A few hundred kilometres in a few days and we are out of the mountains and into the Kyzyl Kum (Red Sand) desert. Trailing our friend Neil (cycleeatsleep.blogspot.com) during the day and catching up for the evening camp was the daily standard since arriving in Uzbekistan. One of Uzbekistan's ancient cities, Bukhara, rises out of the sand in the shape of sand-coloured minarets and blue tiled mosques and medressas. The sun scorches our tent by day on the rooftop of a guesthouse while the moon shines brightly through the night.
Our time is limited now though due to the Turkmenistan embassy in Dushanbe issuing us a three day transit visa instead of the five day one that most applicants receive. Over five hundred kilometres across the desert nation to the Iranian border. Turkmenistan was always going to be the wild card. Our friend Paul got five days whilst we got three and different entry dates to those we asked for. Others have ridden the desert marathon in three days but the wind, the bureaucracy and our bodies will determine if we succeed or not. If not, a train or truck will get us across in time to the Iranian border at Sarakhs.
Bukhara, UzbekistanPedalled: 75,567 km