Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Hi from Craig and Sharon.

We are currently getting the Stories from the Seat website up to date.

Please enjoy photos of our whole trip which can be found at

The remaining blogs concerning our journey from Kyrgyzstan, through  Kazakhstan, Russia, Mongolia, Russia including Siberia, South Korea, Canada and the USA, will be added gradually over the next couple of weeks.

A shout out to Michaella Dunker and her team of the new magazine, Postioned for Purpose, celebrating its first edition tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Blog updates.

Okay yes, the blog is really behind! I plan to bring it up to date in the next couple of weeks! Just a quick update though.

-The bike broke down a couple of times in Kaz and Russia, the last one being pretty major. Which lead me to leave it there as the cost of transport and repairs meant I was better off buying a new one.
-We decided to go to North America rather than SE Asia.
-We are currently in Canada and have a new bike!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


IMG_2086 IMG_2076 IMG_2092 IMG_1609On our way to Bishkek we once again found beautiful scenery. We came across another couple pushbike riding (cycling), first Christelle (French) and then Dave (Belgium). They were about ready to stop for the night. They have been travelling for 15 months already!! Thoroughly recommend their website. Their photos are worth the visit. Check out Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan!! Catch them at
IMG_2089IMG_2090 IMG_1604 IMG_5729 IMG_5738We went a further 40 kms to a hotel on the GPS at Toktogul. Was a little hard to find but saw the sign гостиница (gastinista) with an arrow pointing behind other buildings, a Shaslik restaurant for one which we ate at later that night ) to a gated set of three little buildings, one which housed four bedrooms. IMG_5728 The old lady kept it very tidy and even told Craig off for walking in his socks back and forth from the bike to the room and back, a matter of three or four steps. IMG_5733 We had electricity which we were very grateful for and a hole in the floor toilet with an optional extra of a little wooden chair with a hole hanging on the wall.
Three out of four isn't bad - cook and waitress in Shaslik restaurant, friendly; man in a group across the road, friendly;

Monday, June 18, 2012

Osh for some more days

Stay in Osh
The Tes Guesthouse was just what the doctor ordered!! And Osh was a n unexpected treat too. Just had to walk back up the stairs to the main road to find many cheap but yummy food in sit down cafes!! And beautiful tea! We tried a few while we were there as the meals were about $1.50 each !!found Osh a very cheap city!
IMG_5561 IMG_5557 IMG_5555 IMG_5566 The staff at the guesthouse were very helpful (laundry load, wash, dry and iron ) $3!!! Gulchihra (which means princess with face like a flower in persian) was an awesome receptionist and a busy one yet still had time to assist us with many tourist and cultural questions and peel us potatoes one night to present gorgeous potato cakes as an extra to the breakky!! No wonder we ended up staying three nights!!
IMG_5569 IMG_5576 IMG_5601For a very reasonable price you could book the hotel driver and we decided to visit the two places Gulchihra had recommended. He disappeared while we ate dinner at this awesome family park with two little fountains, little cars for the kids to ride in (parents controlled the remotes for them), park benches full with people, ice cream vans, food stalls and couches, tables and chairs and bouncing castles, the whole package.
He came back three quarters of an hour later to share a cup of tea with us (didn't take us up on our earlier dinner offer), and shared with us the experience of two wedding parties visiting!! One had the whole works being introduced on the PA and danced in a circle to music, the second looked like the bride and father and flower girl only strolling through.
IMG_5599 IMG_5611 IMG_5605 He then motioned towards the mountains and drove us up to a lookout where we could get a good view of this very green city lined with beautiful trees!! Missed the opening times of the museum at the lookout but would recommend by what we saw through the large decorative glass window.
At breakfast we met quite a few interesting fellow residents of the guesthouse who were there for work commitments and so shared very interesting details of their vocations including two locals from Bishkek; a fruit expert and a vegetable expert, consultants to kyrgyzstan farmers. One spoke a little English and we found out he had introduced the Granny Smith there and in his nursery had 50 kinds of apples and 40 odd types of pears!!
Also on arrival we had met a tour director who lives in Osh and two Swiss motorbike riders who had delivered the bikes from Switzerland through Turkmenistan. He was very helpful and found us another new tyre by the time we left; the kindness of strangers!

