a possible shortcut

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These are the slippers I had worn for about 100km through the Turkmen desert:

the Kazakh slippers

They looked the part. I was glad to be back in my regular hiking shoes again.

The Caboose was doing a great job, by the way. No problems whatsoever, she was always there, ready to go:

the Caboose at work

We passed what looked like a little shop in the desert:

shop in the desert?

The road was very new and very good at this point:

new asphalt

But I didn’t like it. Good roads in Central Asia (or in China) often mean that drivers think they’re on a race track. Everyone was going super fast, which meant that it was not only loud but also quite dangerous to be walking on the shoulder of the road.

So naturally I was happy when I saw a construction zone:

construction zone

There were some workers:

workers’ truck

And there was a car under a protective cover:

car under cover

I figured it probably belonged to someone important.

The Boss and the Don were always close by:

our car

We passed what looked like an abandoned building:

Sehitli

Or maybe it was just the entrance to a graveyard, I was not sure:

graveyard?

Then we came to a truck stop in a small oasis:

restaurant in the desert behind Mary

Got some cold drinks. Then we pressed on:

truck saying hi

And then the desert stopped again. There was a sign to a village:

Volunyzak

Just a few houses in the distance, basically:

settlement near Mary

I went and chatted with some folks. They didn’t speak Russian that well, and I didn’t either. But we managed. We took some selfies together. And I gave the little kid one of my TLW gunny sacks:

I gave her a TLW bag

Then it was cotton country:

cotton pickers

We passed field after field, and since it was six in the evening, many of the cotton pickers were on their way home:

on a motorcycle

Then there was a settlement:

evening road

It had a bunch of small restaurants:

dudes waving

And there was a large hotel that catered to truck drivers:

hotel in the village

Many of the trucks that were parked there had come here all the way from Turkey:

Turkish trucks

We crossed a fairly large river:

river at night

And then we left the good road…

big bridge

…and stepped on the bad road:

bad road

This was part of our plan. We were going to take a shortcut to the border and shave off about 20 or 30km from our total. The road would be bad, though. How bad exactly? We didn’t know. But we figured we would give it a try.

We camped close to a reservoir that night. The Boss and the Don had bought some fresh fish in one of the restaurants in the settlement:

fish for dinner

So our dinner was extra nice.



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