Day 31 of Rally: Getting Unstuck and Lost (Yet Again)

9326 kms traveled so far
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So… we seem to accidentally always take the “road not taken” i.e we seem to be great at getting lost 😂Today was the 2nd time that happened.
But, before that, we started the day off towing the car from the slush we got ourselves stuck in last night. Took us a couple of hours to find someone who would tow us out, so we couldn’t leave Sary-tash before 9am. Then we set off on our merry way, on great tar roads surrounded by very beautiful mountains.

(As an aside: Kyrgyzstan is the best place for cyclists – amazing scenery, up and down mountains, on great roads.) We got to Osh, bought a SIM card, changed out our Tajik Somani (currency) to Kyrgyz Som and proceeded to get ourselves lost.

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Osh to Bishkek is apparently 630kms of good tar road – 10 hrs according to One rally rider told us that someone got stuck in a river there and suggested we follow google maps which took us east first and then north. And that took us through unpaved gravel roads up and down through mountains and 17hrs of driving!
Mongol Rally is supposed to be difficult driving through rough roads. Most people skip the Pamir Highway for that same reason. We seemed to have 3X-d the difficulty for ourselves by taking the tough road (M41) at the very start (Dushanbe to Khorog) of Pamir, then coming back up from Wakhan Valley to M41 through Khargush Pass (yesterday’s drive), and then today taking the wrong road from Osh to Bishkek! Today was again dusty gravel driving, but without the random rocks and plentiful potholes that characterized Tajik roads. No washboards either, but dirt road nonetheless and hard on Harriet. She didn’t get to enjoy the famed tar roads of Kyrgyzstan. Again filled with suspense because we were in the midst of mountains encountering the rare human once in several hours and mentally lamenting about how far we are from the nearest mechanic. The car was already beat up in Tajikistan. Kyrgyzstan was supposed to be good roads 😭
Found a small “town” between the hills, mimed with 3 different locals before we found someone who would house us. They were gracious enough to give us a small bucket of water each to bathe – my hair alone used up the entire bucket!

Met a local guy who, after what sounded like calling us many forms of stupid in Kyrgyz, suggested we save a 100kms of driving tomorrow and drive straight to Almaty in Kazakhstan instead of going to Bishkek. We will start at 6am and drive until we are exhausted and see where we get to.
While that sounds mundane and repetitive, the entertainment portion of every day is different. Today’s entertainment was being stopped by cops for speeding near Osh (a big town way before we took the wrong road). There were cops every few Kms, with what looked like a DSLR on a tripod, randomly waving at any car they chose. They spoke no English. We spoke no Kyrgyz or Russian. He took one look at my international driver’s permit, said “oh! California! Hollywood! $50 fine”. Anitha negotiated him down to $5. 🤣😂🤣

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