July 13, 2009 GMT
High Altitude or was that Attitude Riding?

We had reunions and rough riding along the Afghan border, as we encountered other travellers we'd previously met and tackled tracks that were steep and narrow and which were covered in sandy gravel. Our loose front indicator went flying off along one precipitous track, I had to retrace our route to find it. Not that indicators are any use out here as they are never used, but I know that in Kazakhstan and Russia, the police are very keen to pull foreign motorists over on the slightest pretext and a missing indicator will be a big bribe.

It is now safely re-attached with trusty gaffer tape to the rescue once more, one of my bodge job specials, the local Tajiki drivers have already re-done my rear indicator, they thought my twigs and tape repair was hysterical and highly ineffective (which I'm inclined to agree with them), so they have done a much better job.
Tape is also holding the windscreen on- I don't think there is much point in repairing the windscreen properly until we are on roads that make it seem unlikely we will drop the bike - so that might be in about another 10,000 miles.

We took the long loop round through Wakhan Valley - seems like it was nicer and more interesting than going straight across the Pamir Highway- which is all tarmac, though the tarmac was a lovely treat after the high and incredibly remote mountain pass out of the Wakhan Valley.
We were spotted some camels at 3800 metres, I didn't know camels lived at such heights - I think they are wild ones, they were on the Afghan side of the border. We also had a wildlife spotting of ... Siberian beavers (or according to Shaia, an Israeli backpacker we met) that's waht they are, they're golden coloured with long tails and live in holes in the ground, they moved too fast for us to get a photo or a clear look at them.
More soldiers playing silly games and they tried to hold us up on the Wakhan Valley - only two of them and my theory is that they're not going to waste their expensive bullets (if they've got any in the first place). So although they had stopped us and pointed a large gun at us I told them
"This is NOT a checkpoint, you get no documents"
and we rode on - I did advise Annie to duck down in the unlikely event that they might start shooting.
The only place to show documents is at the proper checkpoints where there are barriers across the road and there is a some sort of officer in charge, not the young conscripts that are out on foot patrol and answerable to no-one.

We bumped into my support van from the Kazakh desert halfway up a Pamir mountain - he had even remembered to bring hot chocolate as requested, we again went in opposite directions after a beer evening - Baltic 7 the beer of choice, though transporting 10 bottles of it three miles up a mountain side in my topbox probably wasn't such a good idea - lager-scented sleeping bag anyone?
Out of the valley and onto the plateau that forms the Pamir Highway - it reminds me of the Bolivian altiplano - a high altitude area, ringed by mountains and fairly flat for hundreds of miles. We had our first sight of yurts and also a yak, though to be honest it was just the severed head of one - it looked huge. They took it off to the kitchen before Annie managed to get a photo of it.

Posted by tiffanycoates at July 13, 2009 02:44 PM GMT

NEW! HU 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration!

HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.

"The calendar is magnificent!"

"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"

We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!

Next HU Eventscalendar

See all events


HU DVD Autumn Special!

Take 40% off Road Heroes Part 1 until October 31 only!

Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers Peter and Kay Forwood (193 countries two-up on a Harley); Dr. Greg Frazier (5 times RTW); Tiffany Coates (RTW solo female); and Rene Cormier (University of Gravel Roads).

The first in an exciting new series, Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers."Inspiring and hilarious!"

"I loved watching this DVD!"

"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."

"Wonderful entertainment!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'HEROES' on your order when you checkout.

Scottoiler automatic chain oilers. The most important accessory for your next motorcycle adventure!

Renedian Adventures

Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!

What turns you on to motorcycle travel?

Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.

Books & DVDs


All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.

Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

Story and photos copyright ©

Sorry, you need a Javascript enabled browser to get the email address and dates. You can contact Horizons Unlimited at the link below. Please be sure to tell us WHICH blog writer you wish to contact.

All Rights Reserved.

Contact the author:

Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.

Hosted by: Horizons Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!