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Old 11-19-2019, 09:17 PM   #1
Mellowtonin
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Pakistan 2019: A Ride Report?

Welp BARF, I'm really not sure where to put this...in the past alumni of the BARFistan tour have always posted their misadventures underneath the "General" section...so I guess this is where I will start.

A couple years back I had the good fortune of stumbling onto the 2014 and 2015 BARFistan threads, the photos and experiences described within were breathtaking. After watching Raider's cinematic short film, I knew that one day I just HAD to go. I got my chance two months ago, shortly after my 35th birthday...below is a more or less half-assed ride report attempt, maybe it'll turn into a photo essay instead?

TL;DR here is my video summarizing the overall experience, if you like what you see there will be some words and pictures - soon to follow suit.


youtu.be/ctx7kZmXTDM

Last edited by Mellowtonin; 11-19-2019 at 09:56 PM..
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Old 11-19-2019, 09:24 PM   #2
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Day 1

Kullu hazza BARF, the old timers on this forum might still remember, fellow BARFer Moin "khan" runs a nonprofit(?) touring gig that used to be called RideTheKKH, and would host BARFers each year for adventures throughout different regions of Pakistan. Starting this year things are a little different, his new business A Different Agenda (ADA) now leads a 9 Day "Cultural Crusade"from Islamabad throughout the Northern territory of Gilgit-Baltistan. Per Moin's advice, I had arrived at Islamabad two days before the journey to adjust for jet-lag. As such, I had some time to explore the capitol city, including landmarks such as Faisal Mosque and The Pakistan Monument.



Day 1: We left Islamabad in the middle of a monsoon, fortunately by the time we’d arrived at the infamous city of Abbottabad (where Osama supposedly met his end) bad waters gave way to bad traffic. Ominous looking rain clouds warranted another quick stop on top of Kappi Gali over looking the Kunhar River.





As the winner of the dubious First & Second Crash of the Tour honors by locking up my front brake going way too hot into the flooded section of a busy expressway, I watched in horror as the bike and myself did a spectacular 360 degree spin a stone's throw away from the neighboring big rig's turning wheels. By sheer luck I somehow walked away without a scratch, my bike on the other hand went from brand new to missing a couple fairings that morning. From the group picture taken at the Kappi Gali, it's apparent that I had some doubts all over my face regarding the next two weeks.

Upon reaching our first stop for the night, the touristy village of Naran, I made a new, small but hairy friend!




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Old 11-19-2019, 09:42 PM   #3
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I'm already diggin' this thread. More please!
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Old 11-20-2019, 05:37 AM   #4
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I'm already diggin' this thread. More please!
+1!

hope to do an ADA Pakistan tour someday, based on BARF RRs like this one ... cool pics ... think it would be fun on teh small bikes ...
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Old 11-20-2019, 12:22 PM   #5
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Epic. Excited for more
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Old 11-20-2019, 01:09 PM   #6
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Old 11-20-2019, 06:01 PM   #7
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Old 11-20-2019, 09:04 PM   #8
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You asked and I shall deliver....

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+1!

hope to do an ADA Pakistan tour someday, based on BARF RRs like this one ... cool pics ... think it would be fun on teh small bikes ...
Oh yea! The pavement over there is really sketchy and the traffic is absolutely terrifying. For foreigners not used to local riding anything bigger or faster than a 250cc and you'll either run off a cliff or into someone's donkey in the middle of the road. The best part is when we got to the high elevations, these single cylinder Honda 150s would misfire like crazy and bog down. I got really good at redlining to climb the hills and use momentum on the way down near the end.

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Fun Vid Alex
Thanks Bud, I hope the video was grin inducing!

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Old 11-20-2019, 09:35 PM   #9
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Day 2

Today was magical, we first rode to Lulusar Lake under a clear sky. With stops made at Batakundi along the way, to take pictures of the valley and the teal colored Kunhar River.









At the lake we ran into a fellow motorcyclist all the way from Down Under, who started his journey from Vladivostok, Russia and had already ridden across China no less, on a GSX-R600 with knobbies! This young man is circumnavigating the world and is currently in India, you can follow his ambitious journey here.


Moin posing with the young globe-trotter, or affectionately referred to as "the Two Idiots" by Moin's brother Mohy...

We continued our journey up the famous Babusar Pass, elevation 13,700 ft.



On the way down I couldn’t resist taking a few pictures with the adorable locals on the side of the road.





