|03-10-2014, 05:47 AM||#76|
Joined: May 2006
During that day in Ulan Batoor we exchanged roomates in our Ger, 2 Brits left following our planned route on rally prepped ktm 690's, interestingly they said the KTM's had been faultlessly reliable but there had been issues with the aftermarket rally equipment, Ed said he also overheard one of them say something about having lost his watch whilst fisting a prostitute in Russia though it wasn't clear if he was wearing his watch at the time.
Clearly two guys on a different kind of trip to us, In fact I think it was these guys I'd overheard saying that they had about £1000 in cash about their persons in case of difficulty, It dawned on me that when I had left Moscow I actually only had £1200 in the bank and indeed in my whole world, so I started to hope I didn't run into difficulty!! though now I can say if anyone thinks they need a big budget/amazing gear or even any off road experience to have a great trip to Mongolia and back I can correct you, you just need a sense of humour and adventure!
The next two to arrive were a Brit named Chris and a German called Moritz, they came in on Transalps and had met somewhere along the way.
He was a well travelled guy with a proper shonker of a bike, I should extend my thanks to him for giving up much of his time to upload some mapping onto my GPS, had he not, our adventure by 1:250,000 scale map with compass would have been quite different I'm sure.
Anyway with that said I shall tell you about one of the strangest days of this trip.
A group of 5 of us, Ed and I, the 2 Tenere riding Ozzies, Stuart and Tom and finally Chris headed off into town.
The first stop was the black market. The black market was in fact just a market called the black market, it was huge and easy to find, I was disappointed by this.
We were told by someone that it was "an excellent place where you could find anything for sale, anything except for the very thing you needed"
This statement was entirely accurate, we all split up and went our separate ways, The Ozzies wanted a Mick Dundee anti Bear knife for their onward travel to Vladivostok, Chris was out searching for motorcycle oil and a front tyre, I wanted....well some socks actually
I think I was the only successful shopper! however if I had been in the market for Chinese made counterfeit goods I would have been in heaven, every major brand of trainers was represented and I was particularly enamoured with the old school Reebok trainers that had the logo printed on them in gold, back to front!
Ed bought some counterfeit shampoo and we returned to the hostel.
Along the way I took a couple of photos
Firstly I didnt think this guys Ikea flatpack bookcase was going to be up to much once he got home
I also peeked over the wall of a local Ger factory to see one of these giant felt tents in kit form
And noted the design of the traditional Ger had influenced a Catholic Cathedral near to the hostel
I admired the signage of the fuel grades at the local pumps
and considered that as we were in the capital city the fact 95 wasn't available what would we find in the backcountry
For your reference £1 was about 2100 Mongolian Tugruk's, one other thing we found was a 10 and a 20 Tugruk note which equates to a penny and a Ha'penny/1 US cent.
And at another Petrol station I enjoyed a lost in Translation moment for the Southern Mongolian Petrol Group
The day so far had been interesting but nothing too weird.
We later went to the state department store and post office, to get there we needed to catch a bus, only problem was we didn't know how to communicate to the bus driver where we wanted to go. We spoke to random people at the bus stop until we found an English speaker, she very kindly waved down a car for us and we brokered its services as a taxi
Stuart, Ed and I jumped in and the next half an hour was possibly the most thrilling of my life, this guy really wanted to impress us! and drove like a loon as he dodged potholes cut in and out of roundabouts (there is no priority or right of way on roundabouts here) and mounted the kerbs.
At one point we pulled in as an Army/Police convoy pushed through, but when the driver saw they were escorting VIP's to the shopping district he seemed to get the hump and later on after shooting down some back alleys we overtook them, at one point he actually climbed out of the window to get vision so as to find a faster way through the heavy traffic, throughout all of this he turned his banging techno tunes up to 11 and Ed and I realised that only front seatbelts are mandatory in Mongolia!!!
I think we felt lucky to be alive, we were certainly in fine spirits as we pulled up outside the Mongolian Government palace at Sukhbataar square, which was rather a grand building.
After we had been to the state department store we took to a beer garden, purely for the shade you understand and may have imbibed a couple of pints of Jalaam Har beer whilst people watching, but soon our minds turned to food
At this juncture it came to light that one of the Ozzies had passed through on the Trans Siberian train 2 years ago and reckoned he could find a pretty good restaurant nearby.
We were not disappointed, from the French onion soup starter to the steak with blue cheese sauce every mouthful was a delight of flavour serenaded with a couple more good local beers.
