Australian Road Rider

’STAN AND DELIVER!

The queue of trucks at the border between Russia and Kazakhstan is kilometres long, but they wave us through. We’re now travelling with French Canadian Damien Fauchet and his BMW R1200 GSA fitted with a Ural sidecar. He wanted company crossing the ’Stans. Leaving Western Russia is a simple enough process of passports, stamps and forms, a ride across no man’s land and we’re in Kazakhstan. Again, a simple border process and we’re on the road, well sort of road.

Since the old USSR dissolved in 1991 there’s been no maintenance to speak of. Potholes big enough to swallow Damien and his sidecar mean slow progress. While this is desert country, it does rain sometimes. A downpour brings another road hazard. There are no drains or run-off in the towns so paddling in axle-deep water is an interesting change from the dust and sand. I follow cars and trucks where I can, just in case there’s a hidden hole under water.

The desert landscape is broken up only by cemeteries manufactured out of mud and concrete, camels, goats and the occasional

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