We woke up just like we fell asleep the previous evening: To raindrops falling on the roof of our Hostel. Slowly, we got going and discussed the first pressing matter of the day: Will there be breakfast? Based on the remoteness and also the fact that it was pretty early, we concluded that, no, there will probably be no breakfast. To our surprise, as we were packing up, our host arrived and asked if we would like some breakfast. Hell yes!
Breakfast was served quickly: The usual fried eggs (with a LOT of oil) together with bread and tea. While the breakfast itself was tasty, nobody really felt like eating. Mike commented: “It feels like we are at a funeral”. We ate nevertheless because we’d need the energy for sure. After packing up, we set off into the wet. The road through the village was paved which made the start easy. Beyond that.. uncertain. We returned to the main road which we had taken the previous evening and turned back to Dushanbe. From there, we wanted to reevaluate the situation and decide what to do next.
Once we hit the dirt, it became apparent, that the situation had changed quite a bit since yesterday. The dry dirt had turned into mud and there were small trickels everywhere across the road. In spite of that, we got along pretty well. This was a relief for Fabi who had been pretty worried beforehand. Mike managed to get along surprisingly well, especially considering the road-orientated tires on his Suzuki. An other good thing we noticed was that cars were coming from where we were going.
The small streams we had crossed yesterday had gotten bigger overnight. Crossing the last crossing from yesterday would have been hard in these conditions. We managed trough the smaller crossings without any problems, at the larger ones we stopped and went through one after another. The fort where had met the stuck car yesterday was a little tricky, but we managed nevertheless. Still, having water in the boots, feeling water entering at the hip and the permanent need to pay 100% attention made the entire ride pretty ugly and the overall mood was less than ideal. At least the rain slowly got less.
Finally, we returned to tarmac. Here, we faced the next problem: The need for petrol. Even though we had only ridden around 280km since our last stop, both of us were already using the 4l petrol reserve. Driving in low gears all the time had definitely taken its toll. But we found some good 91′ octane petrol and that problem was dealt with as well.
On the tarmac the average speed increased and we were back in Dushanbe in early afternoon. What a ride! We followed Mike to the hotel where he had stayed before. After plastering all remotely suitable furniture with our wet clothes and having a shower, we met with Mike for late lunch. He had used the time to form a new plan: As he was on a pretty tight schedule, he had decided to ride north and cross into Kyrgyzstan without riding the Pamir. We however, were still undecided.
Our two options were:
– Follow mike north and skip the Pamir Highway
– Ride south using the “southern route” and have a second try at Pamir