For the last 100Km, up to the Khunjerab Pass at the Chinese border, the highest in the world at 4,693 meters, there is a perfectly paved road which was built by the Chinese. The landscape in this area is impressive. Here you will also find the highest located ATM machine in the world! Border formalities take two hours with unpacking everything and using the X-ray equipment and a dog sniffs for drugs. All images on cameras and the computer are checked by officers. The group’s guide is already waiting to escort the party to Taxkorgan, the town where the official border authority is located. Riding along a wide paved road passing impressive mountains the group arrive and once again they are required to unpack everything so that it can be passed through the X-ray machine. Once again, there is a sniffer dog hunting for drugs. With everything back on the motorcycles the group is taken to a huge X-ray system made for trucks. Each motorcycle is driven individually into the gigantic facility. If that was not enough, the group then continue onto a weighing station for lorries where each motorcycle is placed on the scales at 35 degrees Celsius. The group gets through. The motorcycles are then kept in a hall until certain documentation is available. The group is required to return the next day at 11.00am which they do and are kept waiting in the blazing sun until 1.00pm but the necessary document is not yet available so the group is told to go away and return the following day at 11.00am which they do and once again are made to wait. At 12.00pm the officials state the document is ready and the group and their motorcycles can leave. The whole procedure took two full days.
The group is escorted to the city of Kaxgar by their escort service, which cost $4800 for four days. Chinese medicine has a long tradition of using animal parts for healing purposes. Most of the horns of rhinos killed in Africa go to China and Vietnam.
In Kyrgyzstan, the roads begin to get worse again. Overnight, the group stay in Sarytasch, a small town with 1400 inhabitants. From here there is a fantastic view of the mighty mountains of the Pamir. The Pamir Highway in Tajikistan runs directly along the Afghan border and is only separated by the river. Cities such as Kunduz and Masar-e Scharif on the Afghan side are barely more than 100 km away. The roads are bad, but the mountain scenery is truly impressive.
In Kazakhstan, the roads are straight and endless and cruise control makes it possible for a rider to take a hand off the handlebars.
In Mongolia the group covered 800km of torturous sand tracks until they arrived at the capital Ulaanbaatar. The average mileage dropped to 100km per day with most of the heavy vehicles sinking into the Mongolian sand.
From Ulaanbaatar the group began an approx. 9000km route along a comparatively unspectacular route via Irkutsk, Krasnoyarsk and Moscow back to home.
Arriving home everyone was happy to have survived this extremely strenuous tour without any major damage or injuries.
Watch the gallery