157 miles (252.67 kms for the metric-civilised world)
#Kalaikhum to #Khorog
157 miles is aproximately the distance that separates us from Khorog, where the actually Pamir Highway is supposed to start. It’s not a long distance, when compared to other bits we’ve done so far. Or at least this is what you think without knowing the road you are going to take.
As soon as we leave the village of Kalaikhum, we suddenly get the idea of what to expect next. The asphalt is just a mirage, a hope of something we would desire to have, a desire stronger than the Transformer or Barbie you wanted for Christmas when you were eight years old. The road is a sequence of gravel, potholes and some remembrance of asphalt, probably of 50 years ago (we know, 50 years ago there was no asphalt for sure on this track, but it looks so old here than it might be that old, at least in the appearance). The stretches of road in which we can go more than 15 mph are as rare as a clover.
After less than 50 miles, we get another flat. Which is shit, since we have only one spare tire left. At least Ilaria has a chance to prove the skills she learnt in changing tires. The unpleasant accident makes our march even slower. Getting another flat won’t be nice, if you’re planning to reach Khorog in a reasonable time. We mean, the view is really nice from down the valley, a lot of mountain landscapes (hell yeah, you’re gonna get a lot of mountain pictures for the whole Pamir), but let’s say that we’d like to get going.
We stop for lunch at the only place we find on our way, where we cross again team Kuros and the English guys with the white Polo. Guess what again? A dish of Plov (this time for lunch, thanks God), and we’re on the go again. Nothing much happens. We stroll down the valley, with our eyes up, looking at all the beauty that the M41 offers us.
20 kms from Khorog, after a nice face to face with a local snake which was really interested in our wee, and after 10 hours driving, we meet the asphalt again. The relief is so huge that we pick up the most complicated hostel to reach in town. In fact the road leading there has no asphalt again, and it goes uphill, so that the last 2 miles we drive we have basically to push like hell in narrow streets, in the upper part of Khorog. Not happy with that, we decide to find a mechanic to fix our rims (you know, we might need some spare tires for the rest of the Pamir). So we drive downhill again, on dismal roads, to end up in a small yard, full of scraps, and nobody around. A guy, who’s not the mechanic, told us to leave the tires there. Tomorrow at seven, or at two, we don’t know or understand, they’ll be ready. We hope it will be seven.
Finally, to make everything much better, we go for dinner in the “city center”, which is almost 1 hour away from our hostel by walk. This automatically implies a return in a local marshutka, driven by a drunk driver (of course). We like it complicated, and we can’t get rid of it.
Number of countries crossed: 14
Days without accidents: 0
Number of times the counter has been reset: 4
Number of times the Jelly Belly has been washed: 1