Talas to Ala Bel Pass, Kyrgizstan Week 125 August 18th 2013
Before a small whinge a quick thanks for recent support. It makes a difference. 

We're finally near having a good rest at Lake Sary-Chelek. Just a bit of bureaucracy for next steps to tidy up while we have internet.

And to the gps - "but we are on the A361". Don't they ever listen?

We've been on it since the border, we think.

The yellow/pink line should be about 6km to the left. Then its consistent with the Reise Map. The blue line (where we've been) is consistent with googlemaps.

And we joined the pink line it at the south most right angle corner on the blue line.

We remain a bit confused.

We are in the lower, wider, part of the Otmok Valley.

Headed upriver.

We'd hoped to have a look at the mountains to the south. But we think the maps have the junctions marked incorrectly.

No internet to check.

Gers (or yerts).

A concrete one for a bus stop.

And the statue of (we think) Genchis.

The villages are long, thin, no centre, and have political posters on every power pole.

This is a country of about 5 million people with unstable government.


It took a while to find the centre.

A relaxed sort of place.
With a butcher's shop.

We thought we'd become used to butchers' practices.

After the ATM at the bank, which worked once I didn't exceed their limit, we headed for the Beeline office.

Just where Laurie said it would be (thanks for the googling).

Easiest mobile phone sim card buying so far.

No id, sim card cost about 20 cents, 2Gb internet for about A$10. Set up for me and working within 5 minutes.

Surely it must be Genghis!
On the way out of Talas we were stopped by the police again.

Twice. The locals were paying.

I adpopted a  different but riskier tactic.

First time when asked for money I laughed, said "bye bye" and walked back to the truck.

Second time the guy in the car had more gold braid. A slight variation, they wanted the truck parked where Ali couldn't see. After baing asked for money I asked what the problem was. They suggested speeding. I laughed again, said something like "get off" and walked back to the truck. 

Neither lot were happy but both lots said "bye-bye".

Just something about the Kazakhs and Kyrgyz that suggested it might be worth trying. I doubt it would have worked in Russia.

The same barriers between houses and road as in Kazakhstan.
Manas Ordu?

Or at least somewhere near it.


Like a tumulus with the middle dug out.

We've somehow missed the 14th century mausoleum and museum.

Perhaps across the road.

We presume little tombs.

Sort of terraced tombs, to keep the cost down.

As we head east the valley narrows. We are gaining height and its drier.
But wait. There are ghers and herds.
And mountains.
The highest we've been for a while.

Nearly as high as Mount Cook.

Third gear most of the way up on brilliant smooth road.

A vague hint of the engine getting warm after 20 minutes of climbing so a bit of second gear patience.

And down again.

Third gear still.

The A361 meets the M41.

We turn right towards Toktogul.

Surely Genghis yet again.

Up again to the Ala Bel Pass.
At 3184 m.

There's been no loss of water from the radiator for the last couple of weeks so its time to put in some of the anti-freeze I bought in Turkey.

The valley is relatively narrow at the road and steep sided.

Large herds and the ghers have taken all the good camping spots.

Our attempts to camp are a bit thwarted by the assumption that we need some hospitality.

The second lone cyclist that's passed us.

We found a spot just off the road.

We heard the giggles before we saw them.

Not quite quick enough with the camera.

A squeal of wheels, and that crunching noise as something comes to a sudden stop.

Looks like the car coming down the hill left the road to their right, into the dip, then back up the slope to the road.

Then across the road and into the ditch on the far side.

I've often wondered how cars ended up in those positions.

Within about 15 minutes the car had been pushed back on to the road.

Damage looked superficial. They lost a lot of plastic trim off the front.

They carried on after another 15 minutes.

We watched a movie and went to sleep.

Toktogul via Toluk to Song-Kol, Kyrgizstan - Part One Week 125 August 19th - 20th 2013

John Head Tue, 20 Aug 13 16:38:41 +1000
Sorry I cannot make a useful comment but only acknowledge my continuing interest in your adventures. Safe travelling...

Sorry, comments closed.