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6/12-16/23, desert section in Kazakhstan to Nukus in Uzbekistan

We leave the diary form and combine a few desert days, because you know how we set up the tent, clear it up again and brush our teeth.

The goal of the first day of this group blog is to put a new national flag sticker on our bike frames. We do everything we can to reach the border from Kazakhstan to Uzbekistan on this day, which we finally manage to do after 10 hard hours in the saddle. The border crossing was special and even a bit spectacular for such a barren area. What can I say, on both sides we meet very nice and helpful officials. After all, a certain understanding is needed when two weary scarecrows suddenly appear and can neither understand a single word nor read their writing. So we were 'pushed' from one counter to the next and finally had a total of seven passport controls over a distance of 100 meters. Even our bags were x-rayed like at the airport. Luckily nobody noticed that we didn't dismantle the handlebar bag and flooded it with the forbidden satellite phone. We were clearly seen as exotic and attracted attention. Seeing someone here with a bicycle should be a rarity. Everyone was whispering about us. A young mother with a child wished for a photo with us, but a man in uniform with an AK47 slung over his shoulder immediately stepped in - taking photos on the entire site is strictly forbidden!

A few kilometers after the border there was another place to eat and there we were even able to talk to someone again without hands, feet and the help of Google Translate. Three Germans with their monstrous BMW touring machines take a break on the way to the Pamir Highway in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, which is also on Dad's plan and should probably be the heart of the whole tour.

We've got about a thousand kilometers of desert behind us. It's around 10 hours in the saddle every day, because you can't do anything else without shade and we want to leave this section behind us as quickly as possible, so depending on the conditions we always manage 100 to 130 kilometers a day. For example, we only reached Nukus after a 16-hour day around midnight - although we cheated a bit that day because a trucker saw it as his duty to revive us in his air-conditioned driver's cab. In any case, as I said, we stayed until late at night because we once again had a fixed hotel here and it was booked through Booking as a precaution. Incidentally, cycling at night is very pleasant, at least in relation to the wind and, above all, the temperature. But it's amazing what a body can endure. We thought before that with 7-hour days that the limit had been reached, but that's not the case. The head is the boss and decides whether there are still 10 kilometers to go or not, and 10 kilometers is always possible! But we think it's really cool that our route planner 'Komoot' recommends our day tours as '2-3 day tours'. We can both say that these were by far our hardest bike kilometers 'ever' - and there are still 1100 kilometers in the desert ahead of us. Nukus is located on a green island in the middle

this never-ending desert of sand and dirt. Although we were able to make out differences from the first desert section in Kazakhstan to the desert in Uzbekistan. For example, in Uzbekistan we no longer see camels, although we have the impression that there are a little more plants here than before. Often we even see bushes up to 100 cm high, which did not exist before. However, the most obvious and noticeable change is the quality of the road. Immediately after crossing the border, we leave an almost perfect surface and are literally shaken up from now on. The road in Uzbekistan to Nukus is a disaster and actually consists more of holes than of area. Because of the potholes, the trucks don’t drive much faster than we do with our heavy gravels, so they often only pass us at just 25 km/h. The framework conditions have now even deteriorated. Wind and temperature are identical and when the wind drops a bit, the 40 degrees Celsius are even more bearable. Whether with wind or less, it is and remains a fight in this desert! As already described several times, there is often not a single possibility to buy food for 60-100 kilometers. You should see us when we arrive at such a shed or gas station - like little children at Christmas in front of the Christmas tree, we stand in front of the fridge, beam at each other and look forward to a chilled drink. And these gas stations cannot be compared to the Shell, Coop or Migrolino gas stations around the corner from us (and often every 100 metres). It's usually just chips, water, and a few other drinks. The prices are awesome. It can be assumed that, like here on the ski slopes, it will also be more expensive in the desert, where everything has to be carted there. But that's not the case. An example; 2000 SOM may sound like a lot, but half a liter of water from the fridge only costs 15 centimes on the A... of the world!

We saw a film once during the preparations by a guy who cycled from Germany to Spain. It was a 90 minute whining. At that time we decided to report about what we were experiencing and feeling, but not to lament about our bruises, injuries, other problems and ailments. After all, we drive of our own free will and nobody forced us to do so. But maybe you are interested in what symptoms we have here resp. what the desert does to a cyclist:

The mouth dries out very quickly, the throat is sore, swallowing is difficult and the lips are dry and yet they stick together, the wind and dust hurt our eyes (we both look like the biggest potheads), the soles of our feet burn (small commercial; if you are not quite 100 and are planning a bike tour through the desert, then definitely pack a SatisFeet Fresh, it keeps your feet nice and fresh for several hours - it just has to be there 🙄) and - at least in Uzbekistan - the 'Wiener Schnitzel' syndrome. Every time a car or truck drives by, about 2-3 times an hour, we are briefly breaded in the heat. The dust and dirt sticks to the whole body and clothes and the hair can be perfectly shaped without any styling products..

Conclusion of the last 10 desert days:

Challenging. The highlight of the day is always the evening. We enjoy the campfire atmosphere, the delicious pasta, the fantastic sunsets and the beautiful starry sky without the influence of extraneous light.

Once the charcoal pills have taken effect on Nicolas and his upset stomach is under control, we'll continue. The next time Internet and a roof over your head should be in Buxoro, so we will most likely get back to you in 6 days. Gueti Zyt, Dad & Son 🙋🏼‍♂️🙋🏼‍♂️


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