It’s 6.50pm and well and truly dark, the sun having disappeared below the horizon nearly an hour ago. I am lying in my tent within a patch of trees, on a ground covered in twigs and dry leaf litter. When I was brushing aside some of this debris to make way for my tent, I had a split second when I was struck by an innate realisation that there were no honky nuts among the dead leaves. But of course there is isn’t. I am a long way from home.

Again much of my mind was occupied by thoughts of the family I left behind in Zanjan and of daydreams about reuniting with them as I start a life in Iran. I was distracted by such thoughts by frustration at the road, which from Myaneh is a steady uphill as it follows the Sharharchay River. The scenery was nice again though, the road twisting and turning its way between (and sometimes through, via tunnels) bare rocky hills and beside crop fields and orchards that create an oasis feeling. I was gifted with apples a couple of times – so I still have more than the 10 apples with which I left Zanjan. Once again the weather was cool. It seems as if someone has turned a switch in the last few days and lowered the temperature. It even rained, albeit for just five minutes and very lightly. It has been a long time since I have seen rain. I had a few brief light showers in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, but it might be as far back as Myanmar that I have seen decent rainfall.

While trying to put a dent in my apple collection during a break on the side of the road, a touring van pulled in beside me. The French couple inside it instantly looked familiar. As we started chatting my mind was moving quickly to place them. We all realised at the same time that indeed we have met before, at the Turkmenistan Embassy in Dushanbe. What are the chances we meet again in western Iran?!

No honky nuts here

Accommodation Free-camp
Distance ridden today 99.48km
Average cycling speed 17.1kph
Total distance ridden 24,180km