8th of August, 2014
Last border issues were supposed to arrive today. According to most of the maps I’d seen, the main road went into Uzbekistan, to where I had no visa, but everybody kept telling me there was no need to do so. And they were right again.
Just 100m before the Uzbek border in Kadamzhai, there’s an (still) unpaved road towards Osh. No sign there, so you must ask around. Chinese are working on paving it, so it might become a proper road sometime soon. At this time, even if unpaved, it’s a good road, flat and with fine gravel. The only problem is that the initial uphill feels too hard if you donit first thing in the morning!!
After 15 kms you join the “main road” that comes through Uzbekistan, right at the border. It’s funny how they check your passport at Kyrgyzs border but obviously they haven’t at the Uzbek side (actually, you join the main road through no man’s land). And from here onwards, no matter what maps might say (mine said that the road went back into Uzbekistan one last time), you’ll be in Kyrgyzstan all the way til Osh.
That’s supposed to be good news (no more borders!!) but it’s not so much: the road is pretty crap. Sure, there’s asfalt all the way through, but it’s an old asfalt and it’s bumpy most of the time. I had to pedal standing up a lot of time, it felt worse than most of mountain roads! Still, you can survive.
Kyzyl-Kaal is the main town on the route, although there are many more. You don’t really need to enter most of them, since the main road goes through a side most of the times; sometimes that’s good (avoiding traffic jams at markets), sometimes it feels sad (you don’t get to see the town unless you really make the effor).
The traffic here is pretty bad. Not maybe that much because there’s lots of that, but mostly because the road is bad and they drive as if it weren’t, really fast and not decelerating when they see a bike (nor abandoning the idea of overtaking when they see you coming!). Not too many trucks, at least, but millions of fast cars.
My idea was to sleep in a hotel/guesthouse/homestay/whatever in Hookat, but there was none. So I kept going and ended up camping in Osor, by the river. Totally recommended!!