Rest Day in the ‘City of Love’
Ashgabat, loosely translated, means the “City of Love”. Appropriate for Barb and Ken Cross who celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary – congrats! It is nice to have a day off, especially after the long days in the hot sun of Turkmenistan. The riders are not struggling with the distances, but rather just the intense heat throughout the day. Today, however, clean and comfortable hotel rooms, cold showers, a sleep-in, yummy breakfasts, city tours, a huge market and ‘oodles & oodles’ of cold water and soda does make it all a bit easier! Many riders enjoyed the Russian Bazaar, fought over time at internet cafes (dial up connections don’t quite cut it after Turkey and Azerbaijan), ate at the many restaurants around town, marveled at the large, expensive and oversized buildings (an ode to President Turkmenbashy), stared in awe at gold statue of the President in the middle of town and then did all the normal rest day things that they always do. Oh, there was a party in one of the hotels and by all reports it was quite a good one which may explain why a couple of riders were not seen on the rest day! Anyways, aside from slow internet and poor phone reception, Ashgabat has provided the riders with time to relax, time to eat, time to sleep, time to do washing, time to read, time to catch up on journals, time to see the sights, time to clean their bikes and time…well, time just to do whatever they please. Ashgabat marks the end of the Caspian Crossing section. Scott M took line honors in a time of 55hours and 55mins followed by Sandra Simon in a time of 60 hours 25mins! Next, the Golden Road section ending in legendary Samarqand!!