Rally Day 18 – 20
Worst road ever
The whole convoy of 5 vehicles drove further north from the Derweze gas crater, but the road turned out to be exceptionally bad. It took us roughly 8 hours to drive 300 km in 45 degrees heat. The goal was to reach the Turkmenistan – Uzbekistan border in the north before it closed and we barely made it.
The border crossing into Uzbekistan was a total nightmare, they had to search everything in the car. We emptied ALL our stuff on the ground and they went through it, meanwhile they also searched the vehicle with special optical camera gear and everything. In this situation the only thing you can do is to smile and behave, if the custom guards are in a bad mood things are only going to take longer.
In the end our small convoy made it through and got to a hotel in Nuqus. Here we met several other teams and went for food and beers. One team had their vehicle towed for 7 hours and another had snapped their rear axle. The bad roads are taking their toll now.
In the morning every vehicle went their own way and Team No Khan do set course towards Khiva, an old silk road / slave trading city. On the way we spent time trying to find a car repair shop that could fix our now very bad clutch, but we didn’t succeed. To make matters worse Christian caught a bug or something so his stomach was acting up.
We managed to get to Khiva and it turned out to be absolutely stunning. The entire historical part of the city is surrounded by a mud wall, the atmosphere is really authentic. You can easily imagine the camel caravans arriving from distant places with all their goods.
As we woke up in Khiva we decided to head towards Bukhara some 400 km away. First we needed gasoline for our car, which turned out to be quite hard to come by. During this time of year there is a chronic shortage of fuel in Uzbekistan, meaning all gas stations are completely empty. So what you have to do is to buy the gas from locals, they sell it in plastic bottles. You just have to hope the quality is okay and it is as unsettling and weird as it sounds.
After a long drive dodging potholes on the bad roads, we arrived in Bukhara in the evening. The city turned out to be quite nice, but we still feel Khiva is more beautiful and less tourist infected. Later on several other Mongol Rally teams turned up at our hotel, among them our trusty friends from Team Raven Shoe.
Soon we hope to drive out of the desert area, the heat here is quite intense…
– Team No Khan Do