Woke this morning early for breakfast and it went down a treat cold meat cheese and bread just my thing. I was Meeting Jerry at 9.30 so thought I would have a walk about and visit the famous Ashgabat market. Same old stuff being sold as anywhere else in the world but interesting to see thought I would take a couple of pic for the web site WRONG got told off by a police man not allowed Mr. Well I got one anyway. This is a holiday time so everything else is closed for 5 days so not much to see but some great building’s and a very clean city with police everywhere. Jerry arrives at 9.30 sharp and we are off to the Embassy when we get there after a short tour of the city, yes you guessed it its closed until the 26th and I can only stay here for 5 days, bugger. Thank you for your help Jerry. So I have to decide to either head on to the capital of Uzbekistan to see if I can get a visa there or carry on with the route as planned. Looking at the map to get to Tashkent and back across Uzbekistan with the time I have on the visa is just not possible so I call Mitch on the sat phone as nothing else works in Turkmenistan have a chat about the plan and decide to carry on as planned. The Embassy’s will not issue another visa until it runs out. I leave the Grand Turkmin at about 12.30 and head to the market again to get some sort of container to put fuel in as when I was planning
this trip I could not get any confirmed fuel stops for the next leg of the journey. It’s about 275kms to the Gas Crater and the same again to the border so the GS will not make it on one tank of fuel. I reach the outer part of the city and fill up I ask to fill the containers and I am told NO MR. Oh well will see what happens there must be fuel somewhere as his is a road that cuts through the desert used by cars, trucks and bikes.  I am riding at about 55 MPH one to save on fuel as the computer is telling me I will get 240 miles for the tank of fuel I have and the other because the road is littered with pot holes. Cool, now all I need to do is fill the containers and I am sorted. I see a group of trucks in the distance stopped at the road side I ask them Benzene and point to the road ahead he nods and says something in Russian. So I am happy there’s fuel ahead. As I reach the fuel station there really isn’t any room in the tank but I can fill the containers. I get the map out and ask the guys on the pumps Benzene and show then the map lots of laughing and one guy point out Yerbant and point to the pumps. Cool I will make no problem. I reach Yarbant and fill the bike and the containers.  After riding
for about 2 hours I need a brew and sure enough at the road side there are workers cutting straw grown at the side of the road with little tea stalls. That will do nicely. I stop next to a guy at the stall who speaks English we get chatting and turns out he used to live and work in Dubai. He gave me his number and briefs me on the road ahead fuel station etc, then tell me if I what I can stay at his house that’s in darzar near the crater. Thank you very much. But I
have planned to camp by the Gas Crater. I reach the turn off to the crater and it’s a lovely sandy track just what you need on a heavy GS loaded with extra fuel. So 6kms on I reach the Gas Crater. Wow this is a fantastic site. I can hear the burning raw as I come to a stop. I walk down to have a closer look and the heat is intense, every bit of escaping gas is alight. 
I walk back up to the bike and 3 cars pull up that I passed earlier on the road with 3 family’s form the USA we get chatting and they live and work in Ashgabat for the US Embassy very nice people I even get a beer and sandwich (I love this travelling). As evening falls the Gas Crater is spectacular the whole place is lit up and the burning raw is amazing. We say good bye and good luck and they are off back to Ashgabat. I am camping about 100m from the Crater and you can still feel the heat and hear the raw. More photos to follow when I get a good internet conection.

Picture
The road from Ashagabat to the Gas crater
Picture
The crater in day light
Picture
At Night
Gaz
3/23/2012 10:36:50

Mate amazing that where ever you go you manage to meet someone who is willing to help, it just goes to show that their are good people out there who are true human beings. Nice pics of the crater, your not going to forget this trip in a hurry are you?

Take Care Gaz

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