Tajikistan

04.07.2018
It was supposed to be an early start but Max’s bike didn’t fancy that at all and refused to start. Also, the bikes looked like they were covered with Royal Icing this this morning 🙂
After hours of searching Max finally found the problem, just a lose cable but well hidden.
When we took of the sun had come out but it was still only about 15 degrees Celsius and it should get a lot colder later on. Poor Christof felt rather ill and later even through up when we had stopped for a little break to take some pictures.
But before that we reached Karakul and the beautiful Karakul Lake. The blue of the lake looked kind of unreal and absolutely beautiful! We should have spent the night here and not in Murghab.
After a few hours of riding we reached with 4655 meters the highest point of our journey. By then it had started to rain a little and by the time we hit the border it had started to snow. Because our visor would steam up we had to ride with them open and so the snow and the hail stones hit us in the face. It felt like hundredths of little needles pocking you in the face.
The first lot Tajikistan border police were rather unfriendly but the second guy made up for it. The no-man’s-land between Tajikistan and Kirgizstan is quite large and before we could ride into Kirgizstan we had to ride down a muddy and very slippery “road” from 4300 meters to the actual border of Kirgizstan at roughly 3700 meters and this accompanied with hail stones, snow, rain and wind. Not too pleasant as anybody can imagine.
The Kirgizstan border police were very friendly and joked a lot with us. Nice!
After another hour of riding, the rain had stopped by then, we finally reached the small town of Nookat were we found a little guest house with WIFI but no shower 🙁

Karakul Lake

Karakul Lake

 

03.07.2018
Three of us had the same issue in the night. We woke up with a very dry mouth and shortness of breath. I guess we’re not used to the altitude yet.
We had a very productive day because we managed to fix everything. Max fixed his light, Jonas’s Battery got refilled and Chrisof and me change the wheel Baring and resealed the cylinder head gasket. And hey after deleting all errors from my bikes system, my foot brake is working again.
Just when we were about to finish the work on Christof’s bike Murghab got hit by a small sand storm and after that with heal stones. Something which is unusual for this time of the year.
Because Max had from the beginning problems with his soft bags from Enduristan he got kind of a rack system build while we were on the road. Today it got modified.
A Polish biker stayed in the same place as we are. He had an accident because some kids run in front of his bike and while he tried to miss them lost control and hit the road. Luckily, he is just limping and otherwise okay. We also had kids run in front of our bikes but so far nothing has happened.

Small Sandstorm (Murghab)

Container Market

Updated Pannier Rack

 

02.07.2018
Not a good start for me today cause I dropped my bike while manoeuvring it on the camping spot 🙁
All of us had a cool but good night.
Later in the day I discovered that my foot brake isn’t working anymore. Shit! But so far we managed to fix everything.
Chris is going to change on of his wheel Barings and seal his cylinder head gasket. We’ll try and get a mew battery for Jonas and Max has to fix his headlight.
Oh, there is no electricity until 07:00 pm when the generator is being started 😀

 

01.07.2018
We left our, let’s call it B&B, around 08:30 am and drove down that stony and winding road. Frank is going to stay another day for his friend Didier.
We found a great camping spot with a stunning view right by a stream. After a not so tasty meal we went early to bed because as soon as the sun goes down it’s getting pretty cold at 3700 meters.

 

30.06.2018
Frank started a little earlier then we cause Jonas’s batterie was dead this morning. Luckily, we found a place to refill the batteries water and could carry on. This incited lasted 1,5 hours. Just before the hot spring we caught up with Frank. The road to the hot springs (Bibi Fatima) is a left turn of the main road and is about 7 km long. With this road you’re climbing up another 450 m to 3155 meters.
Here we are staying one night and then carry on towards Murghab which we won’t reach tomorrow. So some more camping.
I stayed behind to catch up on Blogging and other stuff while everybody else is going to the hot springs.
Next time there will probably be no blog!
I wonder why people in here are putting so much oil their food? Apart from that our westernized stomachs have a fait bit of problems with that I can’t see the benefit. Alex darling, do you know why?
When we walked to a Restaurant a car pulled up and gave me business card from a hostel in Murghab. He also mentioned that everything was very good – like food, rooms etc. When we asked for wifi he smiled and just said problem 😀

 

29.06.2018
It’s been an interesting day…
Yesterday we decided to stay two nights in Ischkoschim so we had enough time to get the two bikes fixed. Chris, Jonas and Max went to a car repair shop and I stayed behind to write my blog and rewrite my packing and tool list. Shame there is no wifi again. After about 3.5 hours Jonas come back and we went to get some bred and sausage. The sausage turned out to be smoked Tofu which nobody liked. I normally do but this was, let’s say different 😀  The bread was nice though.
Almost two hours later Chris and Max finally come back too.
The bikes are fixed for now but Max and me believe that it’s only a question of time before they break again. I checked my air filter and because a Torx bit fell behind a cover I had to take almost the complete side fairing off. Jonas had to do some more work at his bike and the rest of us helped Frank to fix his Royal Enfield. Now his bike is as good as new. I wonder for how long 😉
Frank is going to ride with us to the hot springs (Bibi Fatima) tomorrow. We’ll carry on the day after and he’ll wait for his friend Didier. The road there, about 80 km, we’ll be quite challenging because the roads are getting really bad and there will also be patches off deep sand. Did mention that I hate sand?

