Tashkent - Ashgabat Rally #1
Our planned route consisted of nine days across six cities, accentuated by stops at the Darvoza Gas Crater, Khiva, and Ashgabat. We planned on border crossings near Urgench outgoing and Bukhara incoming. We lost a day of planning due to a planned conference in Tashkent, and we had to move the trip up a week. As a result, when we left Tashkent, it was cold, gloomy, and rainy.
Day 1 – The Journey Begins
Day one out of Tashkent saw the group in high spirits. Gas tanks were full, vehicles were fully-provisioned, and excited travelers set off at dawn toward Bukhara. The planned trip was Tashkent to Samarkand where we would stay for lunch and gas, then continue onward hitting Bukhara early evening. Within an hour of being on the road, the group hits its first issue: a cracked windshield on the Subaru. Although the Subaru’s passenger (who will of course go unnamed) fretted that this was a harbinger of things to come, the vehicle looked otherwise fine, and the crack appeared small enough that we were not overly concerned with massive spreading.
A detour through the Jizzakh valley, which yielded awesome views and pictures and equally deplorable road conditions delayed our arrival into Samarkand by about an hour, but with the Mini-Cooper setting a brisk pace (which would be rectified in future days….), we were still on pace to reach Bukhara by nightfall. In Samarkand, the planned restaurant was closed for lunch, because why wouldn’t it be, so we managed to find an amazing hole in the wall pizza joint which the little ones definitely appreciated.
Refreshed, the journey to Bukhara continued uneventfully, and we checked into the very nice Malika Hotel.