Retracing my steps along the KKH, I ended up in Gilgit again and indulged in a day's worth of email checking and doing some on-line cleanup. In the evening, I was tracked down by Marco, a rider from Holland who had heard I was in Gilgit and needed his valves set. I still have no idea how he found out about me. At about 10 at night we confirmed that his valves were more or less within spec after having been ignored for 20,000 kilometres.
The next day was a long one, heading all the way to Besham as an interim stop to Islamabad. I also discovered that both my fork gaiters were cracked in a number of places and the right fork was weeping a few drops of oil.
In Besham, I checked into an odd small hotel, right next to the PTDC (Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation) hotel and was presented with their guest book.
I made it to Islamabad the next day. Not before being run off the road by a car taking up my part of the road, however. A rough tumble resulted in more damage to the right bag and some scratches on the right hand protector and valve cover. I definitely resolved the issue as to whether I would replace the bags when I get back to Canada.
The campsite in Islamabad is where all the overlanders meet, so I decided to head there. To my surprise, there were a lot of people, including Rahul and Sarah, who I had bid farewell to at the top of the KKH.
Also on the camp site was the Trottermoggy team, a retired Dutch couple in a Unimog with all the trimmings. I'd heard about them from Roel and Lizzy, who I met in Syria in a Land Rover. Kees and Els were very cool, making delicious Dutch coffee in the evenings.
And if you think my undertaking was a bit mad, check out these guys. A very serious overland truck, hauling a trailer with 4 adventure bikes and plenty of spare tires.
Another fine example of re-used German military hardware.
Then there was the British couple, Tom and Katie, my neighbours who casually rode through Afghanistan from Tajikistan to reach Pakistan. True, it is a shortcut from going back around and through Iran. Next on their agenda is Africa and crossing from Kenya either through Sudan or Uganda and catching the ferry (with the car) from Kisangani to Kinshasa.
First prize goes to Casper, the Dutch guy who had a brand new overland truck built and is traveling by himself. I want electrically retractable steps on my G/S too.
And then there is the odd bum motorcyclist who clearly lacks the means to travel in style. It takes all kinds, I guess.
The campsite is a good place to sit back for a while to chat and exchange info. Also, I needed to fix a few minor things on the bike and Rawalpindi (15 kilometres away) is the place to be for all things mechanical in Pakistan.