Saturday, June 16, 2012


Kyrgyzstan border to Osh

We then came across, around and through many beautiful, green, lush tall mountains on really good roads winding around and around. The photos don't reflect how grand and eye catching these huge mountains were to ride through.
IMG_1429IMG_1387 IMG_1394 IMG_1417 IMG_1416It was a real joy. There was quite a bit of roadwork happening but didn't seem to slow anybody down :). No witches hats here just a few rows of rocks on the road about two metres apart to warn you it's a no go on your side of the road before the curve! Hate to be a road worker there! A couple of yurts and Russian style caravans now and then with their big outside pots boiling and sturdy native grazing, all just in view of the roadworks, so much so at firstI thought the first caravan was a catering one for them!! (Craig's phone died at this stage!! Noooooo).

IMG_5481IMG_5463IMG_5447We rode past a couple of police check points, stopped for petrol and met some more locals and took a photo with one and then proceeded to be amazed at how many yurts were along the road and in the distance!!! Twice we came to huge amounts if them, the first with over 50 (yes, I counted them,) and the second about 18. The first had markets set up on both sides of the road!! (Another photo opportunity lost when sharon's iPhone ran out of memory!! Upgrading to a better phone with a lot smaller memory was a bad move!)

IMG_5522IMG_5515IMG_1445 IMG_1447 At one stage at the bottom of the mountain we came across two german cyclists, a young couple, looking fresh as daisies! All I could think of were the mountains they had yet to come across before they got to Sarytash for the night. We realized we had a friend in common in Sven so hopefully they caught up with him that night :)

We had been treated to a beautiful valley too riding alongside rushing water most of the time!!

Deleted a few applications in time to capture a small bit of the drama that ensued!!

Titled "Mudslide can't stop the big girl!"

Came across a Lada bogged in the middle if the road which was now just a continuing running stream of mud from the high banks to our right and the Lada driver's left.

There were vehicles and crowds of people on both sides of the road and spilling all on the grazed areas on each side on our left. As soon as we got there and pulled up on the side of the road up the front where all the action was happening we were encouraged that the big girl could make it easy!! People motioning towards the other side.

IMG_1953It was running pretty fast. We got off soon after one of the trucks pulled the Lada out towards us. Craig helped push the Lada just that bit further out of the way with a few others as at least one of the Tyres was flat by this stage!! (there was a great feeling of everyone digging in and helping in or encouraging!)

The owner of the Lada chose Craig to give a kiss and a huge and very extended hug of thanks.He then grabbed me and shook my hand and put his hands to face as if they were eye glasses and tried to tell me something. He then dragged me to his wife who made the same motion to me!! I was still trying to make it out when I heard the bike zooming across the mud to encouraging shouts and yahoos from the crowd! (previous to this one truck had gone through and then a huge one with a trailer got stuck right near the bank on the right side if the road so still plenty of room to pass!

He had warned me a lot earlier that he might have to cross on his own so I wasn't totally surprised so said my "I'm sorry I don't understand but better run" and started to cross on foot.

Someone yelled and motioned to the truck driver to take me over with his passenger as he was getting ready to go too but I imagined taking forever to get into the cabin with already muddy feet and quickly declined and immediately regretted it as the truck followed hot on my heels as soon as I walked/waded through the thick mud up to my knees with big loose stones underneath my feet!! People were yelling encouragement or maybe warning re the truck so I picked up my pace nearly falling a couple of times. Pretty sure I heard Craig laughing his head off!!!

Ps I understood a little better why the truck was right behind me when saw him hook up the bogged truck to kindly tow it out!

We zoomed off as the action continued and soon enough cars came passing by as we came to an abrupt stop to give way to two sets of shepherds with their flock coming up the first hill!! Our bike is so loud Craig likes to give way but the trucks coming the other way were blasting their horns as the bullied their way to what? A mass or cars and trucks making their way slowly through the mudslide!!!

