Day 63 – 67 Pamir Highway… Take 1….

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Days Km: 423  Total Km: 11002

Dushanbe, Tajikistan to M41, Tajikistan - Google Maps

So whilst I acquainted myself with Dushanbe’s plumbing system, and more specifically the green house hostels plumbing system, Bruce set to a bit of exploring. And in typical Bruce fashion managed to have both a steak and a burger. Which of course he fondly proceeded to tell me about upon returning. Great mate… Most importantly he found us an Englishman and an Irishman, aptly named the Mudd Life Crisis boys. Soon to be our travelling companions for the beginning of the Pamir..

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That flag pole in the distance is probably Dushanbes most exciting feature being a wopping 165m tall and only costing a cheeky 3.5m $

On a side note Green house hostel is a lovely place if you ever find yourself in Tajikistan, bustling with bikers, backpackers and cyclists either heading off or filled with wild tales of the Pamir.

Pamir day 1

And so at 10am sharp 2 ktm 690 enduros and 2 bmw f800 Gs’s headed off into the Pamir highway.. Then there were four.

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The bikes have new friends…

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And so do we..

It was our first full day of off-road as we trailed the river slowly into the mountains. Following our more experienced compatriots was great for pushing our limits and challenging ourselves and we came on in leaps and bounds with regards to riding the sharp gravel hairpins and treacherous ‘boulders’, that now looking back, look a tiny..

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It was a hard but invigorating day for both us and I think we were both rather relieved to come upon a spectacular rolling grassy verge next to the river to make camp that night. So we set to setting camp, Bruce with a fair bit of grumbling about the inadequacies of his tent which to be fair is rather inferior to a good South African Kway. However probably the most important lesson the boys taught us that day, and one we really should have known, is always have beer. From out of nowhere Piers produced 4 beers, which when placed in the icy cold river for a bit became the perfect reward for a hard days riding.

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All that was left to do then was relax around a lovely little campfire, trade stories whilst sipping on some fiery peach vodka inherited from some truckers on the ferry and admire the stars. Oh and in Steve’s case, chase away some overly friendly cows that had taken a great interest in his tent.

Day 2

Now being woken to the sun on the face and the gentle rustle of cows passing by is great. Unless its 5 in the morning, in which case the sun becomes piercing and the cows become demons. Anyway at least it meant a relaxed morning to catch a tan and read a couple of pages overlooking the river.

First thing on the days riding agenda was a phenomenal mountain pass. Wild flowers, and rolling green banks slowly led up to the pass winding through snow-capped peaks at a rather specific 3252.8m above sea level according to the sign. The descent down was even more dramatic. The road twisting and turning before us through stunning gorges, hiding and then revealing spectacular views.. All days should be started with I good mountain pass I think.

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That .8 makes all the difference..

From there we hit the Afghanistan border. A surging river that has cut its way through sheer cliffs creates a rather good barrier I’d say… It didn’t stop us waving to the odd Afghan as they made their way along the road their side of the river that made our potholed sandpit of a road look like the M5/N1/Pacific Highway depending on your preference..  It was great winding along the river and we made good time despite the multitudes of army checkpoints..

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Behind us lies Afghanistan..

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Bruce contemplating a swim to Afghanistan.

It was all going rather smoothly until surprise surprise… En route to our campsite for the night we got a flat, Bruce’s front wheel decided it didn’t want to camp next to the river and in fact the side of the road was a much nicer location.. And so the seasoned pit crew, that’s us by the way, got to work fixing the bugger in no time.

Not to do anything in half measure my mate Bruce however. No sooner than we’d patched his front than the rear started to deflate… So ‘slightly’ dispirited we limped into camp through what in any other situation would have been a rather a picturesque village. With Bruce going a whopping 10kms an hour nursing his rear wheel into camp I found myself with a heap of time to hop off the bike and chat with the kids, take some photos and even tow some kids in their play car for a bit knowing it would take all of 3 seconds to catch up to my rather downtrodden companion crawling up the road.

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Me and my new mates commiserating Bruce’s flat..

We finally made it to the campsite the boys had chosen for the night and I must say they once again out did themselves, the photos pretty much took themselves it was so gorgeous. It wasn’t long however before it was turned into a mechanics shop.. with 3 bikes being worked on all in various states of dismantlement.

You can’t say we aren’t fast learners and with the repairs on all the bikes successfully completed out came the beer, and I must say we outdid ourselves here, even a tipple of vino… From there it was heads straight onto pillows and out for the count, looking forward to another great day of riding tomorrow.

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Not a bad view..

Day 3

Today was tough!

words escape me, this is about all I can manage..

Puncture…

Patch…

200m…

Tear…

Dehydration…

Patch…

600m…

Glorious stream…

Puncture…

Local ‘Master mechanic’  patch with super glue??..

1000m…

Patch blows…

Cut one tube to patch the other..

Coffee!!…

1800m…

Puncture…

Amazing trucky whips out his puncture repair kit…

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Legend.

A good 6000m…!

Leak…

Limp back to start point…

pass out…

Day 4

And so there we were, thumbs outstretched on the side of the road whilst the bikes both hung precariously from some trees with wheels missing. We’d decided to cut our losses, give up on patching un-patchable tubes and hitch a ride back to Dushanbe where we hope to source some tubes of close enough size to work…Of the 12 hour share taxi back there are only really 2 things to note, the really lovely locals we were crammed in with and the fact that it too got a flat?!?!..

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Sorry state of affairs..

2 thoughts on “Day 63 – 67 Pamir Highway… Take 1….

  1. Hi Brad

    With Maxine’s assistance I am closely following your fascinating journey.

    You are creating knowledge and memories that will live forever.

    Good work. Love,

    Dad

    Like

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