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Korea, Russia, Stans To East Europe (page 65)

Murgab To Khorog

The weather held out and a mid night grundie run to the outside toilet although fookin freezing was welcoming to see the stars.

Suiting up and layering up we hit it with around 200 km to do at around 4000 metres, it was cold, bitterly cold with a grunty headwind reducing poor ol 45down to 40-50km/hr at times.

Everywhere you stop the scenery is pretty bloody cool, the road however is a real shocker with asphalt, bomb holes, severely corrugated gravel and all sorts, it is in fact much quicker to ride a straight out gravel road.

Lion asking to be cuddled
Expanse of good asphalt

A super green lake caught my attention, it was looking quite outstanding and in total contrast to its surroundings, again a random thing in the middle of nowhere.

Stunning colours to go

As we started to drop in elevation we started to rise in temperature which was a welcome after being quite chilly for a few days. A small bridge with massive rocks was also on the list of amusement so a stop and observe was in order, pretty cool I have to say.

See the size of the rock v the bridge
Felix coming across

With the weather still trying to soak us we made a sneaky wee exit through the middle with only a few spots on the window, we were lucky as it seemed to be crapping out all around us.

Back to Khorog which has been our central location for getting stuff sorted and food supplies etc we went to a new place and met some cyclist etc as all the moto riders etc seem to have gone, seems the cyclist are the hard buggas.

Next up is the reasonably unknown Vanch Valley, with no entries in any of the travel sites this mysterious wee valley has my interest, mission is to get to the head of the glacier....lets see!! 

The weather chasing us down, didn't seem to matter which direction it was always there LOL

Khorog To Vanch Valley

Leaving Khorog for the final time was ...yeah Ok, felt like a local here.

The final swing past the famous MAC Dolands … yes it is true.

MAC Dolands!

They also had a KFC Chicken …but I forgot to get the photo, will just have to go back, however so you do NOT miss out here is one courtesy of the net.

Khorog Fried Chicken 

Khorog Fried Chicken

The tarseal blast was one we had done a coupla time to make ends met (road ends) so no pics as you have seen it.

Vanch Valley, goggle that, not a lot comes up, nothing on Ioverlander so yeah gotta look up there, the Glacier caught my attention and the goal was set.

Getting to the valley was easy and the trip along the river/road bordering Afganistan and Tajikistan was nice.

Up the valley stopping at a small supermarket we drew a lot of attention, all good though but it was more than usual.

Village after village we made our way about 70 km up the valley waving to EVERYONE and screaming kids that came running out to greet us and the occasional dog which got “Sidied”

I am not sure how many children's hands we broke giving low fives on the way up but yeah they were keen as to get a bit of the action which is cool.

Setting up out tent we had a visit from three young fellos, 1 talked too much, the other 2 were very nice, they said we could not camp there as it was dangerous with wolves.

We didn’t buy into their story but they said come back and stay, a room, dinner and breakfast, we asked again and again how much and they said “no money…no money” so we could not work out why they were so keen for us NOT to camp, we decided to pack down the tents and follow them back to the village.

Not knowing if we had just been taken for a ride or if they were genuine it was “what they hell tis is an adventure”.

Ok, genuine, that is all there was too it, we decided to have our dinner as a starter or Felix was gonna kill someone, turned out to be a bloody good decision as dinner was to be 2 hours later.

In the valley at this town was an English teacher who came to the rescue, he could speak great English but could not understand Kiwi so Felix did all the talking and I understood all of then, we Kiwis really need ta sort the rest of the world out on the English front eh.

So we sat around a low table and chatted, the English teacher told the dude who talked too much to take a hike, the nice guy remained and he waited downstairs, I went out and down and invited him in much to his amazement (we are in his house??) so I had to be forceful and say please join us as our guest, he was shy, not many foreigners come up here and this became very apparent.  

Insisting he joined us his eyes lit up like he had just seen a decent set of boobs for the first time, for me it was awesome seeing this as I knew he felt like a king...and we were in his castle.

The conversation was great, the food was Turkey with soup and bread and was worth waiting for. The school teacher informing us wolves were in the area but the bigger problem was the Himalayan bears which are at this point in the year laying their hands on anything edible for their winter stock and hibernation.

That would mean of course our food, maybe some Kiwi and some fresh German meat would be on the menu and this time of year they are more aggressive as food gets more sparse.

Recognizing we were tired it was lights out at around 9.00pm and they left us too it, our bedding and sheets weighed about 5 kg each (not kidding) so we were comfy trapped under the mass.

During the night mum nature had a hissy and it blew like hell, the door to our room had no latch or anything so it slammed back and forth, 2 windows submitted to the wind too and blew open, I quickly shut them before we added the weight of the glass to our beds.

I am not sure why but in all the excitement I forgot totally to bring the camera out and I think coupled with tired I will hide behind that excuse. 

Author of this article: Twomotokiwis