16 Aug, 2009
Posted by: Scott In: The Rally
The other teams we had came with were heading across Kazakhstan eastward, so The Alchemists and us decided to team up on the way to the Uzbek border. The road leading out of the city and south towards Beyneu was amazing–newly paved, it was the best road we had seen since Germany. We made short work of the next few hundred kilometers, traveling at around 80MPH the whole way and passing Dossor and Qulsary. We were hoping for these roads to last, but once we got to Opornyy our good times ended. Back to the pot-holed, sand and gravel roads that we had dealt with when entering the country–in worse condition this time. We stopped to fill up our car and checked the oil. The 80MPH driving in the heat had caused us to burn about two pints of oil which we promptly replaced. We had also had enough of our roof rack. It had sat empty for a while, and we could now fit everything inside of the car quite easily, so why have the extra drag on the car? (It also dripped into the car whenever it rained since the straps went through the rubber lining on the doors.) We took it off and gave it to a passing Kazakh family that seemed interested in it. They’ll ut it to good use I’m sure.
The bad roads continued on with the occasional short stretches of newly paved roads. I’m sure that by next year the entire stretch will be paved, but for now we were ‘lucky’ enough to be one of the last to enjoy the old-style roads. We reached Beyneu in the early evening, the last outpost of civilization before a long stretch of road through the desert into Uzbekistan. Coming into town we saw two teams off to the side fiddling around with their roof rack (they seem to cause lots of problems). One four-person team was from Ireland, the other two-person team was from Denmark. We pulled over and ended up joining up with them, making our convoy a four-car one yet again. We had heard that it was tough to find water and gas throughout this next stretch, so we stopped at the town market and stocked up on both. We also purchased some ice cream bars, which were quite tasty. The sun was already setting, so we set off in a south-easterly direction towards the border. The Irish team kept having problems with their car and roof rack, which delayed us a few times. It was pretty evident that we wouldn’t make the border that night, so we found a place to camp off the side of the road and stopped for the night.
Pictures have been posted in the gallery.