29 May 2012

Uzbekistan: Bukhara - Samarqand 16 May, 2012

We were finally able to depart after we found a solution to HJ's front right fork.  The day before, we met a Swiss and a German who were heading to the Pamir Highway.  The German's bike was an older GS where the engine is part of the chasis.
The African Twin was well equipped to head to the Pamir's

When he showed up to Bukhara, his frame had broken at the engine mounts and he was using tie-downs to keep the engine and frame together.  Apparently there was a Russian guy who said he could fix it.  It makes us realize that our blown fork seal was not that bad.
Always people around for a quick photo
We were glad to finally get on the road, this was a minor setback but not too bad.  The trip to Samarqand was about 270km.  We figured it would take about 4-5 hours or so.  We had heard the road was relatively ok, meaning we would be driving between 60-80 km/h.
Samarqand Guesthouse: Bahoudir
Great spots for the bikes - and they are now clean
About 50km outside of Bukhara, we were flagged down by what looked like a policeman.  He was in a police uniform standing next to another guy normally dressed.  He signaled us to pull over with his flashlight (the same type of flashlight one would use to guide a plane at an airport).  He first went to HJ and asked for his passport.  Then he came to Scott.  "Ah...Americanski."  He signaled for HJ to go and for Scott to get off the bike.  Following the "officer" to the car, he asked for a bribe of 30.000 sums ( $11).  After a quick negotiation, an amount of 15.000 sums was reached and we could continue our ride.
HJ ordering replacement parts from HK Suspension
After about 170km, we pulled to the side of the road to meet Oli, an Austrian riding a '98 African Twin (Honda).  When we were about to leave, HJ noticed that there was oil on his engine again.  This time it was coming from the drain plus on the bottom of his fork.  The bolt was completely loose, as it it were stripped.  With Oli, we managed to create a short-term solution with a tire plug and some duct tape.  At least this would get us to Samarqand and maybe to Tashkent - we will see.
Samarqand - key city on the Silk Route
We said our thanks and headed off.  We finally made it to Samarqand in the late afternoon.  We ended up choosing the Budohir Guesthouse, which was a good choice.  We went to wash the bikes and then relax.
The Registan, the ancient city center

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