Besham to Abbottabad, Pakistan

Distance: 88 miles
Time on bikes: 4.5 hours

After breakfast, Fabian heads out to get his tyre fixed while the rest of us relax around the hotel before getting going at about 11 am. The condition of the road gradually improves and the scenery gets much greener as we head further south down the Karakoram Highway.

The look of the people has also changed considerably and there’s more of a sense of tension as we pass through small towns and villages. When we stop, rather than having people come up to us and ask questions in a friendly and inquisitive manner, we’re approached by locals who simply look and stare at us.

We’ve let Fabian go off ahead on his 125 cc Honda as it shouldn’t take long for us to catch up with him. Unfortunately when we do, we see him by the side of a road in a village with a flat rear tyre again. The workshop this morning apparently changed the tube, but either he’s had bad luck and got another puncture or there was a problem with the tube they’ve installed.

As there is a considerable crowd now gathered, we decide it would be best for some of us to go ahead and wait further down the road while he sorts out a repair in the village. This turns out to be quite pleasant and we find a nice little spot by the side of the road with a great view over the surrounding valleys while we sit and wait.

We see many houses, farms and villages located up on the hills, only accessed by what would seem to be hours of walking. Some have a cable basket to shuttle people and goods across to save a bit of walking.

Although the road has many small landslides spilling onto it, and some significant erosion where the tarmac has disappeared off the side and down the mountain, we’re back on tarmac roads for the first time since entering Pakistan. Carl gets a bit excited about this and really enjoys being able to go around corners again. Unfortunately the tarmac isn’t that grippy and eventually the front tyre gives in and the bike goes down and slides up the road for about 15 metres. The only damage is a bit of wear on the corner of the pannier and the backside of Carl’s pants is a bit worn from the friction with the smooth tarmac. Also, the palm of the left glove must have made contact with the ground, but all the kit has worked as designed and there’s no harm to the rider. The first time down in 9 years of riding.

Back on two wheels again we head down towards Abbottabad where we arrive at 6 pm, just as it’s getting dark. We’ve been recommended a hotel, but decide to check the guide book to see if there’s somewhere that looks good near to where we’ve entered town. It doesn’t take long before we have a crowd around us of very friendly locals. This is the first city we’ve been to in Pakistan and the guys are really interested in the bikes and where we’re all headed to. A few come up with some recommendations for us and it’s not long before we’re booked into a nice hotel and then heading out for something to eat to round the day off.

Jour 149 – Mardi 14 Septembre 2010. De Besham a Abbottabad, Pakistan

Distance: 141 km – Temps a moto: 4.5 heures

Fabian fait réparer sa moto alors que nous nous la coulons douce a l’hôtel et nous partons vers 11 heures, la vallée est tout d’un coup bien plus verte et il y a beaucoup plus de maisons. Il y en a beaucoup sur les cotes des montagnes raides, et il ne semble pas y avoir d’accès par des routes, apparemment les gens y montent à pieds, et il n’y a pas vraiment de sentier.

La route est bien meilleure, du mac Adam superbe et lisse, tellement lisse que Carl fait une glissade d’une quinzaine de mètres, heureusement plus de peur que de mal, et ses protections le protègent et il ne se fait pas mal du tout.

Nous avançons bien et arrivons à Abbottabad vers 6 heures, juste avant la nuit. Nous y trouvons un petit hôtel très sympa ou il y a même internet et de l’eau chaude ! Un vrai plaisir de se sentir de retours a la civilisation. Nous allons manger dans un restaurant local ou la nourriture est excellente…depuis notre arrivée au Pakistan nous commençons à reprendre du poids !