A solo trip to Mongolia on a 125cc

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by guerreronegro, Apr 18, 2020.

  1. guerreronegro

    guerreronegro Been here awhile

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    After taking a shower and washing the clothes, I decided to go explore the Registan square. Taking advantage of the local regulations I got rid of the helmet. I also left all the bags and top case in the guest house to not have anything to worry about getting nicked while visiting crowded areas. These two kids, would take care of the gear for me while I was out.
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    I parked the bike 30 feet from the square and got to enjoy a music and dancing performance. Right there I asked a local if he could take a picture of me. To my surprise the guy was a certified local guide and spoke perfect English. He offered to give me a tour around the old town tomorrow morning and we exchanged numbers. He also recommended me to go have dinner at the Samarkand Restaurant, quite close from where I was staying.
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    I finally have sorted what was wrong with my visa application. It seems the Portuguese had the same problem and it had to do with a glitch in the Tajikistan visa portal. If you happen to have a bad Internet connection like the one I had in Turkmenistan, there is small chance your application wont go through successfully. It will simply be put on hold forever and no official will be able to give it the green light. Worried that I had to start from scratch and wait another couple days I submitted another one using the other passport just in case. The Portuguese gave me a number to call assuring me they would be able to solve it on the spot. So if everything was ok I would be able to start riding tomorrow afternoon.
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    Dinner in this restaurant was simply great. I had the local version of the Borsch soup and a piece of chicken. Although I was alone, I got to enjoy another performance while eating. So far, I was loving Samarkand.
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  2. yokesman

    yokesman Long timer

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    regardless of local laws the damage to you doesnt change .brain damage isnt the came as wearing jeans rather than agatt.
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  3. guerreronegro

    guerreronegro Been here awhile

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    Yeah I know, there is no excuse to that. But I also happened to wash the inner part of it and it had to dry. It felt very refreshing after riding for so long in such high temperatures.
  4. guerreronegro

    guerreronegro Been here awhile

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    Before going to bed last night, I made up my mind of staying one full day in Samarkand regardless of what was to happen to my visa status. Sultanov, the guy I met yesterday called me at 9 AM in the morning. I couldn´t believe how I was going to have a tour for myself by meeting a random person who happened to be a certified guide. He told me to meet him at the same spot as yesterday in the Registan square. I booked another night at Amir´s hostel and left my stuff in the locker. Then I ride the motorcycle again to the same spot as yesterday with nothing on it.
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    Sultanov had studied tourism and walked me through the Registan Boulevard. This street was almost completely destroyed but the same as with the buildings, facades and mosques, it had been restored putting a lot of effort. I could not almost believe when I was shown pictures of how everything used to look prior to restoration. It looked unreal.
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    Walking down these streets and going inside the buildings felt like something else. The brilliant azure colours, the mosaics, and in general all the Islam architecture was just fascinating to see. While walking we run into a couple that was in a photo-shoot about to get married. I asked if I could get a picture with them.
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    While visiting all of these buildings Sultanov kept throwing me facts about them which I regret to not have stored in the diary. He stayed with me the whole morning and we got to see all of the Sherdor Madrasa, the Tillya-Kori Madrasah, the Ulu Bey Medresesi, and then walked to the Hazrat Khizr Mosque to see the last mosaic, the Shah-I Zinda. I couldn´t be more grateful to the guy. I then remember I had to call the visa number so I did that while Sultanov told me to follow him to see the local market which happened to be nearby.
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    The official on the phone was able to sort out my situation fast and he told me I could head to Tajikistan at that time if I wanted. Happy to see everything had worked out I thought I might as well use the rest of the day to rest a bit. I bought a kind of nougat to have something with sugar just in case and also one of those Muslim hats as a souvenir. Then we went together to have lunch. Since Sultanov was the local he took me to a place in the Blvd he used to worked in and of course everything was delightful. Everyone seemed to know him there and of course when trying to pay it happened again. This time it was on the house. I wanted to pay Sultanov as well but he wouldn´t take no for an answer. He sincerely did it out of amiability. Everyday that passed with things like this happening made me wonder how was it that I happened to find all of these incredible people on my way. We exchanged our contacts and promised to stay in touch. Then I left to the hostel to nap a bit and figure out the next move.
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  5. 9w6vx

    9w6vx Pergo et Perago

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    Wow... impressive architecture!
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  6. MadRider777

    MadRider777 Been here awhile

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    Great trip and report!
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  7. pete3

    pete3 n00b

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    Impressive story, impressive images!:-)
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  8. Sandino

