The road to Mongolia... on two wee bikes!

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by maria41, Oct 7, 2015.

  1. maria41

    maria41 www.franglais-riders.com

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2006
    Oddometer:
    409
    Location:
    London
    Day 40 - 31st of May - miles? (Uzbekistan, Andijan)


    Get to the border! Get to the border! That was the only thing in my mind! I could not wait to get into Kyrgyzstan by then! The weather was very cloudy, but dry so far.

    We set off early, but it was very slow going all morning due to endless road works and constant police and military checkpoints. The region is apparently a hotbed for fundamentalists and there have been bombing and stuff.... And you can google Andijan 2005 for details on the Andijan Massacre.... So it was a very sensitive area for the government.

    On the plus side we crossed a beautiful mountain range.

    [​IMG]



    By lunchtime, in the outskirts of Qoqon we stopped for some food and drinks. It was now sunny and very hot again. We got talking to teenage boys about studies and universities in the UK. They were very curious about us.


    [​IMG]



    Since the last mountain, Alistair's bike, which had been doing a funny engine noise for some thousands of miles, since it ran out of oil, 3000 miles back, in Turkey, was getting louder. We set of nonetheless. Get to the Border!!! That was our mantra that day!

    About an hour later, in the middle of nowhere, the noise became much worse.... The engine sounded like it was going to seize. Something was badly wrong and we had to stop. It was obvious we could not carry on.



    Alistair turned to me and asked: "What are we going to do? " there was nothing and no one around for miles and miles.....

    With a broken down motorbike, in the middle of nowhere, we did not have many options.

    "Let's stop a truck" I said. And I positioned myself by the side of the road. A couple of trucks came through after a while, but did not stop. People in cars just stared at us. There are virtually no motorbikes in Uzbekistan.

    Then, after a while, an old Lada, with a policeman at the back, stopped. With my little Russian and a lot of gesturing, I managed to explain the situation.

    The Cop took charge of the operation. Within minutes, a massive truck, those that transport up to 7 or 8 cars or vans, was approaching, with the trailer empty. The cop made sign for the truck to stop.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    The beauty of a police state is that there are cops everywhere and people do what the cops say! So the truck stopped.

    The driver and a passenger came out, and in few minutes, both bikes were loaded on the back!

    There is a big General Motors assembly factory in Andijan, so the truck was going there.


    [​IMG]



    Andijan was the nearest big town (still a good 100 miles from where we were) but close to the border with Kyrgysztan ( about 40 miles).


    We stopped on the way, to wash the truck, in my opinion more so that the driver would have a nice rest, tea , and catch up with his truckers mates! We were offered tea and took some pictures.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]



    Then by late afternoon, the truck left us near the airport, as it was too massive to get into town.

    We pushed the bike in the shade. I asked some cops (they are everywhere) where was the nearest hotel. Alistair took my bike to ride and check it out. After a while he came back on foot. We then walked to the hotel, with Alistair pushing his bike for a couple of miles.


    The place was a dirty dump, in the edge of town, but we did not have any choice. It was 7 pm by then. The hotel did not have wifi and the nearest internet cafe was quite far. We took a taxi, and once online, I made some enquiries on the HorizonsUnlimited forums.

    I had also the details of a Swiss guy called Patrick, who runs a motorbike tours company, from Osh (in Kyrgysztan), called muztoo.com, just on the other side of the border!

    So I knew there would be a competent motorcycle mechanic in Osh. We just needed to Get To The Border! I sent an email to Patrick.

    By then it was fairly late, we were tired and we went to sleep.
    #41
    BeemerBOI, highnoonhunter and SNOMED like this.
  2. mceee

    mceee Welcome to the dark side!

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2014
    Oddometer:
    264
    Location:
    SW Florida
    Really hope you can get the motor repaired in short order, Honda's are tough so hopefully a new piston and ring will do it.
    #42
  3. maria41

    maria41 www.franglais-riders.com

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2006
    Oddometer:
    409
    Location:
    London
    Day 41 - 1st of June – 0 miles – (Uzbekistan, andijan)


    The next morning we moved to a more central hotel, with wifi and near facilities. Poor Alistair had to push his bike for several miles, again! Sadly that would become a sort of habit quite often! There was no hope to repair the bike or find a mechanic in Andijan.


    The wifi in the hotel did not work! :dirtdog At least we had an internet cafe next door.


