Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Cycling through Clouds in Central Asia: Badakhshan Region; Total: 733 km

May 11-17, 2014

We woke up to find, that "everything" under the cover of the tent was wet and muddy. It was 11:30 when we dried our stuff. We were very lucky that we were not flooded because we were camping very close to the top, which meant there wouldn't be a lot of water accumulated in the creek we had camped near.

We started climbing again and in an hour, we were over the pass 2000 m. The decent down, was even harder than the ascend due to the condition of the road. I had to constantly break. At the bottom of the mountain, there was the police check point. After checking our permits, they gave us a lot of bread and wished us a safe trip! How nice!

From then on, we basically were riding in mud. Thank God it was downhill. I don't know what would happen if it were uphill in that condition. We finally got close to a village by a river, on the other side of which was Afghanistan. We camped in a garden with a fantastic view: very tall mountains, at least 4000 meter high.

Close to the Pass

The Pass: 2000 m

Our Camp Ground: The Other Side of the Panj River is Afghanistan

May 12, 2014

Since we rode our bikes in mud most of the time yesterday, our bikes was covered with a thick layer of mud all over. We were hoping it would rain during the night to wash off the mud.

We started riding our bikes in very muddy roads again, but we had to struggle tremendously to keep the bikes moving even down hill. I could hear the tires rubbing against hard clay, the chain and the cassette was squeaking too. We had to wash the bikes or we would wreck something on them, but the muddy road had not finished.

It was about noon when we reached good road, and in the first creek we found, we striped our bikes and washed everything. After that, we faced the strongest head wind on a very steep road.

At about 3:30, we found a roadside cafe and decided to have something. But at the end, we spent the night there and enjoyed good organic food.

My Achilles' tendon got worse, and I have a cold! I now have a sore throat added to my bad physical condition.

The two Chinese guys were documentary film makers trying to get into Afghanistan

Which way to take? That's the question!

The Way Down

The Cafe we Dined and Stayed the Night at
Spectacular View on the Road

Friendly People Everywhere

Desperate, we asked Abdulrahman, a meteorologist, to stay in this weather station.  He played the dutar for us.

May 14, 2014

At 6 am, we woke up and at 7, we took off. In the morning, the ride was usual: mostly off road along The Panj river, going up and down the mountain. At about 11:30, we saw a sign of a homestay in a village where we had lunch and rested for two hours. At about 2, we hit the road again, but the road turned almost impossible to ride on. In most places, there were big stones, the size of a baseball, all over the road. Very beat, we pushed it and pushed it to get to the next villages where we pitched up our tent, and had some really bad pasta, half of which was trashed.

My Achilles' tendon hurt so much today. And my big toe, is very big now. I am sure it is infected. I should see if I can find a doctor on our way.

May 15, 2014

At noon, we found a homestay in a village and stayed there for lunch and an hour of rest. When I took off my shoes, I saw a yellow thick liquid oozed out of the corner of my big toe. So... It WAS infected. I pushed the germs all out and sterilized my toe with disinfectant. I then kept the toe in the sun for some time, and it is behaving itself ever since. After lunch, we kept riding through very tall mountains along the river, and finally at 5:30, we stopped to spend the night at a garden in a village. The altitude was 2000 meters above the see level. 

May 16, 2014

At 8:15 we took off. My foot was hurting very much right from the start! What is going on with it? One day, it is good, one day, it hurts so much! I am really tired of this concession. With a lot of pain, I rode until12:30 when we stopped at a cafe for lunch which was eggs, and a leg of chicken. We were getting close to the main town of this area--khorogh, so we decided to camp outside the town instead of arriving in a town late evening. At 4:30, we stopped to buy something to cook for dinner. I asked the shopkeeper, a nice lady, where we could pitch up our tent for the night. She offered her back yard. How nice of her!

May 17, 2014

Khorough is a small town, so it was easy too  find the guest house, Pamir Lodge where we met a Spanish cyclist, Raimon, who had been on the road for a long time. He had ridden his bike from Barcelona, and he had a fantastic time in Iran. He told me about the parties he had been to and the beautiful girls in Tehran. His bike had a defective hub and his fork was not adjusted well. It was surprising to see that he didn't know how to fix his hub! I fixed his bike for him and he took off. We will probably see him again as he is going to Osh too.

After 6 days of bathing in mountain creeks and taking a shower with two litters of cold water, we finally treated ourselves with a hot shower in the lodge. How refreshing it was! Then we gave our filthy clothes to the lady who ran the lodge to wash it. She charged us 30 Somoni ($6).

At noon, a couple came in on their huge motorbikes. Laura and Christofer had been on the road for 20 years (18 years in an RV and the rest on motorbikes).

We tried to take a nap in the afternoon, but our bodies were too tired, so we couldn't at the end. Then we started to repair our beaten bicycles. We spent three hours on our bikes cleaning and lubricating the parts. At about 5, we went out to grab a bite. We found it difficult to find a good restaurant. At the end, we went to a buffet and had a huge meal.

My foot was hurting a lot today. I don't know what to do with it.

Tomorrow is a big day. We officially start Pamir. We will go up and up on the mountains.

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