filling the gaps
Well, you've got the GPS points, and true they are not too far from the main road. I didn't even notice any train tracks so they might get buried every now and then.
Black market rate last year was 24,000 Manat to one Dollar. You can get a very colourful 50 Manat note, must cost more to print than they are worth, but they are only used for bus tickets.
Places to stay in Ashgabat.... you are required to register and can only really stay at Hotels. The hotels are all pretty standard, but one has a chinese restaurant which is OK, and is near some of the embassies (Tajik and Kyrgyz)
They are pretty tight about restricting your mileage, especially in the North where I had KGB all over me, following me around while I looked for spark plugs!!