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Old 03-13-2014, 03:49 PM   #91
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisUK View Post
Hi mate
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.

Best Wishes
How brilliant to hear from you Chris (and I see your own ride report starting which I'm looking forward to, I've already found your website on my surfs)

It was definitely a crazy day and a highlight for me too (as was watching Ed suffer the next day)

I wouldn't have posted this up if I thought you were the sort of person who'd be in the least bit put out by the opinion of a couple of relative strangers, but hopefully you can accept the heartfelt thanks from this relative stranger for your time and help once again.

I have no doubt our paths will cross somewhere down the road and I think three beers sounds about right one for Chris one for Dick and one for Richard I tell you what, lets put the first round on Ed's tab

Stick around to the end of the report, and see what Karma does
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Old 03-14-2014, 07:09 AM   #92
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The ride from the Monastery to the promise of a bed and a cooked breakfast was a good one, the road was sealed but in a bad state of repair, the weather was largely OK but improving

I was anxious as is my way to cover miles more quickly than my riding buddy, but even I could appreciate the good sense in stopping at a few photogenic locations.





I guess my sense of urgency on this occasion stemmed from the fact that I was navigating, I wanted to reach the town before nightfall. I was the only one of us with a sat nav or any idea of where we actually were.

That was something that preyed on my mind throughout this trip, If I had a big off I was in serious trouble. I'd given Ed an old garmin e-trex, a pretty basic and clunky old handheld that I'd had since 2001, it did have a breadcrumb feature so you could save a waypoint, ride off and find your way back along the same route but assuming he had brought it he hadn't ever used it, not sure he even had batteries for it, same deal with his petrol stove, he never tried it before we left, couldn't light his and ended up using my Primus for all the cooking duties.

The observant among you may be thinking ah, but why have such duplicity of equipment in the first place? Well I shall tell you

Psychologically speaking and in conjunction with conversations we had held before departure it was decided it was important that we could operate as two autonomous units, on the face of it I refused to accept any responsibility for Ed's wellbeing, riding, finances, health or anything else, and this meant any help I gave was in theory by choice, but also I reserved the right to just bugger off and leave him behind if he annoyed me too much, something that was a needed for my sanity, and in the next few days something that would be pushed to the limit.

I was already resentful of having to build my meal times around his cooking requirements, I kept looking at his ridiculous pile of crap bungee'd to the bike wondering how he was so heavily laden (seriously his two main bags must have weighed 60kg) and yet unable to navigate, cook or even repair his own bike without my tools?

Obviously if you are planning a trip look at every aspect of your kit, and be fully conversant in its use, the same goes for your toolkit, don't just pack tools that look like they might be handy! I'd already made Ed leave a claw hammer with a 6" handle in Poland??

we got to Tsetserleg just as the light was failing, I had to dig out the co-ordinates for the B&B and I had permitted myself to wonder what a Full English breakfast in Mongolia might contain? I dreamed about black pudding, I doubted its presence amidst the fayre but I was letting myself daydream and salivating at the prospect!

BIG MISTAKE

Naturally that meant the B&B was full, Doh! A cursory glance at the nearby hotel in the town told me all I needed to know, Ed lets press on and find a campsite

The asphalt expired with the light as we climbed up the mountain pass road that wound out from the town, HID's on full, stood up on the pegs, using the throttle to steer from the rear, I was loving it, all too soon we were back on asphalt but the brightness of full beam allowed me to maintain dual carriageway speeds, still standing for a better view of the potholes (my bike is actually set up for standing over sitting) one drawback of very bright headlamps is that every flying critter in a 50 mile radius wanted to make love to the nose of my bike, caught in the eddies of air turbulently thrown from my screen something that felt like the size of a golfball exploded into the side of my goggles, instantly its 'ectoplasm' covered half the goggles lens and went all over my face, I'm just very glad that I didn't have my mouth open.

So another little of nugget of touring wisdom came in handy, keeping certain items you'll need to access quickly close to hand, for me this meant my waterproofs, my water, and my bag containing tissues among others were always close (In case of urgent toilet breaks) and thankfully I was able to clean up before Ed had caught up to laugh at my goo spattered face.