    Patrick, from Osh, had a pick up truck and would be able to come to pick up the bike at the border, on the Kyrgyz side. Osh was only 5km from the border and we were probably about 40 miles....

    We just needed to arrange a truck to take us there! Simple?

    We explained the situation to the staff of the hotel. They told us it would be very easy to get a taxi, as there were plenty congregating at the end of the street. We walked there. There were only cars....

    When we got back to the hotel the guy told us it was not a problem, that we could put the motorbike on the roof of a saloon car! :bash

    We explained it was NOT possible to do that and that we needed a truck. He phoned his mates but it looked like it would go nowhere....


    Alistair, when he push his bike in the morning, noticed a white good shop with a small delivery truck. The ideal truck.

    So we walked there to investigate. We talked and explained (remember no one speak english and my Russian was beyond basic!) and after a while, going back to the hotel, we asked the staff to translate the details over the phone, it was arranged that the truck would come to collect us at 10am the next day. :clap
    #43
    BeemerBOI and SNOMED like this.
  4. maria41

    maria41 www.franglais-riders.com

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2006
    Oddometer:
    409
    Location:
    London
    Day 42 - 2d of June – ? miles (Uzbekistan, Andijan)


    The next morning we were ready and all packed up by 9:30. Came 10am, no truck. :dunno
    After 15 minutes wait we asked the staff to try and call the mobile number we had. It was switched off! Not good!

    It was clear no truck would come.

    We went back to the taxis area, asking where we could rent a truck but had no luck.

    Back to the hotel, it was a different team from the previous day. We explained again what we wanted. I asked them to write down in Uzbek that we wanted to hire a truck to take our bike to the border.

    There were various discussions between the staff but not much going on. After a while I pointed at my paper and eventually the receptionist wrote the translation. Then by late morning he told us there was a big parking area for small trucks a mile down a street. Why no one told us that before????!!!
    :fpalm

    “Get to the border!!!!! “ (Chant that in your head, combined with demented eyes!). I was determined to leave on that day! :devildog


    I walked outside with my piece of paper, chanting that mantra in my head, under heavy rain again. We crossed the road and walked along the street. I then spotted a small truck, empty, the driver inside, smoking a cigarette, not doing anything.


    I went straight to him. He looked at me as if I was some sort of mad woman, drenched, looking pissed off, maybe slightly talking to myself and with a tall thin blond man standing next to me (that would be Alistair!) I must have looked quite scary! I slammed my piece of paper on the window's door.

    He carefully opened half a window and we started talking. When he realised I was not dangerous he got out and we agreed on 100 dollars if he would take us to the border RIGHT NOW! U$D is always the universal language! :roflWe went straight away to the hotel with the truck and loaded both bikes.


    [​IMG]


    We thought it would be easier that way, rather than trying to follow a truck in insane traffic. Once out of town it was obvious the two bikes were falling. There were strapped, but without a ratchet, the bikes were falling, on those dreadful badly potholed roads. We got my bike out and Alistair rode it under the nasty rain.

    Eventually, by early afternoon, we got to the border!!! :wings


    It took over an hour of back and forth from one office to the other to get all sorted on the Uzbek side. The border was almost empty, very few people crossing. One of the custom guys was so bored he asked if we had a camera and watched pretty much all the photos I had on the memory card (100s of pictures!).... He eventually got bored and we were finally let off Uzbekistan!


    Entry to Kyrgyzstan took about 10 minutes. Only one guy in an office, no paper works to fill for the bikes! The most senior officer of the border control came to introduce himself and welcomed us into his country! I was going to like Kyrgyzstan! :D

    Once outside the border compound, we phone Patrick, and about half an hour later he arrived with a pickup truck. He took us to his house, where he had a workshop and storage facilities for motorbikes.

    Then, his office manager took us to a guesthouse. We lost another hour (we were now 5 hours ahead of the UK!). That very evening, Patrick and his mechanic took the engine apart. The diagnostic was bad.

    The crankshaft and piston were dead. Those parts could not be found in central Asia.


    Alistair looked online for parts in the UK. It would be a lot of money! Not including DHL cost and import tax etc....Was it worth it? Was it the end of our trip?
    #44
  5. Dirt Road Cowboy

    Dirt Road Cowboy I aim to misbehave.

