From camp in the park we set off this morning along the busy highway towards Kashan, the end point this morning. Before we left the groundskeepers who we were worried might reprimand us for camping on the park grass invited us over to their little shed for some tea. It was kind of a cold morning (not as bad as before Tehran) so good hot tea warmed us up well.
More urban sprawl riding today in the morning, the highway was busy with trucks. There were a few cars too but once we passed the turn-off for the motorway all that was left was trucks.
So we road through all this in the morning and stopped for lunch a bit early. It was actually lucky we did, as soon as we left the town at which we ate lunch we were out in the desert.
We thought we’d been riding through desert before, on the approach to Tehran, but not like this. It was a total reversal from what we’d been through in the morning. From houses, factories and farms everywhere to just…nothing. Just rocky, dusty, arid plains for miles and miles.
It got hot too. I can’t imagine doing this cycle in summer, it was mid January and still we were sweating. On one particularly long climb we at last gave up trying to wear trousers and swapped out for the sweet, cool relief of shorts. Air on my shins, what a joy! We’ve been riding in shorts since then and haven’t had a problem, even when talking to police, so I think maybe having to wear trousers isn’t all that strict, at least for male tourists.
The desert riding continued and so did the complete lack of any development. We had been climbing on and off all afternoon and at the top of a long descent we looked out, the land stretching for kilometres to the horizon and saw nothing. Only the strip of road snaking off and fading into the distance.
It was getting dark now and we were hoping to find a shop soon so we could buy dinner and breakfast. After a couple of false alarms, seeing neon in the distance that was just for a farm or factory or auto parts shop, we came at last, as the sun disappeared to the west, to a small shop. Relieved, we picked up the necessary supplies and a couple of ice creams and wheeled off a couple of meters down the road
We found an old broken bridge off the main road, I guess part of the old old road to Kashan and set up camp there.