Five days in Turkmenistan

For overlanders trying to cross from the ‘Stans into Europe, one of the major obstacles in the way is the Caspian Sea. This is a very unknown part of the world to us in Canada, but out here the jigsaw arrangement of all the countries is something we could draw from memory. There is a…

Silk Road Cities

Before the age of navigation, Europe and Asia were connected by a series of overland routes, today collectively known as the Silk Road. Some days it feels like every part of Asia that isn’t near an ocean claims to be part of the Silk Road, but it’s true that there were many different branches that…

Into Uzbekistan

The first day in any country is overwhelming. There’s a new currency, a new language, new roads: everything that was so familiar seems unfamiliar. In Uzbekistan, this welcome shock is multiplied by one hundred, and it is exhausting. By the time the sun set at the end of our first day, I was mentally broken,…

Midnight Ride to Dushanbe

We decided not to ride the remaining 500 kilometres to the Tajik capital of Dushanbe. This was a long, drawn-out decision, but it eventually boiled down to the fact that we are tired! At least, tired of bouncing along on unpaved roads. At this point in the trip, it’s not like our mileage becomes any…

Wakhan on Sunshine

South of Murghab, we were faced with a decision that we had been mulling over for a long time: do we follow the Pamir Highway to its terminus in the town of Khorog, or do we take the alternate route to Khorog through the Wakhan Valley? The Wakhan is a universally-loved, very scenic route that…

Bam-i-Dunya (the Roof of the World)

It felt good to finally set out from Osh, to cycle the first few kilometres of the Pamir Highway, and to know that we were finally on the road. And now with Ally, a captive audience for us to repeatedly tell the same stories from our previous few months of travel. From Osh the road…

The Road to Osh

In the paper calendar where I document our daily progress, I draw a little star on the days that were highly scenic rides. We did pass through some really nice spots in Indonesia and Vietnam, but the most consistently starred section of our trip was the ride along the US West Coast (go check it…

Bishkek Rest Week

We’re in Bishkek, the capital and largest city of Kyrgyzstan, and an indication that we’ve reached the part of the trip where you are going to need an atlas to follow along. We had heard some good advice from other travellers that when you are on the road for awhile it can be a good…

Our first ‘Stan

The first thing that happens when you leave the Chinese border post at the Korgos crossing (besides breathing a huge sigh of relief) is that the road turns away from the Kazakh border post directly in front of you and does a big seven kilometre loop in “No Man’s Land”. I find these empty spaces…

Biking the New Frontier

Sigh. How simple the the route looked on the map when we chose it so many months ago. We would arrive in Urumqi, the capital of China’s north-west province, and bike the week or so to the Kazakh border. This would be an easy leg of our journey, a light introduction to biking in Central Asian. How…

Ich bin ein Beijinger

There are, amazingly, trains that cross almost the entire country of China from Hong Kong to Beijing in eleven hours. There are also trains that are not so fast, like the one we were on, which arrived after over twenty hours. The novelty of train travel had long worn off and we were ready to…

A Night in the Rice Terraces

We decided to visit the Longji Rice Terraces, a famed, 650 year-old series of mountainous rice growing fields just north of Guilin. This is a post about some great planning and some poor planning, beautiful vistas, close calls, and a bit luck. The drive to Longji is about three hours one way, so a simple…