In Karakol we instantly found a guy who knows a guy who foks horses to arrange our pardon. Tomorrow would be the day the Silk Road Cyclers will become cowboys. YEE-HAW. After arrangements were made we rode our way up the hill to the perfect hostel that was scouted out. The ritual bag explosion was kept to a minimum given the fact that we only had two backrollers per person left, and this left us more time to socialize with the people in the common room. We got acquainted wizz two lovely french girlz who love horses, so we invited them to join us for a two day cowboy-life. Then some german hostel worker joined us for drinks to celebrate the last dollar on his bank account. After Yuri poured everyone a last drink on the house, 'the Yuri special', we called it a day.
At about 8:52 we arrived at the cowboyplace and were given our pardon. Pots 'n pans on the horseback we slowly made our way up through the green valley, following the stream. When we entered the national park our guide bode us farewell, and we were free as a bird again. A perfect time to see what the horses were capable of, we nudged them into a canter and followed up with a short gallop here and there. And here. And here. And all the way over here.
As the day progressed new challenges arose for our companions. The day before, in preparation for the cowboy life, some guns were aquired. As soon as we had taken off and left civilization behind us, we let our guns loose. Mostly shooting our defenseless companions in right in the face. At mid day break we tossed them in the river and throughout the whole journey they had to put up with our minor sexual harassment. The horses faced some challenges too. As we left the valley the vegetation became denser and the slope steeper. At one point we had to leave the trail due to a roadblock and climbed our way into the uncleared wilderness. Then we had to guide our horses through the waist-deep white waters, until we arrived at our campsite for the night. As the sun set the temperature quiclky dropped, and we divided the tasks. The women took care of the horses, two men went for wood and the remaining two stayed to cook diner.
The next morning our two french ladies prepared the horses and rode ahead while we sat down for a relaxed breakfast. We gently walked our horses back down to Karakol. Then it was time to put them to the test. After a short warmup gallop through the greens with Stef and Yuri, they swapped the prize horses down to the brothers. Anton and Oli drove their heels in the horses's hips and went for an endless race up and down the green hills. YEE-HAW. Oli let go of the reigns and kicked his horse for the final sprint and arrived right before Anton at the finish line. We gave the horses a well deserved rest while we let the owner rage about us using the horses to run instead of walking. No such agreements were made, so after we finally got our passport back we went back to the hostel and said goodbye to the cowboy life.
We left the 'Duet Hostel', kissed Ivo and his freshly saved puppy goodbye, hugged some of the local bartenders, high-fived our way through a line of familiar fans and waved at the French girls as we took off. A few hour later we washed off our afternoon heat stroke in a small lake with a few thousand watchful crows as our witnesses.
Oli bit through some shoulder pain on the cobbly dust road for an hour or two before spotting a nice set of trees in a field of green and purple. We bunked our bed high above the weeds as we noticed the clouds had hidden some stars from us. We didn't feel like playing hide and seek and lit our own stars from a pile of dead branches. After a while we noticed our life wasn't perfect; a dried cowturd was smoking right next to our star fire. Life can be a struggle, but luckily we drank enough water to solve this problem.