26th May – Kuytun to Horgas

The boys get up early this morning to run a check over some of the cars and in particular tighten up the exhaust nuts as 2 of the cars have lost these so far, Dash B a week or so ago & Burgundy today. Shamrocks sump guard is put back in place & Burgundy’s spark plugs are changed.

While the boys are doing this a big white closed in ute with aerials & Communications gear on board parks in front of our cars.  He asks about our radio licences, but he doesn’t speak any English.  Green comes down and speaks to him & he wants to check our CB radios.  He runs tests on all of them & then announces that we are not allowed to use them and we must take them out of our cars.  He takes all the radios away and Green goes with him.

We meet a local mechanic and his friend Amelia in the hotel car park while Green is dealing with our CB radios.  We use the time to stock up on our supplies at the supermarket while we wait for Green to return.


The communications officer puts our CB radios into a sealed box which Green keeps with her in Burgundy and they will be removed from the box & given back to us at the border. If we break the seal Green will be in a lot of trouble, so we head out of town without our normal radio communications.  Shiraz is at the back of the group as we have a Chinese phone and can be in contact with the lead car & a car in the middle that also has a Chinese phone in them.  We are lucky that we only have today in China as we cross the border tomorrow into Kazakhstan.  So we head out of town being escorted to the highway by our mechanic friend on his huge Honda goldwing bike.

Our drive today is 420 kilometres starting off through the dessert again and then we see the snow capped Tian mountains to the south & north of us.  It’s a pity about the power station in the foreground of the view.

We stop at Sayram lake that is at over 2,000 metres.  This is a popular area for people to go horse riding along the lake as the locals hire their horses out to tourists and Ros can’t resist a ride!

It’s quite cold here at the lake as we are at the foothills of these beautiful mountains.

We continue our drive through very steep passes and over a very high bridge where we are at over 2,000 metres above sea level and the air is quite cool.

As we arrive at our hotel we are met by Tracey from Navo who has come 2,000 kilometres to meet us and say hello & goodbye tomorrow.

Tonight we have our farewell dinner with Green as tomorrow we cross the border into Kazakhstan.  John reflects on our days in China since Xian and starting on our Silk Road trip. We’ve certainly seen & done a lot in 12 Days.

Green does an appraisal of each car and and those of us who were good leaders, it’s all done in good humour and gives us all a good laugh, although Michael does need to fix our passenger side window winder handle as it keeps breaking and we didn’t score very high in points for having much space in our car, we must have too many tools!

Navo present each couple with a gift bag containing, a brochure with our cars in it, a video of our trip in China, 2 caps and a lovely set of enabled chopsticks, spoons & forks, which is very generous of them and greatly appreciated.

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