One Week Till Departure – Details, details.

It’s all happening.

We have our visas for Thailand, China, and Tajikistan, along with the GBAO permits from the Tajiks that will allow us to cycle the Pamir Highway and along the Afghan border. Laos visas can be had at the border, the 60 day Chinese visas can be extended (with luck) at police stations, and Kyrgyz visas can be had in Urumqi, Western China. If we make it as far as Dushanbe, Tajikistan, an agency will assist us with visas for Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Iran.

Our bikes have been overhauled. We have new chains, and have had smaller chainrings installed to give us a low gear that will allow us to ascend slowly with heavy loads and in thin air in parts of China and in Tajikistan. We expect to be travelling at over 12,000 feet at times, and may go above 15,000.

We have registered our plans with the Canadian consulate, and left a binder of details at home for the kids. The house will be in the capable hands of our offspring, friends of offspring, and offspring of friends. We are trying to systematically tidy all our clothing and bits and pieces into one cupboard in our bedroom, so that those who live here next year are not tripping unnecessarily over our rubble. We’ve even got new wedding rings so that we can look suitably married as we check into shared accommodation in Muslim countries. Neither of us were wearing ours as they were too small and uncomfortable. My new one cost $14, and Chris’s cost $24, so no worries if they get lost or stolen. 

We have had a slow and lazy Christmas. Louise is recovering well from her nose surgery, and Julianne (three year old great-niece) had two sleepover nights and a quiet day with us. She commented on our room, strewn with pannier bags and preparations, announcing “Wow! This is messy!” She was happy enough to sleep beside us on a foamy among the mess. We will miss her and her baby sister, as they grow.

But nothing venture; nothing gain. Bring us that horizon!


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