Brian's Blog
Wednesday, 9 July 2008
Zipping thru Kazakhstan
Mood:  a-ok

Well things have moved along pretty quick since leaving Chelyabinsk. After a day in Astana where they were celebrating their 10th anniversary as the country's capitol with bands playing all day and fireworks at night, I put in a few 80k days, camping out by a river one night that was apparently the trail of the evening cattle and morning goat drive. Laying in the sleeping bag hoping I got up before the cattle arrived! Turned down a few offers for a ride before finally relenting.

Caught a lift with Alike to Semipalatinsk which really put me back on track time wise. Stayed with Alike and his daughter Diana for a day, going out at night with him and his friend Nicolay as they showed me the town. Semi is the home of Russia's nuclear testing sites, very appropriate since Eastern Kazakhstan is a dead ringer for Northern Nevada.  But for the lack of moblile homes I felt a though I was back home where I grew up. Endless kilometers of scrub desert with very few towns or villages. I really enjoyed the riding here since it was mostly flat and heading south here to Ayaguz the wind was at my back enabling me to put in a few 80-100k days.

I'm here in the main administrators office at the post office in Ayaguz writing this, the only place in town they have internet today. I'll not attempt to upload any photos since they have work to do and need the computer back. From here it is a 3 maybe 4 days tops ride to the Chinese border and this place is the last shot I have at a hotel ($8!) and internet until I reach Urumqi, the largest and one of the few towns in western China.

Be a couple of days where I must carry all my food and water between stops, but on the other hand there always seem to be a gas station or cafe right when you need one. Funny how I set out a month ago to spend less time in Russia and more in Kazakhstan but it turned out the other way. As I have found all along the way, the people here are super nice and always somewhat amazed I'm pulling into their little village or town. All day I'll be flagged down by people to ask how I came to be here and many times I've gone into a store or cafe for water or chow and they refused to let me pay. Out in the middle of nowhere but never on your own.

It's hard to believe after all this I'm on the verge of entering my final country. Before the journey I just kept imagining crossing China on a bicycle, the rest of the trip a blur leading up to it. It'll be a great way to finish, hitting all the points. Entering the west in one of the most remote deserts on earth with it's Kazak and nomad culture to the lushness of the east and the Chinese people. I'm on schedule or maybe a bit ahead, I hear the roads in China are very good, good news since my front fork is showing a minor tweak.Otherwise the bike's holding up well considering its age and all it's been thru.   Folks, China, the belle of the ball, the prettiest girl in the room awaits and I'm feelin' good. Thanks for everyones well wishes and I'll see you in October.   be cool   Brian 

Posted by briansride at 11:25 PM PDT
Updated: Thursday, 10 July 2008 10:11 PM PDT

Thursday, 10 July 2008 - 4:36 PM PDT

Name: "Mom"

2008-07-10:  Hi Brian just read your latest blog and you are cruising along at full speed personality wise and time wise, Im sure many people  see the real American in you and not those reports we read about people hating us abroad which leaves me with a nice feeling Maureen and John have already bought there Airline tickets for T/giving so be ready for long nights of talk when it arrives.Love you Brian and stay safe, Mom.

Friday, 11 July 2008 - 7:39 AM PDT

Name: "Ron Reed"

Freakin' Awesome!

Really glad you're back on  track and everything is running well again!

It's gonna make one helluva book!  (Just remember when you make the movie; Dom DeLouise plays me, Devito plays Jim :)

Keep the rubber side down and keep on pedaling brother!

We'll be looking forward to your next update!  Stay safe!


Friday, 11 July 2008 - 11:09 AM PDT

Name: "Kirk Bennett"

People like to travel:

That is why the grass is greener over the fence. We are walkers - our natural means of travel is to put one foot in front of the other. The bicycle seduces our basic nature by making walking exciting. It lets us take 10-foot strides at 160 paces a minute. That's 20 miles an hour, instead of 4 or 5... It is not only how fast you go - cars are faster and jet planes faster still. But jet-plane travel is frustrating boredom - at least the car gives the pictorial illusion of travel. Cycling does it all - you have the complete satisfaction of arriving because your mind has chosen the path and steered you over it; your eyes have seen it; your muscles have felt it; your breathing, circulatory and digestive systems have all done their natural functions better than ever, and every part of your being knows you have traveled and arrived. 

"Cyclists...are the gods of the road."


Take care and see you when you get back, I look forward to talk story with you.



                         Kirk Bennett 


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