The temperature must've went up ten or twenty degrees by the time we hit the bottom of the valley immediately after Babusar, everyone changed into their summer gear. Moin gave the tour team a little strip tease~



At Chilas we stopped for fuel and a short break, a group of locals saw me and came up in admiration. Even though we didn't speak the same language, they'd smile in wonderment, and sat in the most friendly manner right next to me. At times I felt the locals were "starstruck", even when I was in Islamabad people would stop to ask if they can take selfies with me (at times there would be a line of 10 or 15 college kids).



From there we headed east and finally got to ride the Karakoram Highway, and oh boy was it worth it. Our group had so much fun railing the stretch of good pavement through the desert, Mohy had the first serious crash on the tour shortly after crossing Raikot Bridge. When he hit the giant pot hole (see 1:33 from my video up top), both of his tires slashed open at freeway speeds, bucking him off. Passerby on the KKH found him laying on the ground a good 15 ~ 20 feet down the road from his bike. With no memories of the crash and a constant need to puke, the local good Samaritans rushed him to the nearest hospital for a check-up via their station wagon.



Because Moin, myself and two others were riding at a faster past, we were about 40 minutes ahead of Mohy's group (mostly beginner riders besides Mohy). We arrived at the lunch spot (pizza!) and waited, completely oblivious to the accident. A local man stopped by with his child and through the translation of Fahad (fellow rider from London who is fluent in Urdu), expressed his bewilderment and appreciation for me to visit his home country. Fahad told me he obviously "idolizes" me, to which I was flattered beyond belief. Upon finding out that not only was he a veteran of the Pakistani army, a body builder by hobby, also the husband of two wives. I had Fahad translate that it was I who should be idolizing his life style! We had a friendly wrestling match on the side of the road to kill some time,



Eventually it became obvious that something was wrong, Moin got in touch with group two and learned of the accident. He first led the group safely into the city of Gilgit just after sun set - where we were to spend the night, then went to meet with his brother at the hospital for an MRI. By some miracle, with the exception of being badly concussed, Mohy did not suffer any other injuries and was cleared by the attending.

Per the traditions of past Pakistan Tours, Moin took the group to get Cha-Cha chicken (charcoal flame grilled chicken dry rubbed in Masala and various other herbs) for dinner.
What a day!


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Old 11-21-2019, 12:50 AM   #10
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I still can't get over how good the video is.
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Old 11-21-2019, 07:30 PM   #11
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I still can't get over how good the video is.
Thank you kuksul08, it took around 80 something hours of raw footage and 3 days of editing

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Old 11-21-2019, 07:56 PM   #12
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Day 3

We first went shopping for winter jackets downtown in the Gilgit bazaar, to prepare for climbing Kunjerab Pass on the day after. I picked up a Korean made down jacket (as modeled by Mr. Bangash in the first picture) for $7.00, best purchase of the trip!





Thank God it was a short day, because by the time we left Gilgit and arrived at Ghulmat not two hours later, I had the emergency sh!ts!! Fortunately from interviewing previous BARFistan alumni before leaving California, I've learned from BARFer Lunch Box that baby wipes are absolutely indispensable for Westerners traveling in this part of the world, the box which I carried with me on my person ended up saving the day.



A little leopard print bandit was briefly spotted scrounging for fallen crumbs underneath our picnic table, where we snacked and enjoyed the majestic views of snow capped Mount Rakaposhi.



We made it to Aliabad in Hunza Valley just before sunset, little did I know starting that day I would be on a strict Imodium diet for the remainder of the trip




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Old 11-23-2019, 02:09 AM   #13
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Old 11-23-2019, 11:11 AM   #14
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Great trip report, sounds like a real adventure. I was wondering how things were going to turn out with the added conflict in the region with India. It sounds like it was not an issue which is great news!

Mental note, no roadside chicken in Pakistan I've got a weak stomach so I think I'd be living off rice, nuts, fruit and such as much as possible.

Also, that crash with the blowouts sounds like a nightmare, glad that turned out okay for the most part.

Great Job on the video, I just went back and watched it! The poor suspension on those bikes! I can't imagine why you guys are not on some kind of dual sport or supermoto bike. Those little road bikes look so not up to the task at hand! It's not wonder there were some crashes!

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Old 11-23-2019, 02:05 PM   #15
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Those bikes are produced locally so are "cheap". Anything fun will have to be imported and it's $$$.
Suspension is fine
Biggest issue are the tires, which are not good, and carbs. So at higher elevation you are basically between 1st and 2nd gear going like 30mph maybe.
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