Early in the morning, this suburban kid came upon some wild horse, or so he thought…
The yurt camp
Celestial view of Yurt Camp
Video of us leaving the Yurt camp
Tire Pressure Dropping
Tire pressure assessment #1
A few miles after leaving Song-Kul, I was actively checking my tire pressure, and it seemed to be holding steady, so I was building a bit of confidence about the state of the tire and rim. But then, I noticed that it had dropped a few PSI, and I began to get a bit worried..
Tire pressure assessment #2
The second time that I noticed the tire pressured dropping, I decided to use a CO2 cartridge, to put some more air into the tire, hoping that I’d be in good enough shape to make it to Naryn. However, even after putting air in the tire, and after another 10 miles on the gravel exit road, I found that the tire pressure was once again at a low enough level fo trigger the Bike’s emergency warning indicators. So, I stopped to put in more air.
Tire pressure assessment #3
Now, the tire had about 32 PSI in it, while it should have been at 36 PSI. Nevertheless, I figured I might make it, if I slow down. And so, I slowed way down, and continued to the end of the dirt and gravel road. I knew that the tire pressure was now down to 29 PSI, but I was on the tar, and I figured I’d make it to the end, which was now only 50 miles ahead.
Tire pressure assessment #4
So, I drove along, hoping the best, until the tire pressure once again, reached the low point of 26 PSI, which caused the dash warning lights to go crazy. This time, I figured that I would hold off using the CO2 cartridges, which were now running low. The support van pulled in behind me and after a brief conversation, they got out the air compressor, and filled my tires to the prescribed tire pressure
Except the gauge on the pump is not calibrated correctly, so I did not get all the air that I needed. So, with 32 PSI in the front tire, I began to make my way, over the final 25 miles, to Naryn.
I arrived in Naryn, at a car wash, with 28 PSI in the front tire, just enough to make it to the hotel.
Report from the road
This report from the road is a bit longer, but we all had a great deal of fun making it, and commenting on the Yurt camp. Also, the report includes some spectacular views of the road to Naryn. Please take a moment to check it out.
The bike wash
Washing the bike
In order to ride or drive a vehicle into China, the vehicle must be clean, and free of any and all dirt which might contaminate China. So, before heading to China tomorrow, we’ll take this opportunity to wash the bikes, and perhaps a few other things.
I pulled into the bike wash, and rode the bike into a stall that was ready for the bike washer to do his thing. Bruno also pulled in along side of me, and so our bike washer, needed to wash both bikes.
Washing the rider
I’m sure you can imagine how dirty the bikes were, but can you also imagine how dirty we, the riders were? Maybe, maybe not. In either case, I was covered in mud and dirt. So, I took off all of my shirts, and put my coat on over my bare skin. I then motioned for the bike washer to power wash me with the high-pressure wand.
They managed to get most of the dirt off of me, but to say that a blast of cold, high-pressure is a shock is an understatement. Nevertheless, I’m an adventure traveler, this is how we roll.
So, what’s the point of all of this?
Before we leave this topic, let’s think about it for just a minute. The road between Naryn and the Chinese border will have a good deal of dirt, perhaps mud, gravel, rocks, etc. In addition, there is a very high likelihood that the area at the border crossing itself will be muddy, perhaps very muddy.
And so, what on Earth do these folks think that they will accomplish by requiring that we wash the bikes, as they will certainly be filthy again, by the time we arrive at the border. But, as I’ll come to know a few things about China, I’ll quickly discover that almost nothing that the Chinese government does, will make sense to us. More examples of this in tomorrow’s post, but it’s shocking that everything we will do, will not make any sense to us at all.
The tire change….
Before we say goodbye to Alex, he performs a key bike repair on my bike, helping me swap the wheel, rim and tire from the Cast wheel, to a spoke wheel, which I’m borrowing from the Edelweiss stock of spare parts.
Here’s a video of what happened along the way
Dinner – Good bye to Alex
And so, at about 9:00 PM, we said good bye to Alex, the guide that has been with us through some Russia, and all of Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. He speaks all 3 three languages, which proved to be indispensable. In addition, Alex is pretty handy fixing the bikes, and getting us out of trouble with any of the local authorities.
With our time in the Stans and Russia coming to an end, we let him go back to his home, and take on the next tour, or whatever it is that he does in the off-season.
What will tomorrow bring?
Tomorrow, we will cross the border into China. We expect this to be a long, confusing, and complicated day, with procedure after procedure. We’ll ride to the Kyrgyzstan border, get processed at their checkpoint, pass into no-man’s land, travel to the Chinese border, wait for our fixer to arrive, get processed again, and then proceed to the next waiting point, about 3 miles down the road.
We’re optimistic that we might get all of this done by late afternoon, as we’re leaving at 6:30 AM tomorrow, in hopes of getting to the Chinese border before noon, the time that they take a lunch break.