In the deserts the roads ran from one oasis to the next and, with few natural features, they were straight for kilometre after kilometre.
Samarkand is ringed by mountains. Mountains mean bends. For a motorcyclist a road is a series of bends connected by straight bits. The less of the latter the better.
So there was a spring in our wheels as we set off south. Our route didn't take us all the way to the Afghan border which is a notorious trouble spot. Instead we turned east to a small town of Denav ready for a short hop to what is expected to be the longest border crossing yet. Into Tajikistan.
The proximity of Afghanistan explained he large number of checkpoints. At each one we were stopped. The cry of "passport" was only really an excuse to hold us up long enough to ask us about the bikes.
Our hotel tonight is a reminder of why communism failed. Twenty minutes to get a key for the room which was booked months ago. Apparently the computer said "Nyet".