Trip Start Aug 07, 2009
54Trip End Ongoing
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I'm up early and spend an hour or so on the bike. Tightening anything I can see although that is not much with the covering of mud the bike has acquired. The topbox frame needs constant attention with two bolts sheared now. I say goodbye to my hosts and the other travellers and head south towards Murgab. The road by Lake Karakol is as straight as a die and good and the scenery stunning. This is why I came. It is cold, bitterly cold, but dry, so the climb over Akbaytal Pass (4655m) is problem free. I've noticed since yesterday that at this altitude I need to conserve my energy and take things easy. No, it's not old age! I hear it takes between a week and a fortnight to acclimatise to the altitude. I don't want to have to pick the bike up too many times. I pass through a succession of high desert valleys. There are rivers with frozen edges and some sparse grazing but it is predominantly sand and scrub
I get to Murgab, a dry low slung dusty town spread along a river at about 12.00 and sort myself out with money, the bank seems to be staffed by incredibly young men in jeans, Tshirts, trainers; a bed, you definitely need offroad tyres to get to a lot of the accommodation and fuel. No, there is no filling station in Murgab. You ask around. Every time I do ask I am vaguely waved in a particular direction. After a few false starts and a tour of Murgab I am introduced to an old man who starts shouting at me when I ask the price and the octane rating. What a fool he must be thinking. There is only one octane rating. He storms back into his house. Some children come to my rescue and I am sold someone's entire supply of 80 octane petrol. I wonder how the bike's engine management system is going to manage at 4000+m?
And I remember to register! Though how they will know at the border is beyond me when registering at the OVIR office consists of writing my details in a jotter? No stamp, no piece of paper. Just my name in a book! Will this be enough to avoid a $100 fine when I leave Tajikstan?