Our visa to enter Tajikistan started on the 10th, which meant that we couldn’t enter that country on this day. Therefore, today was going to be a short day, and it was. We basically woke up, ride to Sari Tash, and then continue to the border. The views are still spectacular though, so it was a good idea to take a slow day.
It’s almost flat all the way to Sari Tash (but you’ll find one of those 8% climbs, of course). You’ll find some nice yurkas and some kids trying to sell milk. Still, arriving to a “real” town like Sari Tash felt good, specially since we knew we were not going to find many more. Sari Tash is a nice town, nothing special maybe but it has couple of hotels/guesthouses/whatever, some “coffee shops”, a petrol station and couple of shops. The views from the town are still nice.
Leaving there, it felt great to cross those neverending flatlands towards the mountains. You might need to stop to give way to sheep, or to talk to local kids (we didn’t do that with some of them because there are lots of them who want you to stop, so they got angry and threw us stones).
By the way, if you decide not to go to the Pamirs and go to Dushanbe straight from here, be careful!! That border is closed to foreigners!! (2014/07)
We camped by the Kyrgyzs border. The soldiers there are really nice, and they popped around to play with our bikes (they even borrowed them to go looking for horse milk). Crossing this border was really easy, no customs at all, and the soldiers were nicer than those at Irkeshtan pass.
By the way, as you can expect, no problem at all to camp anywhere you want!