After a few miles I sought for some place we could pitch a tent, we were in the bottom of a valley, couldn't really see anything up the slopes in either direction, so just picked a random small track and headed away from the road, the track took us to a stockade and I rode past this until our ascension was impeded by a small quarry carved out of the slope.

I pitched up in total darkness, I didn't want to be found until I'd had a full nights sleep, years ago touring in Italy every time I'd tried to get my head down, I had been disturbed and moved on, and I've enjoyed similar experiences in the UK and been investigated for cattle rustling in Poland by a shotgun wielding farmer

After I had crawled into my tent Ed used the headlamps of his bike as a torch LOL completely my fault, I hadn't told him why I was trying not to use a light.
Shortly after lights out we heard a Uaz jeep drive up close to our position, doors slammed and we heard Mongolians talking clearly through the cold night air, All in all it was like some playing out of a Call of Duty video game except for the fact I don't think anyone was going to try and shoot me, but I was sleeping in the Nuddy and didn't really want to get into conversation with some concerned herdsman





We woke up refreshed and I enjoyed a hot chocolate whilst watching Ed assemble his luggage, Today was going to be a good day. The first day of real off roading?, the first time we would leave the main routes and really be away from passing traffic, was going to be fun, I had no idea what to expect and this caused me to smile

We filled up the tanks and proceeded to our turning along some great roads that took us over 2700 metres above sea level





And turned onto the first track leading us towards who knows what??? The impassable Northern route?? Like an artillery round sliding into the chamber I felt the pressure building, I'd been primed for this, I had a bearing, the door of civilisation (in so far as asphalt roads and petrol stations was concerned) was closing behind me and then........

Boooooom

The peel of thunder as the now baffle-less KTM* roared forward into the unknown, flying over the countryside and my dreams of an open throttle cross country adventure had begun



*I had a hunch the Mongols would like a Litre Twin on open pipes
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Old 03-14-2014, 07:50 AM   #93
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The first experience of off road in Mongolia was interesting in so much as it was flat and smooth when compared to the roads in fact It was a little too straightforward, Stood on the pegs, leaning forward and thundering along at 70 mph cruise with ease the big KTM felt made for just this scenario, The sky was as big and blue as you could imagine and I was in my element in this beautiful wide valley.

Locals were friendly - Hairy Coo's for some reason every time we stopped cows would flock around the KTM and ignore the Yamaha, we decided that the bike was like some sort of bovine deity!







Later on I came across a boggy stretch of riverbed spanning several hundred metres, and automatically I found myself scanning the terrain looking for the best route through, it was like riding an enduro on a big scale, the feeling of just coming up to and through or over some obstacle without dropping pace just instinctively makes me happy, I don't know why, so I often ignored the sensible advice of stopping, walking a section or a crossing to keep that momentum and the sense of elation and freedom that it brings me, my heart feels healed in these moments

I randomly took the opportunity to race up a nearby hillside just to watch Ed enjoy the same stretch of track, and whilst I waited It dawned on me that I had been a little hard on Ed, Yes he was slow, he was inexperienced and he had an amazing amount of luggage poorly strapped to his bike, but you know what?, here he was, in Mongolia!! riding into an unknown off road, and that's quite ballsy, I told myself that I would try and be a little kinder to him and stop being such a dick before descending the few hundred metres back down to meet him.

We both had high fenders fitted to our bikes to cope with thick clay mud which we encountered at times here and back in the UK, for some reason only on the Tenere this lead to a lot of crud finding it's way to block the radiator fins? I drew attention to it, offering to stop, maybe pierce a water bottle cap to make a DIY water pistol by some river. but as far as I know it never got cleaned whilst in Mongolia, the thin air and sometimes slow pace led to his fan running for ages when he pulled up to a stop, the whirring of his overheating bike and ever thinning oil was like a howling banshee to my mechanically sympathetic ears. but those Teneres are tough as old nails






We came to the next river and for our ease it had a substantial bridge across it








The track occasionally got lumpier and this had converted Ed's luggage from being mounted on the rear to a sort of pannier arrangement

As an aside to that I would take the opportunity to rave about the Rok Straps I used and also the Cam Straps now being offered by Kriega, nothing held down by these moved an inch throughout the journey, I had a freakin sweet aluminium rack made by Gabriel at Zen Overland, a lovely guy who had set up in business quite recently and got me the rack sent overnight - weekend courier as it was the preproduction prototype.

