Image A few days ago this Uzbek woman noticed me taking a break outside her house. Out of spontaneous generosity,  she ran outside and gave me a huge loaf of bread piled with goodies like nuts, raisins, and dried apricots. This is  characteristic of my treatment in Uzbekistan,  and in this country neighbors generously give food away even if is not  a special occasion. 

 

Happy Halloween!

I have had many more adventures and many more stories to tell. But unfortunately the internet speeds do not match my enthusiasm. I have been taking many pictures and videos, but simply cannot upload them due to the glacial internet speeds. As my adventures become greater, my internet access becomes more elusive. For the next two months I will have even less internet in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

I have many reflections and observations that extend beyond documenting where I travel to. But for the moment I will do a quick recap and more fully document my experiences later on.

  • From Naryn I went to the ancient silk road fortress Tash Rabat.
  • Tash Rabat was beautiful. I followed the ancient silk road route and traversed the pass to a lake called Chatyr Kol, the last lake before China. One of my fravorite places so far.
  • From Tash Rabat I went to the high altitude lake Song Kul.
  • I experienced unparalleled hospitality from two families along the way.
  • I met up mith three other cyclists. They were from Spain, Belgium, and Germany. Two had cycled from Europe, the other from Mongolia. We got along great and travelled together for a week through the interior of Kyrgyzstan into the Ferghana Valley.
  • I have spent a week in Osh, Kyrgyzstan and made friends of all sorts. I have played computer games until 1am with my friends in the internet cafe, been treated to high class dinners with Kyrgyz businessmen, and watched mountain bike movies with what appears to be the only mountain biker in the city of Osh.
  • Now I will head into the next frontier…the Pamirs of Tajikistan. I was not origionally going to cycle the Pamir Highway, but every cyclist I have talked to says it has been the highlight of their travels. Others that have not toured it have told me it is their lifelong dream. With my bicycle and gear they tell me it is inexcusable to miss this route. So I head to the roof of the world.

Some fascinating videos on the region:

Ulanabek's perfect family, brimming with hospitality.

Ulanabek’s perfect family, brimming with hospitality.

I was taken in so graciously and offered endless amounts of food and tea.
I was taken in so graciously and offered endless amounts of food and tea.

A natural on the bike. She would love to do loops around the yard.
A natural on the bike. She would love to do loops around the yard.

The neighbor was quick to guide me to the trail.
The neighbor was quick to guide me to the trail.

Crossing into Chatyr Kol
Crossing into Chatyr Kol on a steed of my own.

An extreme biker in the making.

An extreme biker in the making.

A cyclist's dream.

A cyclist’s dream.

The legendary Tash Rabat.  Where's Waldo?

The legendary Tash Rabat. Where’s Waldo?

Mudslide wins.

Mudslide wins.

Just a giant mudpuddle.
Just a giant mudpuddle.

Los Aventureros
Los Aventureros

Following the rocky road.

Following the rocky road.

 

 

 

Naryn

Situated in remote mountain territory in central Kyrgyzstan, the dusty town of Naryn is the main city for days in any direction. It reminds me of a frontier city in the wild west.

The mountains surrounding Naryn were picture perfect for mountain biking…and had never been ridden before. I enjoyed an amazing ride up the mountains and a phenomenal descent down rolling hills without seeing a soul.

A Swedish organization has created a network of home stays throughout the country called Community Based Tourism (CBT). This provides the locals some economic development while giving the tourists a reliable place to stay. Sometimes you stay with the family, sometimes you stay in an apartment owned by locals exclusively for tourists. I stayed in a Community Based Tourism-affiliated apartment that boasted complete first world amenities. It had well built construction, nice furniture, and even a washing machine. It was one of the nicest places I’ve stayed in. It reassures me that with the right money and savviness, one can live in first world comfort anywhere in the world…even in the middle of the Kyrgyz mountains. No need to worry about giving up a nice house if one contemplates living outside of the United States.

A 3 year old on a donkey like it was nothing.

A 3 year old on a donkey like it was nothing.

Truckloads of watermelons are a common sight in Kyrgyzstan.

Truckloads of watermelons are a common sight in Kyrgyzstan.

 

 

A deteriorating soviet park in the center of Naryn.

A deteriorating soviet park in the center of Naryn.

What took 4 hours to climb took only 30 minutes to descend.

What took 4 hours to climb took only 30 minutes to descend.

 

These mountains were begging to be ridden...so I obliged.

These mountains were begging to be ridden…so I obliged.

 

 

 

Grannies & Vodka

These grannies are cleverly hiding a bottle of vodka from the camera. They were taking shots until they finised a complete bottle of vodka while I was eating lunch. They go hard.

On Your Own

Doing some routine maintenence. If you don’t have the right tools, or a severe problem…you’re on your own.

I rode through the desert to Orto-Tokoy Reservoir. I stopped for a shower, lunch, and tooth brushing at Ak-Olong, a small town in the desert that sits near a stream. I used the canal as my freshening up before I continued through the desert. While I was there a curious group of kids hung out up the road to get a glimpse of me. Then they walked right by me and shook my hand, and then continued to hang out for another hour down the road. I presented was such a curiosity to these children in a town in the middle of the desert.

Sudden Appeareance from Rocky Blanco on Vimeo.

The next morning I headed out of the palace and rode for an hour until I found a deserted stretch on the lake. I camped a few meters from the lake in a wonderfully secluded area. I finally got away from the civilization.

The sandy road to reach the lake. Not a soul in sight.

Pristine waterfront camping.

Pristine waterfront camping.