    Sandino Been here awhile

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    Excellent report, en horabuena!!, saludos desde Paraguay.
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  9. guerreronegro

    guerreronegro Been here awhile

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    Back in the hostel I took a brief power nap and then disassembled the air filter to wash it. I still had no compressed air but I had access to hot water so I decided to check and wash the air filter prior to the Pamirs. As I started to disassemble the fuel deposit to gain access, more people started to make it to the hostel, some part of thee Mongol Rally as it was starting to become usual. Once finished I joined the table with an Australian, an English and a Korean. We decided to grab some grilled chicken to eat in the hostel together with some wine and beer. We stayed talking until midnight and then we went off to bed.

    I got on an early start following the hostel instructions to have breakfast at that time Unfortunately that was not the case and I had to wait one more hour until it was ready for some reason. It did not matter much, I had always something to do to kill time whether reorganizing the saddle bags, or writing the diaries. I left Samarkand around 9 AM after saying goodbye to everyone and ride straight to the border.
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    Two teams I previously met were already there waiting so I caught up pretty quick by joining them in the lobby were the official was issuing the exit stamp. There were also many Italians convoying in BMW GSs but they were waiting for the rest of the group to gather. Crossing into Tajikistan didn’t take more than 30 minutes. They checked if I had the GBAO permit to cross into the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region where the Pamir Hwy starts. Everything seemed to be ok and I just had to pay a small fee in dollars for all the paperwork.
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    Tajikistan welcomed me with top-tier roads. It looked as if they were built within that same year. Psychologically it messes with your planning because you think you will be able to reach x town and in a few kilometers it transforms into a war road. If Uzbekistan was all about white Chevrolets, Tajikistan had a thing for 20 year-old Opel/ Vauxhalls. Literally all cars were Opel Astras, Vectras or Zafiras from the 2000 period. Some of them still carried the sticker corresponding to their home country.
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    Upon crossing the border I had to go up 8000 feet in altitude and the landscape started to get stunning. Many cattle animals like donkeys, horses and cows were present on the road. This would be the norm for all of Tajikistan and Kyrgizstan, by far the most beautiful countries in the trip in terms of landscape. I stopped in one of the first towns with a bank to get some currency and then in what seemed to be a restaurant. I was not able to communicate properly but I understood all they had on the menu was soup with some bread, so I ordered two of those for the time being.
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    Something I have seen in many YouTube videos came true. That was, all kids as they hear the sound of a motorcycle approaching, came to the road to give me five as I passed by. That was pretty cool, although some of them were really enthusiastic about it and it was quite painful to the hand. So much energy and friendliness, I loved it.
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  10. barakamonk

    barakamonk Sprintio Rally Team - Dakar 202x Malle Moto

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    Impressive and awesome report, @guerreronegro

    Looking forward to the next few days, how the 125cc japanese engine tackled the BIG mountains of the world and the amazing hospitality of the people who live in this part of the planet.

    Keep up the good work! :thumb:thumb

    Saludos desde Madrid
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  11. LS650

    LS650 Been here awhile

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    Great trip report - I look forward to reading and seeing more!
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  12. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Thoroughly enjoyed the last couple updates @guerreronegro, the story of the guide giving you the tour and then going to the restaurant where he worked is simply wonderful. What a fantastic experience to have as a memory.

    And damn - the scenery shots you posted after crossing into Tajikistan are stunning. Incredible architecture shots followed by those scenery images - what a great ride man.

    Look forward to what comes next!
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  13. guerreronegro

    guerreronegro Been here awhile

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    I was vigilant at the bike´s performance while going uphill @barakamonk but didn´t notice any notable decrease in power.... for now. I filled the deposit at a normal petrol station, this time finding fuel was not a problem and the quality seemed to be about average. It seemed that I would be able to go past Dushanbe if the road remained being a good one. I didn´t have any particular reason to stop at the capital city so my plan for tonight was to camp if possible close to the Nurek reservoir. The rest of the day was not that exciting.
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    The only highlight was crossing one of those death tunnels with no ventilation and in complete darkness. I crossed Dushanbe really fast and grab the A385 road down south in an effort to try and cover more miles than previous days taking advantage of the excellent road.
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    When I finally arrived to the lake, I took a short 40 minute off/road detour to see if I would find a nice spot to camp. In the end I changed my mind and decided to keep going. The area had a lot of cattle around and also very aggressive dogs guarding them. Not to keen on taking chances after cow incident. There were a couple decent spots but I still had some daylight so I figured I could probably find something else along the way. After filling up one more time, I kept moving south and in the end the night, caught on me. I decided to ask some people at another petrol station if they knew where I could stay for the night. Without any hesitation they told me it was ok for them to put my mattress on the floor of their petrol station. After filling up the Varadero one more time I took out my camping equipment and inflated the mattress. Temperature outside was perfect enough like that.
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    The people at the petrol station kind enough offer me to have dinner with them. One of them took a bicycle and went back with it as well with some sodas. Everyday that passed I was more and more surprised how people who had less were the most generous ones. We were not able to understand much of each other but we still had a good time reading the translator attempts.
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  14. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