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    893
    Location:
    Tyler, Texas
    I can't take the suspense!!!! :lurk
    #45
  6. SNOMED

    SNOMED Adv'rized

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2015
    Oddometer:
    32
    Location:
    Sweden
    What an adventure! Keep on... :dukegirl
    #46
    maria41 likes this.
  7. empty tank

    empty tank Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2013
    Oddometer:
    20
    Location:
    lincolnshire uk
    Hope thats not the end to this adventure its just getting better and better
    #47
  8. maria41

    maria41 www.franglais-riders.com

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2006
    Oddometer:
    409
    Location:
    London
    Thanks guys!
    I am glad you are enjoying my story! :-) I am not a natural at writting!

    Not the end no, but i need to prepare photos etc... It takes time... There is a lot to come... But I am juggling a full time job and a lot of homework given by my russian teacher that has to be done in the evenings too ( and I am giving you a big hint of where i will be heading to again next summer!!!) :smile6
    #48
  9. SNOMED

    SNOMED Adv'rized

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2015
    Oddometer:
    32
    Location:
    Sweden
    Your writing is excellent!
    Thank you for sharing your adventure.
    I'm planning Russia and Mongolia 3 months in 2017 - need to start learning some Russian... (Luckily have a russian colleague - who will suffer... :-))
    #49
    maria41 likes this.
  10. maria41

    maria41 www.franglais-riders.com

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2006
    Oddometer:
    409
    Location:
    London
    Day 43 - 3rd of June – 0 miles (Kyrgyzstan, Osh)

    The guesthouse was a bit of a building site, dusty, very noisy because of the builders and had no inside parking for my bike. I cannot stand my bike sleeping outside. I had a bike stolen in Brazil, inside a guesthouse complex, during our year round South America. Since then, I am a bit paranoiac when travelling!

    So in the morning we packed up and move to a more central, cheaper and more pleasant place, a soviet style tower block, but refurbished: the Osh Nuru or Ош Нуру if you prefer!

    After lunch we called Patrick to find out how to get to his house. He was in town and came to collect us on his way home.


    [​IMG]


    Once there we discussed solutions. The engine was buggered. Importing the parts would cost a lot and would take a long time.

    We discussed possibilities of buying a Chinese bike, but they are quite expensive in Kyrgyzstan.

    Other option would be to buy one of Patrick bikes, drop it at his Swiss office (he is from Switzerland) and sell it back to him at much lower price. Sort of rent but with a power of attorney to cross borders.

    He told us he would investigate options.


    Back to the hotel, Alistair started investigating online for parts.

    Views from our hotel:

    [​IMG]



    We went to dinner at the California Cafe, an American owned café apparently. The only place in town I dared eating salads and where the food would not cause any nasty side effect! It also had great pizzas!


    I got some Cipro from a pharmacy (antibiotics) as my stomach had been unwell for the last few weeks.

    In the evening Patrick sent us an email listing our options:

    1 - we import the parts and his Russian mechanic would rebuild the engine;
    2 - buy / rent one of his bikes and deliver it to Switzerland where he would buy it back;
    3 - his mechanic found out that there was a cheap (450 dollars) Chinese copy of the Honda XR engine, and it was available in Bishkek, the capital city. The engine should be able to fit on the XR frame.

    We replied immediately to get the Chinese engine!
    #50
    highnoonhunter and SNOMED like this.
  11. maria41

    maria41 www.franglais-riders.com

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2006
    Oddometer:
    409
    Location:
    London
    Day 44 - 4th of June – 0 miles (Kyrgyz, Osh)


    In the morning, Oibek, Patrick's office manager, took me to a local hospital for an X-ray of my hand.

    Although my ankle was still painful, it was getting better. However, after two weeks, my hand, especially above the thumb, was still extremely painful, I could not use my fingers eithers (from what I suspect was nerve damage) and I was concerned I may have broken the scaphoid bone. That is not easy to spot without an x-ray, and the bone could set badly and cause problems in the future.

    So we went to a very soviet style, run down dingy hospital. One x-ray machine did not work but we went to the opposite side of the hospital and found a very old looking one working. It cost me 4 dollars to get the x-ray.

    We then went to see a doctor and he confirmed nothing was broken and prescribed a painkiller gel. I paid him about 20 dollars. It was fast. It looked to me like each room or x-ray machine was a mini private business.... Strange.

    After a quick lunch at the California cafe, we rode 2-up with my bike to Patrick's house and left my bike there with a list of things to do on it: new back tyre, new left mirror, weld and reinforce the luggage rack....

