Still going south to get to the Wakhan Valley Road. July 13 Dekh to Khorog 118 km
We were up several times in the night and eventually got up at 730 when the room started to fill with smoke from the fire they had lit outside. This was all topped off by the guy demanding 200 somoni (23 USD) a person for food, the non room, no shower, no hot water, no bathroom, and certainly no wifi. We had all this for 80 (9 USD) in Tavildara and this place should be 50 at most. Dan said you must think I am crazy and paid him 100 a person which he accepted. I hate being ripped off.
We set out at 830 and the road is pot holed and surfaced about 70%. There are a few sections with good pavement that last a km and we were in 5 th gear! We only planned to go 123 km to Khorog today and get a hotel and rest up for the next few days of camping.
It is 56 km to Rushon and as we arrived there Trevor had a front flat. Long story short 3 hours in the heat to get out. The first tube had a tiny hole and the patch was good, but we could not set the bead and it did not seem to hold air. This tube out again and no evidence of anther hole or patch leak. New tube in and still could not set the bead. We have never had this issue before with Dan’s 6 flats using our pump. In the end we put it back on the bike and left and so far so good. The Heidenau are so stiff and this may be the issue.
Another military check point.
We had just 67 km to go to Khorog and arrived about 2. We gassed up with some 95 and then check out the hotels on offer and it is pretty bad. Just out of town is the Pamir lodge frequented by foreigners and we headed there just in time as at 3 pm the town was shutting down and closing the roads to access here for the “Diamond Jubilee”. This is several venues around town open only to residents and there is loudspeakers blaring. They really had guards blocking off the roads. One Swiss couple had to park their car on the back street of the lodge because the guards would not let them drive it 20 meters to the lodge gate. We did walk the 2 km into town and went to the Indian restaurant. Both Orvar and Sara have bad colds and were in bed by 6. The party outside went on until midnight.
July 14 Khorog to across from Pagol Afganistan
We were off to a bit of a late start today and finally got out of town at almost 10. The plan was to get at least 150 km or about 1/3 of the way to Murgab on the Wakhan valley road. The direct route is on the 41 for 317 km, which is a paved road and the second highest road in the world (this is a days ride) . The views on the valley road, which is not surfaced for the most part are said to be much better and the route is about 100 km longer and will take at least 3 days.
We were surprised to find the road mostly surfaced headed out of Khorag. The first 80 km took several hours since we stopped so much for photos and we did have one military check.
People were still celebrating in the villages and one particular group of women was dancing in the street and Sara joined in.
We arrived to Eshkashem/Ishkashim bridge, which is the famed bridge of the afghan market. This is now just an urban legend as there is absolutely no traffic across this bridge and no market on the Afghan side.
About 1230 we came upon a “hotel/spa” and restaurant for lunch. Just after we left the lunch spot we hit some more ripio and Dan’s 800 cut out. It restarted and then cut out again. It ran fine in Neutral. Hmmm we hoped it was the battery connection and luckily for us it was. The negative had been shaken loose with the very rough roads of the last few days.
The road from here was still mostly surface with patches of gravel until about the 150 km mark.
Our tax dollars at work!
After the 150 km mark there were long stretches of deeper gravel and one particularly deep sand section that claimed Trevor and Sara.
Finally at about 4 we came across a home stay with a walled yard that was across the river from Pagol Afganistan. We could camp here with breakfast for 5$. The toilet in a long drop, but odour free. The “douche” was awesome. They have a huge metal barrel filled with water on a electric burner device and it was glorious. You stood in the tub and poured clean hot water over yourself! The tents and gear set up done it was time to cook our pasta and sauce with mars bars for dessert. The camp is at 3000 m, which is a bit high for us as we were at 2500 m last night and with the head colds Sara and Orvar did suffer. We are glad to be inside the walls as the evening thermal wind is brisk and gusting.