Saturday, June 11, 2011 at 03:29AM
Since my last update we left Almaty, Kazakhstan and traveled to Turpan (Turfnan) China. Approxamately 1350km / 840miles.
In Almaty most of us went to a local garage and changed our oil. Here is a picture of Nicolas working on his bike. Most of us have been traveling in t-shirts but Nicolas is always well dressed and his shirts are always clean and well pressed. I'm not sure how he does it.
From Almaty we rode to Zharkent on our way to the Chinese boarder but we took a detour on some dirt roads to explore Kazakhstan's mini "Grand Canyon." The roads were pretty tricky with sections of soft sand but all in all we had a great time being off the pavement.
Crossing the Chinese boarder was not easy and it took more then ten hours. First we needed to get ourselves and our bikes checked out of Kazakhstan and then we needed to get ourselves and the bikes into China. There was a lot of standing around and waiting for some official to inspect or stamp various documents. Not only did our bags get x-rayed but the bikes did too. I wish I could had some pictures to show you but anyone that has done any traveling knows that customs officials and cameras don't always mix well together.
On our way to Urumqi we rode over a mountain pass and stopped for lunch on the edge of a beautiful alpine lake.
The following photo is of John, Dan and their new best friend. John and Dan rode together into Urumqi but just as they got into town Dan ran out of gas. I was a few minutes behind them with Nick and Randy. We knew that we did not have an accurate address in our GPSs and we would need to figure out where the hotel was. Nick, Randy and I pulled into a gas station and immediately one of the customers came up to me and in a very excited way was trying to tell me something. He desperately wanted me to follow him but anyone that knows me knows that I am a freak magnet and there was no way I was going any where with this over excited China man. He seemed completely crazy and overly happy to see me. I decided to ignore him and managed to flag down a taxi. I showed the taxi driver the address of the hotel and we followed him to the hotel. A few minutes later John and Dan arrived at the hotel lead by the over excited China man. Apparently, he was at the gas station buying gas to bring back to Dan and he wanted to tell me that he knew where my friends were. We had a good laugh and took a few photos...
In Urumqi we met up with a local motorcycle club. We were told that it was a BMW club but when we got there the leader of the club was wearing a KTM shirt and hat. (BMW = good, KTM = Bad ;-)) Here is a photo of a future club member. Hopefully he gets a good education and some good guidance and rides a BMW and not a KTM.
Here is a cool kid we met in the local market....