Stepping back to mid 70's Russia
So with time not on our side, we knew we had to get moving onwards to see Kyrgyzstan as well! A short 2 hour ride to the border and we only a 30 minute hassle of paperwork, out we popped into another new country. And this one had surprises lined up! First of which is the infamous Stop sign, positioned along a road with no junctions, but just there to catch the unweary. If you do not stop, the local police chase you for not observing the laws and (of course) attempt to get donations to their nightly family dinner :)
|The KP post had TV cameras pointed in ALL directions!|
We did that, made our way to Bishkek and checked into Southside B&B. Owned by Ryan Hornung, a bike fanatic who runs Ironhorse rentals, it is a neatly set up B&B that instantly made us feel at home. It helped that Ryan ran guided tours across the country as well, so easy sharing of biking routes!
With pointers from friends and locals, our ride took us to Issyk Kul lake, a must-see that EVERY Kyrgyz on the street asked us about...
|Graeme & Katrina Perkins from Australia|
|Southside B&B in Bishkek|
|1970's kitchen still working well!|
|Dinner : Peppers stuffed with rice & meat! (forgot the proper name for it!)|
From there, we had to seek out a Kyrgyz Yurt to spend at least 1 night. We picked the Yurts on Song Kul Lake, located on a mountain plateau sited at 3000m elevation. This was like sleeping on an enchanted land, with the flat grass plains rolling away into the distance!
|Even the locals had their wheels :)|
After a night at 10 degrees C in felt tent, we agreed we could move onwards toward the South areas of Kyrgyzstan. Next stop is in Kochkor, with a unique B&B that is homely & warm.
|Looks raw on the outside, perfectly finished on the inside.|
A street away from the B&B was a little supermarket with a good selection of essential drinks for any Russian family :)
From Kochkor, the route toward Toktogul; the major roads quickly degraded onto unsealed roads that were simply peppered with potholes and ditches. Add in the perpetual rain at 15 degrees C and we were very miserable.
With rain for the whole day, our boots and clothes progressively got wetter inside, the bikes getting muddier as well... Then the NC750X blew it's rear shock again... so we had to limp a flailing bike toward Suusamyr.
With the sun fast setting, we made a last minute decision to find a rest stop for the night, instead of pushing on to the earlier booked guesthouse. At every major crossroad, things happen : this is the law of life.
And so, when you see this monument, look around! You will see lots of highway rest stops in the shape of Yurts and other houses.
So we chanced across this solitary building, that had a woman sitting at the window & gazing at the passing cars. Turns out it was a newly opened guesthouse with rooms for rent! so we spent the night in an unheated room but clean & safe!
|Highway stop : notice Seung & the pair of covered bikes on right of building|
Next morning, we inspected the NC more closely and it's certain we had lost all of the damping oil from the rear shock. No choice, head back toward Bishkek. We aimed for Interhouse Bishkek. We met a lovely Japanese couple, Yoshi & Asuka. Four Asians on four Hondas, we hit it off real well as they both spoke great English.
They are on their Round-The-World trip and have been winding their way across Europe and last seen chugging along around in Chile. All the best & god-speed, my friends.
With a now damaged rear shock, the last sector of ride would be back to Almaty, where a shipper was already organised to bring the bikes back to Singapore. For us, it would be flights to Singapore via Bangkok.
Interhouse Almaty was the last stop in Central Asia and the hospitality surpassed all other establishments on this trip... Just look at the standard breakfast they served!
|Yes, the guesthouse and the happy owner|
So here we are : after our 15,000km ride across 2 months, we had one final lunch session with Aigul & Karla, to share with them the sights that we came across in Kyrgyzstan... They in turn surprised us with some parting gifts too!
What will the next adventure bring? Who knows? But most importantly, road trips are a great reminder to keep an open mind, accept each day as it comes along.