In February 2011 my wife Kate and I set off on our motorbikes from Wollongong in Australia heading for Woolwich in south east London. In 5 months we covered about 21,000 km across 20 countries. Firstly we crossed the emptiness of the great Aussie outback and then negotiated the manic traffic of Bangkok, Kathmandu and Delhi. Next came the fabled and dangerous Karakoram Highway through the mountains of Pakistan, up and over the 4600 metre Khunjerab pass and into China. More rough roads through Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan led us to Russia, through Ukraine and then the final 5,000 km push through Europe. www.wollongongtowoolwich.co.uk
“Now we were safely out of Pakistan things should have started to get easier. Not here though, not for us. Here out in the far western provinces of China, still thousands of miles from the UK our adventure continued…..”
The first job once loaded up was to get some petrol for the bikes. We pulled up at the pump of the modern looking petrol station and waited for the attendant to come over. He made it clear that the bikes were not allowed to be filled from the pump and we should move over to the far corner of the petrol station. There was nothing over there but as we were getting no fuel at the pump we pushed the bikes across and waited. After a minute another attendant came out of the main building carrying a large aluminium kettle. Was this anything to do with us? Yes, it would appear it was. He filled it at the pump and walked towards us, indicating for us to remove our petrol caps. The spout of the kettle was too short so as he tried to fill my tank, petrol spilt all over my bike. Irritated, I told him to stop and after hunting around in the bin, I found a plastic drinks bottle which I cut open to use as a funnel. With this extra bit of high tech equipment, we soon filled up and hit the road.