 

28.06.2018
To be honest I don’t know why the Pamir Lodge was suggested in a Forum because it’s nothing special. My window has no curtains, there is no toilet paper and they put the laundry wet in front of your room without any notice. The only thing is that you meet other travellers, some by motorbike, bicycle or even on foot.
Our day started late at about 09:00 am. After about 78 km Christof noticed another problem on Jonas’s bike. The rack System had broken on both sides. Luckily there was somebody who could weld close by. No this is not what you read before it’s another day in our journey.  The botch job took 2.5 hours but we could finally carry on (we, not Columbus) towards Ischkoschim. On the way there, Christof’s rack system broke again.
If anybody who reads this blog I thinking to do a journey like this DON’T EVER TAKE EFFING HARD CASES!!! User soft bags!
But we finally made it and now we’re in the Hanis’ Guest House with other travellers we had met on the road. There is Frank from France on a Royal Enfield, Didier French man living in Australia on a KLR and Andy and Alissa (https://www.madornomad.com/) from Windsor on XT 500.
They’re all really friendly and we share what we know. It’s also interesting how everybody is travelling and what they take. I took definitely too much stuff. I have to size down!
But even Andy, who has travelled a lot, said to me that every time he goes on a journey it’s different.
Btw today are Max and I one month on the road!

 

27.06.2018
A pretty uneventful day. The roads were getting better and so we made it fairly quickly to Khorugh.
Because our first meal wasn’t rather small we went for a second meal, this time Indian. With a full stomach we went to watch the football game in an open-air cinema. In the close distance were the mountains with the setting sun and I’m not sure what was better. Well, since the Germans lost I go for the view 😉
The cinema was, with 25 people or so, about a quarter full. That “high” number inkl. about 10 Germans who had to watch South Korea winning with 0:2  When I suggested that it’s just a game some people got even more upset. Oops 😀

Watching the World Cup (Open Air Cinema)

Watching the World Cup (Open Air Cinema)

 

26.06.2018
In the night somebody drove a 40-ton truck close to where we stayed the night. When I woke from the noise I just laid there and hoped that they see us.
The owner and some other men greeted us in the morning, waving friendly from some distance.
Again beautiful scenery and bad roads.
Just before we made one of our stops we saw a woman being taken, what looked like, against her will into a car. We were all stunned but also not sure if we really saw it.
We actually made that stop because Christofs panier racks had to be welded and while I was waiting some men come to talk to me. They always asked the same though. Where are you from, do you speak Russian, how much was you bike and how much petrol does it need. One man told me that there was a German School behind us. There was also a Russian and English teaching School but they all hadn’t much do to. I guess the children have to work and help their parents.
At our stop for the night, we camped in a small town, there were some lovely kids. So far they were all well behaved, friendly and had great interested in who we are and what we are doing.
Some hours before we had bought some noodles and meat. The “butcher” tried to sell us more bones then meat and worked with a knife and an axed on an old piece of tree.
Later that night I laid in my tent and listened to the borer river between Tajikistan and Afghanistan making his way through the canyon. Afghanistan is only 50 meters away. This feels quite amazing!

Chris at work

Local kids always come and watch

 

25.06.2018
We left Dushanbe at 07:30 am to make most of the cooler morning air. At first the road was good but then it turned to an off-road session on partly small winding mountain roads.
Our route was taking us over a mountain pass and because there is nothing around we camped at 2500 meters. In the evening it’s getting quite cool there and after some hot food we all went straight to bed. We had bought some meat in tins and some piece which tasted okay and reminded all of us of dog food 😀
The man who owns the filed which we camped on come by to say hello and as most people told us the German phrases he still new. So: Vier Frauen singen and Der Rabe sitzt oben. He was stationed in Russia and was moved, like so many, to some other places. For his 86 years of age he is really fit and basically told us off for not speaking Russian. And rightly so, we should have learned some phrases but google offline translator makes you lazy…
The scenery is almost breath taking!

Camping at 3700 meters

Camping at 3700 meters

A stream slowed down

 

24.06.2018
Since there isn’t that much to see in Dushanbe we had a lazy day. We walked to the largest and highest Flag in the world. The Flag itself is 30×60 meters in size and 165 meters high. When you look at the flag it seems it’s moving in slow motion. It’s impressive!
Max took his bike to the bike house and got his bike checked. It’s fine! 🙂
So tomorrow we’ll hit the beginning of the Pamir Highway.

 

23.06.2018
On our way to Dushanbe 🙂 I know it’s LA but who cares 😀
The way out of Samarkand was easy and quick. It took us about 1h to get to the border and roughly 2h to get into Tajikistan. One of the stress less crossings we had so far.
At the border me met a Spanish guy (Rico) on a 1200 GS Adv. After a few stops (too many?) he decided to ride alone to Dushanbe but since he is taking the same route we might see him again. The tunnel of death wasn’t or isn’t any more worth mentioning. I’ve had to drive through worse once in Norway.
As soon as we got into Tajikistan it got hilly and green. It also didn’t take long to get to nice winding mountain roads.

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