Into the Stans! After the very long, tedious and expensive procedure of getting into Turkmenistan we slept the night in a strangely big hotel which had no water between 1pm and 6am for some reason, then set off with our guide towards the capital Ashgabat. Turkmenistan is very hot and very deserty.
This lunch stop is prime suspect for the upset stomachs that Al and I have had since, the lamb soup and russian style dumplings were good at the time though.
Nowhere was been as Muslim influenced as Turkey, but there are still some impressive mosques about.
Arriving in Ashgabat is extrordinary. The road suddenly turns into a pristine 8 lane highway and you whoosh towards a glittering white city of huge white immaculate buildings. The architecture could be Las Vegas but without the neon. It looks amazing in the setting sun. You also pass by the worlds highest flagpole, so the locals are fond of telling you! The whole place is the brain child of the Turkmenbashi, and he must've like big buildings like this.
We set off from Ashgabat north into full on sand dune desert and 40+ heat. It was very very very hard going. Camel as a family pet anyone?
We were heading for the famous burning gas crater where russian gas prospecting created a big crater which ignited and has been burning ever since. The last 7km to the crater is on sand. There was no way we could make it on the bikes with our road tyres (and lack of talent). So we left them at a checkpoint and carried on in the toyota 4X4. Even the 4X4's with their experienced drivers get stuck.
The burning gas crater is spectacular at night.
The insects in Turkmenistan are huge and plentiful, especially the grasshoppers. And they will land right on you with a thump.
That night Al was very ill and the next day too weak to ride the bike. We managed to get a local to ride his bike to up near the border with Uzbekistan, about 150 miles (for a price!). Al rode in the 4X4. Another highlight of this hard day was me having a scorpion crawl up my trouser leg and sting the back of my knee. Being a super tough overlanding biker type, I shrugged this minor inconvenience off after rubbing the sting with petrol. I did get a few funny looks dropping my bike trousers in public, but needs must. Drinking vodka is apparently the approved cure in these parts, I'm not convinced.Posted by David Newman at June 25, 2009 03:41 PM GMT
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!