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Old 08-06-2010, 04:58 AM   #811
tsiklonaut OP
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Gilgit

While planes are crashing and bridges flown away by the floods in Pakistan, all there was in Gilgit was a three day power cut due to a landslide taking some poles with it. People do not really associate themselves with Pakistan here in the North, so life goes on.

With no power there was not much to do, so we decided to get acquainted with local life at the market. Here are some pics and vids of the goings on.




Boy working at bakery.















Selling tea at the bazaar















Trading routes through the near neighbour - Afghanistan.















Want a cuppa?















Merchants and customers






























Spice shop















Gilgit muslims...















































Selling live chicken by the weight. Where is the GreenPeace?
















Tasty naan bread in the making. Check out the tandoori oven!
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Old 08-06-2010, 11:26 PM   #812
Reeksy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsiklonaut
And we remember you guys - with a Defender, with reinforced axles and a taste for a proper beer!
Ha ha - you've got a good memory!

You'll be happy to know the axles are still working, and published a magazine article about the beer

Back on thread - The hunza food looks superb!
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Old 08-07-2010, 11:30 PM   #813
tsiklonaut OP
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Baltistan

Our Iran visa applications still pending (three weeks already!), we decided to spend some time in the area known as Baltistan. On our road there we were accompanied by the mighty Indus, changing its face from fast and furious to slow and serene.




Road to Skardu is mostly cut into rock, the raging Indus river below - hard to believe the same river right now is causing devastating floods in the South of Pakistan.















Indus goes into wide and "silent" mood near Skardu.















Reflections.


The main reason for going to Baltistan was to get a glimpse of K2, the second highest mountain in the world. One might think that it is an awkward name for one of the highest points on our planet, but the thing is that it is so remote (not even visible from any village) that until recently it did not have a name at all. It was in 1856 that Thomas Montgomerie undertook a survey and charted the highest peaks of the Karakoram range. The nearest neighbours of K2 were marked down as K1, K3, K4 and K5, but were later renamed Masherbrum, Broad Peak, Gasherbrum I and Gasherbrum II respectively, using their native names as a basis.

Located right on the border of China and Pakistan, the densest area of high peaks and glaciers in the World, this 8611 metre (28 251 ft) mountain is difficult to access (and even more difficult to ascend - till now only 302 people have made it to the top, compared to more than four thousand that have summited Mt Everest). Even to get a distant view of it, one has to abandon the wheels and do some trekking.

To get to the right point we first rode as far east as we possibly could. Since Baltistan is basically a disputed territory (administered by Pakistan, claimed by India), there is quite a lot of military presence, and foreigners are not allowed anywhere near the so-called Line of Control. It is interesting to note that at some point we were as close to Kargil (where we passed some two months ago) as some 60 kilometers (40 miles), so one could say we have not progressed too much on our route. In the very eastern part of the disputed territory lies the Siachen glacier, the very big thing clouding the relations between the two countries - Siachen is the highest battleground on Earth at 6000 meters. Soldiers fight in thick snow, extremely low oxygen environment, at 100 mph winds (bullets fly in unpredictable directions) and -50C (-60F) nights, fighting with avalanches and cervasses. Obviously the murderous extreme conditions has taken a lot more lives than the bullets from the enemy's guns.



(Military) road to Siachen area is strictly off limits to foreigners.



From there we turned north into Hushe valley, towards a village with the same name. This is where the road ends, if one can call it a road. This jeep track has it all - sand, water, mud, loose rocks, swinging bridges and irrigation ditches dug right across. It isn't long, but it definitely is torturous.




This is a good part of Hushe track.















Biriges are mostly made out of wood and are quite unstable and questionable.














This is the best bridge on the Hushe track.

















Hushe village is in fact some 700 years old, although the timeless design of the houses there does not give many clues as to how old they might be. Mostly consisting of dry stone walls, they really do make you wonder how they manage to stand and not collapse. Wealthier families live in plastered houses.

The main sources of income for the 140 families living in Hushe are growing crops, livestock and tourism. Women take care of the fields and animals while men offer their services to mountain expeditions as guides, cooks and porters - here, it's one of the best access spots to the high Karakoram. Because of the political situation and US involvement in Pakistan, the last years have been very low in tourist numbers, so we mostly saw men chatting and sipping chai on the street, leaving a somewhat neglected feeling - they say this year only 30 expeditions have visited, yet last year the number was well over 90 teams that went to conquer the extreme high peaks in Karakoram. The setting of the village is, however, fabulous, with 7821 metre (25 659 ft) Masherbrum looming over the valley.