At the meals conclusion I was contemplating a coffee when Ed took centre stage proclaiming that we were in Mongolia, and therefore must try the locals favourite of vodka all round
We then proceeded to order Finlandia, that most quintessentially Mongolian refreshment
We were not however quite ready for the fact it came in a Mongolian 100ml measure!
Oh well down the hatch, what is the worst that can happen?
Shortly afterwards a Birthday cake was brought out to a girl on the table nearby, quietly dining with two friends, this gave cause to another shot of vodka to include one for the birthday girl and her friends...
And then a third to accompany the birthday cake she had sent our way in return
Next stop the bracing cold air outside the eatery
|03-10-2014, 07:04 AM||#77|
Joined: May 2006
The cooler air of the night time hit you immediately on leaving the restaurant, and I can confess to feeling a little tipsy
But it certainly had a more pronounced effect on Ed, and combined with his jubilant mood since arriving at UB he had an air about him of an enthusiastic puppy.
Off he went, introducing himself to any girl that he found remotely attractive, and with a cheery hello he did his bit to terrify many a poor Mongolian, whether she was stood beside her family, boyfriend or husband, the usual result was looking at the floor as she would scurry away apologetically.
The key metrics to this equation were the following
Any girl Ed found attractive was approached
Ed was drunk
Ed had been on the road for a few weeks
= All girls were attractive
I'd been getting irked by Ed's poor admin, slow to pack up, last out of the cot in the morning, slow on the ride. But tonight he was on top form and I wouldn't have wished for any other company.
Eventually a group of young Mongol's responded and in English, Hi where are you from?
And so it was we made our introductions to one guy, his girlfriend, and her two friends.
Ed announced without previous conversation or consultation, that the 5 of us restaurant goers "really wanted to find a Karaoke bar"
Errrrm. the rest of us looked at one another as if to say WTF?? I think karaoke was the furthest thing from my mind I cant hold a note or carry a tune and much as I enjoy opening my lungs I usually get a few looks each time I torture a well known hymn at a wedding or funeral
They told us that they did not know where there was a Karaoke bar (phew) but they were going to a nightclub, did we want to accompany them?
Nightclubbing in downtown Ulaan Bataar?? well why not? what could possibly go wrong?
The guy in the group was clearly a little insane, and in love with himself a little bit too, he insisted on wearing his classic rayban styled sunglasses throughout the entire evening regardless of how dark it was, told me his name was 'Snoop Kojie'!! his long hair was in a ponytail and he told me he was a professional photographer though he was a little vague on some of the details about what type of photography he made his living from, His camera or anything else I asked about it :-)
After he had assured the bouncers 'we were ok' we went into the club and started out by sitting in a booth upstairs where beers were brought via table service, one of the young ladies in the group had been balancing a coy demeanour with an overt flirtation, and then trying to put those two things into practice in broken English. The net result was a charming but sometimes laughable expression of interest towards me. She wanted to whisper something to me and told me "You are very beautiful man" I was at once charmed, terrified and practically wetting myself, as much as I understood her intent the word beautiful was most certainly not applicable to me.
I laughed and said You mean I have a beautiful passport, In any event it was time to hit the dancefloor and change the scene.
Now Chris and one of the Ozzies had sensibly gone back to the Oasis rather than come nightclubbing, so now we were three travellers making something of a spectacle as we did our very best 'Staying alive' dance moves in an increasingly tongue in cheek spectacle amidst the crowd of locals, soon we were dancing with not only our 4 new found friends but numerous others.
It was inevitable that some local beer fuelled lad would soon take exception to the shiny new things strutting their stuff on the floor, I mean with our sick moves and my beautiful looks we were clearly a threat.
Ed became the victim of a young Asian guy who looked not too dissimilar to the actor from the film 'The Hangover'
I guess with Ed being the pretty boy of the group was always going to get it (I am actually far from beautiful, work as a labourer and have a large scar across one side of my head and Stuart was a tall lad with an 'outback' build from lifting weights)
Ed was a bit put out as the guy kept giving him a little push, every couple of minutes apparently, he approached the guy to say Hey no problem here, we can shake hands? a gesture that was flatly and demonstrably refused.
I watched for a few minutes, it was kind of like a strange courtship dance, pretending to dance this punk would strut across behind Ed and then nudge him a little and strut away, this occured about 4 or 5 times before I felt enough was enough before Ed snapped
In an unusually vodka fuelled moment of extreme forthrightness from me I reached across and tapped this transgressor on the shoulder.
