24 September 2018 23:59
aber fast 90 Grad....das hätte ich sehr gerne mit erlebt Bin Neidisch !!
Mein Rekord liegt nur bei 55 Grad in Ägypten wo mir die Schuhsohle geschmolzen ist....😂 Macht weiter so 👍
Since yesterday we've been parked in an inner courtyard situated in a village in southwest Iran. The city of Shiraz is about an hour away. We can hear the evening prayer resounding over the rooftops. Actually, we wanted to spend the night at a water source nearby. But then we accepted an invitation from a local family. One invitation among many others: at least five families invited us to park at their place. Further north, a motorcyclist had already asked us to his place and had given us several kilos of fruit. There are many kind, hospitable people here!
Just a few days ago we experienced one of those moments we had been looking forward to for so long: arriving at the desert of Dasht-e Lut in the centre of the south-eastern part of the country. Our first truly extreme location! In the northern part of the Kaluts, a labyrinth of sandstone, we left the road behind and turned off on to the sands of the desert. In order to be able to drive offroad through the rock formations, we reduced the tyre pressure to three bar. And still we had to pay the utmost attention in order to avoid getting stuck.
After a solid hour's drive there were no other vehicle tracks left ahead of us, and we stopped at around 11 o'clock. The ground was so hot that we couldn't let our dog Aimée out of the vehicle. She had to stay in the air-conditioned living container. In a dip in the ground, we measured the temperature: 82.9°C! Even the air temperature was above 60 degrees. That alone would have been bearable. But the blazingly hot gusts of wind that seemed to be coming out of nowhere caused a heavy burning sensation on our skin! In those moments it was finally clear: we had reached the first Xtreme.
After a night in the desert we decided that we wouldn't spend another day there. It was so dry there that our nostrils became blocked. You just couldn't stay outside for long. Which is why we set off again early the following morning. Mike drove the truck and I, Andrea, took the bike. Due to the difficult terrain, that was a real challenge for me.
But on our way back to the road, we had a serious mishap: we crossed over a concrete slab covering a water channel. Unfortunately, the slab wasn't built to withstand our 13-tonne weight, and so we broke in with one of our back wheels, which sank in sixty centimetres deep. The truck was now propped up at such an angle that we thought our adventure was over! But here, too, the friendliness of the Iranian people proved to be a blessing: the crew of an old 1924 tipper truck offered to help us – and indeed, an hour later, the Axor stood on solid ground once again. Apart from a few scratches to the rear axle and to the stabiliser bar, the truck was undamaged.
Since the start of our journey, we have driven for more than 10,000 kilometres. Here in Iran, the major connecting roads are in quite good condition. But because of the heat, there are many pits and ruts. Which is not the only thing that makes us aware that we are really far from home, and actually in an entirely different world. One simple example is the confusing way of dealing with currency. At the border, we exchanged Euros to Rials. But in everyday use, people calculate their transactions using the Toman currency, taking away the last zero compared to the same sum in Rials. So as a tourist, you never know whether prices pertain to the Rial or to the Toman.
In the desert of Dasht-e Lut there may be extreme conditions, but the entire country is very hot in the summer. Crops are irrigated from subterranean sources, and from time to time we are able to fill up on water from one of these springs. Over long stretches we are travelling at an altitude of more than 1,500 metres above sea level. During many of the long upward slopes, the engine temperature rises considerably. This could also be due to the poorer quality of diesel fuel here. In Turkey, by comparison, the engine temperature remained fairly constant on very similar routes.
Leaving the desert, we headed for southern Iran. Our destination was Qeshm, the largest island in the Persian Gulf. We boarded a chock-full ferry, which had barely enough space left for our Axor. With our side mirrors folded, we stood so tightly between two other trucks that Mike was unable to leave the cab during the crossing. Then, on the island, the climate literally knocked us off our feet: 45°C and 67 percent air humidity! Although the temperature was considerably lower than in the desert, that was even harder to cope with than the dry heat there.
In the big city of Shiraz, we visited amazing mosques and impressive excavation sites such as Persepolis and Naqsh-e Rostam. But the traffic proved to be a very unique experience: Shiraz has some of the most unpredictable drivers we have ever come across! Motorcyclists just squeezed past us, and cars stopped without warning. After such adventurous experiences, we're now glad to have some peace and quiet here in the village with our friendly host family. Because who knows what's awaiting us yet.
That's particularly true now that we suffered a heavy setback a couple days ago, which forces us to re-plan our route to the east. What's more: we won't be able to drive to our second extreme site, the mountain pass of Marsimik La in northeast India. That's because Pakistan, which we wanted to cross along the way there, has refused us a visa. The alternative route via Afghanistan is just too dangerous. So there's no other option than to forgo the continuation of our journey through India, Nepal and China.
Instead, we will drive back northwest from Iran, and cross the border to Armenia. From there, our journey leads us through Georgia, after which we drive a short distance through Russia and then again eastward to Kazakhstan, which we will cross almost entirely. We will then drive through Mongolia – before we merge with our original route headed for the far east of Russia. On the way back, we've also rerouted our journey so that we travel each road and visit each place only once. We want to cross Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan and then take the ferry over the Caspian Sea to Azerbaijan.
This is quite a shame, of course – especially because we will be missing out on the extreme site in India. But we need to, and want to, remain flexible. And who knows which fascinating places we will get to see along the new route? We even have set our sights on a new Xtreme in Kazakhstan, but we don't want to reveal too much about that yet. Because it's not yet certain whether we can reach it before the onset of winter. We'll see! After having dealt with the nuisance of our forced route change, we can certainly say with full confidence: we're looking forward to our journey!
Part five of the RoadStars series is out on 24 September. Stay tuned!
4-Xtremes – the tour of superlatives.