Leaving a big city always sounds like something dangerous for a biker, specially on a monday morning, but in this case it was as easy as getting in. A 3-lane-road gave way to a 2-lane motorway (free for bikes) and in a few kilometers we were out of Kashgar and with the feeling that no big city could be anywhere nearby.
We took the motorway exit towards Kyrgyzstan (careful!! It’s not signposted at all! It’s quite easy to find because it’s the first motorway exit you come up with) and found ourselves on a very nice valley. A steadily climbing road, but with a VERY easy climb (sometimes it’s even hard to realize you’re going uphill), through some shadowed forest, made our morning. Lots of towns and places to stop as well. It didn’t fel that hot anymore neither, so when we stopped for food (km 55) we could have kept going.
From that point onwards (km 55 of our route) the trees disappear, and landscape turns desert-like. Careful, almost no towns nor places to stop, and much hotter! There’s some stop around km 80, but almost nothing else.
Also, there is a motorway that runs parallel to the road we were following. Google maps doesn’t show this. At km 55 and next ones, be careful, since most signs seem to point you to take this motorway; the parallel small road is much more nicer for cycling.
And then suddenly you arrive to Ulugqat. You’ve climb 1000m and you haven’t really noticed it, but you will notice you’re somewhere different. Ulugqat has a taste of an artificial city, built up to host different companies and to secure this part of the country. Huge avenues see lots of police cars (some of them, mini tanks) up and down. We asked for a hotel/hostel/something, and a policeman saw us asking. So he took us to a police station, from where we were taken to another one (we were cycling, following a security-van), and somebody from a hotel came to pick us up (we had to follow him again). Passports were asked for for a thousand times and, in the end, we ended up some 50m from where we were asking for directions in the first place. The hotel had a party, karaoke included, but no electricity was available next morning, which meant carrying our bikes for 5 floors. And some other random facts happened there as well, but I’ll leave it for the time being.