Surprisingly getting the police escort to supervise us trough Baluchistan was smooth and easy. Riding on the famous Pakistan roads is a different story... and having a 24/7 police control is nothing of our interests. We are all very independent and pretty skilled travellers so having a babysitters all day long is quite annoying... but we tried to find advantages in this situation and the breathtaking scenery of wild Pakistan mountains is substituting all the disadvantages of our dear new friends... and there are plenty of them.
Just to get out of Quetta we had 4 different police cars driving with us literally from one major intersection to the other one... Few kilometers out of the city and we are testing our bikes: gravel road and dusty fields. Riding time is slow not just because of truly off road riding but also due to our individual needs. Picture here, pi break there... plus David seems like he caught some bad diarrhea in Quetta. All this caused that our original plan to reach Ziarat (only 90 km) failed and we had to stay over night in a very small village somewhere in the middle. Police gave us shelter on their filthy station, that was nice from them, but the food supplies were limited to one very suspicious tea house serving some food and shops with snacks. We were hoping to hitch a truck and get to Ziarat, but again failed... so OK, lets stay at the police station. In the evening we went to paint the "town" red and went for the dinner. This turned out to be the biggest mistakes of the entire journey...
The next morning more than half of our 5CC i.e. "five cyclists crew" woke up, or better to say finally saw the dawn of the day, into a nightmare. Dusan, Kevin and of course David have had a sleepless night, changing patrol each half an hour or so... Why? Their bowels urged them to do so. When I saw them in the morning I hardly recognized them, they were bleak and weak. Diarrhea completely exhausted them. Since there is no toilet in the police station, I suppose the area around must have changed into a dangerous mind field. Me and Arjan wanted to cycle to Ziarat and meet the sick there, but the police had a different idea about it all and jammed us all into a small pick up truck -five bicycles, 30 pieces of luggage, us five plus police man plus driver and for short while one other passenger -Pakistan no problem!
In Ziarat we were lucky to find a very reasonable refugee hut -the most important facility -the toilet- was right next to our rooms and the garden was nice for chill out. Just before the night came I felt a strong urge to go to The Room and hoops, I got it as well. What followed was hell on earth. Strong bone aches, cool chills interchanged by hot showers of sweat and of course fairly constant intervals of complete dehydration trough the buttocks hole! In the middle of the night the difference between the urine and the excrement was just the smell... So for the next two days we were all out of order. Surprisingly just Arjan survived. Between the rest of us there was quite a difference in timing of the inevitable, but eventually all of us got into the same horrible stage, only one miraculously escaped the evil bacteria that puts even the strong travelers to their knees... or squats...
After 3 days we started to be quite sick of just lying around so we set off. Still not perfectly fit, but eager to cycle. The 90 km from Ziarat to Loralai were spectacular -Junipers forest and rocky terrain resembled Jurassic era, the trees are dating some 2000 years but they are just few meters high. Fortunately it was mostly down hill otherwise we would not make it since our bodies are still very weak -well no wonder! We had completely evacuated our intestines and didn't have enough time to replace the fillings... In Loralai the police told us we have to stay in the police station because is allegedly too dangerous to stay in a hotel. There is nothing we can do about it, but we are convinced that the next night we will just directly go to a hotel... ha! how naive we are, we'll find out soon.
From Loralai we kept on cycling east, but Dusan is getting back to pretty severe stage -it was far too early for him to set off from Ziarat. The rest of us are not overenthusiastic, I still can't eat properly and what's coming out of me doesn't look to healthy either, but generally I'm fine. But Dusan is really having a long lasting nightmare. 6 days of strong diarrhea can be very dangerous. We have to stop in a small town. The gravel road shows that this is again just a pothole place. We checked in a hotel -well sort of a hotel, its just a room next to dirty toilets adjacent to restaurant for truck drivers -the price is funny 30 rupees ( 30 cents), but its really just a emergency shelter. Unfortunately the local police chief is blindly obeying his duty and that's too bad for us. His commander gave him an order that we have to stay at the police station and there is nothing what we can do about it. We have very sick person who is already lying in a bed and needs to rest, but no! we have to move him to a dusty police station on the other side of the town -it took us two hours of arguing and we would have achieved much more if we would have talked to a white wall than to these simple people. So we move the convoy and spend the night on the back of a pick up truck because the room is way too dusty.
We are bit fed up with our police guards, so next morning we ignore them quite significantly. Dusan and David are taking a bus to Multan, Dusan needs to see a doctor, the rest will meet them there in 3 days. So Me, Arjan and Kevin are still heading eastwards quite enthusiastically... not knowing what's ahead of us.
The gravel road didn't end few kilometers after the town as we were assuming, it didn't end after the strenuous climb that followed... no... it changed into the dustiest ride we ever encountered. I had to put on my mouth filter, because each time when a truck passed us we were lost in clouds of dust so thick that couple times I had to stop to avoid falling down from the bike since I couldn't see anything. It was hot, It was dry, It was bumpy and few times we found ourselves in a dust twisters. Eventually it took us almost all day to conquer 40 km of real off road riding. Interesting, but much welcomed was that my wheel survived... during the whole bouncing ride this cheap Iranian back wheel did a very good job, but right after we got on a good asphalt surface, just 2 km before Kingri I got another flat tire -I lost the count by now... This time we wanted to stay in the police station in the town, since we didn't have any energy left to continue, but no, the police are just doing exactly the opposite what we would like to... fortunately this time they saved us from a big hassle and allowed us to stay there.
The next day we planned to cover 150 km all the way to DG Khan so we woke up early and rode constantly... The landscape here is beautiful, probably the greenest since west Turkey so we were really enjoying the ride. Our police "friends" started to be much more sloppy and there were few miles that we drove without any escort. Yes! This is freedom... from Rakni climbing up to a mountain pass in 1800m and than down in definitely the most scenic gorge and valley I have ever seen, totally free... fresh air, loose from the guards and unbelievable views drove us to an edge of sanity, I felt like drunk from all the beauty around me. So when on the other side of the mountains an Elite police escort waited for us we didn't mind. They drove us all the way to Multan, because due to security reasons no foreigner can stay in DG Khan -Pakistan has its nuclear weapon factory there... we didn't mind at least they saved us a full day cycling in humid, hot and flat Punjab. Right at the foot of the mountains the climate changed dramatically. It will take me few days to adjust, but that' fine.