Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Four days of Madness.

Our original plan from Aktobe was to go down past the Aral Sea (what is left of it) and past Baikanour to Almaty. Vitaly had told the road was not good fuel would be a problem. Some other research had confirmed this. So with this in mind it was going to be 4 long days as we went to Almaty the long way. Through Kostanay, Astana, Balkhash before arriving at Almaty some 3 thousand kilometers away. There we stop for a rest for a day or two while the tires and oil were changed on the bike. We would also catch up with a guy I met on the Internet, Anton, through another Australian traveller, Richard Winter. Anton proved to be a Godsend, but more on that later.

Sergei was from Ukraine, cycling to China. There are some hardcore dudes out there, riding into the wind on a motorbike was hard enough, and he was moving along pretty quickly.

Vitaly had told us Kostanay was 400ks, Google said more like 760ks mmmwhat to believe. We left early enough that it didn't make any difference either way, just a longer day. Well it turned out to be 760ks and about 10 hours on the bike due to an 80k section of really bad road. We were very grateful for our hotel that night despite its $100 price tag.

Next day and another near 700k day as we rode to the capital Astana.
Our hotel on the outskirts of Astana Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug
We highly recommend the Hotel Tamsan in Astana. $35 got us a good room, bike parking in the foyer, dining room, reasonable wifi. Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMugExample of toilet block/rest stop on the way Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug
More people from the road interested in what we were doing.
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The hotel was nice and cheap and food was simple and filling, staff were very nice.
Roadworks just outside of Astana - traffic making a couple of new roads
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Many Beautiful sights along the way Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMugPhoto & Video Sharing by SmugMug Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug akstan-1/Kostani-to-Almaty/i-2KDFd9C/A" title="Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug"> Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMugPlenty of caravans or little stalls selling dried fish.  The following morning we rode out through the capital which is less than 20 years old. Nice shiny buildings, but quite sterile. I wont rush back.
Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMugPhoto & Video Sharing by SmugMugPhoto & Video Sharing by SmugMugPhoto & Video Sharing by SmugMugPhoto & Video Sharing by SmugMugIt was another big day with us riding to Balkhash and staying at cheap hotel on the highway. Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMugWe had planned to go into the town and look at the lake but it was full of pollution from a nearby power station so we left it and continued on our way. As we loaded up the bike I noticed the tire I had collected in Samara was a 17 inch one! Not good! So I sent a quick message to Anton asking what he could do to help (mind you he had already organized a hotel and some to get the oil and tires changed). He came to back to me about on hour later with the perfect solution a Scorpion Rally the perfect tire for the next leg of the trip.
As we rode towards Almaty these great snow capped peaks appeared on the horizon, it was a beautiful sight.

So finally we arrived in Almaty where we met Anton and he took us to our hotel where both just crashed for the night.


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