Brisbane2Bristol

On our great adventure

Operation Desert Strom…

A fitting name for the title as our bike is a ‘v Strom’…
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Arriving at the Turkmenistan border was very different to the Old and dark customs areas from the Uzbekistan’s side…
This one was clean, bright, modern and efficient, plus the customs guys were so friendly, which was a nice change from the previous grumps we have had lol….

We waited just a short while untill it was our turn…
First we had to mark on a map which roads we would be taken, then they worked out a fuel surcharge on that distance, which worked out to be $20, the fuel in Turkmenistan as its really cheap something like 24 cents a litre, plus we had to get road tax, third party insurance etc, i think it all came to about US$100.

Time was ticking away and the three of us were willing the customs to hurry up as they close for lunch at 1pm for an hour…
After a while of going to different areas we were told we could go… brilliant… then when we got outside the guards said its lunch you’ll now have to wait NOOO…
I spoke to the guard and explained we had a long journey ahead of us and really needed to get going, he thought about it for maybe two seconds and said we could go with no checks of our bags…
Quickly the three of us got on the bikes and got out of customs before they could change their minds.

We had to cross over a tiny beat up steel bridge that looked like it had seen better days, we had to pay a toll, – just over $7- now we could really get going…
Another hot ride (50 degrees plus) with not much in the way of scenery to view just desert, which had its own sort of beauty….

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We pushed on until the light was fading, We needed to find somewhere to camp, but finding a suitable spot was proving hard…
Eventually we spotted a type of gazebo in a field about 30 metres or so from the road, on closer inspection we saw it had a day bed under it…
It was used by somebody for selling water melons during the day to passing motorists..
Running next to it was a small man made stream which must be for watering the cotton plants (Turkmenistan is the the worlds tenth largest producer).

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We decided this is the best its going to get…
We at first we thought we could sleep on the day bed, but soon noted that it was covered in water melon juice and had lots of wasps hoovering around and ants, so it looks like we will have to set up the tents, as we were doing so a guy approached us.
Clive asked by doing a few hand signals if it was ok to stay here the night, yes it was, the guy disappeared for a minute then came back with a gift of a massive water melon,which he cut up for us and the boys devoured very quickly…
We quickly put the tents up, Which we were thankful for as there were loads of mozzies about- we all fell asleep pretty quickly.
We woke up to a glorious sunrise…

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So we quickly packed up the tents and after a quick cup of tea we set off for Ashgabat, hoping that this would be the next pitstop for the night…
The ride was pretty much the same as the day before, long straight boring roads although at times we did spot a few camels roaming around….

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The road had been melting and was soft to ride on..

Stopping for a much needed break at a little restaurant was a welcome break, Arran couldn’t get in quick enough, he was eating before we even made it through the entrance ….lol
We ordered some meet pies, Clive devoured his but I only managed a bit if the pastry, I couldn’t eat any more, to me it smelt strange and there was white pieces of something amongst the beef, not sure if it was fat blobs or lung… Anyway I wasn’t eating it…Clive devoured that one as well… Lol

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Back on the bike riding through the desert we could now see the mountain border area of Iran, which was only about 20k’s away.
After many miles of riding past small towns, bucket loads of sand we eventually came to Ashgabat, as we neared the city centre….

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This was a railway station, we could see the golden mask on the tower for miles outside the city riding in…

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It felt like we had come to Liberace’s home town, this city is so over the top, so grand here and according to the Guinness book of records it has more marble buildings here than anywhere else In the world….
Ashgabat is a far cry from the rest of the country, which seems to be fairly poor.

So now the task of finding a reasonable priced hotel didn’t look good, pulling up at one hotel we decided it wasn’t even worth getting off the bike to ask reception on the price,it was five stars…

Arran said that he didn’t want to stay in Ashgabat and would part, which was sad in a way as we had been together for over two months now, sharing rooms, meals and laughs, but we needed to carry on with our own trip and so did Arran…

We said our goodbyes and went our separate ways, we decided the centre of town was going to be way to pricey to stay in, so a quick ride around the city and taking a few photos we decided with out success that maybe the outskirts may have cheaper hotels….WRONG we didn’t see any hotels..

