DAY TEN… 31.5 miles (50 km)

We’ve stopped by a small brook, in a fancy restaurant garden (table and chairs!!) for banana and tea. Really, it’s 10.30am but I feel like it could be 3.30pm. Yet we’ve only cycled 10 miles. We are on a very hot and busy road going straight to Iran. We’ve seen Iranian number plates on lorries coming toward us, and I find this so exciting. I never want to stop cycling till I reach Iran at those times…. however I am usually quickly overtaken by heat and exhaustion.

Cycling up the river valley. Getting hotter & hotter.

It really is very hot today and we’ve cycled 1,200m uphill. My legs feel very reluctant despite an extra cup of tea. We met some endurance orientated Polish cyclists and bumped into them later on, at lunch time. We found out they had been attacked by a dog that we had seen and passed very slowly (always the best strategy). They had whizzed past and the dog had taken a bite out of one of their pannier bags.

After lunch neither of us felt like another 800m uphill, so tried flagging down vehicles heading up to the pass. A lorry stopped, unprompted, just as we had given up trying to hitch a lift, opened it back doors and motioned us in.  Hastily we fixed our bikes on a very filthy, dusty floor.

The lorry driver had the mandatory severely cracked windscreen of all Armenian drivers, and was also gifted at smoking, talking on a mobile and driving on the wrong side of the road, all at the same time. We got to the pass, jumped out and washed everything, then set off downhill. Again, the mountains are so beautiful.

The gates of the pass.

We descended to a shady garage with dubious men hanging around and poking about with our bikes. We don’t like this and felt a bit edgy. Garages, by the way, are great places for cafes with Wi Fi. We were however a bit concerned about camping near this garage due to its clientele, yet it was late. Worried that the shady men could see where we were headed from the garage, we cycled and cycled on a rough track to be beside a reservoir, hoping that we would become invisible to them.

The “shady” garage

Once we had set up camp a very large herd of cows appeared with cowboy and dog. Cowboy looked at us with the look of the mountains and the wind. Some words were spoken but neither party understood, and when sufficient time had passed for us to be accepted, he turned and left, with the dog behind.

Visit from the cowboy

As I was drifting off to sleep, suddenly noticed lights, headlights… were the dodgy guys coming for us? I told Tim to very slowly, unzip the tent without making a sound. We couldn’t put a torch on as we would be sitting ducks. Tim unzipped and looked out. The “headlights” turned out to be lightening on the mountain!!

Another wonderful wild camping spot