GET TO THE GOBI!! We had visions of riding double humped camels in vast sand dunes. It was still raining and the wind was still blowing strong from the north. After two days of nothing too notable, things were about to get intense, although we didn't know it yet.
Buuuuurrrt and Minxter put on their rubber gloves. I purposely didn't bring any because I had no intentions of doing any serious rain riding. We didn't want to hang out in the manky ger all day and we were really pumped up on getting into the desert. So, I improvise with a couple of plastic bags and we start riding. We don't even get out of town and Minxter goes down in a mud hole. I announce that I think it's too greasy and unwise to leave town in these conditions. My partners are amped up to go and it doesn't take much to convince me to go along even though I know better. We take off in the rain.
We are actually making good time considering the rain and the mud holes we are having to dodge. Then we see the first herd of double humped camels!! We figure we are officially in the Gobi now! We are excited and press on.
We stop for a quick break. The rain continues along with a very stiff tail wind. It was not the easiest riding but not the hardest. We were still moving along pretty good at this point.
Then things start to go bad. The ground is more and more saturated with mud holes all over. Our front tires are getting locked up with mud stuck in the fender.
It's officially a greasy mess at this point and the rain and wind continue.
Here's Minxter trying to get the mud out of her front tire/fender so it will roll again.
The one thing that we learned was that you only sank so far when riding through the water puddles unlike some mud holes I've experienced in the deserts in the western U.S. which can swallow whole bikes. So we ended up riding through the water rather than trying to avoid it. This kept the front tire from getting clogged.
Up on some high ground we came across a couple of trucks that were waiting out the bad weather. They would just wait until it stopped raining and dried up enough to continue. This is a smarter approach than ours.
We were shooting for the town of Bogd where we figured we could find a ger to rent again and get out of the weather. We were still quite a distance from Bogd at this point but we kept battling the mud, rain, and wind. At least the wind was at our back. We were completely soaked at this juncture.
And there it is. The stopper. This is a wash that's running that's too deep and swift for us to cross. For those not familiar with these, washes are dry stream beds that only run like a river during storms, otherwise they're dry. We are very familiar with how washes can halt your progress because we ride so much desert terrain in the States. Our eagerness got the better of us.
When we came up to it, I walked across to check it to see if it was at all possible. It was almost too difficult to even walk across and I even fell down but was able to regain. We were only 14km from Bogd here but could not cross the wash. It was very late in the day. The strong north wind would be a head wind if we tried to retreat at all which was not an option considering the mud holes were only getting worse. We had to face the music and hunker down and try to keep the dry gear that we still had on the bikes dry so we wouldn't get cold. OH BOY!!! Keep it together!!
89km of mud running for the day.