    Day 45 – 5th of June – 0 miles (Kyrgyz, Osh)

    In the morning we went to the Great Bazar, which is not located at all where the Lonely Planet guide says it is, as usual in this trip. We think none of the guys who wrote this book actually ever went to central Asia! All maps and most landmarks, like banks or hotels or restaurants, are complete fantasy! I think the best use tor the LP of Central Asia is as emergency toilet paper (if you must) or, if you get stranded in the middle of nowhere, use it to start a fire?


    The bazar was built using shipping containers!


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]



    After seeing the section for meat, hanging in the sun or lying down on stones, in 35-degree heat, I decided to turn vegetarian until Russia!
    We were hoping to find a sheepskin. We lost ours in Andijan, forgetting it in the hotel!

    Sheepskin helps a lot for butt pain when you ride a bike for many hours. Especially as we had little thumpers and the vibrations made it very tough! Although less for me, as, Alistair likes to say, I have plenty of padding there! :jjen

    No luck, though, we found none!

    In the afternoon we took a taxi to get to Patrick's house again. The engine had arrived and was being installed. There were some problems with the ignition that was incompatible (CDI). The Russian mechanic was trying various CDI from various “sources” for compatibility....

    On the plus side, the bike would now have a 150cc bike!


    [​IMG]



    Meanwhile Alistair changed the oil on my bike.


    He also took the starter motor from his bike (which was a real Honda part!) and put it on my bike, to replace the cheap Chinese part that I had since Turkey. As that failed already once in Turkey, we knew it is bad quality.

    Honda parts in another hand are top-notch quality! So it was a good time to recycle the good bits from Alistair's engine!


    [​IMG]




    During those last few days we got to know another motorcycle traveller, Steffen, a German lad. He builds giant telescopes for what I understand. And he has been working for years in Antarctica! How cool is that!?


    [​IMG]


    He publishes amazing photos and has a thread running in here: http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/eastbound-to-the-stans.943080/


    Steffen was staying in our hotel and had been storing his bike with Patrick for half a year. For the last few days he had been doing some work on his bike, getting ready to continue his trip toward the Pamir and Mongolia, and making the most of Patrick's workshop.

    In the evening, instead of the California cafe, where we were going for lunch and dinner every day, we went with Steffen to a more select place to celebrate. We would be back on the road very soon.
    #51
    BeemerBOI and highnoonhunter like this.
  12. maria41

    maria41 www.franglais-riders.com

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2006
    Oddometer:
    409
    Location:
    London
    Day 47 – 7th of June – about 110 miles ? (Kyrgyzstan, Sary Tash)

    We were finally able to leave Osh and started climbing into the mountains. Our plan was to turn west and ride a small part of the Pamir up to and maybe into Tajikistan, before turning back to Osh and continuing east toward Mongolia. A detour, but as the Pamir was closed when we were in Samarkand, we thought to ride a bit of it that way!


    [​IMG]



    In a valley, we got drenched as we rode into a storm. As we continued climbing we left the storm behind.


    [​IMG]



    Sary Tash, our destination for the day, was only about 110 miles but very high in the mountains. Then the border pass would take us over 4200m....


    As we got close to Sary Tash, we came across a road blockade. Not sure what the problem was, but we had to take our bikes down by a riverbed to continue.


    [​IMG]





    We then got higher to a pass at over 3600m, our bikes were seriously struggling, and Alistair's bike did not feel quite right, gasping for air more than mine and slower than mine. I was on 1st gear and barely managing 20mph up hill!


    We finally got to the village and quickly found a home stay for the night. It was a simple house, with several rooms, all set up with beds and mattresses for travellers.




    [​IMG]


    There was a sink in the entrance, with icy water, to wash your hands, while the (pit!) toilet was about 100 m down a track covered in sheep and horse poo, in a tiny mud brick building, with a floor platform above a deep hole.... I made sure not to drink water! At least with the cold it did not smell!


    Dinner was simple, a stew of pasta and potatoes with tiny bit of cabbage. And a fried egg on the side. I was glad they did not throw some meat in it!


    [​IMG]



    After dinner, there was not much to do, so we went to bed, fully clothed, due to the cold (no heating!) and the fact that the bed must have been used by many travellers. The mattress was covered in a blanket then over a big quilt. Not sure any of that get washed often in such harsh environment.


