Page 2 of Biker Jim Travel Blog Posts

Asia » China » Xinjiang » Yinning June 9th 2014

China Today we left Kazakhstan and I made my last border crossing. Getting out of Kazakhstan was not really bad, and getting to China was a different world. Instead of many people writing stuff by hand, the Chinese border was a lot like an airport. You are not supposed to take pictures at the border, but almost all of the workers rushed out to greet us and take pictures of our motorcycles. They bad no problem with photos, and were most helpful. Since our emtry had been approved on advance, they knew we were coming. We had to carry some stuff across the border, and we didn't take our passports because we didn't realize we would have yo go outside the compound. Four of us entered China the second time without any documents. The Chinese have ... read more

Asia » Kazakhstan » East Kazakhstan » Almaty June 5th 2014

Almaty Almaty is the largest city in central Asia (or maybe Tashkent is, depending on who you believe). We are here for three days to do bike maintenance and get organized for entry to China. That will be my last border crossing. We will have one day to look around in Almaty. Almaty has some spectacular mountains to the south and lots of tree lined streets. It is pretty typical of a relatively large city pretty much anywhere in the world. ... read more

Asia » Kazakhstan » Taraz » East Kazakhstan June 4th 2014

Taraz Another border crossing, this time to Kazakhstan. Leaving Uzbekistan was slow and inefficient, with lots of time spent roasting in the sun. It took about five hours to get out of Uzbekistan and into Kazakhstan. The Kazakhstan countryside is very much like Kansas, Nebraska, and eastern Colorado or Wyoming. There are plains, rolling hills, and high mountains on the border with Kyrgyzstan It was a very long day with bad roads I'm the dark. We got to the hotel after midnight. From what little we saw of Taraz, it looked like a pleasant, well organized small city. ... read more

Asia » Uzbekistan » Tashkent June 3rd 2014

Tashkent Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, is different from the other places we have been in Uzbekistan. It is a large city with a diverse population. It has a lot of Russian influence. We did some walking around and visited the steam engine museum. We found lots of hole in the wall places to eat with good local food. ... read more

Asia » Uzbekistan » Tashkent June 2nd 2014

Tashkent A very pleasant riding day to Tashkent, the capitol of Uzbekistan. The temperature was about 80 F with a cooling breeze. We have a day to see Tashkent before going on to Kazakhstan.... read more

Asia » Uzbekistan » Samarkand » Samarqand May 31st 2014

Samarkand At last we arrived in Samarkand, the Queen city of the Silk Road. This stop is my primary interest on this trip. Tomorrow we have a day off to explore Samarkand. Uzbekistan has been a great place to travel. The people are happy and industrious. Even in the countryside they are very well dressed. Donkey carts are everywhere, carrying large loads down the highway. The drivers are minimally aggressive and excited to see us. This place is so much better than Turkmenistan.... read more

Asia » Uzbekistan » Bukhara May 30th 2014

Bukhara The weather was much cooler on the ride to Bukhara, one of the great Silk Road cities. Today we got to have a new adventure called try to fond fuel. In Khiva the gas stations are either closed or have no fuel. We got black market fuel of questionable quality in 5 liter plastic bottles from a car wash. Supposedly, fuel would be more available nearer Bukhara. After passing dozens of closed stations, and being in the middle of nowhere, I stopped a a decrepit old building with a few guys sitting around. After some thinking, one of them had fuel available. He hopped on the back and we took a 500 meter ride to his house. Out came the plastic bottles. I managed to get enough to get to Bukhara with about 20 miles ... read more

Asia » Uzbekistan » Khiva May 27th 2014

Khiva After hours of useless bureaucracy and searches to get out of Turkmenistan, we got to Uzbekistan, my primary reason to take this trip. Crossing the border led to an amazing change. All of a sudden there were people along the road, farmers working their fields, kids on bicycles, and lots of traffic, much of it donkey carts hauling produce. Uzbekistan is much poorer than Turkmenistan, but the people seem much happier. We got to Khiva, one of the main Silk Road cities, fairly late. Much of the town is contained inside the old wall. Some things have been rebuilt, but lots of old mud brick houses are still occupied, and many have deteriorated into piles of rubble. Khiva has a huge open air market with lots of food and just about any thing else you ... read more

Asia » Turkmenistan » Dashoguz May 26th 2014

Darvaza The Darvaza gas crater is probably the best attraction in Turkmenistan. The government has been trying to close it for years, but has not yet succeeded. The Russians were drilling for gas in 1971 and the ground collapsed, leaving a large crater. Gas was escaping, so they decided to burn it off. It has been burning for forty years or so. The temperature was 110 F abandnd the road was poor. There were lots of camels and lots of nothing along the way. At least we were allowed to drive out of Ashgabat. We spent a hot night camping in the desert so we could see the crater in the dark. The following day was only 106 F. It was escape from Turkmenistan day. The three best things about Turkmenistan are the gas crater, the ... read more

Asia » Turkmenistan » Ashgabat May 24th 2014

Ashgabat The drive from Turkmenbashi to Ashgabat was two hundred miles of really bad road, and one hundred sixty of pretty good road. The temperature was above 100 F most of the day. The country side looked more like the Mojave Desert than I could believe. It has the same hills and vegetation. I bottomed out the suspension a few times, scraped the center stand once, and shook the mirrors loose. The main attraction of Turkmenistan is the price of fuel, about 31 cents/liter ($1.20/gallon). We had to pay a foreigner fuel tax on entry, but it is still cheap. Getting yo our hotel was a real problem that started with the planned route blocked for construction, followed by a bunch of street closures because the president was on his way to his palace. Unfortunately. the ... read more

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