We knew we had made the right decision to hitchhike when we passed a field of sunflowers who had all turned their yellow and black faces away from the scalding sun and were drooping towards the dry, cracked ground. The mercury in my keychain thermometer was pushing its way past 40*C but the turbulent wind crashing in through the truck’s open windows provided some relief from the heat. We were entering the Fergana Valley, one of the most fertile regions of Central Asia, which Kyrgyzstan shares with its neighbors, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
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It wasn’t easy to leave the At-House in Bishkek. We were getting used to having a kitchen and a bathroom and were enjoying the camaraderie of our fellow cycle tourists. But we knew that once we had tuned our bikes and gotten our visas for Tajikistan, it was time to hit the road. The At-House was also getting a bit crowded. Word had spread that it is the place in Bishkek for cyclists. When we left there were 23 cyclists staying there.