    [​IMG]
    #52
  13. maria41

    maria41 www.franglais-riders.com

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2006
    Oddometer:
    409
    Location:
    London
    Day 48 - 8th of June - 110 miles (Kyrgyz, Osh)


    Without curtains, we woke up very early. As I opened my eyes I saw through the windows, the next building's roof all white, and white fluffy stuff falling down the sky. I closed my eyes and suddenly reacted! White fluffy thing!?? "Is it snowing?" I could not believe it! It was!


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    After a while we got up and investigated the outdoor!

    After breakfast, which consisted of bread and green tea (and some unidentified brown spread that I did not tried!) we talked about what to do. We did not think the bikes could make it through the high pass at 4,200m. They were struggling too much at only 3600m!

    We decided to wait a bit and see if the snow would melt. The house was near a fuel pump that had no fuel, due to the road blockade. We spotted a Spanish biker there and went to talk with him.

    We then had two Swiss couples coming from the border, on two camper vans. We exchanged new with them and warned them about the blockade...


    [​IMG]


    By 10 am it looked like the snow was clearing. We decided not to tempt fate and go back to Osh, then get on our way to Mongolia! Tajikistan was not meant to be on this trip!

    Also, Alistair was concerned about his bike, he felt there was something not right with the bike and he suspected the CDI was causing the issue.

    So we got on our way, climbed the pass, again at barely 15mph and 1st gear, then down to the valley across the road blockade, through the next valley with the same storm than the previous day (microclimate???) Back to Osh!

    [​IMG]



    Steffen, our German friend, was still there. He was setting the next day for the Pamirs. We had dinner together, obviously at the California Cafe for a giant pizza, and went back to the hotel, after a detour for a Russian ice cream. After the cold of the mountains, it was good to get down to a warmer town.
    #53
  14. maria41

    maria41 www.franglais-riders.com

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2006
    Oddometer:
    409
    Location:
    London
    Day 49 - 9th of June - 240 miles (Kyrgyz, Toktogul)


    We left Osh once again, determined not to come back. It was time to get to Mongolia!


    We made good progress until we started to climb into a first mountain pass. Then we hit another huge storm. I never had so many storms in my life! What is going on? We were also close to the lightening, so we decided to take cover and wait a bit, in a deserted Chaihana. There were no places to stay for the night, so after a while we continued under the rain, as the storm was moving away.


    [​IMG]



    We got to Kara-Kul but again nothing there for the night. So as the weather was a bit better, we decided to continue to Toktogul, about 60 miles further.



    By then Alistair's bike was playing up, like when you leave the choke on and it gets too much fuel and choke on it!

    As we rode around a lake, it got worse and then the bike stopped. That was it, it would not go anywhere.


    We were on a busy road, all straight, along the lake, no village around. We tried to change the spark plug. The new one came out covered in black after a minute of running the bike.... We did not know what to do. We had no phone signal to call Patrick...

    [​IMG]



    We thought about camping, but there was no way near that spot, to set camp and be discreet from the road. We were only about 30 miles from Oktugul. It was about 8pm by then, it was getting dark. We decided to hide the bike and luggage (mainly camping gear) in a ditch and ride two up on my bike to Toktogul.


    So we got into town and found a place. A bit of a sh*thole but no choice. We had phone signal, so Alistair called Patrick for advice (“take off the carburettor and check it out” was the advice).


    After that, we looked for a place to eat as we did not have any food since breakfast. We found a bizarre place with few teens around, but they served food. With the help of the “Point-It” book we got some salad and chicken.


    At 10 pm, the teen in charge of the computer and music turned off the light, turned on the disco ball and the volume! Few teens got on the dance floor, with a couple showing off, one kid was actually quite good!


    [​IMG]


    It was a depressing evening as we discussed our options:


    1 –Try to repair the bike ourselves;

    2 – Get Patrick to pick up the bike and repair again;

    3 – Buy a Chinese bike;

    4 – ditch our cheap bikes, make it to Bishkek and fly home….

    5 – ditch the bloody bike in the lake and forget about it!?


    There was a lot on our mind that night as we went to bed….
    #54
  15. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    20,501
    Location:
    Edmonton, Alberta
    Just discovered you. Wonderful adventure, albeit with challenges I see. Best of luck and be safe.
    #55
  16. sophijo

    sophijo Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2013
    Oddometer:
    394
    Location:
    SE Michigan
    Great report!
    #56
  17. maria41

    maria41 www.franglais-riders.com

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2006
    Oddometer:
    409
    Location:
    London
    Interlude….


