IRKESHTAM TO SARY TASH

06/06/12 - 4km mark was a passport checkpoint. 5km mark another passport checkpoint. 7km mark was the kyrgyzstan border post where I got my entry stamp no problems. There was no fixed date on this visa just a 30 day limit. People here had turned old soviet era carriages and machines into shops/residences. Was hailed into one by a local woman and her friends - beers in hands - was treated to a bottle of coke and walnuts and given another bottle to take with me. Couldn't really find a place to sleep here so decided to push on. 1945, 11km mark reached the nice little village of Nura (housing commision style clad houses with blue metal roofs) An enterprising young girl invites me into her home (mothers not home, dads a truckie and is on the road) Unpacked, put bike in their store and bathed in a bucket. Mum arrived home and served up some apricot jam, bread, yogurt and tea. Prepared a hot meal later. Very cold outside, brief shower alt 2920m. Unfortunately my Tjikistan visa had a fixed entry date of June 15th so had plenty of time to get there - decided to stay 2 night here in comfort after days of camping.

07/06/12 - Rest Day at Nura, wander around and explore village. Visit hilltop school with views over village and surrounding mountains. Very quiet village with old russian cars rusting away. A local took me up on horseback to some great views of snow capped mountains and green grazing fields for cattle. Paid 500som/night including all meals.

08/06/12 - On the road 1100, start alt 2920m, climb up to around 3000m, the road hovering around this mark, 11km mark passport check then long climb up to 3775m, temparature dropping to 7C reached to at 1515 at 31km mark.Then came a long descent down to 3210m at 59km mark 1615, temparature back up to 14C. On/off brief showers, reached Sary Tash 1700. Setup camp near servo in town, behind house under construction. Cook, showers, bed 2000, 10C, no wind.


09/06/12 - Rest Day at Sary Tash, wander around town, brief snow shower.


10/06/12 - Rest Day at Sary Tash, wander around town, 1630 invited in by Sayet for lunch and to stay at his place for the remainder of my stay at Sary Tash. Worked out well as I was running out of things to do here. 2-3 days here is enough. Went back to camp to pack up and went back to his place at 1800. Helped fix an old russian truck that his dad and an electrician friend were working on. Unfortunately my Tajikistan visa has an entry date of June 15 so have to stay put as I'm only a couple of days ride away.


11/06/12 - Rest day at Sary Tash, help fix truck. They had purchased some metal sheeting to replace the ageing asbestos roof sheets so I offered my labour in exchange for their hospitality - as they were offering me accomodation and meals.


12/06/12 - Rest Day at Sary Tash, continue helping sayet and his dad fix the roof. Sayets' dad is a doctor. Not too sure what happened to their mother - seemed to be a sensitive topic so didn't ask too many questions. His younger sister had assumed the role of housewife - preparing meals and doing household chores.


13/06/12 - Rest day at Sary tash, contunue fixing roof. A local housewife was helping sayets sister bake fresh bread in the external fireplace. They use dry manure instead of firewood - very efficient. All the neighbours are busy digging up manure in their stables and moving it out to their lawns in small clumps to dry in the sun (in preperation for cooking and heating over the winter months as well) Had some great warm fresh bread, creamy home made butter, tomato and cucumber salad - was heaven. Was really struggling today - huffing and puffing due to the high altitude - 3160m


14/06/12 - Rest day at Sary tash, we had finished fixing the roof yesterday - well almost, we were a couple of metres short of metal sheeting - sayets older brother was going to pick some more up in Osh tomorrow so they would finish it themselves. Was amazing to see these guys work with minimun tools. We didn't even have a tape measure - just bits of string tied together, and we weren't more than a couple of centimetres out in the orientation or grade of the roof! Sayet was cutting the asbestos with a grinder, I stayed well away. I offered my scarf and sunglasses for protection but he refused, even though he was aware of the dangers to his health. By the end of the day he wasn't feeling too great. Most households have these rooves with the more well off people upgrading to metal sheeting. We rode out to his local gaeloo (a small collection of buildings) where his family had sheep and cows that were looked after by local farmers during spring and summer because of the greener grass up here on the mountainous plains. I sampled horse milk - which was like sour beer - they let the milk sit for 2 days and it becomes slightly alcoholic, about 2%. 6 horses produce about 2 buckets of milk/day. We also visited some locals in yurts and sampled tea with butter & sugar & butter made with sheeps milk. We went on horseback up to large open green meadow on mountainside to see sayets cows. Sampled some bush tucker - spring onion & mountain apple (celery like stalk & a little sour) We stoppped & bought 2 bottles of horse milk to take home for his dad and got home late afternooon after traversing some rough tracks through the fields. Cleaned & checked bike over for tomorrows ride starting on the Pamir Hwy.

Follow Us on Twitter