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    RC Cola? We don't even have RC Cola here. :dirtdog
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  15. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Simply amazing; while maybe not camping under starry skies and enjoying nature, that hospitality is something else. And they even fed and watered you...damn.

    Good thing you didn't mistake your soda from one of those on the rack - don't imagine any of those would taste very good nor be healthy :lol3 :lol3
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  16. barakamonk

    barakamonk Sprintio Rally Team - Dakar 202x Malle Moto

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    Those bottles look like pre-packed petrol...or is it oil? Too dark for the type of petrol we're used to in our side of the world :-)
  17. guerreronegro

    guerreronegro Been here awhile

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    It is petrol. I think this was one of the last standard petrol stations before following the road bordering Afghanistan.
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  18. guerreronegro

    guerreronegro Been here awhile

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    That petrol station was one good place to sleep, didn’t miss camping nor any recent hostel room as a substitute. I woke up with the sunrise and a few goats crossing the road. The weather was perfect, not too cold or hot. I exchanged contacts with the people at the petrol station and made a picture with them just before saying goodbye. That kind of hospitality I have never seen. To this day we keep messaging from time to time on whatsapp. Tajikistan and probably Kirghistan are countries I would surely return to at some point for this reason.
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    Thinking the good roads were going to prevail forever, I thought I could maybe try to get as far as Khorog. The reality however was very different. As soon as I reached Kulob, the road turned into a beaten dirt path with many military checkpoints in between. Here is where I had to show my GBAO permit and passport. The military officials were nice and they even offered smokes or food after making sure everything was ok. Soon I arrived to the river that made the natural border with Afghanistan. You could see even some houses and people waving hands to you as I ride along. The media does not show this. I stopped at a random house looking like a restaurant, kind of difficult to tell sometimes as they don’t show many signs. Curiously enough, some of them are marked in the maps.me app as restaurants so someone has taken the time to index everything around this part of the world. It was somewhere between 11 AM and 12 PM and all they offer me was a piece of chicken with tomato so it sounded good. I was going to need as much energy as possible if riding all day in such a path. The suspension of the Varadero could not handle the bumps and irregular terrain so I had to go at a maximum speed of 20 mph enjoying the amazing landscape around both sides of the river. DSC02719.JPG DSC02694.JPG
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    Most of the traffic I ran into were people from the rally and I could not keep up with them not in terms of speed but also because of the dust they left behind. Petrol stations were now scarce. I found one but it was not working. Not a problem. The owner had taken its time to manually pump it into a barrel. We put it in a jerry can and filled the bike and the other jerry can I had just in case. Same as Uzbekistan, it did not smell nor looked much like petrol but there was not much of an alternative. I think Tajikistan is at an average altitude of 10000 feet and sooner rather than later I knew I would be dealing with knocking detonations. For now, everything was working out good so I kept going slow and steady.
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    Every village I passed was a memory I recorded well in my head. How kids came to my encounter to just clap your hand, or how the villagers will give you food and drink just out of their genuine willingness to help. I was without words, these people were incredibly friendly to me. But not only them, the military also and any random people I found on my way in this road was amazing. After taking a break with a family I kept going but knew well enough that I was not going to be able to make it to my final destination. The road was just one and there were no detours to be taken so I figured I will make it to the next village where I would ask. Eventually I arrived as the sun was hiding. This was a small village with just 4 big houses and one restaurant. I asked where I could pass the night and they told me that after drinking the tea I ordered, I could use the table as a mattress. I was not able to believe this was happening again in two consecutive days. IMG_20190816_201520.jpg

    Attached Files:

  19. swimmer

    swimmer armchair asshole

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  20. ricochetrider

    ricochetrider MotoMojo

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    Just fantastic! This RR gets better and better with each post.
    Thank you!
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