With both forefingers outstretched in a pointing gesture I drove them under his collarbones and gave him a gentle push before uttering the words
Do you want to just have a fight? or do you want to f@ck off?
I should point out it was not purely an act of aggression, I'd observed a sort of behaviour in the people here, including on the road. A kind of display of aggressive dominance that ultimately was an empty threat but a test of wills to see who had the most front. So I was joining in and trying it out.
Whether it was right or not to do the end result was not fisticuffs, which was just as well for everyone concerned.
However the young lady who had been grooming me earlier insisted we went upstairs to the booth to let the situation cool down, she led me upstairs by the hand and I followed before standing vigil like some gargoyle over the dancefloor, just to make sure there were no more altercations affecting my travel buddy, not that he knew this.
Ed having just seen me being led upstairs by a young Mongolian woman leapt to some conclusions, later he told me his thought had been
If Matt's got a Mongolian I want a Mongolian to play with too!
The night drew to a close and we invited the 4 Mongols back to the hostel for another beer.
The Hulking Ozzie Stuart took the front seat of our 'taxi', when I say taxi obviously this was just an entrepreneur with a car wanting to make 2 bob, the fact that he now had 4 Mongols and two Brits on the back seat of his ancient Toyota didn't seem out of place.
The rule at the hostel which we didn't know was no Mongols, and the Oasis is a lovely place where you really can leave your laptop out for a few days and expect it to be there when you return, in a poorer economy like this it was understandable to have the policy even though these new friends were far from pilfering theives
Despite this after Stuart spoke to Mr Miyagi and explained we had been looked after all night by these guys we were allowed in for one drink.
The young lady who had been grinding away on my lap in the taxi I'd now learnt was 24 and a single mother to a 4 year old girl as well as a hairdresser.
She was actually quite endearing and was trying to look after me, she offered me some food from her handbag, they were small and brown and I assumed they were toasted seeds?? out of politeness I ate one, she made a bit of a fuss and then demonstrated that they were in fact small nuts that needed shelling
Realising that I'm clearly an idiot she rather sweetly shelled a few dozen of these strange nuts, and proceeded to feed them to me, they were lovely and tasted of milk and her amorous touches were like honey to boot, but eventually it was time for her to go and she gave me the rest of the bag of nuts and I put them all in a taxi.
A lovely young lady
I snuck into our Ger using my watch as a light to see by, crawled into bed and smiling to myself thought, wow, what a strange night, but it wasn't over yet.
The Ger at night
|03-11-2014, 07:54 AM||#78|
Joined: May 2006
Because the manager had found Mongols on her compound she had switched on the security light whose white halogen fog filled the settlement shortly after I'd gone to sleep
But as I layed in my cot I could not have anticipated the next thing to happen.
Ed burst open the door of the Ger, silhouetted by the nightsun behind him. through drink he now had a 'zombiesque' posture, contorted in the doorframe filled arclight.
He staggered to the central woodburner, thankfully his thoughts were not of 'Brains' but 'fire' well I say thankfully... but.
His entrance woke Chris and Moritz from their slumber
And then we watched the silhouette of Zombie Ed pour neat petrol from his Sigg flask onto the naked flame of the woodburner, meanwhile he was berating Chris!!
Earlier in that day he and the Australians had decided they didn't much like Chris, he seemed to typify the stereotype of a 'whinging pomme' and he had initially seemed a bit of a grump on arrival at the Oasis after some hard off road miles to get there and a river crossing (I have since learnt) that went bad, in fact Moritz was kind enough to post it on youtube
In truth I found Chris a little awkward initially, but it's rare for me to not find something I like in everyone given time and given the help he had given me with the GPS I certainly felt he was worth the time.
Anyway Ed had decided to himself that Chris looked like either Dick Solomon (3rd rock from the sun)
Or Richard O'Brien (Rocky horror picture show and Game show called Crystal Maze)
So there was a surreal 5 miniute episode where he ranted away whilst calling him either Richard o' Brien or Dick having decided he was a lookey likey! Of course Chris had no idea why he was being called Richard or Dick nor why Ed was lambasting him for being a winging Pomme, "Are you never happy Richard, I am simply trying to make a fire to look after you all Richard, are you never happy Richard etc, leave it all to me why don't you Richard"
He was being an abusive so and so but we were all transfixed by his vodka fuelled lunacy, back at home if a friend in my company was acting like a belligerent bully I would have felt it right to have stepped outside, his behaviour should not have been an embuggerance to our room mates
we had travelled together and so together we could have slogged out punches until his angst was spent and all the nastiness was kept inside the group with just us two carrying the bruises, but I couldn't move for laughing, because it was being delivered in such an outrageous manner and context and the confusion on the face of Chris was also pretty funny.
