17-Oct-2006 -- This is the 19th confluence visit on a bicycle trip from China to Central Asia. The story starts at 32°N 107°E.
After a successful visit of 40°N 71°E three days earlier, we decided to hunt this confluence which is located 12 km north of the town Istravachan (Ora-Teppa) and had not yet been successfully visited.
We had spent the night in a run-down hotel in a small town called Naw (ca. 40km from the confluence point). For safety reason we had taken our bicycles directly into our room for the night. The next morning, I brought the two bikes down the stairs into the front yard of the hotel. Since I couldn’t carry two bikes in one go, I had to carry them sequentially.
When I came down with the second bike, Elionora was mounting the panniers on the other bike. So far, this was a standard job-sharing situation for us. But suddenly Elionora asked me where the GPS receiver was. I had mounted it already on the bike, but now the GPS bracket was empty. This was like a shock for us, in particular because we only had one receiver. In my panickiness I ran back to our room and searched there for the GPS. Then we informed the hotel management about our loss. But they couldn’t do anything either. My mood was down – this event would cease confluencing for the rest of the tour.
One man had helped Elionora with mounting the panniers. He was still standing around. While I was desperately searching upstairs for the hand held GPS, the man wanted to leave. Elionora was so smart to chase him and call him back. When I started loudly yelling “police!” the helpful man came to me saying that he can take me to the police station. Together we went around the hotel, where he stopped me and asked for money! How much money I would give him if I wanted my instrument back! I couldn’t believe it – he indirectly admitted to have stolen it. When I required some evidence, he put his hand in a nearby flower tub and showed the GPS to me. I quickly snatched the instrument and the world was colorful again for us.
From Naw it took us 4 hours to reach the village Lakat with a beeline of 2.5km from the CP. We rode through the village and continued on a gravel track, where truck drivers were waving us back saying that this is a dead end. But we went on until we reached the confluence on a harvested field.
Two farmers were directly working on the field with their hut being 70m away. They came and we tried to explain them our mission. I guess that they didn’t quite follow, but they understood that this spot needed some surveying and engineering work. Their hut is quite neat with vine growing over it like an arbour.
We continued cycling to the appealing town Istravshan 12 km further south. Besides an original old-city, you can see the Blue Dom.
CP visit details:
- Time at the CP: 13:07 p.m.
- Distance to a track: 190 km
- Distance to a road: 2.5 km
- Distance of bicycle parking: 0 m
- Distance to houses: 600 m
- Topography: flat, mountains in view
- Minimal distance according to GPS: 0.96 m
- Position accuracy at the CP: 5 m
- GPS height: 789 m
- Vegetation: harvested crop field; currently no vegetation.
- Weather: overcast and beginning thunder-storm (14° estimated temperatures)
- Description of the CP: In north-east Tajikistan squeezed in between the zigzag borders of neighbouring Kirgizstan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. In the south, the peaks of the mountain-range Qatarkohi Turkista with heights of 4500m are visible. Area around the point consists completely of farmland.
- Given Name: The Stolen GPS Confluence
Story continues at 42°N 61°E