On the Road in Kazakhstan

OMG! Drivers in Kazakhstan are sane, rational, and usually courteous. What a wonderful change from China. The cars are faster too. We got used to not using our mirrors on the road, because nothing ever passed us. Not the case here. Kazakhs love to drive fast and have cars to do it. We went to a fancy restaurant for a group meal and the parking in front had three BMWs, two Porsches and a Lexus.

We have returned to the world of enforced traffic laws and radar guns. Exiting Almaty, the four-lane highway reduced the speed limit to 60 kph. A policeman waved us over, asked for our drivers licenses and directed us over the the squad car hidden in the trees. We were shown a video of our bikes with the number “86” flashing in the corner in red. He kept pointing at it and saying something which I didn’t understand. We’ve been advised to play dumb with police. Sign language won out when he rubbed  his thumb and forefinger together. Laughter at my first offer told me more was needed. Enough money for lunch was displayed and he finally took it and sent us on our way. Our guide told us that the official fine was ten times what we gave him and that locals usually have to give six.

Gasoline is cheap in Kazakhstan. We paid about $0.67 per liter.

Motorcycles are allowed on the expressways. One was used for half of the three hundred miles between Almaty and Astana. The second half turned into a corrugated patchwork of  pavement. Roads were rough until we exited the county. Usually they were litter free. That too was a great change from China.

 Among the unusual scenery here were power poles. They were six-inch square concrete posts about six feet long and twenty-foot wooden poles bolted on. Very strange.

Some riders found Kazakhstan boring with bad roads, but we enjoyed it.

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