The road to Samarkand was unremarkable, but the town itself was impressive. The Registan and various tombs and mosques................more blue tiles than you can shake a stick at, but very picturesque. Managed to find some (car) engine oil to perform the first oil change of the trip. Myself and Nacho muddled through, but it all seems to work OK afterwards.
Then on to Tashkent (where you CAN'T get a Mongolian visa!) to meet Chris. Nacho recued a member of the "Steel Scorpions" who screamed past us at warp 6 only to run out of petrol a few miles later. He was given a litre of petrol and after pushing his bike up and down the road several times to try and bump start him, finally had to tow him to get his bike going.
Tashkent: posh hotel (heavily discounted on the interweb), but they weren't pleased when this dirty, smelly biker rocked up to rub shoulders with the diplomats and Iranian football team (?). My first Chinese restaurant since Tblisi (even though it was staffed entirely by Russians, and the food was only so-so), and an Irish bar (overpriced and NO Guiness!) rounded off the day.
Next morning, the 3 of us headed East for Fergana (I like riding East!). Much prettier road today, mountains, curves, tree lined roads, and at one point, RAIN, the first since Hungary. Didn't last too long and after several police checkpoints we arrived in the Fergana valley itself. Chris' bike was experiencing bike problems (leaking water pump seal?), but he managed to nurse the XTR to our destination. It was dark when we arrived (and my headlight still isn't working; I really must change the bulb at some point), but we eventually managed to find our private apartment for the night.
Soundtrack: Everything But The Girl - Mirrorball