Our feet and bikes are caked in mud. The space between the mudguards and tyre jammed with thick mud. It takes every bit of strength to push through it … of course there was the option to leave the bike by the road and just walk in. One of us did that.
As we climb aboard I realise I left left our Satellite tracker back at our campsite. An hour plus ride or hitch. I opt to hitch. For the first half an hour I think I have made the wrong decision- then finally a car comes and stops. It is a grandfather and his granddaughter. I climb in. About 5 kilometres later I am dropped off – he is turning off, his grand daughter starts crying – she is about 18 months old – and he can’t get me out quick enough. Not long after another car stops. It is full. Two men in front, 3 in back plus small boy. The somehow make room for me – four grown men and one boy in the back. I am dropped back at the covered market area. The stall holder waves and is holding up my tracking device!
A taxi takes me back to the pontoon but won’t go any further. Thankfully, there are motorbikes with side carts and I’m invited on for the last few kilometres.
The rain has all stopped and we head off in search of water – by now our supplies are getting low. As the roads dry, the dust starts swirling.
Just as our water runs out we reach the Uzbek version of a roadhouse. More eggs, tomato and cucumber salAd and bread and lots of water. It’s getting hot now. Only about 80 kms to go and it will be on the main road so we foolishly think that will be quick.
We hit the trifecta- bad road surface, headwind and hills.
As are lucky to have long hours of daylight. Sun rises just after 5am and sets not long before 9pm. It was a long hot dry and dusty afternoon and evening.
Finally at around 9pm we roll into Nukus. Michel is at the hostel to greet us. He excitedly shares our exploits with other travellers. We are hot, very tired, dirty and hungry. It is great to have a helping hand to find some food before we eat wash and crash.
We have two days – and an amazing collection of Russian art held in what is known as the lost Louvre of Uzbekistan
The museums are an art lovers paradise! One more day absorbing it all then we’re on a train for about 21 hours from here back to Tashkent.