Friday, July 17, 2009

Mongolia. The last motorcycle frontier???? No 10.

> Distance from Home:46512km
> Number of 'offs': About 12 or 13
> Mongolia max speed: 116 (on the dirt!)
> Mongolia moving average:45.3kph
> Mongolia moving time:46.5hrs
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> The bike festival. Great. We were called to the stage on Saturday night, for a change we were modest and hid in the bar. Two german bikers (Africa Twin and BMW F650) turned up. Ron was up drinking vodka with them until 1.30am. His latest night drinking for 30 years! He surfaced on time in the morning, no sign of Tom and his mate though. We had been adopted by an extended Russian family. Three generations. They gave us food and presents and of course we drank vodka with them. Nicoli, the patriarch, was ex army, been to Chernobyl 3 times and was dying of cancer. They had a stretcher by the camp fire, so he missed out on none of the action. He walked up to our campsite and even came down to listen to the band. Our time for being minor celebrities was over, said goodbye to our 'family' and hit the road. What a weekend!!
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> We rode for w few hundred km through the Altai Mountains, this is a big holiday camping destination for the Russians, people camped every where. Crossed our highest pass on this section of the trip, 2660 metres. Another fantastic camp and into Mongolia in the morning. We crossed the border atTsagaanuur, took about 7 hours, we were lucky, people had been camped there for two days as the border was closed on Sunday. I picked up a young English hitch hiker. You cannot cross the border on foot, so he needed a lift, it is about 20km to the Mongolian border. there was a group of 24 Dutch in 4x4's on a rally to Bejing, via the Gobi Desert to watch the Eclipse. their leader had given the Russian immigration people the shits, so we were let through in front of them. Saved us a few hours. They do not have roads in Mongolia. Only tracks. They do not have signs either. To make navigation harder, the silly bastards can have several towns in the same area with the same name. almost no one speaks English. The food is crap as well. So is this fcuking key board' And fcuking hot and dusty!!! The scenary is stunning and the people are sensational. (sorry Stockers) I love Mongolia and will come back. We dropped Ian (the backpacker) off at the first dusty little town. He wanted to buy a horse and ride across the joint!. Within 200 meters we were lost. Who cares. We didn't! Another magnificient campsite. Cooked a meal, drank vodka and told lies. Rab was right, it is bloody cold here at night. Next day we got lost big time. Had to return to our start point after 3 or so hours. A guy sold us a meal and some beer and gave us more directions. Made it clear we shouldn't go to the coal mine. No problems. Camped beside a river. Great. Kim dumped it big time in the morning, his first of three for the day. Decided to fit nobblies to the Pom's bikes on the side of the road. Four tyres changed in a little over 2 hours. Not bad. Some how we ended up at the coal mine. Another wrong turn. Westerners seldom go there, particularly those on bikes. After all it is a prohibeted area. The local kids were great. Someone gave us directions, over a 2,556 meter pass. It had rained, the track was muddy, there was snow on the ground. the track almost didn't exist I dumped it. I had fitted a new throttle cable in the UK. As a precaution. The bastard broke a couple of km later. Time to camp anyway. Another stunning campsite. Another stunning area to ride through. We stopped at a Bhuddist Chorten to take photos. A Mongolian family stopped to pray. Forced us to drink a bottle of vodka with them, before breakfast! A nomadic herder came up and gave us a big pile of cheese. Had to force him to take money. What sort of animal did the cheese and milk come from we don't know. I think it was horse. Bloody good old horse anyway. Vodka, cheese and biscuits for breakfast. Is there another way? Ron had never been pissed before 9am before. Rode down a good dirt track, cruised at 85kph. On to our first patch of sealed road for days. Found I was only doing 75kph. Went for a bath/swim in a cool, clean river. Neva's turn to dump it.
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> We passed through Olgiy, Kovd, Ulaangom (Mongolia,s 2nd largest city),Tosonchengel, Kharkhorin and on to Ulaan Baatar. Took us 8 days to reach UB. Great tracks, shitty tracks and fcuking awefull tracks. Several passes over 2,55 metres. Heards of sheep, horses, goats, cows and camels. Mongolian horsemen everwhere. Magnificient. No tracks sometimes so we rode across country. Through rivers and creeks where there were not any proper crossings. The Rooney performed brilliantly. A good hard clay track. A sprinkling of sand. I was leading. Locked the front brake. Down like a bag of shit. Half hour to bend the handle bars back, tighten up the brake unions, use a rock to straighten the bark busters, etc, etc. Windscreen and headlight protectors gone. Cracked anither rocker cover. This screen was a prick of a thing anyway! Back on the track. Five or so km later. I am leading. Deep sand. Down like a brick and tile glider. Only thing hurt was my confidence. Belted a little bank as I hurtled out of control through the sand. Little bank has a big rock. Split my lovely panniers. Fcuking bastard. Cost me $US100 to have welded in UB. Fcuking burgler. Same day. Up out of a creek bed. No track. Off again. Some days we should all spend in bed!
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> Made UB. 2.5 million in the country. Nearly 1 million in UB. A big, shitty, dusty city. In these countries the man- holes in the roads are cast iron. Cast iron is worth a lot of money. People in Russia, Kazhkstan and Mongolia steal them. Makes for exciting riding. We don,t ride at night. A days maintamance in UB. We had tyres air freighted from the UK. Fitted them, oil change, panniers welded, washing done. Ready for the road tomorrow. We have been staying at the Oasis Guest House. An apt name. Fantastic food. Cold beer. Very clean, helpful owners. Neva and I were interviewed for TV today. Bloody media groupies. Last night there was 28 motorcycles at teh Oasis, tonight more, plus a couple of pushies and the odd backpacker. Riders going in all directions. Fcuking great.
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> What more can I say. It definately does not get any better than this.
>
> Chris.
> xx


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