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Monday, July 12, 2010

Back to Banaul.

Max speed: 82.5kph
Average speed: 35.1kph
Riding time: 77.42hrs.

Cow shit. I didn't think I would be deliberately standing in the smoke of a cow shit fire, trying to escape the mossies. Our new best mates were heating up stones in the cow shit fire, dropping the red hot rocks into a milk urn, with meat and veggies, to cook a traditional Mongolian meal. We declined a dinner invitation. To bad the fire burnt a hole in my best strides. As seems to be the case in most of Mongolia, the mossies were about half a kilo each. Your average Mongolian walks around, for two months of the year, carrying a piece of towelling or cloth with which they constantly whip themselves. It seems, to the uninitiated, like mass self flagellation. Nothing so sinister. It is the only way to keep the damned mossies away! The Gher camp we were staying in was on an island. In Australia islands have bridges. In Mongolia they have river crossings. This particular island had 2 river crossings. One was quite deep. After crossing three times, guess who dumped it in the middle of the deepest, fastest flowing patch of the river. Soaked my boots, and I hate wet boots. Fcuk that!

In Khovd, on our day off, we discovered if we parked our bikes out the front of the University we could get free wi-fi. Great to catch up on our e-mails and to Skype/phone family and friends. Also a good spot to meet and chew the fat with the locals. Our new best mates Tilek and Esengul dropped by and invited us the visit and stay at their home. Tilek drives a Volga 3110. A big solid, staid looking 2.0 litre 4 cylinder sedan. Plenty of room for a family and built like a brick shit house. They are both teachers, Tilek speaks excellent English, very handy for an English teacher.

Tilek and Esengul and their 3 sons live in Hovd, as opposed to Khovd or Hovd, this was a 28 km drive, took a little over an hour and we only got lost once. Tilek took us to the horse races. In Mongolia they don't stuff around when they race horses. As we all know, it helps if a jockey is very light. Young people are usually light. So the jockeys start racing at age 4 and are retired by age 10. The first race was for 1 year old horses, the jockeys were a little over one year old, and only ran for 5 kms. By the second race they had stopped stuffing around and raced for 20kms. How long is the Melbourne Cup? Bloody Aussie soft cocks!! Tilek is writing a dictionary. How smart is that. We had an exceptional day and evening.

Our second last day in Mongolia was an absolute stunner. Magnificent scenery and fantastic tracks with a humongous variety of surfaces. This was one of the best rides on our trip. By now my boots were nearly dry. We had at 20-25 river crossings, some easy, some deep and fast flowing. And I kept my boots dry. On one of the last, fastest flowing and deepest crossings I got bogged. Bastard!! It took us about 40 minutes to get the poor old Rooney out of the river and my boots were full to the top with water.

We camped between the town of Ogly and the Russian border, only a few kilometres from where I had camped last time with Ron, Neva, Kim and the other Pommie, whose name I have chosen to forget. We were sad to be leaving Mongolia. Loved the place and the people. A few nips of Chingis helped to dull the pain. Changed money at the border, refused to pay the 10,000tg road tax, and were through into Russia (after a health check by a Doctor). Gotta go in style.

We met 3 Pommie blokes in 4WD,s heading east, decided to have an early camp and socialise. What a camp sight! A big level paddock, a fast flowing river, snow capped mountains, forests and plenty of firewood. Colin, Allen and Asher are bloody good blokes. For Poms, that is.

Today we rode the Russian Alti, probably the prettiest region in Russia, a magnificent area for motorcyclists. Sensational views, little traffic and great corners. A pity about the rain in the afternoon. Our last camp in the Alti was a belter. Could have done with more mossies and rain!

Bronwyn texted me. The shit had hit the fan, again. The good people at Manly Warringah Credit Union had rung and told her I was the proud owner of an expensive Apple computer and some other electronic paraphernalia I wouldn't even know how to use. Only one problem, I had only paid for the gear, some anonymous person had possession of it. My Visa card had been skimmed while I was in Mongolia. Tanyia cancelled my card and the Credit Union sorted the mess out. Fortunately I have a back up Mastercard this trip.

Banaul. Renown for having some of the prettiest girls in Russia. And Russia has a lot of pretty girls. Our newest best mates Andrey and Natalia guided us to a hotel (with wifi), took us to Andrey's garage so we could change our oils and air filters, then took us to their home for a meal. More fantastic Russian hospitality from 2 fantastic Russian people. Last winter Andrey rode to a bike rally. Nothing special about that. Except, it was 1,500km away, he rode a 80cc 1983 Honda scooter, with side car, and the temperature was minus 47 degrees!! And he slept at the rally in a fcuking tent. Even the other Russian bikers were impressed. He showed us his heated visor, necessary when the temp is less than minus 25. Andrey's road bike is a Yamaha Dragstar. We met Costa and Alex, Russian bikers on R1200GS's., about to head off to Vladivostok via Mongolia. They were planning to ride the “Stans”, The politics got them and they had to abort.

Eventually Jason and Val turned up. Their bikes needed some TLC in Andrey's shed. The KTM and KLR both looked pretty fcuked after the Bam. Talk about walking wounded, bits hanging off everywhere. The KTM's rear subframe had broken and The KLR had a crack in the radiator. The boys told me how they had a traditional Mongolian meal, cooked in an urn with hot rocks inside. Apparently it tasted OK, but gave them the runs for 2 days. I told them how the rocks were heated!

In 2008 Kim and Scotty changed tires in Banaul. We stashed their half worn tires in a crate in a carpark. Two years later I wandered in, retrieved them and gave them to Andrey. Today we off to Kazakhstan. Funny thing that. Last time I said I probably would not go back there again.


  1. Actually, the winter rally Snow Dogs 2010 was 2900 km from Barnaul))))))
    PS. And u're welcome at my place anytime!

  2. ONYA Chris !
    Keep those posts coming :o)

    Pity you're not back in OZ - Wendy & I have built the house to lock up stage at Farcombe Hall (2)
    We are holding the innuagural
    "Frenetically Fickled Finger of Fate Fly-In at Farcombe Hall" on October 3rd ( 4 weeks away )

    Looking fwd to you visiting / staying with us when you get back & getting all the guff first hand !

    Biggus & The Minister for War & Finances ...
    ( a.k.a. The BOSS )