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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by gperkins, Sep 7, 2016.
The Pamir Mountains, world famous but not many people get to see them up close. Awesome.
Yep, never let an opportunity slide by. Cush drives all good.
No not a lot i guess in the whole scheme of things. None the less there are quite a few westerners going through. A popular way was for 2 to 4 get together and hire a Toyota and driver for about 65 US cents a kilometre. Works out pretty reasonable actually. One young Aussie guy we met has bounced along in an old Lada.
Every day on the Wakham corridor we would pass or meet a number of westerners. Perhaps about 10 a day, so this part of the world is really opening up for those looking for something different. The road by and large is fairly crappy. Lots of gravel, sand, dust and corrugations. The sealed sections are generally worse, being heavily potholed and degraded. You find yourself continuously weaving from side to side and all ver to avoid the worst of it.
I was super impressed by Julie Anne & Eric from Oslo, Norway. They originally bought two scooters. One old, one new, apparently the old one died some time back. So they are now two up on the new Chinese scooter. They were genuinely concerned about getting over the Tajik plateau. Having crossed the Tajik plateau only days earlier, I think they had good reason to be concerned.
Whilst in Langar, there was a concert on celebrating local music, these are some performers.
Looking south across the Panj river and over to Afghanistan.
Afghanistan to the left, Tajikistan to the right. Both had roads following the Panj river. But clearly the Afghan side was less developed.
Random waterfall on the Afghan side.
New Africa twin meets old Africa Twin from Siberia.
WooHoo, we've just got back from the Turkmenistan embassy here in Dushanbe and we have won the Turkmenistan visa lottery. We've each got 5 day transit visas, enter 14th August, exit 18th August, happy, happy, happy. No back tracking through Kazakstan and trying to catch dodgy ferry's running to even dodgier timetables. Also we get our preferred route through Iran.
Really happy for you about the visas. Nice shot the 2 generations of AT side by side.
As usual, your pictures are beautifull. The Wakhan corridor has always seemed like a mysterious place to me, it's amazing this kind of finger trapped between 3 countries. When you think it's just because this thin stripe of land travelers have to pass through China ...
So true Yannick and to think that when we were in Shandur, Pakistan, we were no more than about 100 kilometres due south east of the Wakhan corridor. But it is quite simply impossible to cross over with a vehicle. You hear varying stories about the safety, but by and large it's said that Afghanistan here is quite safe. The local people on both sides of the border are Ishmali Muslims. From our experience they are very liberally minded. They don't observe ramadan, woman and men freely mix together. At the local concert everyone was up and dancing. Although when you look over to the Afghan side, you most certainly see people. We waved and they waved back, but the woman all appeared to be in full Burka's, you don't see that on the Tajik side.
Some years ago, I have read a RR by @sambor1965 called "Afghanistan ride, how to enter, survive, and return in one piece." The RR is still on the forum but unfortunately all the photos have disappeared, but there are still 2 videos on youtube on which we can discover the landscape inside the corridor and see how they had been welcomed by people, according to them even talibans never adventure themselves there.
Supposedly Afghanistan would be "safe" to cross, the Wakhan corridor would be anyway a serious natural barrier because of the height of the montain range all around that deep valley, there's no real pass, and the river current his so strong it's impossible to cross in the afternoon when snow and ice have melted from the montain ...
If you have never seen those videos, here are the links. Hope you have enough wifi. Sorry for the highjack.
Now that the Turkmenistan visas are in the bag, we are setting off tomorrow for Tashkent in Uzbekistan. This was never in the plan. But of course the plan is never truly fixed. It's become apparent that the bikes chain is kaput. After a flurry of internet searches and emails. We've sourced what seems the right chain from the KTM shop in Almaty, Khazikstan. They had someone fly to Tashkent yesterday and kindly took the chain with them and dropped off at a particular address. We'll pick t up in maybe two days. Ahh all part of the fun of overlanding.
Also whilst here in Dushanbe we have had an Shinko 805 fitted to the rear. A bit too blocky for my taste, but here your just grateful for anything thats available. At least it's not a bloody Vee Rubber.
A great bunch that we spent some days with in Koroub, Tajikistan.
Katrina, Kevin & Carey from Canada, me (sorry Carey, I seem to be pushing into your personal space, I put that down to too long in Asia), Zeb from UK and Kinga, formally from Poland, but the last 11 years in Australia. Please note my classy foot wear, an Aussie classic that one.
I was blown away by this. It is Afghani's carving a road out of solid granite by hand tools. I guess there has to be an air driven jackhammer somewhere, but we didn't see or hear one.
A few hundred metres further on, these guys were coming in from the other direction, amazing!
