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Khojund > Dushanbe

What a great piece of road today as we crossed the Fan Mountains which has two passes.  Fantastic rugged mountain scenery.

This route has two long tunnels with quite the reputation.  Back in the day, pre 2015, they were dangerous but in 2016 they were finished.  However we kept getting conflicting information as to their condition when we were doing our research, so were not sure what to expect. There are in fact quite a number of tunnels, the first shorter one is completely dark.  Charlie said to me “watch out for the cow”  “what cow?” I replied just as I saw it beside me as I was passing it – yes a few cows live in that dark tunnel.

We reached the first main one, Shakhristan Tunnel, (5km long, 2650m) much more quickly than expected, without even much of a climb.  Even though there were lights inside, I was having trouble adjusting to the darkness – until I realised I still had my helmet sunvisor down, oh, what a DORIS!!  After getting that out of the way, it was so much easier.

After the first pass we rode down into a valley then up again to the second main tunnel, the Anzob , (8km long, about 3,300m).

Let me debunk all the myths, both tunnels are lit (dimly but sufficient) and have a good surface and no you wont half submerge your vehicle into one of the potholes filled with rainwater, not any more.  There are a lot of fumes in there, you can see them, and we both had a slight headache once out of each tunnel for a short while, probably due to those fumes.  But that’s as bad as it gets and the reward of this stretch of road is well worth it.

The sides of the road have few barriers and the steep hills go straight to the bottom.  The scenery was fabulous, we loved it.

Some pics

The rock was blue on the left, and pink on the right

That’s snow

The road on the top right

Looking straight down

Open up the pic and you can see the road below

I tried to not bombard you too much, but it’s so hard to choose.  Enough to say, a great ride!

Stopped for chay (tea) and a bite to eat – I love Tajikistan teapots, was trying to figure out last night where I could fit one into my luggage. In fact I saw a whole dinnerset I really would love and some beautiful glassware – bikes have their disadvantages, though my good friend would have found a way, I know 🙂

 

We will be in Dushanbe for a week while we wait for the dates for our Uzbekistan visa to come around on the 30th. With our change of route we are now ahead of our schedule, but there is nothing we can do but wait.  We booked our own room in the Green House Hostel, a popular place for overlanders whether backpacking, cycling, 4×4, or motorcycling, so we will have people to talk to in English to help pass the time.

Russels

8 Comments

  • John and Penny Hansen

    Tea Charlie!! So enjoying your posts Janet, and yes a little envious.
    John and Penny ?

    July 27, 2017 at 7:44 am
    • Janet & Charlie Russel

      Haha yes, tea – Its different to home and really refreshing. Besides most places dont have coffee and if they do its 3in1 – coffee, milk and sugar all in a sachet, not quite your lattte 🙂

      July 29, 2017 at 2:12 pm
  • Warren Pitcher

    Feel free to ‘bombard’ us. We’ll make time to read. The scenery is wonderful. The weeks break will be good for the aches and pains, specially in a really, really old body like Charlie’s. The ping track is starting to look impressive on the map. Must be getting close to half way pretty soon.

    Look after each other and enjoy each day.
    Regards,

    Warren Pitcher

    July 27, 2017 at 7:51 am
    • Janet & Charlie Russel

      Hi Warren
      We dont usually stop much but this week has been good. We are off tomorrow and really looking forward to getting back on the bikes again.
      I think we are half way, maybe a little bit over, its difficult to estimate. Over the next two countries the roads are long and straight so will make better time.

      July 29, 2017 at 2:09 pm
  • Sharon Webber

    The teapot looks lovely – and heavy? What is it made of? Is that copper?

    July 27, 2017 at 1:27 pm
    • Janet & Charlie Russel

      No not copper just like a gold glaze. Even the plates etc at the hostel we are staying in is lovely.

      July 29, 2017 at 2:06 pm
  • Tina

    One week sounds like enough time to find, pack and post a tea set … 😉

    July 27, 2017 at 4:50 pm
    • Janet & Charlie Russel

      Haha yes indeed.

      July 29, 2017 at 2:04 pm
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