WEIGHT: 55 kg
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Our first morning on dry land again after our Caspian Sea voyage, and we found ourselves standing in the middle of Aktau bazaar, bikes at the ready, wondering what on earth we should take with us into the desert.
We were eased in fairly gently, with a few villages hugging the coast and a surprisingly warm sunny day. As the road turned away to the east, we got our first glimpse of the desert proper, stretching out to all horizons and shimmering in the sunlight. It seemed like we were in a dreamworld as a herd of camels sauntered past, smiling a casual greeting.
We cruised along through the warm afternoon, before pitching our tent on the sand and sitting out to watch the sunset. At this rate, the km to the Uzbekistan border was going to be easy!
The next morning, the desert had different ideas. In the afternoon the road changed direction slightly and it became an even more aggressive side wind, blowing us off the road several times! At around 3pm, having done only 20km but having used up more energy than a normal 70km day, and by this point pushing our bikes because it was actually easier to balance, we decided that it was pointless to keep going and set up the tent to get some shelter. Maybe it would be easier the next morning….
I woke up in my sleeping bag feeling unusually cold, to the sound of rain pattering on the tent. We tried to snuggle further into our bags and have a snooze until the rain stopped, but eventually I gave up and unzipped the tent to venture outside to investigate. This was a big shock. It was still October! What on earth was going on? We decided to bite the bullet and pack up as quickly as possible before our hands froze, and get moving to warm up.