July 12, 2009 GMT
Pakistan/Quetta to Taftan

I had always been concerned about this part of the journey as it is the only route to the Pakistan border (Taftan), it is all desert, runs adjacent to the Afganistan border and is well known for it's security concerns. I had intended to join up with another biker to do this but of course no one here.
I set off early with escort again slow going (what can you do?).
Beautiful scenery although very stark moon like landscape. What was a bit worrying was that after about 50km the escort disappeared (they were following me). Great that I could put some speed on but a little nervous at the same time.
The road to Dalbandin (half way) was again very rough but with long straights that stretched out to the horizon. I remember feeling very remote but at the same time peaceful as it seemed I was the only one out here. The feeling reminded me of when I sailed across the Atlantic Ocean in the 90's. Then out of the haze a truck would appear coming towards me to break my trance. Even though it was hard going I enjoyed this part of the trip. Then escorts reared their head again but this time it was worse because I had to take an armed soldier on the back of the bike. I was not happy with this and argued about it as I didn't want the extra weight on the bike as it was hard on the suspension. I ended up giving way as I thought what is more important, the bike or my life?. This situation continued with changes in soldiers until about 100km out of Dalbandin where I was to break the trip and spend the night....NOT SO! I was virtually run out of town by the escorts, no place to stay here! I was now bloody angry, it was very hot and dusty and I was tired and wasn't sure I could make Taftan before nightfall. Still I had no choice and filled up with gas and headed off. One bit of fortune was that the road from Dalbandin was a lot better and I could make good speed. Escorts continued then I just refused to carry a passenger and rode off. I know that I have said previously that this was my hardest day but No this was! I was so dry when I finally reached Taftan after 12 hours I could hardly speak. The icing on the cake though was that there were no rooms and ended up just sleeping on the grass out side the customs hall at the border. I was angry, damn tired, covered in sweat, covered in dust and hadn't eaten since breakfast. Great last memory off Pakistan!!!

Posted by Ross MacDonald at July 12, 2009 05:53 PM GMT
 


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