By contrast Ed had a rear rack designed and made in steel by a sculptor who famously crafted bears in the town near to his home, it was erm sturdy but made in such a way that only old fashioned bungees would work with it, by the time Ed had the rack it was too late to do anything else with it.





We came to another small river to cross, it was only about 20 inches deep so I simply blatted through and waited on the other side to mark it and talk Ed over it, there was a Ger home nearby and a young child ran over to talk with me, unfortunately after some basic pleasantries he asked me for the time on my watch, at least thats what I assumed, it turned out he asked me to give him my watch?? Errr No you are alright mate next he suggested I could just give him some money instead!, Ed had now crossed the river and so I didn't even dignify his question with a response, just rode off.

There was a chance to fill up at a small town that wasn't on my map? and we bought some noodle soup from the local shop whilst we were there before bimbling off for a place to sleep
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Old 03-14-2014, 07:52 AM   #94
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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!


That would have been just the ticket, but this time at least we made do with more noodle soup
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Old 03-14-2014, 03:17 PM   #95
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The next day was just as good, waking up miles from anything like a road, our path being determined by the snaking of the rivers and the height of the mountains around us.

Something inside me had 'let go' and been replaced with a sense of joy and freedom, this is really what biking is all about surely? everywhere I looked was stunning, not a structure in sight, rarely even a Ger, we climbed over a mountain pass slowly winding up into a magical sunny day that at times seemed almost alpine being surrounded by conifers once we reached the treeline.





Ed and I had developed a system, I would ride off at my pace and he would continue at his, if there was some split in the trail, a difficult obstacle or some other hazard I would wait to mark or assist, or sometimes just to talk about something great we had seen

Just as we reached the Alpinesque area I was attacked by my first Mongolian dog, As the girl from the family it was protecting waved at me this furry scud missile went full speed ahead on an intercept course for my bike, I tried to wave back to the girl while simultaneously cracking open the throttle which had interesting effects on the handling as I broached 60mph leaving the dog in the wake of the Akra's, I asked Ed shortly afterwards how it went for him (suspecting the dog to be faster than his riding)

He told me he had a different technique of aiming square at the dog and hoping that it would run away at the last minute this also seemed to work

This new freedom saw me blatting off as fast as I dared, my focus was solely on the riding, not once did I imagine the consequences of an off, there was no space in my brain for that, it was 100% focused on picking a line, choosing a track, shifting weight, weighting the pegs for camber and, and well having fun,

I had now learnt how to combine throttle and body positioning to jump neutrally from the little imperfections on the trail despite the luggage but at one time I was cranked over and steering from the throttle when the front wheel hit a a particularly round stone about the size of grapefruit mid turn, it rolled under my wheel and the front end momentarily became airborne lofting itself about two feet to the left and threatening to send me off down a bank into a boulder field and a river I ran wide and with a strong dab hauled all the weight back into shape somehow, at this point I realised how glad I was to have a big pair of Tech 8's on my feet!

Once we cleared the pass we rode out onto a perfectly flat plain, in the distance to my right I could see a large blue lake ringed by mountains around it, it was beautiful enough to cause me to stop. I realised my breathing was quickened and my heart rate elevated from the spirited riding, Shit, I thought..How long have I been riding since I last saw Ed ??????




I decided it had been maybe a half hour so I took some time to finish off the last of my water, and played unsuccessfully with the panorama function of my little digital camera, after twenty minutes I realised I couldn't even hear him in the distance, I mean there was nothing here, a lone crow flew overhead and the noise of its wings disturbing the air was quite clear (I never knew crows wings have a cadence and sound like a twin bladed Huey as per the opening of apocalypse now)

As mine was the bike with the thirst I was anxious about burning gas retracing my steps but decided It was futile to wait longer, obviously something was wrong?