Views from Hushe...















































Panorama of Masherbrum (click to enlarge)













7821 metre (25 659 ft) Masherbrum glows over Hushe















And cliffs that are hard to scale from the pictures...















Local brick factory.















Curious Hushe boys chekcing out our GS and following us everywhere we went in the village.














Sufi-muslim in Hushe.















Children.















Muslim with a child.































Hushe girl.





So, in order to get a glimpse of the K2, we hired a guide and took off for a trek. It took us some six hours of walking and scrambling along the steep, rocky slopes to get to the viewpoint, ascending some 1100 meters (3 600 ft). After this, our venture into the Ultar canyon in Karimabad really seemed like relaxation - this time it was uphill all the time, sometimes on all four. But most importantly - the higher we got, the broader were the views.




Trekking with our guide.















The guide giving explanations of everything - behind is Humbrok Peak.















Panorama from the trek (click to enlarge).













Some flora on the mountainsides - they blossom in August - summer here is short.






























Kariina on the mountainside.















View to the Hushe valley from above.















Majestic Cigarette Peak - name comes from the fact that warm winds are always blowing loose snow from its sides - looks like a smoking cigarette.













At the end of the trek - our weary bodies need some rest now and pain in the legs is sure to come the next day.


And there it was, K2 (look in the centre of the picture, left of the sharp dark cone)! Far away, and only the top visible of course, but worth the effort - to get the full view of the K2, you need an over a week trek with special permits from Islamabad and special equipment and training for a bit more technical glacier travel (rope technique). So we were happy to get that rare glimpse to the K2 which is very hard to obtain anyway.



The mighty K2 (8611 m / 28 251 ft) peeking in the middle of the picture.















Panorama of the peaks from the viewpoint - find the sneaky K2 in the picture (click to enlarge).


Descending from the viewpoint, we set our camp in the seasonal village of Humbrok at around 4000 meters above sea level. Most of Hushe's women spend there the whole summer, herding the yak and the cows, and making butter and yoghurt. Younger ones assist by collecting dry wood and cow dung for fire. Living conditions are very simple - sleeping and cooking in stone huts, and washing in streams with ice cold water.

Our appearance was, of course, a big thing, especially among the girls. While our guide, Sher Ali (whom they also called Sherpa) was cooking us some rice, there were some ten little heads sticking in the stone hut doorway, observing the strange white people. Actually, the airflow of the hut was pretty much cut off by all the attention, so the smoke could not get out and we sat in a haze.



Humbrok village - only women and herd live here in the summer. Most of the year it's under snow.













Young girl carrying her brother.































Muslim girls in Humbrok - it took a whole day for them to take us as insiders so we could get a chance to take pictures of them - mostly Muslim women say straight NO to any picture taking of them.













Humbrok children.































































Inside the stone hut.















Sherpa making us some chai.















And soon rice was cooked - tasted good after exhausting day trekking in the Karakoram.


It definitely was an experience, and one of the highlights of our stay in Pakistan - to watch the rice cooking in the dimly lit stone hut, and meanwhile to sip the chai made from fresh milk.

Next day as we headed down to Hushe, and sat on the bike for a ride back to civilization, we felt as if Pakistan had turned its smily face towards us. Until… just a little before we reached tarmac… the violent swinging of the rear brought back some old memories. The rear shock was blown, badly.



Not again!!!

It was phenomenal this time, the problem. It wasn't the main seal leaking, but the body itself had cracked, with inner seals peeking out. Never would have thought this could happen to a supposed-to-be high quality shock.

Not much left to do with this ingenious creation of Öhlins engineers, we headed to the nearest tyre shop and stuffed the thing with some rubber. Put some duct tape on it to keep the composition from disintegrating, and swinged (not so violently thanks to the rubber) back to Skardu. Even on the relatively smooth tarmac it felt like riding in a horse cart, with speed never exceeding 40 km/h.



Proper introductions first.















Cracked body of Öhlins shock. The world famous Swedish quality of metallurgy?






























I put rubber between the spring to dampen the shaking.















Taped it up so the rubber doesn't jump out.


Farewell all our planned detours to Deosai Plains, Nanga Parbat base camp, Boroghil and Chitral, we now have to figure out what next, because this time the suspension damage is beyond repair, and having a new one shipped here to Pakistan is costly to say the least. It does not seem Pakistan will be offering easy solutions on this one.

So guess what - we're pretty much screwed now!!!

Margus & Kariina
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Old 08-08-2010, 12:07 AM   #814
littlebike
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So much beauty !

