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Old 07-08-2013, 03:51 PM   #121
Ratman
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Amazing trip and Patty

GP, this is an amazing trip that the 2 of you are making. Thanks for sharing. I'm really impressed with your common sense approach to travel plus your innate curiosity about the back roads. Of course, that's where the good stuff is, but often we get caught up in getting somewhere, and forget to 'smell the roses'.

Your traveling partner is as cute as a bug's ear. Do you suppose that you could get her to add some of her perspective to the story. I bet she would develop a fan club in no time.

Patty, your smile is made in heaven.....anyone want to agree with me.
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Old 07-09-2013, 01:46 AM   #122
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Originally Posted by Ratman View Post
Your traveling partner is as cute as a bug's ear. Do you suppose that you could get her to add some of her perspective to the story. I bet she would develop a fan club in no time.

Patty, your smile is made in heaven.....anyone want to agree with me.
And, I'm sure, most of the women out there that suffer "helmet hair" would like to know how she keeps hers so pristine.
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Old 07-09-2013, 07:20 PM   #123
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Similiar to others I started following this ride report to check up on how the Tiger stands up to those conditions and am now following it for the fantastic writing and photos. Thanks for taking the time to take us along on your wonderful trip.

From eastern Canada (New Brunswick),
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Old 07-09-2013, 07:37 PM   #124
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Originally Posted by riverman View Post
Similiar to others I started following this ride report to check up on how the Tiger stands up to those conditions,
I too, was silently cheering the Tiger but you guys are doing well too.
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Old 07-15-2013, 07:51 PM   #125
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Osh, Kyrgyzstan - Khujand, Tajikistan

I lied, we did take a couple of photos on the way back to Osh from Bishkek.





Osh to Khujand

A wind was blowing and it was cloudy so we decided to do the Pamir Highway anti-clockwise via Dushanbe so we didn’t miss any photo opportunities in the Pamirs.

In the mish-mash where Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan meet it’s possible to cross the border into Tajikistan between Batken and Isfara - later on as we met other adventurers they didn't know they could cross here and were kicking themselves for not knowing because it meant they had to do lots of backtracking to get back into Kyrgyzstan. Along the way though there are ‘islands’ and bits of Uzbekistan that jut out that need to be avoided. We were stopped at a checkpoint on one of these bits and the military were a little surprised to see us. After registering our details they let us go on but we had to take a gravel road to avoid the Uzbekistan bit, only locals were allowed to use the main road.




Once the gravel ended we were once again back on the main road heading towards one of the ‘islands’ only to realise there were no tracks to take us around the island so we had to backtrack 42km along shitty roads. We were wondering why all the locals looked so surprised to see us, there would be no other reason for an adventure bike to be in these parts.

Back on the right road - a smooth, fast highway - we were blasted one last time with the Uzbek desert and hot wind. Around Batken the highway ended and we were once again on shitty roads with some gravel sections.

We were the only people at the Kyrgyzstan border and were done in five minutes. On the Tajik side they checked our passports while feeding us apricots and tea and even filled out the customs forms for us Not believing our luck and how simple the process was we went to exit the main gate only to be told there we had to register the bike. It cost $10 and took an hour and while they did their paperwork they asked me if where Patty was born is it really hot and beautiful.

They only gave me a temporary import of 15 days though as much as I plead for it to be extended for the length of my visa. If something did happen 15 days wouldn’t be enough time for me to fly in parts and fix it.



We stayed the night in an ex-Soviet style building in Khujand that had most of the windows broken and used to play opera. Cost $35. They locked the bike in a shed out the back.

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Old 07-15-2013, 09:16 PM   #126
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Khujand - Dushanbe

We started the morning with a bowl of baby food cereal, something we haven’t had since Azerbaijan because we either couldn’t find milk or breakfast was included in the room. After the fizzy horse piss episode in Kyrgyzstan we were a little nervous when we took our first sip. The breakfasts in Kyrgyzstan are amazing so we didn’t want to buy our own.

The highway between Khujand and the Pamir Highway (M41) had a few toll roads but the attendant would just wave us to duck around the barrier.



And finally we hit the Pamir Highway. We were pretty excited. As we rounded each corner we expected to be hit in the face with amazing post card views but they never came. Maybe after Kyrgyzstan I expected too much. The Pamir Highway between Dushanbe and the Uzbek border is now a sealed road. It has some high passes at 2000+ metres with sheer drop-offs that would have been interesting before the sealed road but now they’ve taken the fun away. We could see several cars and truck trailers in the valley below.









Landslides seem to be pretty common and were being cleaned up in a few sections of the road.




