We waved goodbye to Sassan and family this morning and set off for the last leg of our journey to Yazd, crossing the Abarkuh desert. No sand dunes here, just a barren plain covered in stones and thorny bushes. Occasionally an abandonned castle made of mud and straw appeared to the side of the road but otherwise there was little to see.
If the scenery was a little dull, at least the tailwind helped us speed along the flat desert roads. Today is Revolution Day in Iran, a public holiday marking when Khomeini took control in 1979, and flags lined the streets in the one town we did pass through. We unwittingly rode directly into the centre of a crowd gathering to mark the occasion. The police spotted us before many other people did and diverted us around the group of a few hundred men and women via some side streets. From our brief glimpse of the event, we only saw people standing quietly and listening to a speech, a few with Iranian flags in their hands.
No chants of “Death to America” or anything else of the sort like we’d been warned by some Iranians to possibly expect. We picked up some oranges to sustain us for the long drive ahead and then we were off again, pedalling steadily to the constant tune of truck horns until we reached our stopping place for the night. It was the first village or even house we’d seen for about 50 kilometers. Too tired to try and find a hidden place for our tent in the flat and empty landscape, we asked the police if we could camp near their station.
They didn’t seem to care one way or the other, waving us off to a field just behind the station walls. Amazingly no curious policemen or locals came to visit us, even though we’re camped not far from the main street. Could we be in for a peaceful night? After the distance we covered today we’d likely sleep soundly even if someone did come to yell “hello Mister” later in the evening!