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Georgia to New Zealand - My Journey Home (page 2)

Kazakhstan turned into Uzbekistan but for 700km I wouldn't have known the difference when all I could see was the shimmering of the flat straight road on the horizon in front of me.

I can't imagine how long the border crossing would have taken had I had to wait in all the lines, but after riding to the front of the long line of stationary cars with doors open and people standing around passing time, I showed my passport and I was let through to the first stage of the process.

Next was waiting to get my bike exit paperwork sorted from Kazakhstan along with a bunch of pushy truck drivers who tried to squeeze me out of place. Not on my watch (😏) and after a few words and the backing of another guy, it was my turn and I had it taken care of without slipping cash into my documents like the guy in front of me.

Next was a huge line to passport control and hearing "tourist" yelled and seeing a guard waving to me, the tinge of guilt faded pretty quickly as I walked to the front of the line thinking how much time that saved me.

Switching to my new Kiwi passport I was welcomed into Uzbekistan Visa-free without them worrying about it not having any stamps from Kazakhstan in it.

More bike paperwork and a search of my gear followed, and I was back on one of the roughest roads to date for 90km before the next 350km of welcomed relatively smooth tarmac.

Petrol is hard to come by here so after stopping when I saw a few cars parked at an intersection I brought 10 litres out of the back of one of them, which gave me piece of mind I would make it to Nukus that day.

From Nukus I rode to Khiva who some believe the city grew around the well Hewvakh, with tasty and cool water that was dug by the order of Shem, the elder son of the Biblical Noah.

What we do know is it was a city known for its brutal history of being one of the most important slave trading cities of Central Asia and in the 10th century was a major trading center on the Silk Road. All the camel caravans had a stop here on their way to China and back.

To me it's an open air museum, a place that takes you back in time where it isn't hard to imagine what it was like in its day and another place in Uzbekistan where the people have been amazingly friendly.

The morning started with another goodbye to Fabian and Caroline (They are a German couple that are driving from Australia, back home) who were staying at the same hostel as I was in Khiva. Well, they actually slept in their roof tent and paid a small fee for the shower and registration. In Uzbekistan you need to get a registration slip at each place you stay and hand them in at the border. One for every three days I believe but I have heard they are getting a little more relaxed at the borders about it.

I rode to Bukhara which was about 480km of flat straight road and nothing all around except sand and a horizon for most of it. It was about 35°C and there was a brutal wind all day but the wind gods were in my favour because it was right up my butt the whole way.

I've never had such good gas mileage and lucky because it was 400km between petrol stations. I have a Giant Loop gas bag, so with the extra fuel – no worries.

One night in Bukhara was enough so I carried on to Samarkand today. I was thinking about going to Tashkent but honestly I've heard it's just a big city that hasn't got that much to see. I'm not really into big cities. I'm itching to get away from these long straight, flat roads and find some lakes and mountains so I've decided to head to Tajikistan tomorrow and cross at a lower border.

The Pamir Highway is calling and I've been thinking about it for so long I can't wait and I’m ready to answer. Thanks to Jessie for making up for my laziness and putting together the start of my ride report.

I'll try to keep it updated but forgive me in advance as I don't think I'll have much internet in the next couple of weeks through Tajikistan. Then again, I've been wrong before – often.

I know some have been through places I'm going and I'm always open to hear about not-to-miss places along the way so if you have one please feel free to message me and let me know.

Along those lines I'm pretty happy to answer questions as long as it's not going down the oil/tyre rabbit hole.  I'm currently running the MotoZ RallyZ … okay, I'll stop ... Motorex 10/50 but if hot ... now I'll stop.

Wish me luck for tomorrow as who knows what goes on at some border crossings. I do have to say the people in Uzbekistan have really been fantastic and even today I got so many thumbs up from people as I passed them or waves from kids on the side of the road. Probably more than any other country to date. I hope you enjoy the photos and join me for the ride.

Till next time!

The border crossing into Tajikistan was one of the better ones I've had yet. All the guards were really friendly on both sides.

I got asked twice on the Uzbekistan side how I liked their country and I felt they were genuinely interested.

On the Tajikistan side were they input your bike info into the system you have to pay USD$10 which is the first time I have had to pay for that but you don't need insurance so one less cost and step there. The only little bummer is that although I get 30 days the bike only gets 15. You can make a customs declaration in Dushanbe for an extension if need be. I guess in my mind I thought I might be staying longer than 15 days here but after looking at the map I think it probably will be enough as once you have done the Bartang valley and the Wakhan corridor there isn't that much else to see unless you want to camp more and stay longer in places. 

I got a room in Panjakent and this morning headed up to the seven lakes area. It was sunny when I left but I could see dark clouds in the mountains and by the time I got to the end of the road at the last lake, it was constant rain and pretty cold as it sits up around 8000ft. Bit of a shame as I couldn't quite make out all the snow-capped mountains around and I imagine on a really nice day the views would be even more stunning and there would be some great camping spots in that area. I thought the rain might clear but after about half an hour of waiting and no sign of it letting up, I headed back to Panjakent.

On the way back I stopped when a few kids waved me down. As soon as I stopped they all came up to shake my hand. Such little cuties and I know some overlanders like to give out stickers etc but I tell you what warms my heart on a cold wet day is seeing the massive grin on a kid's face when you lift them up and let them sit on the bike. It truly is a pretty cool feeling for me to think I might have made that kid's day. I also like to point to the start button before I leave and let them start it they usually get a kick out of that as well.

I was in two minds whether to head to Dushanbe or not but after I ate and looked out at a few raindrops I decided to call it an early day and get out of wet riding gear.

It was a pretty great day for me even with the rain because when I would daydream at work about this leg of my journey my mind always seemed to end up thinking about Tajikistan (and Mongolia) and finally been here gave me that excited feeling in my gut again as I rode into the mountains and also a little sense of satisfaction that I actually made it here.