We stopped to take a photo of some cows using the tunnel as shelter, but this tunnel turned out to be the tunnel of doom. A torrent of water was running through it with pot holes up to the axles and bits of rio bar protruding from the wall and floor to skewer an adventurer not paying attention. The ventilation fans are no longer in use and now sit on the road. Trucks and cars duck and weave at every perceived threat in front of them. I stopped to take a photo but it was so dark the camera wouldn’t take the shot. 15 kilometres of doom.



I’ve been meaning to ask a cyclist how they deal with this tunnel because they surely can’t ride / walk it they would pass out from smog asphyxiation before they got to the end.

Some tunnels I couldn't figure out why there was a tunnel at all



We tried to check in to the Adventurers Inn but they were full so we ended up in another ex-Soviet style hotel cost $30. No hot water or flushing toilet. The receptionist used a typewriter.
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Old 07-15-2013, 09:32 PM   #127
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incredible scenery
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Old 07-15-2013, 10:45 PM   #128
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Dushanbe - Kalaikhum

In Osh we met a french family who were travelling for a year and got bogged on the Pamir Highway in their 6 wheeler and had to wait three days to be rescued. They had two 1200GS's in the back and gave us tips about river crossings. They recommended we take the 'north' route to Kalaikhum directly east of Dushanbe because it's the most scenic and the 'south' route is just bad sealed roads and not many views. We took their advice and followed the north route.

We were pulled over twice by police - the first time I know we were speeding and the second we definitely weren't. The police don't seem to use radar and just seem to use their judgement to determine if you're speeding. If you look fast or standout they point at you with their red baton and point at the ground for you to stop. Both times they asked where we were from and where we're going and let us off.

The road followed the red river on dusty pot holed gravel sections. not sure how the river got it's name...









We stopped for a photo of the bridge but these old guys thought we wanted one of them so they got into position for us



Soon the road branched off and the military waved us in the direction of Khorog. One look at the bike and he knew what we wanted There were far less cars on the road now and the views were incredible















The pot holes were quite bad in sections and we tried standing through it but on uphill sections Patty would pull me back and on downhill she would push me forward, of which there was many, so we gave up and had to sit through it A straight flat section of road is easy standing two-up but in the more difficult stuff where throttle is being opened and closed it becomes more difficult.





Closer to Kalaikhum we started to climb



At 2700 metres we stopped for a photo and we could hear the radiator fluid bubbling. It wasn't working hard and I didn't think we were that high.

The bike also wouldn't start. Classic stepper motor problem but until now this wasn't a problem. But the 'opening the throttle' trick didn't work. I had to bump start it. Patty got all hot and flustered under the collar seeing that



At 3200 metres we stopped for another photo and the bike was spewing radiator fluid from the overflow reservoir. Again it wouldn't start and had to bump it. A slight annoyance that we had to point the bike downhill when stopping. Both of these had me worried because in the next couple of days we would be climbing to 4655 metres in remoter places than present. The stepper motor could be serviced so I planned to do it in Khorog, before the scheduled maintenance.







It was a little cooler and wetter at 3200 metres.









Dropping down from the 3200 metre pass the scenery was astounding. The photos don't do it justice. Bike started again no problems.









We moved on when this guy started flaring his nostrils at us







There were no places for us to camp or access with the bike because of all the rocks on the ground or the threat of rocks falling from the cliffs above so we stayed at a guesthouse in Kalaikhum the night.



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Old 07-16-2013, 01:22 AM   #129
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Kalaikhum - Khorog

I woke in a foul mood, annoyed that the previous days photos didn't truly capture how beautiful the mountains were. We were about to head into we were told the most amazing scenery so we expected our camera to deliver. A bad tradie always blames his tools...

After yesterdays overflowing radiator reservoir I checked the level and couldn't see any fluid, at all. I took the cap off and the tiniest amount was sitting in the bottom. Not enough to continue without a top-up, especially if it starts overheating like it has been. The tiger manual says 'in an emergency use distilled water' so I tried in vain to find distilled water. Our host at the guesthouse made a couple of calls and we jumped on the bike and took me to a stream coming from the top of the mountains and insisted I could use that...maybe I could...distilled water is just the water with impurities removed but we were going to 4600 metres so I didn't want it freezing in the radiator. Next he took me to a shop and they showed me anti-freeze - "is Russian, is good" but I wasn't sure if it had corrosion inhibitors or not as the label was written in Russian. Kalaikhum is a tiny town with a basic mechanic so this was my only option.