Further along we hit this little obstacle. A Chinese built truck with trailer had sheered it's drive shaft. No one was going anywhere soon, except us and Kinga. We took a good look and it seemed quite possible to weave through the scattered vehicles and squeeze by the broken down truck, once we removed our luggage.
Kinga's blog can be found here
A couple of days after we left Kevin and Carey, Kevin came down pretty hard and banged up his ankle. Their goal of reaching Vladivostok has been put on hold until next year. Their bikes will now be stored in Almaty until next northern summer when they will continue on.
A final note on this leg. All along the way the people are amazingly welcoming, waves a plenty, especially the kids. Well 99 out of 100, there is always that cheeky little brat that will throw stones at you. We had this a few times, so had others. On one occasion after one cheeky little shit threw a stone, I'd had enough. By the time I'd stopped he had bolted into his family's gated compound. I stormed in looking for him to give him a good "speaking" to. He was quickly found hiding behind whom I'd assume to be his big brother, at about 18 or so. They couldn't speak English and I certainly can't speak Tajik. But with a bit of charades I quickly conveyed what just happened out on the road. Big brother was not impressed, he quickly turned and gave the young stone thrower a good clip under the ear. In fact 3 quick slaps across the cheek. At this point I had to raise my hand and indicate, "Eh mate i think your've over done it a bit". I left at that and later wondered about my actions. I came to the conclusion that sometimes a good kick up the backside is needed and he surely got it and I'm quite sure that next time a tourist rides by this kid may not wave, but i'm also certain he probably won't throw a stone either.
Cheers Yannick I've read that RR, it's quite epic. Sadly Izi has since passed away. Zeb whom we met earlier knew Izi. It's a small world we all live in.
Hi, I have been following along and ride a AT two up as y'all do. I currently have a bit over 10,000 miles on mine. You say your chain is worn out. If you don't mind answering, how many miles or kilometers does your chain have? Just trying to get an idea of the mileage to expect from mine. Obviously, mileage will vary, but some info is better than no info.
Love these two photo's - stress, then relief. Awesome.
And as for the road building - I'm speechless!
40000 klms dwj - Donnie, far more than you'd normally expect. I put it down to a couple of things. 1, we are just pootling along. 2, it's a good quality DID chain and 3, the Scott oiler. I know guys back home in Aus are getting 20000 - 30000 klms, but they'll be riding a lot harder than us. So are you happy with your AT? We certainly are, we havn't had a chance to look at our fork stanchions though. There maybe no hard anodising left.
Not sure if you caught up with my latest on my bike but I have finally replaced the rear suspension for two up riding. Your answers to my questions much earlier in this thread helped me make the decision to byte the bullet on doing this. Two up is much easier now. I also run with a Scott oiler, wouldn't be without one.
Cheers MrKiwi, two up the std suspension is never going to cut it. This is the first Scott oiler I've had, I'm a convert for sure.
Heres a slightly delayed shot of us with the a happy bunch of, Trevor, Ovar, Sara & Daniel of World Wide ride fame, back in Sary Tash, Kyrgyzstan.
We've made it to Tashkent, Uzbekistan. The border crossing was a relatively simple affair. We'd heard all sorts of horror stories about crossing over. One guy we know was essentially strip searched only a couple of weeks ago. I'm not entirely sure which crossing it was, perhaps further south than ours.
Once in Tashkent we spent a frustrating couple of hours searching out an address in 43 deg C heat. This is where our chain was held. Turns out that there were two address's nearly exactly the same and of course we had the wrong one. All sorted now though, we now have our chain that was flown in from Almaty, Khazikstan a couple of days ago, we'll fit it tomorrow.
A final note on our so far short time in Uzbekistan, the locals aren't at all perturbed in jacking up the price when they realise we aren't local. Like twice the price. This has happened 3 times in the first day. I've called them out each time, bloody annoying though. The official exchange rate is something like $1 US - 3500 local shekels. Black market is closer to $1 US to 8700. To be honest, I'm not too sure what the local money is. Probably Som like the other "Stans".
It's a pleasant change to ride down the road without the disconcerting ker-chunk of a dodgy chain propelling us forward. Artur, took me to Alex's little garage/workshop so as to change over the chain that we had flown in from Almaty. Now will the brake pads last till Turkey?
Alex, myself and Artur
I'm not at all sure this is the right rear tyre for the next leg of our little odyssy. But when it's all you can get, then so be it. Shinko 805. Anyone out there have any experience with one of these? I doubt we'll do any more off road between here and Greece. We'll maybe a little.
the 805 is good on dirt, but I don't think they last that well on tarmac.
I had one on the rear of my F800 GSA. Did me great in Moab Utah for dirt and trails. The running about on pavement ate it up pretty quick. Swapped it out after only 2000 miles of no heavy loads. Works fine on pavement, but just too soft of rubber.