A cluster of fruit trees just off the road looked like the perfect place for a lunchtime break. It was certainly pretty with all the springtime blossoms but it turned out to be a rather costly place to stop.
By the time we walked our bikes through a field to the shade of the trees and back to the road, Bijan had a flat in his back tire from the thorns. As the afternoon went on, he suffered three more flats. Each time we thought we’d cleaned up the last of the thorns only to find the air leaking out again a few minutes later. By the time the last flat appeared near dusk we were shattered.
An earlier tailwind had turned against us and the remaining few kilometers into Nyshabur were proving difficult. Instead we settled on a rustic camping site near some abandonned ruins. As these things usually go, no sooner had we set up our tent and started to settle in than a kind person appeared to offer us a shower, meal and bed for the night at his house five kilometers down the road. If he’d only been fifteen minutes earlier we’d have taken him up on it without thinking but now we couldn’t quite face the good half hour of work needed to pack everything away again.
Shortly after our would-be-benefactor left, the local shepherd showed up to also offer his help and check out all our things. He couldn’t quite imagine a trip like this. “I get tired if I go on my motorcycle for an hour,” he told us, looking wide-eyed at our tent, our stove that runs on petrol and lifting our bikes to test their weight.
By this time it was completely dark and we scarfed our supper alone, save for two owls perched on the ruins and cooing at us. We wonder if we set up our tent on their favourite nighttime hunting ground. Tomorrow it’s back on the road again to visit Nyshabur and then no doubt on towards Mashhad where we’ll finally take a well earned rest day before heading for the border.