Triumph could be a bit more helpful in their manuals, or maybe distilled water really is the only option. But what do we do when we can't find distilled water? Do we sit and wait for distilled water to arrive? What if I'm in the middle of nowhere and I have no choice but to use regular water? It was at this point I was second guessing whether a liquid cooled bike is the right bike for this sort of adventure. I figured the car fluid was better than the mountain water so poured a litre of that into the reservoir, cringing and closing my eyes as I did so. After a couple of hours of trying to get that sorted we finally set off.

We stopped to give an american cyclist some food and water. I've got a lot of admiration for the people that are travelling the world by bike



Shortly after meeting the cyclist we then bumped into the aussies who we met outside Bishkek. And the cyclist caught up

Five minutes after saying farewells to the aussies disaster struck. We stopped on a narrow section of road to let a truck pass. As the rear of the truck started to pass the driver must have turned because suddenly it clipped our pannier with a lot of force. The weight and momentum of the truck was enough to spin the bike around and send me and Patty toppling from the bike and over a ledge. In a blur of movement I still had my hand on the handlebars. Dangling over the edge for a split second hanging from the handlebars I tried to grab Patty before she fell further over the ledge. I vividly remember thinking of the scene from the movie Cliffhanger where Sylvester Stallone held on to that person (not the opening scene, he dropped that person, the second person he saved) and we would come out of this all rosy. The bike would stay up on the ledge and we would pull ourselves up and continue on our way. The grab for Patty was in vain. We both fell four metres on to our feet...luckily.

Next thing we look on in horror as the bike cartwheels down the ledge. First the front end hits the ground, spraying plastic everywhere and coming to a rest 12 metres from the upper ledge. I checked Patty was ok and ran down to inspect the bike, and just looked up at Patty and crossed my arms to say the bike was dead. Oil and petrol was all over the rocks and the front was completely smashed up.

Out of nowhere people started arriving. Maybe they were stuck behind the truck? They ran down to check we were ok and quickly started unfastening the luggage and tried moving it. It was so far down and so badly damaged I thought it couldn't be recovered and would have to be abandoned. Eight or nine guys then started co-ordinating how to lift the bike. On petrol and oil covered rocks, using each other as anchors by linking hands at the top of the drop-off, shouting "1, 2, 3" they got the bike to the top. All of this happened in a space of ten minutes.

This was taken half-way down the ledge.





With the bike at the top of the hill a lady gave us two loaves of bread. One guy gave me quick steel. And then they all left. I was totally amazed, no, incredulous, that they got the bike up. A man working nearby started boiling us tea, but before we could drink it or do a proper inspection of the bike a truck arrived and offered to take it and us. In the middle of nowhere and not knowing how else we would get to the next town we accepted his offer. The bike was lifted into the back of the truck and laid on its side, no way of tying it down.

For the next eleven hours we travelled in the truck. I thought the bike was a thrill on some of these edges, being in a truck was terrifying The driver bought us lunch and dinner while the two assistants pined after Patty. Exhaused and devastated, we spent the night in the truck in our bike gear.

We woke early the next morning to get the bike off the truck and plan our next steps. There was only three of us to unload the bike which isn't enough for such a heavy bike so I asked Patty to run and get help, but before help came they pulled the bike from the truck and it dropped from the back of the truck and landed on it's side on the ground. It was heartbreaking stuff to see her treated like that.

Finally we could inspect the damage.























The bash plate folded loading it into the truck







Cracked frame









The cracked/broken frame coupled with the cost of the front-end was almost a write-off in my mind. Everything had happened so fast since the accident so we just needed to ground ourselves, take stock of everything and get some advice. We sought out Pamir Lodge where all adventurers stay in Khorog.
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Old 07-16-2013, 01:55 AM   #130
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Fark!

I hope this gets better for you!
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Old 07-16-2013, 02:32 AM   #131
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Thank god you and Patty are OK!
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Old 07-16-2013, 06:21 AM   #132
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OMG OMG OMG!

I'm so glad you and Patty walked away form that.

Very sorry to hear about the bike. What a wonderful journey so far - and what a tragedy for the bike - but very happy to read you are not hurt.

Godspeed.
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Old 07-16-2013, 07:29 AM   #133
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Holy S***

Glad to hear you weren't hurt, and sorry about your bike . I hope things start looking up for you out there.
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Old 07-16-2013, 07:40 AM   #134
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Cry

I'm so sorry about this accident but also glad you and Patty are ok. Hang in there, keep us posted and let us know if there is anything that can be done on our end.

-Mike
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Old 07-16-2013, 02:28 PM   #135
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S**t glad you are both ok, let me no if I can do anything this end mate
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