Day 26 of Rally: Dushanbe to Kalai Khom

8005 kms traveled so far
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Drove from Dushanbe to Kalai Khom – just 285kms and 5hrs according to Took us 12 long hours at 20kms/hr, mostly in first and second gear, and we haven’t even started on the Pamir Highway yet!!! 😭😂
Beautiful bare mountains surround M41 – the motorway we drove on today and will be following like a blood hound the next 5 days. Forget “Motorway”, the M41 barely qualifies as a road. Especially when it becomes just wide enough to be a mud path between the two village homes in the idyllic 10 person village, with 3 chickens, 2 donkeys and 6 kids. There is the usual village loafer, loafing around under the tree while the donkey grazes nearby.


When not a mudpath, the M41 turns into a off-roader’s heaven. Full of rocks, stones fallen from the mountain side, never really leveled except by the occasional vehicle that drives that way. Posting here one of the better sections of the road where we dared to get to 30kmph!
Harriet with her 6″ ground clearance, front wheel drive, and <50bhp, is on her way to becoming an off road champ. We are literally driving on rocks across rivers under broken bridges!

Harriet’s suspension and our spinal cords were deeply tested today – even at 20km/hr speeds 😩Already broke a bolt in the newly installed sump guard and I can see quite a few scratches on the thick metal sheet. We saw a grand total of 6 other cars the entire day (all Ladas and Volgas with their sturdy frames zipping past us at a jealousy inducing speed of 40km/hr!) – not a road you want to break down on. It might be days before we can even get our car to a mechanic!
We were reminded of the <50bhp when the car slid backwards, twice 😂. In first gear. The first time around I didn’t have enough momentum, so backed up some 50m and successfully climbed over the incline with momentum. The second time around, we had to push Harriet over the hill 😂 We were driving above a beautiful valley and had pulled off to the side wanting to camp. From our vantage point, we saw a path go down to the valley (didn’t look too steep) and decided to drive down there to set up camp. About 1/4 way down, we spotted an old man running towards us waving his hands and pointing us back to the road. It’s never a good sign to be hated by a local, so we dutifully turned around (after a 32 point turn!) and tried to go up the way we came. But Harriet didn’t have enough power to pull us up 😂. After several unsuccessful attempts, Anitha and the old man had to push Harriet over a hump while I had the pedal to the metal in first gear. Once back on the main “road” (M41), we spotted the warning signs for landmines. Whoops! I guess we are glad we decided to the heed the old man’s warnings even though we didn’t understand a word of what he was saying.

Currently in Kalai Khom, and just on the other side of the river is Afghanistan. We will be driving along the Afghan border the entire day tomorrow.

Wouldn’t it be great if a child spent his or her time reading about Afghanistan, The Kabuli Wallah, or 50hp engines instead of toiling away in a factory arranging matches in a box for 12hrs a day? You can help by making tax deductible donations at Please help us send 148 more kids to school