Across Continents

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Passing ships

"There is a ferry across the Caspian?". I smiled. "Yes" I said, quickly adding that it took quite a bit of explaining. No timetable as such, chances are some additional fees to be paid to board. Or at least that was the case on the Azerbaijan side.

I’d been making steady progress along the dual carriageway towards Usu, a hundred miles of desert to cross, the odd small settlement. And then I’d spotted a heavily laden touring cyclist heading in the other direction. He was Japanese, a year or so younger than myself, already had South America under his belt and was heading towards Africa. We’d chatted for a while, a welcome break from riding in the searing afternoon heat. Exchanging advice, suggestions, for the road ahead. Then back to our separate ways.

I’d left the town of Jinghe earlier in the day, aiming to stop a little short of Usu, I thought to be a similarly sized place. But for toll booths, and an accompanying petrol station, every thirty or forty miles, little else. And no shade to provide even the briefest of respite.

After the chance meeting with my fellow cyclist, I’d decided to push on to Usu itself, exploiting the relative cool of the evening. And then what appeared to be a sign for the town, but far sooner than expected, and the place itself nowhere to be seen. So I’d continued on along the dual carriageway. Suddenly, there it was. A few lights now visible. But no access from my side of the road. That explained the turning miles back. So, with little other option, I’d decided to continue on to the larger town of Kuytun. Just a few miles further, but I was now very weary, and it was dark. Gone ten.

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