Some alerts went off in my head and I did a quick math, taking average speed, date and distance into account. My next question was obvious:

    Me: "Ok…hold on… so when did you start your trip in Magadan"
    Terminator: "In January, some 6 months ago"
    Me: "January ok… wait what what??? You mean January like in wintertime January??"
    Terminator: "Yes… that was stupid idea"
    Me: "Are you insane or on drugs??"
    Terminator: "Nonono, just stupid. Don't do road of bones in winter, it's bad idea"
    Me: "And you called us hardcore just now? What makes that of you then??"
    Terminator: "Very stupid.. It was cold!"
    Me: "How cold did it get?"
    Terminator: "Usually -40C which was ok. One night got close to -60C. That was bad night. It snowed in my tent. Like I said, don't do road of bones in winter. It's very stupid. Probably better on motorbikes, in summer."
    Me: "…."

    That was a funny conversation. This guy was beyond insane. Very cool and humble dude though. I forgot his name, hope to find a record of his trip someday..
    And we continued. Tarmac was finally done, now back to gravel.

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    There would be 3 passes to cross before we reach the lake. This valley is only used for nomadic people who live there. There's another tarmac road to the East taking most of the traffic, which we wouldn't recommend.

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    After the gravel pits in Tajikistan, these green hills were a very welcome sight. Nothing technical, just pure enjoyment

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    The weed next to the road had interesting features

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    Of course, when you're enjoying a perfect day, there comes that Karma bitch!

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    Another puncture. That flat number 5 damnit. We hoped to reach Son'Kul that day, but this flat screwed up the planning. No problemo, we can park anywhere. The camp spot for that evening was brilliant again. Somewhere high in the hills, with a fire (this country has wood!!!) and not a living soul close by.

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    Well it's not all happyness. I was kinda getting tired patching those damned tubes.. :)

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    This day was promising for what's to come. The end was near, with bonus points along the way!
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  20. BLucare

    BLucare Ambitious, but rubbish

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    I can't believe how green Kyrgyzstan is! Amazingly different from Tajikistan. Looking forward to the last five days :-)
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