09-30-2013, 05:16 PM
Joined: Dec 2012
My plans for this summers ride was to spend an equal amount of time in Tajikistan and the Afghan Wakhan. 2 weeks to Khorog, 3 weeks riding to Broghil with some hiking then returning to Tajikistan to ride Roshtkala valley and the far east before returning to Bishkek to sell my bike.
The Tajikistan Visa is one of the easiest visa's to get in central Asia and even at the same price as last year, 85$ for 6 weeks, double entry and one day processing. I nominated a start date 5 days from Bishkek in order to arrive in the country on the first day to fully take advantage of my 6 weeks.
Last year I took Bishkek-Naryn-Kazarman-Jalalabad-Osh route, So this time around I settled on taking the north south main highway. I found it actually quite sedate heading out of Bishkek and more so as I headed over the 3586m Tuu Ashu pass. In the hot July Temps I welcomed the coolness of the gushing mountain rivers that the road follows up. As I wound my way up, the Ural never skipped a beat with many Kyrgyz youngsters racing me atop their horses always straying never to far from their family's yurt encampments.
The other Side to the Tuu Ashu pass.
With it now Being just after 4pm I started to look for signs of a guesthouse or suitable camping spot. Then what luck I spot a sign for a guesthouse 15km off the main road.
Susamere is another one of those small soviet towns, that everyone new in town must be a suspicious character. None the less the 10$ homestay provided very comfortable accommodations with all fresh and natural filling meals, all sourced from the hobby farm out the back. The Husband informed me a good guest has 100gms of vodka with his meal, but a great guest has 200, So I was their first great guest from New Zealand.
The next morning, I wake to a flat battery, I had forgotten to turn off the battery isolation switch and being in central asia everyone has inquisitive fingers so someone had turned my ign. switch on. (Alexey had done away with the key and replaced it with a simple switch).
So with my hosts wondering why I havent left yet, at 8am i walk down the main street with my battery in hand asking everyone I pass by if they know where i can charge, they all tell me i have to go back to Kara-Balta. I ignore this and carry on walking, a young taxista then pulls over and after explaining my problem, he takes me to an old mans house and luckily there we can recharge over 3 hours, so i wonder back to the GH to read/ rest before an afternoon ride.
11.30 am the Ural fires up immediately and I leave Susamere in the wake of our dust as I return to highway riding. The weather continues to deteriorate as we press on. Many roadside Yurts selling Kimiz, yoghurt and honey's along the route, I find one selling lunch, so Manti it is. (Manti are dumplings not all too different from gyoza or pelmini)
After lunch I press on for KaraKol, As the day wears on the temperature starts to rise again until finally I reach KaraKol with the temps in the 30's. I stop to pick up some provisions before pressing on to look for a suitable camping spot. not too much further south the road enters a gorge with a steep canyon down to the river, The ural is really a pleasure to ride and I spot a place for the night. Its well off the road but it is a designated camping/ picnic area and fair enough after a swim and dinner, i did get some company that night with some loud vodka swirling watermelon devouring locals, Thankfully they didn't hassle I or the Ural too much and passed on by past my spot.
Camp for the night