Within just 100kms of crossing the invisible border between Karakalpakstan and the rest of Uzbekistan, we join the tarmac highway once again. Finally, I think to myself, we can get some serious kilometres out of the way. Yet it barely takes a hint of acceleration for me to realize that something is seriously amiss. Pixie has absolutely no intention of going faster than 30km/hr. She’s obviously become infected by that slow and steady camel sway we’ve been witnessing for days. She really does seem to be running on Uzbek time.
A quick evaluation by Chris results in a disastrous diagnosis: my clutch plates have almost completely worn out. I act shocked, upset and indignant, even though I actually have absolutely no idea what my clutch plates are, what they look like or what they do. I deduce that they are probably quite important to the running of a motorbike and that they are obviously in charge of my speed. Somehow…
The prognosis is even worst. Clutch plates are not something which can be fixed, but they must replaced. The nearest replacements? Well they would be in Germany thank you very much.
Clutch plates are round metal thingys (I soon learn) which determine how my motorbike changes gears. If they are worn out and do not move in the right direction (this part I’m just guessing) the bike will not be able to engage the gear and pick up speed. Basically, what I understood of our conversation was ‘blah blah blah blah blah you must ride in 2nd gear and below 2,500 revs at all times blah blah blah’. And that’s precisely what I do for the next 300kms.
Our first rest stop will be in the southern part of Uzbekistan. This is renowned as the most touristy area of the country, thanks to it being home to three of the most prominent pit stops of the Ancient Silk Road: Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand.
For once, I wish my Chrissy would be hopelessly off the mark yet a quick check (which actually takes half a day because both oil and water need to be drained from Pixie) confirms that my clutch plates are well and truly kaput. My only option, for the very first time on teh trip, is to order new plates from Germany and have them UPSsed to Uzbekistan. As you can imagine, this turns out to be about as easy, straightforward and pleasant as it sounds.
You want them sent WHEEEREEE???
I shall now spare you the details of our two-week long saga which included numerous back and forth emails and phone calls between us, Chris’ mum in Munich, the BMW centre in god-knows-where and the UPS offices both in Berlin AND Tashkent. Let’s just leave all the stress and frustration behind, shall we? Because soon enough, with all the bloody dramas we’ve been facing lately…you’ll start to wonder what the hell we’re doing all this for. I know I have.
So we’re going to take a holiday from our arduous journey, you and I. We’re going to play tourists. We’ll sleep in a real bed for two weeks, have multiple daily showers, gorge on hamburgers, drink beer at lunch and maybe even go jogging again at sunrise, something we both dearly love.
We should also probably spend a few days exploring the amazing architecture which makes these three cities such an enticing place to visit. Because surely there must be more than one reason to visit Uzbekistan?
After spending so many days crossing flat, brown and bland land…the explosion of colours in the cities is a feast I’m sure your eyes will treasure.
Hope you enjoy your break…and the very best Uzbekistan’s historic gems have to offer 🙂