Pedaling from the Black Forest to the Yellow Sea
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Day 127 (Iran): Gonbad-e Kavus - Cheshmeh Khan

daily distance: 104km
total distance: 7663km
riding time: 5-6h

I had tried to get an early start - it was going to be hot. Because of the late night that didn’t quite work the way I had hoped. More heat during the day than I had wanted. But there was another reason. After seeing Sayed to my astonishment (he had taken a car for a bit apparently because of his legs) in Minu Dasht and after being stopped by a Tehrani family who were doing their breakfast at the side of the road, I stopped in Galikash, the last place that I am guessing I would have internet access. It was a good move, time to get the US visa game rolling. I thought these places were complicated. But that too shall pass with the help of my parents and others and the good will of the immigration service I will be able to get this done while being on the road.

I spent more time because of this during the still-not-scorchingly-hot-part-of-the-day in an air conditioned place and was hit by the heat as soon as I stepped out. The people had been super kind, one guy on the street showing me the place and apparently leaving money for the owner to buy some juice as I found out later. They also brought out cookies, muffins and tea and offered lunch as well before I made my way out. Couldn’t believe it.

The rest of the day is quickly told: it was uphill through the Golestan Forest, a very magnificent part of the mountain range that I had been running parallel to. Now, I had to get over it. The heat was oppressive, but a good tailwind was with me all day long and which made the more than 1200m in altitude much easier to deal with prior to getting into and after getting out of the forested part. Just before hitting the shaded part, the mp3 player came up with some Midnight Oil - Beds are Burning (I know, this is old school):

“The Western desert lives and breathes in 45 degrees.”

I am not making this up, I had hit the 45C mark right there, the temperature increasing to 47C for the day’s high. What struck me in this really amazing national park was the littering. Here is my suggestion to the government. Instead of letting the fashion police go crazy on the people in Northern Tehran, how about sending some of them here preventing people from trashing this special place? Just a thought.

A bit on the heavy side, traffic was at its usual craziness. I had no idea how far I would go and ended up just over 100km in a little village after reaching what I thought was the pass.


People refused the idea of camping in a little grove because of wild animals. The Lonely Planet list is actually impressive and the wolves, bears and leopards probably a good reason why I am now in a gated compound with my tent. Yes, I do feel safe here.

Well, I just finished typing this when four men paid a visit. Here is the picture …

I was given all sorts of goodies and the local mullah asked all sorts of (very mundane) questions and invited me to his home (I somehow got out of that one though it could have been interesting, I was simply too tired). How many days I am traveling, how many km per day, whether I am married, the usual stuff. Made for some funny moments and worth remembering. They were really interestd to see my burner for some reason and took a long time to inspect the tent as well. Politics was a small part of it, they wanted to know whether Muslims can build mosques in Germany (that would be a yes) and whether women wear a hejab (that would be a no) Now, it’s really time to hit the sack.


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