Georgia to New Zealand - My Journey Home (page 4)

In Osh I went to Muz-Too garage as I needed a bolt for my kickstand. What a bloody shambles. About 10 other bikers hanging around wanting stuff done but the workshop was a bloody mess with tools laying everywhere and the only oil the sold was 10/40. I didn’t stick around and headed over to Zorro Moto.  Big improvement and David there was as helpful as could be. Lots of Motul products including chain lube and a fair amount of tyre selection but they aren’t cheap. I came back the next day as I picked up a nail just as I left his shop and he was closing so I left my bike there.  

One nice thing about that MotoZ Tractionator Adventure rear is that it was easy to get one side off to put a new tube in. It is the first time my rear has outlasted the front and I debated for a night whether to change the front now because my only option was a $140US (Ouch!!) TKC80 front. Not wanting to carry on riding with it or wait for one to be shipped I just closed my eyes and did it. I got 6500kms out of the MotoZ Rallz front.

The next day I headed to lake Song-Kul and I saw it was about 500kms away but I didn’t really do the research that I should of as I thought I would stay somewhere on the way. It turned out 4 of that 500kms was gravel and it went over two 3000m (approx) passes so there were a heap of switchbacks on both sides and it was all in the middle of nowhere so there wasn’t anywhere to stay except pull over and pitch my tent.

I have to admit the gravel was in really good shape and if there were straights you could sit on 85 to 105km/h pretty easy. I pushed really hard in the last couple hours as the sun was getting low in the sky and I had a couple really close calls with my front washing out. That TKC isn’t near as good as the M21 or that Rallz I just had. I was lucky I found gas about 50kms from the lake at the turn-off.

After about 8 plus hours of actual seat time, I had arrived and I was bloody beat. I had visions on the way of pitching my tent by a nice lake waking up in the morning in the warm sun and going for a swim.  Yeah, nah that wasn’t going to happen as when I got to the lake about half an hour before the sunset I realized it sat at 3106m (9895 ft) and it was pretty damn chilly. It was amazingly beautiful though and I came across some yurts so instead of pitching my tent I spent $10US for one that was heated by a coal stove including breakfast and the use of a pit loo.

I was absolutely starving as all I had had that day was part of a shitty Kebab.  I had one packet of noodles so quickly before the sunset I cooked them up but then when they were ready I got up to grab my water heard a crash and saw my chair had blown over with the wind and knocked the pot over with the noodles sprawled all over the ground. Sigh. So off to bed I went about 15 mins later with the sundown and a snickers bar to keep me going until the next morning. That night was full of listening to the sound of horses galloping around and dogs howling. One was right outside my yurt and although I cleaned up the noodles I think he licked the area clean.

The next morning was a fantastic ride up only a little way but down the other side of a pass with again just beautiful views of mountains, fields of horses and some Yaks. I ended up in Bishkek where I am now and planning what I’ll do in the next few days.

I got a couple of litres of gas just before I left that morning and you can see in the photo the guy was siphoning gas out of a barrel and I saw him take a couple of pretty good amounts in his mouth before he got it out. He just spat it out without seeming to worry so much. Um, yeah, my injector loves spit with its gas, ha!

The other photo with the young kids was funny as they basically blocked the road and in a frenzy waving their cell phones, all wanted photos and selfies. I mean, who can blame them, Tess is one sexy looking bike for her age huh.

I did a day trip to the National park just outside of Bishkek with a swiss guy which was pretty disappointing as there were thousands of people and a bit cloudy so you couldn't see the mountains.

On the way back a cow jumped off a little bank in front of him and he turned while putting on his front brakes and crashed. I was so close to nearly hitting him.

Gees he made a few horrible moans and I thought he was really hurt but luckily he was just winded and perhaps he bruised his ribs as after a 20 min sit down and some water he rode his bike the 20 mins back to the hotel.

I didn't want to rush through the beauty of Kyrgyzstan especially having such spectacular riding weather so after a little recoup in Bishkek for a few days and meeting some other riders we headed towards a mostly abandoned town called Ming Kush. Ming Kush was originally a town built around a Uranium mine in the mid 1950s but after the fall of the Soviet Union which forced the closure of the mine the 20,000 inhabitants now number roughly 2000 if that Apparently radiation levels are 10x in some areas of the norm and outside of the town there are four radioactive mill piles and due to the lack of maintenance has led some stream water to trickle over and contaminate the area.

So without filling up our water bottles, we left after a nice mingle with a few locals. One who came out offering us candy and the other from his breath was the town drunk yet I doubt he's the only one in this impoverished place with little else to do. We camped outside of town that night then the next day went back to Song Kul lake via a different route I had previously done and ended up camping along the water's edge of Issyk Kul the 7th largest lake in the world by water volume. (along with millions of bloody mosquitoes) It was a short day today and we ended up in Karakol ready to cross into Kazakhstan tomorrow. It's been great riding with a few others for a change and makes me feel not so guilty for drinking alone when camping. Oh, who am I kidding I never feel guilty for that.

Waking up early and getting away from the mosquitoes we headed to Karakol and stayed at Memos guesthouse. Great place to stay ran by an Italian guy.

That night we had homemade lasagna with red wine and I had the best sleep in a while. The next morning we were ready to go then when I pressed the start button nothing happened. Oh shit. I pressed again nothing. I don't have a key so I didn't leave it on or anything so maybe the battery had just gone bad or the switch.

.I kicked it over and she fired up. I had to kickstart it for the rest of the day. It started fairly easily but it was a tad tricky kicking it over with the bags on.

I learned a few things about Kyrgyzstan before I left.

It has some amazing scenery with majestic mountains and cold lakes, there's a heap of fun gravel roads and if the cops try to wave you over for speeding even if they are standing in the middle of the road once you get past them keep going because they don't bother to follow you.😏

The border crossing back into Kazakhstan went really quickly thankfully and we found a superb camping spot by the water at the start of Charyn canyon.

I started to troubleshoot my starting issue and found a wire had broken on one of the connectors from the start button under the headlight. Pretty easy fix especially because Holger had a heat shrink wire connector (Love those prepared Germans huh).

Still not bad for 1445hrs of vibration to only have that really go wrong besides wheel bearings.

I currently have 110500k on it so since Georgia we've done 8k.

The following day I said my goodbyes to my short-term moto family and headed to Almaty.

I'm back on my own.

I did a day trip to Big Almaty lake which didn't live up to its name but it was nice to get out of the heat, haze and horns of the city.

I found a place to work on my bike ran by a bunch of hardcase Russian guys who I thought were a little nuts yet that's what they said I was when they heard of my journey on my little bike.

After watching them drinking all afternoon I went and grabbed a beer and finished up working on my bike but halfway through it they came over and said... beer no good nowhere and handed me a cup of wine.

How silly of me not to of known I mean it was 6pm so I guess that's wine time.

I ended up staying in the dorm room upstairs from the workshop and today I made a good push of 570k on pretty rough roads towards the Russian border.

My arse is hating me.

Another day of the same tomorrow and the following I should cross back into Russia.

I'm hoping that the border crossing will go smoother than the last one into Russia so wish me luck my friends.

Till next time.

Author of this article: Aaron_Steinmann