As it was Chris didn't know whether to respond with sarcasm that would be lost on the inebriated Ed or to give him a whack himself, all credit to the man, he saw the ramblings of a drunken fool and left it alone
The petrol Ed poured thankfully didn't light and Ed realising this, hazily made a new plan to heat our Ger (which was not cold BTW) he went outside with one of the compressed sawdust rolls we had for fuel and soaked it in neat petrol outside.
By now everyone was a little confused and worried and as he staggered back in with his fresh stick of incendiary muppetry in one hand he looked over to Moritz, who by now was backing as far away from the source of ignition as he possibly could looking decidedly afraid
Ed proclaimed to Moritz (whose name he had forgotten), "Don't worry German bloke,everything is under control German bloke" MOritz watched on in a perfectly natural fear of the impending firestorm that Ed was trying to unleash.
From silhouetted zombie, Ed became an illuminated beelzebub, cackling with his success as the twisted firestarter, the petrol soaked log had ignited all the petrol, and 4 foot of flames leapt from the steel stove top. I was doubled up laughing at the lunacy of it all, I'd been paralysed throughout by laughter at the bumbling fool.
And knowing that nobody was going to have to 'stop drop or roll' or indeed cover Ed in a blanket all four occupants of the Ger went to sleep soundly
|03-11-2014, 08:33 AM||#79|
Joined: May 2006
Now after the fun and frivolity of the prior evening there was inevitably a price to be paid I stirred in my bed as disjointed musings flashed sporadically in and out of my pulsing brain, something about a girl, dancing, fire!
When I was young I didn't get hangovers
When I was a little older I got hangovers but could sleep them off
Once I hit 30 I found I got hangovers but lost the ability to sleep with them
But damned if I was going to sit in a Ger all day, and besides, between the pressing matter of a bladder that was at flashpoint, and a mouth that felt like it had been licking the orange and brown swirls of a 70's Axminster carpet (that hadn't been cleaned since it was laid) sitting in my cot was no longer an option.
Ed seemed to be breathing, but definitely not stirring just yet and so I went out alone and met the day with a trip to the supermarket to buy us both cold water and beverages and took care of the humanising process of showering and stuff before washing and airing my clothes.
The Ozzies were taking a day trip East to see a giant statue dedicated to Chinggis Khan (or Genghis if you prefer) I was definitely up for that and Ed had started crawling from the pit.
Looking at him told me I didn't want to see myself in a mirror - but in truth he was suffering far more than me. We set a departure time in an hour or so to leave though as Ed could barely put his socks on. I tried to steer him away from riding, he was in no state and the route out was predominately asphalt, which would have been preferable except for the fact we had fitted Michelin Desert tyres the day before
They are great tyres in their correct environment, but out on the road that front tyre is not...confidence inspiring
To my surprise all 4 of us left for the statue, a slow ride out 3 Tenere 660's in white, blue and black
The Ozzies had been on the road for a while and worked cohesively, I was back to spending more time looking backwards than at the road as Ed kept disappearing. I was getting to feel pretty uncomfortable and embarrassed about 'our' performance in the presence of the Ozzies so eventually I suggested they continue without us. I waited for Ed and asked what was up?
We were averaging below 30 mph and it was pretty silly. He told me he'd had to keep stopping as the bumps in the road were causing him to be nauseous
bumps in the road
It was ridiculous and I had little sympathy, he was mesing with other peoples enjoyment of the day because he didn't want to miss out on this day trip even if theres no way he should have been riding, I told him to stay put until he had vomited by force if necessary, and then to continue the few remaining km down the road, I didn't need to hang around to see it being done and so sauntered off to join the Ozzies
It was a major asphalt road but sometimes it was easier to drive beside it, the potholes were often huge. Along the way I saw giant birds of prey, their handlers keen to show them off to curious tourists for a modest fee, I had no idea these birds could grow so huge
The statue itself was big, and very shiny, a spectacle in stainless steel, It serves no particular purpose though it houses a small museum under its base.
