Saturday, August 19, 2006


After such a demoralising day as the one before we needed something nice. So I made pancakes. It was a good start. Another good thing was that Nick's rear tire had stayed up all night.

I considered the road to Jalalabad with the sinking feeling that we'd bitten off more than we could chew. The road was terribly bumpy. There would be a lot of climbing to get over it, later we found that there was even more than we'd expected. To cap it off there were no villages or houses on the road until nearly at Jalalabad, so we'd need to do with the little food that we had. As the realisation of the difficulty sunk in it occurred that we wouldn't have enough food. With this thought we set off.

We'd decided that we would attempt to hitchhike a lift if things became too difficult or getting to Jalalabad looked as if it would take too long. In the 2 1/2 hours of riding before lunch "plan A" became "to hitchhike". Straight after finishing lunch a truck came up the road, it was the second vehicle of the day to pass us. We stuck out our thumbs & it stopped. It took us & our bike all the way to Jalalabad.

Our ride was an old Russian open backed truck. We & the bikes went in the back. We had the best view leaning against the cab for the 5 hour trip. Before starting out in the morning we thought that we would have been able to get over the main pass & drop down to the Fergana valley that day. As we watched the road from the back of the truck we realised it certainly would have taken much longer than that. The road was as spectacular as it would have been difficult. Fortunately the truck couldn't go fast over the narrow & windy road.

From where we started hitchhiking it went over 2 low passes of around 2200m before a long climb to one of 3000m that was the divide from the fertile Fergana valley. In the high meadows yurts were scattered with horses, cows & sheep grazing. As we lost the 2000m into Jalalabad the land became more & more settled & cultivated, with big fields of corn, wheat & sunflowers. Near Jalalabad some of sunflower crop was being harvested with the road, now asphalted, was being used as a threshing floor & to dry out the seeds.

We arrived in Jalalabad as it got dark & made our way to a hotel, a relic from Soviet times with an awful bathroom but with a suitably low price. The shower was much appreciated.

I cycled 44 km in 3 hours & 38 minutes
Total so far 9932 km in 145 days

No comments:

Post a Comment