    I wanted to do a quick description about luggage and useful stuff. Most travellers we met carried so much stuff I really am puzzled… what on earth do they carry???


    For us the choice was to go minimalist. From our previous travels we knew there was a lot of stuff we never used or needed. Also weigh would be an issue once we hit the hard stuff in Mongolia. We like to travel light but we still carry what we need, only that. Anything else we can buy!


    So, my bike first:

    At the back I had a set of Andyz straps soft panniers. About 6 kg each side when we left (but then we had more layers on us like our waterproofs).


    I carried all our shoes and clothes. We had one pair of shoes each. Alistair got Sketchers as they are incredibly light. I just had normal walking shoes (not boots) as I have small feet. Each of us had one pair of trousers and 1 pair of small shorts, flipflops and layers. And feather jacket each. They pack tiny, weight nothing and are very warm. In addition to underwear and clothes I also had my waterproofs, toiletry and pharmacy.

    The toiletry bag was small: one solid shampoo (I like Tigi Rockaholic from Amazon) one soap, one deodorant, one multipurpose tin of cream (face/hand etc), one mini tube of sun cream factor 50, toothpaste and tooth brushes.


    One thing I always carry too is a soap bar for washing clothes and a small brush. I get the soaps online and once out of Europe are easy to find in shops. They are incredibly efficient to wash clothes and remove stains with minimum effort. I use marigold gloves as the soap destroys the skin!

    And don’t forget baby wipes. Multipurpose and can be found everywhere.


    I also had a tank bag where I had some toilet paper, my iPad, camera, water, some food like peanuts, small pad and pens…

    I also had in my panniers an extra small Ortlieb bag and Rok straps that would be useful to carry extra food, and water in Mongolia.


    Alistair had an Ortlieb 49l (I think?) roll bag, with all the camping gear, including fuel stove and pot. Also in there were the maps not in use at the time. I discarded and left them in hotel rooms/guest houses when no needed anymore.


    We also had a fuel bladder of 8 litres in there. It packed flat in the bag when not in use. The ortlieb bag was with a PaskSafe. I did not use a PackSafe for my soft panniers.

    Alistair also had a small topbox to carry some spare parts, his flipflops, waterproofs, tools and some lube for the chains, among other things...


    The Ortlieb bag weighted about 12kg when we left.

    We also had each a backpack for our documents. We used them for extra water and food when required.


    [​IMG]

    Oh I also got a spare sturdy heavy Russian inner tube from Khiva onward, as well, to carry at the bottom of a pannier! Must be somewhere in my shed now....
    #57
    TM1(SS) and SNOMED like this.
  18. maria41

    maria41 www.franglais-riders.com

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2006
    Oddometer:
    409
    Location:
    London
    Day 50 - 10 June – about 200 miles (Kyrgyz, Bishkek)

    We woke up at 5:30am.... Worried. We had to get back to the bike before someone on a horseback wandered around! All the camping gear was still on the bike! As we got packing and dressed, Alistair tried to get out but the main door of the house was locked. We could not get out! By 7 am, I started banging on the door of the owners' rooms.


    Eventually a sleepy teen :twitch came out and as I explained that our entire luggage was still in the room but we had to repair another bike, not sure he understood, or cared. He got us out at least. We rode with my bike to the spot. Alistair had saved the coordinates on the GPS. That was lucky as it was not easy to find the correct ditch!


    [​IMG]



    We found the bike, untouched and managed to drag it back on the road. We found some sort of derelict bus shelter, about a mile away, so we pushed the bike there. It was not safe to work by the side of the road, as the locals seem to use the long stretch of straight road to race each other!


    Following Patrick’s advice, Alistair attempted to get the carburettor open to check if it was ok. Maybe something got off while being rattled in the truck!

    Alistair battled with the carburettor. One screw was totally rusted and would not come off. After many attempts we were about to give up. :waysad

    We saw 3 bikes riding up to us…. Europeans plates… They waved at us… we hoped for some help as we waved back at them… but they just continued. My heart sank. :( We could have done with some help, or at least some moral support.


    As we were about to give up, Alistair tried one last time, using another tool and somehow, got the rusted screw out. It was nerve wrecking! However, nothing looked wrong with the carb! We were tempted to swap with mine, but as my bike was the only one working, we did not want to run the risk of messing it up!

