Hi folks, friends and family,Here is our next instalment:Part 1:
In the morning we packed up in our homestay. In the photo you can see how comfortably Jeff likes to sleep, three layers of mattress. Breakfast was a hot maize porridge with a sweet marmalade on top. Great. Also bread, yoghurt and black tea. We were ready to go.
Leaving Langar involved a series of steep hairpin bends up a sandy track ( I remind you this is a main road). The views going up were incredible. At the top we noticed a new sandy track had been bulldozed into the town especially for trucks. They do not normally use this road, but because the Pamir Hwy is cut near Khoroug, those brave enough to risk the road (more about this later) need a way down to the Wackhan. They could not negotiate the hairpins bends we had used. (Please click on photos to make them bigger)
As we continued on the vistas were incredible. Deep gorges and the peaks of the Hindu-Kush in the distance. Stunning!
It had got that way due to the unexpectedly heavy traffic now using this route. We had to wait an hour whilst the road was reconstructed and the first trucks started to move. It was going to take ages for us to move but then the truckies told us to move down now whilst there was a break before the next trucks moved. The truckies were great. We knew no Russian, they knew no English, but they were all looking at the map on our car, gesturing their amazement at what we were doing, shaking our hands and wishing us good luck and good journey.
As we started our crawl past the remaining trucks we saw the fallen ”machina” the truckies had mentioned. Wow. Scary stuff these roads. Brave guys that use them.
Getting past most of the trucks was a careful but successful process. One area though was very narrow. As the Quokkavan was inching past, rocks were tumbling beside his front wheel. Not a cm to spare. As C-YA went by we collected our first battle scar. A tear in the body behind the rear passenger door. Not serious, but a wound of pride caused by the edge of a Chinese container!
Off we went again! Safe, but grateful to have gotten through that mess. Further on we saw another truck wreckage that had gone into the ravine, as well as two other trucks bogged to their axles in either mud or sand!
Just before joining the M41, the Pamir Hwy, we came to one of the numerous army checkpoints on the road. There we met a young Englishman, another Pete, riding his BMW motorbike across Tajikistan, on his own. He is a West End actor as well as a circus performer and has taken 4 months off and is heading for China and Nepal. Lots of adventurers on these roads.
We were also incredulous at the number of cyclist as well, loaded up with their panniers. That is doing it the hard way! Especially with the steep roads and the altitude.
To be continued in Part 2.
C-YA Andrew and Jeff
Mongolia Charity Rally 2015