We took a meal at the restaurant after admiring a seemingly irrelevant giant boot and giant riding crop (no real signs or anything to say why these were here in such a scale)
A Hind Gunship did a low level pass of the statue, Mongolia has a whole 25 of these airborne beasts and I'd never seen one fly, it was a treat for me, but then I wasn't a target
Strangely you can ascend the stairs inside Chinggis' body and emerge from his shiny stainless crotch before walking to the top of his horses head for a grand vista
On the way back to the hostel I saw some dropped bag on the road?, I recognised it as being a pack for a bike made by Wolfman luggage and so figured the BMW 800gs I'd seen on the way out to that statue was missing it, It was certainly unlikely that it belonged to a local!
I stopped and told the others to go on without me, I caught up with the owner, a man from Yorkshire England I think and I got a half a thanks for my trouble which annoyed me a little, I'd rather assumed that nobody rides a bike out here with nothing they didn't need but he was so dismissive of it I rather wish I'd left it for a local given that he didn't much care for his lucky coincidence
It was actually nice to ride alone for a bit, I detoured on the way firstly I was drawn to the statue of Chinggis Khan's wife waiting and watching over her beloved from a nearby hilltop (Chinggis had many wives, but the story of his first/his true love is quite a good one)
I took myself back to the hostel for a somewhat quieter night than before, was interviewed by 'German Bloke' Moritz for his web blog and got ready for the next leg.
Out into the wilds of Mongolia!!!!
|03-11-2014, 12:39 PM||#80|
Joined: Jul 2012
"when I had left Moscow I actually only had £1200 in the bank and indeed in my whole world, so I started to hope I didn't run into difficulty!! though now I can say if anyone thinks they need a big budget/amazing gear or even any off road experience to have a great trip to Mongolia and back I can correct you, you just need a sense of humour and adventure!"
Thanks so much for putting things in perspective. One needn't the most expensive gear or bike or a huge bank balance to go out and have an adventure ride. A good reminder.
|03-11-2014, 03:25 PM||#81|
Joined: Oct 2012
Location: Kingdom of Belgium
Strangely you can ascend the stairs inside Chinggis' body and emerge from his shiny stainless crotch before walking to the top of his horses head for a grand vista
Given the claims on the size of his progeny I understand there might be some purpose to this arrangement.
Moriunt omnes pauci vivunt
|03-12-2014, 09:08 AM||#82|
Joined: May 2006
The very first venture into the Wild West of Mongolia was actually pretty much anything but, the first hour was a battle through the traffic, as much fighting as it was riding needed, towards the Western edge of the city my bike started acting up before cutting out, It was exhibiting something like a misfire/fuel starvation but then refusing to restart
Ohh shit, I'm about to head into the unknown back of nowhere and there is something randomly playing up with the bike, My head ran through the likely culprits, I had prepared some spares for the trip which included fuel filter for the fuel pump and spare plugs in case of drowning but I wasn't certain it was a problem that would be saved by either of those things? I opened the fuel caps just in case a vent line was pinched and I waited for Ed to fight his way through the traffic.
By the time he arrived and I talked him through it the bike just fired up as if nothing had been the matter, this worried me even more, could it have been overheating and seizing up in some way in the traffic? I topped up with the last 95 octane I thought I might see for a while and filled up my fuel cans for the first time.
The rest of the day went without incident, the road was actually pretty well kept and sealed, but it gave me time to consider the mechanical problem and I had a theory (but I wouldn't be able to confirm I had been right until I hit the commute into Moscow many thousands of kms later) The KTM is very tightly packaged and the front header pipe runs in a small space between the right hand fuel tank and the engine and it gets incredibly hot, more so in the heat of the day in near standstill traffic. because the fuel level was well into the reserve it turned out to be the case that the fuel was boiling quite nicely away in the bottom of the tank and so air and fuel was getting drawn in through the pump, once the tank was full that heat was easily dissipated, or when the bike was on the move for that matter.
The weather varied from bright and sunny through to overcast with black rods of rain sweeping as unforgiving bristles brushing across the far vista, I had heard that the sky in Mongolia is somehow bigger than you might expect, and as ridiculous as that sounds it's true, the altitude? the thin air? the lack of pollutants? I have no idea why but I could appreciate why it was called the land of the big blue sky
We met some bikers along the way, a sort of international task force of motorcyclists comprising of a Dutchman on a Honda XR400 'frankenbike' (large tank, motor donated from a quad) A Frenchman on an tricoloured Honda Africa Twin currently sporting a bit of universal fairing fixer (Duct tape) And a German who lived and worked in Sweden riding a predictably immaculate KTM Adventure complete with a little Rammstein sticker, it sounds like the basis of a bad joke doesn't it? three bikers pull up to a cafe, a Dutchman, a German and a Frenchman!!
