FINALLY!!! One of the only days in the past 6 months that I HAD to be somewhere specific on a certain day. The China/Krgyz border on August 27, and I made it! It was like a huge weight lifted off my shoulders getting to that border. I always had thoughts in the back of my head like “what if my bike breaks down?” or “what if I get stranded at some border and can’t make that day?” I was one of the biggest expenses of the trip paying for the guide through China and I didn’t want that to go to waste. Not to mention, it would take months to reorganize another trip.

I joined up with 5 other riders from around the world. Frank and Petra from Germany, Mike and Aad from Australia/Holland and Chris from the U.K. After making the entire trip solo up to this point I had my reservations about having to ride with other people for a week. Fortunately, we all got along great and really enjoyed the trip through China. We even got along enough that we all decided to stay together through Pakistan.

The one thing I will always remember about getting into China is being able to get good food again. Central Asia has a lot of boiled meat and potatoes with zero spices and after a couple of months of that it becomes pretty sickening. The first meal in China was like an explosion of flavor, I almost forgot what it was like to have spicy food. It’s amazing what good food does for you mentally too. I know my mood changed drastically when I finally started looking forward to eating and going to restaurants again.

I enjoyed all of the places we visited here but it kind of sucked having a guide the whole time. It would have been nice to spend a few more days in Kashgar and take some more time going through the mountains in the south. But with a guide, our hands were tied and we had to stay on schedule.


Hot Springs and Relaxation(kind of) in Kyrgyzstan

Although Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan or only separated by a border fence, it seems like they are two completely different worlds. One of the first things you will notice is the conditions of the road. They are 100 times nicer once you cross the border! It’s so much more enjoyable being on a consistently good road because it gives me the opportunity to look and enjoy more things as I drive. And maybe that’s one of the reasons I didn’t enjoy Tajikistan all that much, because that was hard! That was ruged, it seemed like it was so much more of a struggle to get gas, find food and water and find a place to stay. Kyrgyzstan I rolled up to the first town, they had plenty of little markets, gas stations and places to stay. Not to mention the scenery changed as well. It’s much greener with rolling hills and beautiful snowcapped peaks in the distance.
The stops in Kyrgyzstan were Osh, Bishkek, Lake Izzy Kul, and some hot springs called Altyn Arashan. The road to the hot spring was only about 12km(7.5mi) but it took me almost 3 hours to make it up! Reading about the ride up there it was described as one of the most un-drivable roads in the world. I thought “how hard can this be? I’ve already been on some crazy roads”. I was wrong, really wrong. It was mentally and physically demanding because of the massive boulders and sheer drop-offs into the river below. Once I arrived, I stayed for 5 days because I wasn’t ready to go back down that road! It was totally worth it though. They had covered huts with hot springs but they also had pools built into the sides of cliffs where you could soak in the pools and the sun all afternoon. The food was great and it was fun hanging out at the camp as everyday anywhere from 5 to 20 trekkers would pass through on their way out of the mountains. You hear some crazy stories just being there.
Osh and Bishkek were nice places to visit and they do have a lot of historical sites around the cities but I’m glad I spent most of my time near Lake Izzy Kul.