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Published: August 23rd 2015
We've finally made it to Khorog! It took us much longer than we expected for various reasons but we're here now and ready to start the Wakhan tomorrow.
After a very lazy morning in Dushanbe we eventually set off towards Khorog, a town that signifies the start of our last adventure ... The Pamir highway and the Wakhan corridor. The plan was just to get as far as possible and then camp wherever we were as it began to get dark. The driving was slow due to the bad roads and it quickly became apparent that due to our late start we would be on the road (and camping) for two nights. The drive was not made any quicker by being pulled over regularly to register out passports and car throughout the journey ... And a quick stop for Jason to pay his speeding fine 😉
As it was getting dark we managed to find a spot right next to a river and nicely out of sight of the road. Jason cooked a nice pasta, tomato, sausage dish (we're getting used to this now) and we enjoyed another clear sky before heading for an early night. Waking up early
to try and make good progress the next day was a good idea. We had attracted a fury friend during the night somehow and the dog didn't seem to want to leave us, even following us along the road as we left. A couple of hours into the journey we met a couple of Mongol rally teams who we convoyed with the rest of the day. It was good fun to have the company and the roads were becoming better and better as we progressed.
The other teams decided to calm by the side of the road a little early so we left them in an attempt to make a little more progress. When eventually we did stop it was just out of sight off the road along what we thought at the time was a disused track. We had another pasta, tomato and sausage special and we were just about to head for bed when a Lada full of Tajiks pulled up. Initially we were a little worried and thought we might be asked to move on, but the reality was far from that. We were greeted like long list friends and we had good fun trying to
make conversation with a phrase book (lifesaver book! Thanks Dick). They insisted we had some tomatoes and apples they had in their boot and went on their way, a bizarre yet great experience.
Then came the rain 😞 it rained all night, but conveniently stopped just as we got up. Camping in the rain isn't much fun, but we managed to stay dry luckily.
In the morning about 2 minutes after setting off we realised something wasn't quite right. The car wasn't pulling like it normally does. We were struggling to move on level ground in first gear, oh dear. All the worst possibilities went through our heads. All we had done last night was change the air filter as we were worried that all the dust we'd driven through might have clogged it up. Upon closer inspection, the air filter we had fitted (in the dark) was a little different to the original one. So the engine hadn't been getting enough air. We popped the old one back in and the car was purring like a dream once again. Crisis averted!
The rest of the driving today was simply stunning. The scenery has been such a pleasure to drive through. I'll put a few pictures up, but none will do it justice. We arrived in Khorog at lunchtime and have chilled out the rest of today, there seems to be a traditional music and dancing festival here to make things a little more entertaining. It's exciting to think the scenery will get even better tomorrow!
Dick - about half way round the northern route from Dushanbe to Khorog I remembered you advising to take the southern route! Whoops! I think that would have been quicker, but we'll see when we take that route back to the school.
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