They all had one thing in common, they looked like they had been beaten up, wore a universally dour expression and all concluded that our plan for the Northern Route was impossible. This was not what I wanted to hear and looking at the state of them I knew this wasn't just talk.
They looked our bikes over, gave Ed a hard time about his luggage (quite rightly) and then we all went into a roadside cafe for the only thing they could recognise in Cyrillic (Goulash) which was one thing more than Ed or I knew.
Their lips were cracked from the Sun, they had fallen over numerous times and felt it necessary to stress how difficult things would be, we would not enjoy ourselves, on smaller bikes, better luggage maybe, maybe the tyres would help, maybe I would be Ok but not Ed (after they realised I had a little clubman enduro experience, but nothing fancy under the belt)
The Frenchman on the AT seemed particularly keen to pour a pessimistic 'creme Anglais' thickly over my rich optimistic pudding I was about to tuck into, and the more I said, Yes well we can try the Northern route and make the best of it, or Well it is supposed to be an adventure isn't it? the more annoyed he seemed to get that this dunderhead was not drowning in the increasingly poured foreboding.
I was getting a bit sick of it to be honest, My final rebuttal was seemingly appropriate to his ears though You must understand I am English, we can only be truly happy when we are miserable so we have something to complain about.
And so by manipulating a negative stereotype 180 degrees we were able to eat whatever the hell it was we were eating thanks to the fellow KTM rider who had at least learnt some Cyrillic (Thanks Uwe!)
They headed of East to UB, reassured the roads were silky smooth and that I had been able to leave a needed reg/rec for the Frenchman at the Oasis hostel with a Dutchman in a Landcruiser, such is life on the road.
We carried on West for a short while, pausing occasionally to soak in the scenery, we found a small herd standing in the a flooded field, my first good sized herd though many more would follow. One Horse had collapsed in the water, whilst another was trying to procreate. a free range dog was stood atop the deceased horse tearing chunks from its carcass as a lesser dog watched on, behind that dog were three enormous vulture type birds.
There's always one joker in every group snapshot
I'm so hungry I could eat a...well you get the idea
A local stopped in traditional dress, and as we took a photo of him he whipped out his digital compact and started to snap away the same scene we were looking at.
The road continued to be excellent, At this point we were on the 'middle route' towards Tsetserleg, the ancient capital of Mongolia but I was beginning to wonder if fitting knobblies hadn't been a bit daft? I was worrying everyone had been talking it up, I mean what if Mongolia was the gnarly offroad experience I'd ridden halfway round the world for?
we stopped off for a bit of water before making plans to make camp for the night
Then I took care of a small job I had promised myself since leaving the UK, Genghis and the Mongols had made it as far as Poland in his time, So I had covered more ground than him thanks to my trusty Austrian horse, oh and globalisation, GPS, Internet etc
|03-12-2014, 09:28 AM||#83|
Joined: May 2006
One day I shall know nothing and be truly wise!
|03-12-2014, 09:30 AM||#84|
Joined: May 2006
I use a Halvarssons safety jacket for winter work now, that is a beautiful bit of kit provided I dont have to walk anywhere in it
|03-12-2014, 02:04 PM||#85|
Joined: May 2006
It had been a cold night and fierce wind had whipped up, we were still so pleased with being able to ride up hills and camp on them though and enjoyed the views they offered that we never really got out of that habit.
It's relatively hard to explain the effect of the big temperature drops at night, my bag was rated for around about freezing but I wished I'd taken a warmer one, I use a silk liner which helps but always get cold feet.
one thing I was glad to remember was to take my empty water bottle in with me at night, nothing worse than waking at 4 or 5 in the morning because of a demanding bladder and freezing cold outside, you know the drill by the time you try to ignore the need for a half hour, get out of warm sleeping bag into clothes, put on boots and take a wander, take a wee and then reverse the procedure you are never getting back to sleep!
