When we woke up in Andijan, it looked like a cold winter day. It took a moment until we realized it was side effect of the hotel’s efforts to keep out the heat.
After breakfast we went to the Uzbek-Kyrgyz border. After about three hours the declaring and signing and waiting had an end and we were free to go. We took our KTMs straight to MuzToo, a Swiss workshop and motorcycle travel company in Osh. Here we got new tires. Yes, again. The Pirelli Scorpion Trail 2 are perfect if you want to go fast on good roads – but that’s exactly what is not ahead of us. From all we know the conditions on Pamir highway vary between okay and very bad, so we need tires that perform well off-road.
The Shinko E804 (front) and E805 (back) do just that. One look shows why. It’s the knobs.
MuzToo not only repair bikes, organise trips and sell tires: they also own Kyrgystan’s meanest machine. A stripped down Yamaha with a Jawa tank. Nice.
After tire change No. 2 (of the trip) we had a look at Osh, Kyrgystan’s 2nd biggest city. And we also peeked at the tires from time to time. They make the bike look so much better.
Osh has quite a few Soviet relics – a foretaste of our time in Russia.
And Osh also confronted us with a natural phenomenon that we had not seen for a while: rain. Since our time in Montenegro we had not seen one drop. Here it came with thunder and lightning. It probably won’t take 8 weeks again until the next gush but we’ll see.
We seized the time in Osh to stock up on supplies, do some research and planning. And we decided on a route. We’ll go clockwise.
The advantage: We don’t have to go back all the way through the Ferghana Valley. And we don’t have to cross the Uzbek border again immediately. The flipside: Clockwise the altitude rises faster than the other way round. The highest point of the highway is the Ak-Baital pass at 4655 meters – and we’ll be there soon. Fingers crossed we can avoid altitude sickness.
It's one of these "This is really happening!" moments again. We'll ride the Pamir highway. And this is the road that will lead us there.
We'll start with a left turn and take it from there. Pamir is a lonely region, so chances are high that you don't hear from us for a while. It probably means we're having fun.