We rode on in the hope to make Osh for the night not stopping for lunch. We did not stop again til about half an hour before Osh to stretch our legs and tighten the luggage and happened to stop across the road from a young shepherd boy in the process of opening his gate, releasing about 20 sheep to cross the road directly in front of us and as he crossed he came over, said hello and shook both our hands and went to catch up with his sheep, throwing a couple of rocks at them as he did. A short but sweet gidday :) Very memorable- and no ability to take a photo of the moment!! Aaah!! It was nearly 5 p.m. I think and here he was busy working :)

After a marathon of a day we rode into Osh thinking that was it but were still searching for the Osh Guesthouse and Taj Mahal (knew it was across the road from said guesthouse) and hadn't placed the hotel on the GPS! At last saw the signpost for GPS guesthouse pointing down a small road so we started driving down it but came to concrete steps instead of road. Clearly there was another way down to the guesthouse. I trotted off down the stairs, mud up to my knees to find out at first there were no rooms but one the next night.

I was exhausted and felt near to tears and as it turned out I was speaking to the owner who, as I was leaving, asked me to wait while she checked what she could do for us and returned with an option of staying on mattresses in a conference room and then in an expensive room the next night for two thirds of the price. To make a long story short, Craig jumped at the offer to go no further, one of the staff got on the back of the bike and directed him and we made it our home for three nights!!! Ps the conference room was very adequate with a toilet and shower down the hall. Heaven to wash hair after four days and a proper shower after three.

Location:Osh, Kyrgyzstan

A border crossing and an AK47

IMG_5418 We enjoyed another breakfast with Sven and once again he was quicker off the mark and was away 20 mins before us. IMG_5419 The scenery once 'again was beautiful though quite sparse at times.On the right was China once again, as the day before, the fence following us a lot of the way.
As we went higher it got freezing cold but thankfully for not as long.
Came across many horsemen herding sheep or cattle on the road.
The border crossing was freezing cold and we felt for the poor soldiers and police. We got invited into the warm tin shed into customs to show our passports. A pleasant surprise indeed :) and then a short but very muddy trek to passport control where two Germans on BMW 1200s said a quick hello and then were choofed off to the tin shed we just left.
This is where it got interesting! They seemed friendly enough but it was pretty unnerving when the officer asked if the helmets were bullet proof. By the time Craig had ascertained what he was asking he had grabbed his offsider's rifle and pointed it at Craig's helmet!! Craig quickly (but surprisingly calmly) let him know No!!!!! The conversation then turned to family funnily enough and it was ascertained he was a family man with five children!!
As we left a poor soldier was struggling to walk back to the office heavily laden with heavy firewood for the fire!!
The 25 kms that ensued till the Kyrgyzstan border was absolutely stunning!!
It was full of rolling green mountains and a beautiful view of mountains coming up of Maroon, green, red and brown, all of them so very high!! Many beautiful green jade colored stones small and large lining the road and the rushing water's edge.
Not far from the Taj side many marmots were playing together on our left but no camera!!
There were two houses in a valley shortly after the Tajik post, buildings on the right side, outhouses on the left.
At last we stopped and got Craig's phone out to take some photos.
The border crossing into Kyrgyzstan was completely painless and vey quick! While we were waiting we noticed a soldier working hard on a Lada four wheel drive without many tools. After we were free to go Craig took over his tool kit and his offer was met with big thankful pat on the back but it was no thanks :)
One of the easiest border crossings yet! On to Osh!

