We didn't rush away from the hotel in the morning, instead, enjoyed a leisurely breakfast. I guess we got on the road by about 10:30. This was a mistake as it turned out.
The road to Aral is very tiring at the moment. By next year, it will be a dream new tarmac surface, but right now, the road doesn't really exist. The day consisted of about 5kms of tarmac followed by 20kms of gravel and potholes, alternating for the entire day. Loads of heavy lorries and you take your life into your own hands when overtaking because you simply canīt see passed them due to the dust they kick up.
Unopened sections of tarmac are simply a challenge to all the drivers to get onto it and use it. It was ok for us but we saw numerous lorries stuck in some amazing places simply to save themselves a few kms of slow driving. No pictures of this unfortunately.....we had other things to do, it was hard work.
At one point we came across a solo rider on a heavy loaded Yamaha TDM. Completely wrong for these roads but he was managing remarkably well, albeit slowly. We actually bumped into him a few times as he sometimes caught us up when we stopped. The last time we saw him was at we left Aktobe (later thread) because he was heading out into Russia rather than south to Atyrau.
Here are a few photos....not many again today. Us and the German rider at a short stop.
On the approach to Aral town, I got stopped by the police. All they wanted was to ride the bike. One didn't have a clue so no chance but 1 could ride so I let him have a quick go.
We found the only hotel in Aral....I think, and checked in. There was a party (music dancing) starting up so the owner would only allow us a shared room. It was not a good hotel. most windows were broken BUT the air-con worked, albeit as noisy as an old diesel generator.
There was secure parking, so that was another benefit. Iīm struggling to find any more.
The room had a great bathroom!
We bumped into 2 young Canadians (well, from Quebec), 3 guys from Hungary, 1 solo Italian with a CARAVAN !!!!, and a young couple from Almaty on a tour who spoke good English.
We had dinner with the Canadians and the Hungarians and then split as they were catching a night train to Almaty. We ended up chatting to the Italian and the people from Almaty for a while.
The Canadians are the 2 on the left.
In the morning, while shopping for water and finding a cash point, we saw the Germans Yamaha....he made it, but he must have arrived very late.