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Old 01-19-2012, 10:04 PM   #91
Harti OP
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Joined: Sep 2007
Location: Berlin
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Take The Wrong Way Home

From Bishkek to the Pamirs

Bishkek was nice. Soon we found our favorite beer garden. Even the employees realized that a smile generates more tip than the always grumpy attitude of the old school Sowjet mentality...

our waitress

our hotel from the outside...

... and the inside...

to much booze...

As you all know, I do like beer after a long dusty day. But here is something funny: we had lunch in a little Schaschlik den and saw regular John Doe's walkin' in, grabbin' a beer glass and gettin' it topped up with vodka. Holy cow, these guys could operate a bus or could be a clerk in a bank or else... If I gulped up 15 oz of vodka in the middle of the day, I'd be completely wasted...

We figured out, that the voltage regulator of Heli's bike went south. Overheated dramatically. So we had Heli's wife Uli FedExed a new one to Dushanbe, where we intended to be in a week or so.

South of Bishkek we turned into the Tien Shan Range. The temperatures dropped about 50 degrees and it started to rain. Heli's bike made trouble all the time, we had to push it to get it started as the regulator was still not working. And he could not use his headlight. In a 3 km tunnel he kept distance of about 2 feet, because he couldn't see... And the roads got more slippery, because the oil dripping engines of the local cars and the rain are a recipe for disaster...

a gas station...

After the tunnel we were at about 10,000 ft. when a breathtaking valley opened up for us. And we got fully compensated for the hard work by the stunning views of snow capped summits and all the yurts and tents and the nomads doing what they do in their "high life"...


By nightfall we choose a nice European style hotel with hot showers and an excellent cuisine...

Now we are sitting in a restaurant waiting for Siggi and Paul who did a little side trip to Lake Ysyk Koel.

What's for lunch? Right Schaschlik. Note the t-shirt

They arrived not long after us and now we are complete again. By now we had build up slowly but surely some tension in anticipation of what lied ahead of us: the Pamirs.

On our way south we wanted to make distance. We had to cope constantly with deserts, heat, dust and low humidity.


As we entered Jalal-Abad we passed this group of people as they took wedding pictures... Of course they wanted us in them as well...

now that's what I call a breakfast...

We found a nice hotel at the city limits, that looked expensive, but we wanted to afford this one for the sake of a hot shower and a good dinner. But we had forgotten, that it was Ramadan. So no food until dark. What they served us then took us really by surprise. The table almost broke under the burden of plates, cups, bowls and bottles. We expected a huge check afterwards but we got away for accommodation and dinner with 12 Euros each! Great deal. Supervised parking included...

street market

it reads Osh

On our way to the Pamirs Range we stopped at Osh for gas and a snack. Since the presidential family comes from Osh, the entire region benefits from the generous support. That lead to some violent riots recently...

what looks like a city is just a graveyard...

At sunset we reached the official entry of the Pamirs. A huge arch built over the road welcomed us and as of tomorrow we had to face other enemies: the altitude and the mountain sickness.


Harti screwed with this post 01-24-2012 at 05:22 AM
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Old 01-20-2012, 12:03 AM   #92
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Location: Point Hope, Sitka & Biorka Island- all in Alaska
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Nice, I appreciate the report.
2008 KLR 685- Iron Butt Association #44803
Trippin' in the Yukon & the AK!

"I'd rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on Earth" - Steve McQueen
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Old 01-21-2012, 02:17 AM   #93
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Ich hoffe Uwe ist auf dem besten Weg der Genesung und ist bald wieder auf den Beinen.
Go on this is great
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Old 01-21-2012, 02:46 PM   #94
Joined: Jul 2009
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Great report !

Keep it coming

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Old 01-21-2012, 05:36 PM   #95
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I'm thoroughly enjoying this ride report. Please keep them coming! :)

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Old 01-22-2012, 12:02 AM   #96
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Old 01-22-2012, 09:17 AM   #97
Harti OP
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Take The Wrong Way Home

Uwe is up and running again. He spent his vacation in Uganda with a lot of hiking and off roading in a 4-wheeler lately...
So no worries from that side.

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Old 01-22-2012, 11:14 AM   #98
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Found your report today and read it all in one streak. Good stuff, looking forward to more.

Weiter so, Harti.
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Old 01-23-2012, 03:41 PM   #99
Tall Mike
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Excellent RR Harti!!

Thanks for taking us along! I hope to ride this route someday....(gotta save up!)

Shiny side up!
Ride the Earth! (Pavement Optional)

stable: '05 DL1000,'06 DL650, '99 XR600R, '03 640ADV
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Old 01-24-2012, 05:20 AM   #100
Harti OP
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Take The Wrong Way Home

The Pamir

Today we challenged the Pamir. It's the north-eastern mountain range of the mighty Himalaya. I think I mentioned already, that this part of the world is extremely dry, because it's protected by these mountains from the moisture and precipitations of the monsoon from the Indian ocean. The desert Gobi is just one result of it. The land from eastern Mongolia all the way up to the Caspian Sea is affected by that.

