We awake to a dead calm, shimmering Turkmen coast.
Doesn't look too hospitable!!
After six hours of paperwork we go to leave only to find the gate is closed. Not cool!
We catch up with the French cyclists who are shading from the unbearable heat while they wait for the train. Sounds like a sensbile option...
Michael and Noemi all kitted up and ready to go... completely insane!!
Oh dear god, what have we let ourselves in for...?!!
On roads like this you start to imagine all sorts of unhealthy mechanical sounds coming from the bike...
James' warnings through the intercom change from 'dog in road' to 'camel in road'!
Random guy flags us down to give us his number in case we need help in Ashgabat! This type of generosity was soon to become a regular feature.
Em tries to look composed but even as evening comes it's still in the mid-40s!
You can't drink enough water!
The desert moonscape turns to dunes which cause us concern as they start to drift across the road...
Truck stop - perfect place to stop for the night.
All set up, with the tent flanked by bikes - anit-camel barriers!
A regular road block and they only move when they're good and ready!
Not much room to get round these guys! Larger than we expected!
Not much in the way of cover when it comes to a 'comfort break'...
Out of the wilderness and getting closer to Ashgabat. A local 'biker' stops to chat and invites us for chai at his house.
Very subtle and understated entrance to Ashgabat... Note gold statue of Turkmenbashi that rotates to eternally face the sun!
Univerisity building in Ashgabat. Big, white and gold seem to be the dominant themes here.
Trying to do a Matthew food face...
Little did we know this meal would come back to haunt us later...
Big, white and gold spike thing.
Not sure what this is but, true to form, it's big white and gold!
James tightens his bash plate bolts.
Chai with a Turkish truck driver who's broken-down and has been waiting four days for assistance!
Waking up after a very surreal night in the woods!