There is no word to translate what you are showing to us. This is all beauty of landscapes, people, faces. Contemplating all that is definitely a gift.
Thanks so much.
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Old 08-08-2010, 12:13 AM   #815
Brink
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Hi Margus and Kariina

Absolutely awesome and emotional roller-coaster of an epic journey that you two are taking us on.

Best of luck with the repairs.

When your journey leads you to the southern part of the African continent I will be humbled but delighted to help you with anything you need.

Safe riding,

Brink
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Old 08-08-2010, 04:38 AM   #816
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Let's help this couple out in the only way we can: send them some money





Perhaps that will enable them to get a shock to them in Pakistan.
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Old 08-08-2010, 05:36 AM   #817
timk519
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsiklonaut
Farewell all our planned detours to Deosai Plains, Nanga Parbat base camp, Boroghil and Chitral, we now have to figure out what next, because this time the suspension damage is beyond repair, and having a new one shipped here to Pakistan is costly to say the least. It does not seem Pakistan will be offering easy solutions on this one.

So guess what - we're pretty much screwed now!!!
First, thanks for the incredible shots!

Second, this is the first time I've seen a report like this of a shock actually breaking. Have you contacted Ohlins about this? I remember Striking Viking's Ohlins going belly-up on his trip, and they were pretty good about getting him another one.
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Old 08-08-2010, 06:33 AM   #818
tsiklonaut OP
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Öhlins? Yeah, right!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by timk519
Second, this is the first time I've seen a report like this of a shock actually breaking. Have you contacted Ohlins about this? I remember Striking Viking's Ohlins going belly-up on his trip, and they were pretty good about getting him another one.
We contacted them after Colombian Öhlins dealer fecked up our shock which we sent them to be serviced only and Öhlins headqarters just ignored us when we complained. We had to wait almost 1 month (!!!) in Colombia unable to ride the bike and paid CRAZY amounts of money to send it to US for repair completely from our own pocket. Öhlins HQ blame everything on their dealers and take absolutely NO responsibility for themselves as makers of the actual product.

Striking Viking is a superstar, maybe that's why they replaced his (producer being afraid of bad press from a popular guy). But we're regular people, so probably we can just forget about it, since most definitely we will be ignored by Öhlins again.
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Old 08-08-2010, 11:01 AM   #819
ms51ves3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by littlebike
There is no word to translate what you are showing to us. This is all beauty of landscapes, people, faces. Contemplating all that is definitely a gift.
Thanks so much.
Looks like a broken shock absorber to me

Superb RR. Kept me entertained for many lunch times at work.
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Old 08-08-2010, 12:35 PM   #820
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Ohlins are number one



I use the same finger when I want to tell someone they are number ONE!
Fantastic adventure writing on Pakistan. You two are awesome folks!

YK in N.S.
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Old 08-08-2010, 12:40 PM   #821
kwakbiker
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man that is bad luck with that shock.........wonder if anyone has a standard GS shock that could be shipped outr to tide you over.....I dont but if you dont ask you dont get
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Old 08-08-2010, 01:07 PM   #822
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You both are THE test riders for the shock that could not. They should take care of you just to avoid the bad publicity!
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Old 08-08-2010, 01:59 PM   #823
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Talking Amazing report, maybe I can help

I am a rider without my bike working in Lahore, Pk.for another 3 weeks. I have a 2005 R1200 GS standard shock at home in Va. USA. (I too have Olins) Most mail gets to me in 10 days or so but if that doesn't help. I have some friends here (Lahore) that own an auto repair shop that work on high end Mercedes, BMW, Porsche and fabricate some outstanding work. I believe they can help you as good as anyone in this country. If you are heading this way or I can assist you please contact me. Thanks for sharing your ride with us. See you at the top. Jeff/Duck
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Old 08-08-2010, 02:12 PM   #824
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reverse
Let's help this couple out in the only way we can: send them some money





Perhaps that will enable them to get a shock to them in Pakistan.
And those of you who wish to make every penny count, note that if you have a fully set-up account with PayPal you can send money to them without fees on either side by logging into PayPal, clicking the Send Money tab, then clicking the Personal tab in the dialogue underneath.

Unfortunately PayPal does not make a convenient button for that to paste into web sites.
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Old 08-08-2010, 09:17 PM   #825
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While at the Redmond BMW rally last month I talked to a Ohlins representative about my own 1100GS rear shock.

I just sent the rep a email outlining the story of the split shock and asking him for help either from Ohlins USA or Europe.

Maybe, just maybe, something will come of it.

And maybe if we all telephoned or emailed Ohlins USA something will come of that too.
Worth a shot, Right?


Ohlins USA motorcycle divison contact information:
http://www.ohlinsusa.com/us/index.ph...d=35&Itemid=64
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