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Archive for August 15th, 2012

Close Shave With Death – Missed Me By That Much!

Posted by TravellingStrom on August 15, 2012

Mayan Prophecy Countdown

It was a long day today, well 650km but in this heat long enough. I managed to get an early breakfast, it was given to me in a bag and took it with me as I headed off just before 8am. I wasted time trying to find the right servo, I wanted the KMG fuel which is the government sponsored one and it had better quality fuel. So, after a bit of back and forth I finally managed to get on the road and head south around the lake. Yes, there is a lake here but this will be the first time I get to see it 🙂 It is a big lake, but from what I can see it does not look that inspiring to go anywhere near it to camp, it is surrounded by barren desert, no trees nor shade, I am glad I chose not to try and camp.

Not much to see really, the road was a fair distance from the lake itself for the most part but it did get close further down the track. There was not much to see, just flat ground and some cows and horses occasionally, and the wind was atrocious, already it was heating up and I could tell it was going to roast me later on. Where the road got real close to the lake, there was a definite change in temperature, I could feel the difference and the terrain changed from brown to green, it was quite nice there for a while 🙂

There was still no shade though, a shame they don’t have a tree planting organisation that can plan for the future. A few hours into the ride and I stopped for a break, just after this strange pyramid shaped place, not sure what it was actually, maybe a truck stop, not much there though. I did not stop for long, I was roasting out there and at least when I was moving I had the wind to cool me even if it was hot. Just up the road was a massive concrete plant, it was huge, but not a lot of action that I could see.

There was a servo stuck in the middle of nowhere but at a road junction, so I stopped for water, I was sucking it back and was running low. There were a couple of old Ural hacks here, great old machines, tough stuff!

The road had been real good up to now, but it started to turn shitty with very deep wheel ruts in it, that’s what you get for using hot mix on a highway used by haulage trucks!

There must be villages around somewhere because quite often there will be these fruit sellers set up on the side of the road, some with beds and stuff like that, a hard way to make a living.

A little while later the scenery started to change, from flat to small hills and dales, this is where I nearly became a bonnet ornament. I was riding up this long hill and could see trucks and cars coming the other way. When you don’t see many vehicles for a long time, then when you do it wakes you up. In this case I could see that the trucks would have held up traffic and so I slowed towards the top of the hill, but once at the top I certainly did not expect what came next, excuse the language Paul!

So, that was a bit lucky, I saw him with just enough time to jink to the right, but that probably made no difference anyway. It left me a bit shaky, that could have turned out so much different!! It would have been quick though and maybe only a little bit of pain.

Just down the road a ways, I fuelled up and took a bit of a break again, I was getting fatigued quite easily and the heat did not help, I guess I am still bug affected! It was nice and shady here though at the old faithful KMG servo, and these servos are all the same, same layout and everything, not much range to eat except snack foods, but good fuel though 🙂 This is where I contacted Lorraine and Anton, I was trying to work out an address for when I got into town, I was only an hour away.

The scenery changed from here on in, there seemed to be an abundance of water and it was being moved around by canals, so the road was now tree lined, it did feel a bit better, although wandering cows made a nuisance of themselves. The strangest thing of all was that there was something ahead of me on the horizon, in fact the horizon seemed to be ABOVE the horizon somehow, I have no idea what that means, what’s going on here then!!!

Then I realised, they were mountains, actual up and downness, I have not seen any of that since, um, um, I cannot remember, crikey it was so long ago, it must have been back in Europe somewhere, blimey that’s a lot of flat roads I have travelled! I arrived in Almaty in mid afternoon and soon got lost due to a massive detour system, bummer. But, I found a nice shady spot to pull up and called Anton, he is the ex Vstrom rider who lives here, he speaks excellent English and has been so helpful to many of the other riders I have given his name to, now it is my turn 🙂

After a few failed attempts due to the main town ring road being blocked off and dug up, I did, with the help of a passer by find the hotel that had been mentioned, the Ajour Hotel, it was stuck up this side street, and with all the roadworks, my satnav was useless, especially as it was not even mentioned as a waypoint, but it is now!. David and Lyn(the China tour 4WD people) were staying here also, I had met them in London when we got our China visas. I booked in, then asked them to change the room as it stunk of cigarette smoke, and they upgraded me to a bigger suite at no extra charge 🙂 This of course meant I became very clean, the reason being the shower had so many gadgets it was fun to be in there 🙂

This thing had water from above, the side and jets from in front, plus lights and a radio, what fun 🙂 We got the feeling there might be a bit of nooky happening at this hotel because you can buy the room for less than 24 hours 🙂 No worries, it was clean and well looked after, the nice desk girl spoke good English and was very helpful. So once I was settled in, the three of us chatted about the upcoming China trip and later grabbed a beer from the shop up the road. They were eating in their room tonight, and the only reason they were here at all was because the car, a Range Rover, was getting the radiator fixed. I went for a wander up the road later and had some Shashlik, which is basically BBQ’d bits of meat on a skewer, it comes with raw onion and some Cleb, or bread. That was tasty 🙂 I am still having gut problems and trying to narrow down the cause, but it could have been something from a long time ago, I reckon it is the vegies though. Silly me ordered a bowl of salad with my dinner( which was the same price as two Shashliks) but it all tasted nice and washed down with beer was great going in 🙂

I had good internet here, so I planned on catching up with some of the blog, after I upload a bucket of photos to Photobucket. Plus the movies take a while to upload to YouTube as well. Anyway, another biker was turning up tomorrow, Lorraine, she had been kicked out of Russia and left her broken bike up in Siberia, but there were a few bikes around and she may yet be able to ride 🙂

Cheers from Almaty, Kazakhstan

Posted in Around The World, Eurasia | Tagged: , , , , , | 9 Comments »

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