June 3. Osh
I slept in and caught up on net stuff. Went to Muztoo to get a new front from them. I knew they had a 90/90 21 TKC 80 waiting for me. $120. I can't complain. For a long lasting tire, the TKC 80 front is decent. Plus my current front was just about shot. Muztoo rents Motos to people to ride Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. They are great guys and they are very willing to help. If you want to do the Pamir Highway, you don't need 2 months. You only need 2 weeks. Fly to Osh, get some bikes. Ride the pamir highway. Fly home. Muztoo website.
GPS. 40.529 72.793
June 4. Osh to near Kazarman 307 km.
I was on the same road the I had already ridden twice befor until Jala-Abad. When I got close to Jala-Abad, for about 5 km there were trucks parked on the side of the road. I had heard rumors about protests blocking the road between Osh and Bishkek. I was hoping I would be able to avoid the protest but before I knew it, I was there. And there was no way around. So I went through like I owned the place. I rode past all the trucks, cars and people. I wend around the trucks blocking the road. I rode right through the group of people in a large circle listening to someone talking on stage. On the other side I stopped and snapped a few quick pics. A few people started asking if I was going to Bishkek but I said I was going into the mountains to Kazarman. They were skeptical but didn't cause me any trouble. I told them to fight the power and the shook my hand and I went on. Soon I was on some nice ADV roads again climbing through mud and rocks. Snow on the side of the roads. In the evening my bike started to chug and miss. A now familiar symptom. I was looking for a place to camp and the bike died. I guess thats where I camp. This is my 3rd time replacing the low voltage connection to the coil. I cook some noodles and go to bed. It rains some in the night.
Protesters blocking the street.
Back into some good riding.
June 5. Near Kazarman to Karakol. 552 km.
In the morning there is sun and threatening rain. I get to dry the tent most of the way before starting to ride again. The first town I find has a small shop. Breakfast is chocolate and canned fish while I hide under the shelter from rain. On and off all day it rains but it is beautiful. The roads are fast and fun. They don't get muddy, they just get "not dusty". By the evening I am riding along the south side Issyk Kul. It is quite strange. There are abandoned hotels along the lake. The north side is where all the drunk Russian tourists go. I get to Karakol and find a hotel with a locking gate. The Karakol Cafe is a great place for internet. The girl there is very nice and speaks amazing english. I warn you though, you will fall in love a little. I asked her if the border on road A362 was open. It had previously not been open to foreigners for about 2 years. All the info on the internet I had seen said it was supposed to be open to non-locals but no one had tried yet. She called a friend of hers who was Kyrgyz border police. He said it would open on the 7th. Stay one more day in Karakol? Sure why not. That night I went out with a guy from UK and a girl from Massachusetts. She was vegetarian and it was funny to listen to her stories about traveling in central asia. Good luck not eating meat. Everything is cooked with meat, around meat, in meat product, processed with meat, or cooked in a pan that had 1 minute previously cooked meat. Maybe this is why the food is so good.
I was riding in the clouds for a while before it cleared to see this.
Really? I think the signs were put up before it was built.
German push bikers. I have seen way more peddlers then motos in the stans. Maybe I am early?
June 6. Karakol.
I spent the day updating the blog and talking with Aikerim and updating the blog. This was the day that I typed up 10 days from Tajik and hit post.. then everything was lost and I had to retype. A bit frustrating but it is what it is. I fixed a few of the bicycles that Aikerim rents in exchange for coffee and some soup. She was definitely a cool girl. The kind a guy could fall in love with if he stayed longer than 2 days. I fully dried my tent in the sun and got ready for leaving the next day.
June 7. Karakol Kyrgyzstan to Almaty Kazakhstan. 336 km
Quick ride to the border on some nice roads. Beautiful views. I love going to border crossings that not many foreigners go to. Infact, there was basically no one there. Since this was the first day this border was open, I was the first American passport they had seen in years. Many of them ever. Leaving kyrg was quick and easy as expected. Kazakh took longer. Only because the customs guys couldn't figure out the computer program to "temp import" my moto. I knew I needed this paperwork for Russia. Russia, Kazakh and Belarus (I think? Maybe Ukraine) are in the same customs zone. While I waited they fed me soupe, bread and coffee. Free lunch is ok by me. Riding was nothing special until I got 30 km from Almaty. Then you have to ride loud and aggressive or you will be a bug on a bumper. Almaty is like any other big city in central asia, way to many cars and shitty drivers. What makes Almaty different is the amount of money. So its not only shitty drivers in shitty cars, its shitty drivers in fast cars also. You have to constantly be looking in your mirrors because they don't respect motos or bicycles. "I have 500 hp SUV. Get the FOOK OUT MY WAY". I found my friend and we went to get some food and drinks.
Riding through orchards with snow covered peaks on both sides in the morning.
The road less traveled.
Kazakh border guards wanted pictures.
June 8- 13. Almaty.
If you are in Almaty, you need to visit Yeldos at his restaurant "Eldoro". Its located on Puskin St. 42/44. GPS 43.260, 76.953
Great coffee, burger, and Pizza (as well as local food). But.. I hadn't had good pizza since Italy. He let me park my bike behind locked gate at his restaurant. He took me to many different moto shops to help me find oil, a tire and a spare Reg/Rec. He rides himself and loves to talk over tea and coffee. Definitely a good guy, especially if you need help.
When I couchsurf, I like to pay back the person I am staying with. At Shynr's house, I spend a few days waiting for parts so I had her make a "honey do list" before I got there. I fixed the toilet, bathroom lights, installed a dimmer switch, fixed a drawer and curtain rod. It was quite fun getting stuff I needed from the bazaar. Good place to practice Russian. We went to a few concert, sang karaoke, ate amazing food, and walked around the city a lot. I even cooked pad thai for her. Before I knew it a week had gone by and I was feeling the itch to get back on the road.
At the concert.
Because I'm classy.
She likes my pad thai.
While I was loading the bike to leave, I was approached by a man... "Noah? Hi I'm nightflyer from ADV, I've been following your trip for a while". This is the 2nd person who who has recognized me from ADV or my blog. The first was in Portland Oregon. Great to meet you dude! Go get a moto... the soul can not survive with the absence of 2 wheels!
nightflyer on the left.