It was another bonus of having taken a slightly larger 2 man tent instead of the 1 man hooped bivi I had considered, even with good quality kit theres always a trade off between comfort and size
There was some question mark as to how I managed to urinate about 750ml overnight and still seemed to be dehydrated ? but I've always had a big bladder, those little cardboard bottles you get in a hospital ward being exactly not quite large enough when needed in the past
Fortunately it was never an issue but really I should have taken a roll of cling film or some giant ziploc bags in case of number twos but there we go.
After we packed up we were off to Karakorum, this was our reason for not immediately taking the Northern route, it's the ancient Mongolian capital from the 13th century and it was kind of cool to wander round in the footsteps of Chinggis and to admire the Erdene Zuu Monastery
We hadn't anticipated sand dunes along the way, there was no sudden transition into them, but there they were nestled betweens folds of hills in the landscape,
The Gobi itself was to the South of the country and our pitiful funds had prohibited a few days to explore them so this eased my disappointment about that somewhat, so definitely on the tourist trail we passed roadside traders looking to sell camel rides into the dunes, we passed them by and turned left off the asphalt and into the dunes
Naturally we had a play, sand is a funny surface for me to ride on, not much of it in the UK, too much power you sink, too slow a speed you sink, you steer with the throttle and all the while it goes from soft patch to hard patch to soft again so you find yourself massaging the clutch lever constantly
Naturally both of the bikes took a tumble as jerked around getting a feel for these big machines, but I think this was just a case of Ed's bikes sidestand foot disappearing into the powdery sand
And so we had to park them the correct way which firstly involves this
Leading to something like this, god what a great view :-)
After a little while of playing noisily we were joined by a young Mongol lad as curious about our bikes as we were about his steed
All in all it was a pleasant meeting, no monies were asked for, it was a genuine little cultural exchange and the whole Dune/Camel thing was great fun
And so we headed off smiling into an increasingly darkening sky
|03-12-2014, 05:20 PM||#87|
Joined: May 2006
|03-12-2014, 08:00 PM||#88|
Joined: May 2006
The strong winds made the going pretty interesting, growing up 300m up a cliff looking out into the Atlantic I'm used to the odd gust of wind but this was quite something even for me, every now and then some ice got mixed into the wind and drove into any exposed nooks or crannies around my lid and goggles, I was wet through and it was bitterly cold, nevertheless I've learnt the best way to ride in high winds is to go as fast as you dare and hope the gyroscopic effect of your wheels keeps you where you want to be. With these tall bikes acting like sails in cross section it was hard work but an enjoyable challenge to steer around all the little and not so little pot holes in the road which had suddenly turned into something much more third world than we had seen the previous day.
Ed hates strong winds with a passion and sensibly took his own time which afforded me the chance for a brief clip of the wind we had that day, I couldn't bring myself to stop when it was raining but could barely stand at all with the wind (being a shortarse meaning I cant flat foot the lofty adventure)
Sand just shooting across the road like a river
As we arrived to Karakorum the weather did a U turn and we enjoyed sunshine in abundance, it was fair to say a strange old day weatherwise
The usual tourist shops were there along with the vendors of antiquities and so we took turns to stroll around, We bumped into two people offering accommodations to us in their guest houses, one of these actually being Sabine the owner of the Oasis we had just come from! small country, she was out on her annual tour of the country.
walls of the monastery
lovely pair of knockers at the monastery
this dog would have been standing guard here for centuries
4 HP truck!
We left the Monastery behind us and headed towards a place call Tsetserleg, home to a small B&B founded by some Australians and reportedly serving the closest thing to a full English breakfast available in Mongolia??
Mongolian Muppetry KTM 990http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=945633
Going to Hell for Cancer -26C winter ride in Norway Honda Cubhttp://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=853714
https://www.facebook.com/groups/720508524662657/ Operation Honey Badger
|03-13-2014, 10:09 AM||#89|
Joined: Jul 2012
A Full English Breakfast! Super! Truly a wondrous thing to behold! And to eat! I retain fond memories of one such, at a pub in Ford whilst on a pushbike journey....so filling that I could only make 9 miles that day!
|03-13-2014, 04:02 PM||#90|
Joined: Dec 2004
Location: God's Own County
Dick/Richard here. It's fun to read your ride report and the description of the night involving Pyro-Ed. It brings back some fun memories! Definitely the highlight of my time in Ulaan Bataar. Interesting to hear those couple of convict-offspring coppers described me as a whinging pom . Pot/Kettle/Black?
Keep up the good RR and hopefully drink a beer or 3 (no vodka please!) some time.
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