    We did not know what to do. Abandon the bike? Hide it again somewhere and go back to Osh buy a new carb!?

    We were very depressed, I even suggested giving up!:( I know! The shame!!! But as I said, by then, the moral was very low.


    Alistair put the carburettor back, and tried to start his bike. It started with no problem at all! We were puzzled! But we did not question, just got back to the hotel, took our stuff and got back on the road, just praying the bike would not die before we got to Bishkek. I had contacts in Bishkek with bikers and a good mechanic! We would need one!

    The ride to Bishkek is absolutely spectacular, via several amazing mountain passes and high valleys were the Kyrgyz bring their horses and sheep to high pasture in the spring season, we saw many yurts and horses.

    If ever you decide to ride to Mongolia, please do not bypass the Stans…. It would be such a shame….


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]



    Unfortunately, with the stress of the bike ( “when will it break down again!?” constantly in our minds) and the stress of the crazy drivers in this busy road, we did not enjoy it as much as we should have! And we did not stop for many photos. We will have to come back!


    [​IMG]


    Without breakfast or lunch we were also quite hungry! As we got closer to Bishkek, by mid afternoon, we finally found a service station selling some sort of food. Awful sandwiches but ate them none the less! Sometime you have to think of food as fuel. Might be law grade but you need it to carry on!


    Finally, we made it to Bishkek, and while the bike was playing up and going slower and slower, we still made it to a hotel, without it dying!


    After getting changed, I got to the reception area, the only wifi zone, to message via facebook my local contacts. Sergei called us back almost immediately.


    He came to pick us in his 4x4, for dinner, and took us to a new place being built for bikers, locals and travellers alike! It will also have a hotel and campground attached, plus tyres and parts for sale! Biker paradise!


    He got in touch with Ali, the mechanic; I could not do it direct as Ali does not speak English. Sergei was very reassuring; Ali had plenty of experience helping travellers and would be able to help us!


    We had a beer and some salads. Then as other bikers arrived, a fire was lit up and we all (about 12 of us) sat around the fire, roasting sausages, while one lad took his guitar and started singing... What a great night after so much stress!
    #58
    BeemerBOI, TM1(SS), horsti and 2 others like this.
  19. lakota

    lakota Geeser

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,837
    Location:
    Annapolis MD
    great read. thanks for sharing. looking forward to the next installment.
    #59
    TM1(SS) and maria41 like this.
  20. maria41

    maria41 www.franglais-riders.com

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2006
    Oddometer:
    409
    Location:
    London
    Day 51 – 11th of June- 0 miles (Kyrgyz, Bishkek)


    [​IMG]


    On Wednesday afternoon, Sergei, a friend recommended to me by a fellow motorcycle traveller, came to pick us up at the hotel and we brought the bike to Ali, the mechanic. We explained the problem and Sergei helped with the translation.

    We left it there and Sergei drove us back to our hotel. We did not do much that day.

    The hotel was rubbish, with an absolutely vile breakfast, so we found a small flat to rent on airbnb.com, just round the corner from the hotel and for the same price (USD 50 a day) ! We moved there the next day.


    [​IMG]


    Two days later, we heard some news from Sergei. We went out for dinner with him in the evening.

    The next morning, with once again the help of Sergei, we went to the workshop, where we got the list od what had been done to the bike. I will spare you the details. We got a lot of help from Sergei! We were lucky to meet him!

    We took the bike back to the flat. We could not wait to leave and get back on the road!

    Day 55 – 15th of June 97 miles – (Kyrgyz, Lake Issyk Kul south shore)

    At 10am the flat owner's sister came to pick up the keys, and off we went.

    The bad news was that the tuning was still wrong. The CDI was not the one for the engine, and at high revs., the bike would struggle. So we had to stick to about 40 to 45 mph! At least it was moving, but it was very stressful as we were all the time wondering if it would die again! We pressed on regardless.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]



    We made it to lake Issik Kul, and rode the south bank, which is the less developed side. It was very beautiful. Although, as you may expect, we ran into yet another storm.


    [​IMG]


    As we stopped few minutes to let Alistair put on his waterproofs he made a great impression of Chewbacca while trying to get his wet hands in his wet gloves!


    [​IMG]


    We stayed overnight in a nice guesthouse.
    #60
    BeemerBOI, SNOMED and highnoonhunter like this.