Location:Osh, Kygryzstan

Friday, June 15, 2012


Murghab to Kara-Kul
After reaching the top of the pass (have heaps of photos) didn't see much relief from the snow at all. Snow everywhere and the road was very corrugated and very painful once again. For quite awhile we used a lower road more comfortable till it ended and came upon a group of deserted buildings and stopped for a comfort stop. We were actually warmer when we stopped!!! Sooooo cold again! and only snow in sight!! And no sun straight after this pass!!
IMG_1305Couldn't believe the amount of tiny birds flying around where there were no trees or land not covered in snow for as far as we could see!! Bit of a puzzle.
Phones were flat once again due to the excessive amount of photos taken which always shows how interesting the scenery is!!
At last the sun was in view!! We had Kara-Kul marked on the GPS so soldiered on freezing cold, got seem speed up in an effort to get to the homestay as soon as possible to warm up!! So glad we both agreed even though we'd only been riding three hours it was time to stop!
IMG_5417Couldn't imagine going on!! We were both chilled to the bones. We stopped at the first homestay sign about the first house of the village and a fire was started, we were sat in front of it with our hostess till we thawed to warm and then given a beautiful cup of hot tea, biscuits and sweets!
IMG_5275And soon after lunch!! Of chicken and noodles and bread and tea and sweets once again. Tildahan and daughter Jamilla served it to us in the same room as the fire (which we also ended up sleeping in for the same reason. :)
We were so tired!! Couldn't keep our eyes open after filling up! Looked out the window and saw Tildahan and Jamilla spinning yarn together!! Was very much a tourist and asked to take a photo and then a film!
Spinning wool Karakul Tajikstan.We decided to go for a walk from the homestay through the village to the beautiful lake and on the way there and back got to see so many sights!!

IMG_5285We walked past the village school, then past a group of people setting up a yurt, then past the medical centre, past some outside ovens, saw a well the Japanese had installed, oh and met the village policeman who at first wanted to see our passports (about the only time we hadn't taken them out with us!) but after a chat was quite relaxed, saw a weather station set up, a hug Marco Polo ram's head and horns just sitting there (decided not to leave the walkway for a closer photo in case of any old mines!),
IMG_5304IMG_5302</ IMG_5319a> On the way back we met three young boys who asked us to take their photo. They were very intrigued with the iPhone photo and how we could enlarge it and asked in sign language if they could take photos too so it began with photos of us then of each other and a self portrait too I think.
IMG_5322 IMG_5320 IMG_5334 Still returning we got to see the yurt skeleton by that time intact and they motioned for us to take a photo. We then came across a young woman weaving a rug on a horizontal loom. She kindly gave permission to watch and to use our camera. We did a recording and her eyes lit up when we played it back for her. We talked of asking if we could buy it off her for a good price but got side tracked!!
IMG_5358The homestay also had a visit from a tour of three; American, an Aussie and an Irishman with their two drivers on their way to Murghab so Tildahan had catered a big lunch for them in the main eating area. A busy day for her! The children were on holiday too but Jamilla was a very good help!!
Tildahan had let us know what time dinner would be served and that they were off to a village concert straight after dinner. We bought a ticket too and had the time of our lives!!!
IMG_5390The village hall was packed with the whole village!! Eiric, Tildahan's husband had arranged for his friend's daughter to sit with us as she was studying English. She loves America and hopes to move there eventually. It was a great concert even though no English was spoken. It was a famous Kyrgyzstan comedian, another comedian and a singer. They played his three stooges kind of comedy which starred him and the other two as well!! The comedy skits were very funny because of the body language and faces they made. The whole hall were laughing their heads off!! Have some footage as well as photos :). Ps we all paid the same but Eiric made sure we had pretty much front row so we could "take photos".
IMG_5405Another side note; the policeman we met earlier that afternoon was security for the night and was on the stage waiting for it to begin Craig caught his eye and just laughed and smiled and the policeman made a "they are crazy" motion with his finger!!
Tildahan disappeared part way through the concert and we found out later that at last Sven had arrived!! Must have been after 9!!!???? We had let them know he might be coming. We couldn't see where he would have found anywhere suitable to camp!! We were worried again so were very relieved when we got back from the concert with their friend to be told he was safe and sound in bed after a dinner on arrival.
IMG_5422IMG_5420 We were invited to have tea and a chat after the concert which was great! We learned that they had 11 yaks and 50 odd sheep!