We had to face yet other obstacles: the high altitude and the cold.

He is a real hero...

So from Jalal-Abad we climbed up foot by foot until we reached the border post of Kyrgyzstan, where we left the country with good memories. It was late though and we decided to camp between the two borders. We thought the post of Tajikistan was probably closed by now.

The panorama was mind boggling, the views stunning and the altitude breathtaking. Literally. Once the sun set it got lousy cold. We pulled everything out of our panniers we had to keep us warm and went for a very early night in our sleeping bags.

The Kyrgyzstan border

The next day started with an encounter with the Kyrgyzstan border police. They persuaded us by waving constantly their Kalashnikov's to leave immediately. What we did.

Just loaded with a coffee and no real breakfast we rode straight up into the mountains. The other border post was some 50 km's away, which we thought we could make in less than an hour.

Man, were we wrong. Heli's bike didn't like the thin air at all. His Yamaha was the only one to be fed through an old fashioned carburetor, while our BMW's had an injection system. So we lost also some horse power, but nothing to worry about. Heli paddled his way up to the summit in almost 5,000 meters. And only when he took the air filter out to allow the intake some more of that thin air, his bike stuttered all the way up to the summit.

We took every opportunity to rest...

Sometimes the people accommodated us with an omelet...

Boy, were we toast sometimes...

The Tajikistan border

But all the hard work was nothing compared to the great scenery we got to see.

The Pamir Highway was so lala. Sometimes paved, later unpaved, bridges got washed away which we had to circumvent through the river beds. The loose rocks and gravel absorbed our full attention. Combined with the lack of air it was no wonder, that my head felt like it's gonna explode any minute...

Btw, the fence is the Chinese border

Oncoming traveler advised us to cross rivers early in the morning, because the snow hadn't melted yet and the water levels were low. Later in the day rivers were way harder to cross, if not impossible.

In a little village in the middle of nowhere we met a Swiss guy with a moped. He said, he had no trouble whatsoever with altitude and low grade fuel. Astonishing...

In the guesthouse we stayed for tonight our host was a lady with a good portion of humor. We could hardly communicate in one language, but hey... we got the drift and she got it too. She insisted on being a Pamiry and no Tadjiky and was no Muslima.

Murghab is the eastern capital of the Pamir and everybody told us, if we needed gas, this would be the place to look. Well, we found a guy with a bucket and a rusty barrel who claimed that his fuel, the only one in town, was of course the high grade we asked for.

My headaches tortured me the entire day, but no alternative was in sight. We had to keep on riding all the way to Korogh, which lied a lot lower than where we were right now.

Good night.


Harti screwed with this post 03-08-2012 at 03:13 PM
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Old 01-24-2012, 05:52 AM   #101
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Great RR. with some beautiful photos, of a somewhat harsh region.(compared to how most of us have it !!)
Keep it coming !!

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Old 01-24-2012, 06:32 AM   #102
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Great write up wow!!! loving it
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Old 01-24-2012, 06:41 PM   #103
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Fantastic write up. I'm greatly enjoying reading about your trip home.

I especially loved your early pictures from Colorado (since that's where I'm from/live). I love seeing pictures of other's ride reports where I like to go myself.
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Old 01-25-2012, 10:02 AM   #104
Harti OP
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Location: Berlin
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Take The Wrong Way Home

Pamir - From Murghab to Khorog

This was one of the many highlights of the entire trip. The air was thin and cold. At least we could do something about the temperature.

But the air and the altitude made us experience the panorama in a very unique way. No pollution, no noise once we switched off the bikes, only a few people, local and foreign, and a few yaks... that was it.

our local competition...

When you get the chance to talk to someone about the road condition and the roughness of the terrain, you better take it.

In the middle of nowhere was a restaurant with the usual suspects for lunch...

Heli almost ran into a flock of yaks...

The asphalt had seen better days. Trucks and no maintenance for years left the tarmac in very bad shape. You had to point exactly where to ride cuz the flanks of the tar were as high as a curb...

The Pamir Highway confirmed my motto completely: the easiest route is still the most difficult one. We didn't have to look for excitement and adventure, it was all right in front of us. And it was hard labor.

two or three huts make already a village with a name...

Once in a while you cold see groundhogs and a few birds got lost up here...

that reads Khorog...

In Khorog we met the Minister of Tourism, who told us not to hesitate, if we needed anything at all to make our stay in his country more pleasant... I wonder what he had in mind...

The little hostel we stayed in was fascinating. The owners knew exactly what we bikers needed. So the rooms were comfy and the shower hot.

The Pamir on the left side, the Hindukush on the right one...

It was really a special day. Not only because I got the message that my uncle had passed away last night.

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Old 01-25-2012, 11:41 AM   #105
Tall Mike
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Obviously you hit some high passes! Did you have medication for altitude sickness?
These are Beautiful Photos that tell a wonderful story! Thanks for sharing!
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stable: '05 DL1000,'06 DL650, '99 XR600R, '03 640ADV
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