There were a lot of golden states of the President Turkmenbashi, dictating the golden years…

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I think this one revolves, so the sun is always shining on him…

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What do we do, it’s now the afternoon can we make to the port ofTurkmenbasy before dark…
We then saw a sign for Turkmenbasy-570 Kms…

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We decided to give it ago and if we get tired we’ll camp somewhere…

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Big Mosque just outside of the city..

So we set of down the wide smooth roads, that soon gave way to some crappy roads, but mostly the roads weren’t to bad, lucky Clive’s good at weaving!
The ride wasn’t very interesting, well it was desert..

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We saw more camels and a few mini Sand tornadoes, once again only stopping a few times for cold drinks, not far from Turkmenbassy we needed to fuel up, so i went and got us some cold drinks, when I returned from the shop, Clive stated that he REALLY needed to use the loo, I told him where they were and off he ran, coming back white faced and looking tired…

Clive rested up for about twenty minutes before deciding to proceed to the port, the roads were really good now, smooth tarmac….finally…
Riding down a lovely smooth road when suddenly we went over a bump and one of the side boxes fell off the bike…

Stopping and getting off the bike I picked up the side box, that didn’t look too damaged, and soon as Clive put the bike on the stand it fell over… this day seems to be getting Worse…
An old guy pulled up in his car to help us, Which was great as Clive was feeling a little week, on closer inspection of the box we Noticed that the welding on the frame had broken, as there was no where around here to get it fixed, Clive did a quick fix with some Ratchet straps…

The road to Turkmenbassy seemed to go on and on, lucky for us it was still light.
A couple of policemen then decided to pull us over…. For what we weren’t sure…. It turned out they just wanted to say ‘hello’ and look at the bike… lol

Eventually we came to the port, but there was no way Clive was going to be able to board ship, he was was really feeling bad, so we decided the best thing to do was get a hotel for the night and rest so we rode past the port where the ferries were and headed into town….

-WARNING-DO NOT READ THE NEXT PARAGRAPH IF YOU GET QUEASEY-

All of a sudden, we came to a quick stop, as Clive needed to go to the loo, but there wasn’t anywhere, no bush, trees not even a car to hide behind..
So he crouched down by his bike, before i could say anything he had his trousers and jocks down by his ankles, i tried to shield him by standing to one side of him, thankfully it wasn’t a busy road..

I then noticed some boys in the distance heading our way…i then told Clive to hurry up…
Just then a car drove slowly pasted us waving and beeping his horn several times until i waved back at them…
I’m glad i kept my helmut on so they couldn’t see my embarrassed face, they must have seen what was going on as ‘it’ was running brown like ‘Niagara Falls’ under the bike…

I kept my head down when a few more cars went past beeping and waving also (friendly folk these locals), in the mean time the boys were getting closer…
I’m sorry to say Clive didn’t get a lot of sympathy from me as i was telling him to hurry as people were coming, but Clive really didn’t care who saw him…they must have seen what was going on…

Just before the boys got to us Clive was ‘done’ and had his jocks and trousers were up….
We noticed it was all over the bikes foot pegs, so we quickly threw the rest of our drinking water on them to wash it off….
We got on the bike and speed off…
I pity the boys as they walked past the area where the bike was!
Poor Clive he was feeling really weak and all i could think of was the embarrassment of it all…

The only hotel in town seemed to be a very posh and expensive looking one…

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The Charlak…

I went to reception to see what it cost, as it turned out it was only $50 ,clive needed to rest and get cleaned up, which was very cheap for how grand this hotel was, Clive would have agreed on $500 on how he was feeling at the time….
I booked us in, Clive got cleaned up and slept until the following morning.
As Clive was feeling a bit better we made the decision to go and queue for the ferry, but not before we stopped to get supplies for the ferry….
We had read online by other travellers that the ferry food is expensive and is uneatable…
So armed with our supplies we head to the ferry terminal….

We did allow five days to cross Turkmenistan, we managed to cross it in two hot days…

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2 thoughts on “Operation Desert Strom…

  1. I bet dad doesn’t want to see a ‘meet’ pie again for awhile lol.

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