"I don't see any god up here"
I have long held an unnatural fixation with Baikonnur, mainly do to an adolescent attraction to space travel combined with an appreciation for the Soviet aesthetic when it comes to branding and the soviet space effort in general. They have this sort of no-BS-and-look-good-doing-it thing going on that I've always appreciated. And I believe Baikonner is where Sputnik launched from, where Laika left on her journey, and where Yuri Gagarin left to be the first human in space. Holler!
For this reason, I would really like to go to the east of the Aral Sea. The route map shows a split around it, but the road maps I have seen thus far don't actually show any appealing road options, just a railroad track to the east and south that runs down the center of Uzbekistan, and marked roads that run down the southern border of Kazakhstan but would require backtracking to hit the checkpoint in Samarkand. A direct-ish route around the north side of the Aral sea to Samarkand would be much, much appreciated.
Regarding the Aral sea, it has come to my attention that, "this place seems wicked awesome."