Sunday, June 14, 2015

Tunnel Of Death

Easy ride out of Samarkand to the border and the crossing formalities all went fairly smoothly.  Think I was through within 2-hours of arriving.  You will notice on the track that we had to go North almost as far as Tashkent before heading South to the Tajikistan border.  This was a last minute change of route as the crossing we were originally planning is only opened to locals.  The border closest to Samarkand on the most direct route to Dushanbe is not open at all.  Hard to believe that this whole area East of the Caspian Sea was not that long ago all part of the same country.  The border fortifications have been substantial throughout the 'stans.

The next day was to be our first full day in Tajikistan and we had been warned that it would start with a bang.  On the day's itinerary was a ride through the 5km long Tunnel Of Death (cue the scary music: Dah-Dah-Dah-Duuuuh).  The instructions were for us all to wait at the mouth of the tunnel and we would follow the chase vehicle through.  We were also told that the Tunnel Of Death was the second tunnel not the first which was built by the Chinese and not so bad.  But before we found any tunnels the road headed up into the mountains and the magnificent views of Tajikistan started to be revealed.

As instructed we started to marshall up at the mouth of the second tunnel on the road - it looked fairly benign and after a bit of waiting most of us decided to just do it.

500 or so yards in we discovered that this was not the entrance to the Tunnel Of Death but instead just a snow shed.  Around the corner we found the actual entrance to The Tunnel Of Death (cue the scary music: Dah-Dah-Dah-Duuuuh).

Here's a video of what the getting through the thing looks like from inside the safe confines of a car.

We all made it the other side safe and sound and mostly dry.  

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