We had a final couple of days in Tajikistan staying at the remote town of Murghab - a very bleak place where there is nothing green and all the food has to be imported as nothing grows. It was a sociable time as first we saw Al and Dave from the 'Stan Clan, my Horizons bike riders' group- they are on a whirlwind ride through to Vladivostock (Pacific coast) via Mongolia and have just six weeks left to get there- which is a lot of hard riding.
We then had Tim and three other friends from the GS Club come through and stay over - they are doing a journey similar to mine but have gone in the opposite direction - they left England the day beofre me and raced across Russia to reach Ulan Baatar in 18 days, a saddle sore experience. They are now heading back to England and should be there in five weeks I think. They have got a landrover as support vehicle so they've got a few more luxuries than we have, it was really nice to see familiar faces, especially in such a remote area. Ever the hostess, I cooked up a big pan of mashed potato for tea and fed them all. We then had a bit of international money market dealing as we exchanged currencies for the various countries, at one point there were five different cuurencies on the table.
Two days ago we took the final road heading north towards the border - there was a very high pass, 4700m which was a bit chilly, Thelma wasstill pulling strongly though which was good news. At one point a golden eagle was soaring overhead, but it was a bit camera shy. We also had to ride through some herds of yaks which were scattered across the road and they were in no hurry to move out of our way as we rode at walking speed past them.
They are incredible, almost prehistoric-looking and a bit fierce in appearance, as always a healthy respect for any animal (says the woman who ran away from an anteater because it gave me a funny look).
The border crossing was very straightforward, a half-hearted attempt by the guard to extort money and we were through which is good as it is the second highest border crossing in the world and oxygen is at a premium, we were not keen to hang around, especially as there was snow underfoot and friends had been caught up in a snowstorm here a week ago (soemthing I had neglected to tell Annie). Kyrgyrstan almost straight away looks very different to Tajik, incredibly green, yurts dotting the hills and herds of very healthy looking horses roaming around.
We camped in the hills for a night before heading into Osh, the country's second largest town with a fantastic bazaar so loaded with produce we have dubbed Osh the Land of Plenty.
In many ways it feels like I have been transported to Penang - there is the hustle and bustle of south east Asian commerce, lots of street hawkers selling stuff from indvidual pram wheels, to second hand saucepans and baby clothes, there is also a lots of street food which I am enjoying; "yuk gusht" is the phrase for "no meat". There is also an amazing range of nationalities here, we had lunch with some Uzbekis, dinner with a Tartar (Russian) and morning tea with Kygyrz poeple, and as we are very close to the Chinese border there are also a lot of Chinese poeple here.
The Uzbeki family have helped me out with the dodgy Daewoo repair, which as I suspected did not last very long, I now have a part from a Zazda, soviet-made car; Rakim the mechanic was extolling the virtues of soviet machinery and quoting Brezhnev as he replaced the part. I will have to see how this new part fares, I don't think the roads here will be anything as bad as the ones in Tajikistan.
Our veteran travellers share their tips (and great stories) for staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure.
"A fantastic, informative and inspirational DVD."
"It's brilliant - thank you very much!"
Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'ONTHEROAD' on your order when you checkout.
Next HU Events
- Canada West: Aug 21-24
- USA North Carolina: Sept. 4-7
- France Mini: Sep 5-7
- Canada Ontario: Sept. 11-14
- NEW! UK - Haggs Bank: Sept. 19-21
- USA California: Sept. 25-28
- Aus Queensland: Oct 3-6
- Aus Perth: Oct 10-12
- Aus VIC: Oct 24-26
- NEW! Aus NSW: Oct 31-Nov 2
- NEW! South Africa: Nov 13-16
- NEW! HUMM Morocco: May 13-16, 2015
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
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!
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 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.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.
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 © 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!