Day 42 Khorog

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Off at 6.30 am in anticipation of a long ride. Bike feeling much better on the rough stuff with dirt tyres front and rear. Must have been some rain overnight, making the roads a bit slippery. After about 40 miles we came across a fresh landslide from last night’s rain, blocking the road. There was a 4×4 stuck on top of the pile of very wet mud and rock, and a bunch of people standing around not really doing anything. Being British, we got stuck in and started shovelling mud and helping to push the car, which was well and truly stuck in mud that turned to water under your feet, like quicksand. They called up a truck to help tow the car out, but the only tow rope around was too short. I offered up my tie down straps, but the idiot truck driver pulled away so sharply that the hooks bent. Eventually, after much pushing and pulling, mostly by us as all the locals just stood around not wanting to get their shoes dirty (they wear very impractical clothes here, and it’s quite comical seeing a man in military fatigues wearing school shoes), the car made it over. Then it was our turn. With absolutely no help from the crowd of onlookers, we dug away a path through one pile of mud, perilously close to the edge, and i piled some rocks to give traction up the next pile. After removing the panniers to make things more manageable, i carefully rolled round the path we had just cleared, trying not to look at the steep drop on my right, and then gunned it up the steep slope of sticky mud, hanging on for the ride, fingers metaphorically crossed. Made it about half way. With dave pushing and pulling, we gradually rocked it over the top for another roller coaster ride down the other side. Exhausted, relieved and amazed, we went back for dave’s bike, and with better technique on my second go, with dave pushing again, we made it over, covering dave from head to toe in mud. And off we went, while all the idle onlookers just stood there. They’re probably still there, even though between them they could have shovelled it all away in an hour or so. Staring seems to be the national passtime in this country. The road was much better than expected, and blasting over the gravel was fun. The scenery was just incredible, like Lord Of The Rings country. We made good time, avoided getting robbed by any more militia, simply by blasting past and waving in return to their gestures to stop. Arriving in Khorog we rode around for a while trying to find the Pamir Lodge, and with a little luck we found it. Another exhausting but exhilarating day.