I rode back the entire length of the track to where I had seen him last?? part of me loving the ride, part of me wanting to go even faster in case he was in some kind of trouble or needing medical attention and another part of me reminding myself that the first rule of a rescue is that as rescuer you mustn't become the rescued!

After I had retraced all my way back I was stumped WTF had happened to Ed? what should I do next? I mean he knew which direction we were headed but not where he was or where we were going and it was over a day back to where we had been. hmmmm I decided to ride back to the spot in that flat plain I had stopped at before, there was ultimately no way for him through the pass where I wouldn't see him there provided the weather stayed clear, I had food for a couple of days, and so I would just wait for 2 days and if he didn't show by then I would have to ride on without him and try to make contact once I was somewhere with a phone signal or internet terminal.

About half way along I met a young Mongol boy and his girlfriend, they pointed in the direction I was going and tried to tell me something so I assumed it related to Ed and thanked them.

I wasn't quite sure what to make of the sight in front of my eyes when I found Ed, He was striding topless up the trail waving at me, Shit I haven't seen him for an hour and a half or so and he had gone all 'Lord of the Flies' on me?

It turned out he had been following me down a path on a sideslope, but there had been an obstacle at one point I'd avoided but he didn't see and it sent him down the slope towards the treeline which is where he was when I had ridden back past. He had moved the bike back up onto the trail the hard way and having stripped it of it's luggage so he could pick it up he had been walking the distance between bike and his luggage as he brought his things up, It had been in the 30's temp wise so he had decided to remove his t-shirt due to being too hot in waterproof trousers and mx boots

The bike had survived pretty well yet again but the rear brake lever was broken, Ed informed me he had tried to remove it so he could 'hit it better with a stone' but the allen bolt holding it on had rounded out. I dug out my adjustable wrench and used it as a lever to straighten it as best I could for him




The rest of the days ride was pretty peaceful, the only storm brewing in my little Mongolian teacup was the fact we now had to cross three rivers that were on my map as all of those we had crossed before weren't big enough to be a feature on the GPS or map.

A little stream - not on the map





I was also sensing that the area we were in was getting wilder, less frequently grazed land, rockier and at more altitude.

We did come to an actual settlement eventually, houses made from timber out here in the nowhere, but not a soul to be seen in this Hamlet, clearly there were things going on here though as we passed an 'Afro' truck





Later on I was waiting for Ed in one small valley to see him overtaken by a local and his girl out on their chinese made 200cc shineray, apparently he had dropped his bike a few moments before and they got off to help him, Ed told me the guys efforts were futile but his girlfriend was like a powerlifter and soon had the Ten righted :-)
Actually we saw he women were more often the workers, strong and hardy where the men were often less impressive





The day was drawing on when we reached the first big river, and it was a doozy! we rode down a rocky slope to the turf beside it, looking around we could see massive branches and boulders washed down when it was in full flood.





The Question we wanted answering?, how deep was it now and would we be able to cross it?

Ed volunteered to wade out into it, good lad!





The answer to that question however is a little story in itself
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Old 03-14-2014, 04:12 PM   #96
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Old 03-14-2014, 05:12 PM   #97
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COYS! Considering the location, it had to be the away kit! COYS!

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Old 03-15-2014, 02:16 PM   #98
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I wont lie, there was an almost cartoon like gulp from me as I looked at the flowing river before us, A local sauntered down on his faithful horse and so before we went any further we attempted to garner his opinion about whether we would be able to cross.

The short answer was no, but undeterred we tried to extract more information from him without a common tongue, though the word for any vehicle is 'Machina' and we understood if we waited long enough a bigger 'Machina' may be able to help us across for a fee?

A little insight into the impressive volume of Ed's luggage which still towered like an old French hairpiece was revealed as he informed me he wanted to walk across barefoot so his Basketball boots didn't get wet!




He did however find a sensibly sized stick to help him on his way, and in he waded.

The first somewhat pleasing fact we established was that the water was surprisingly warm.

On the way to the far bank he was crossing at a slight downstream angle, his course dictated by entry and exit points the bikes would use, his bare feet made the crossing difficult and it took him about twenty minutes to reach the far egress





The way back was a different story, although only crossing at a slight angle he needed to wade almost 45 degrees into the flow of the water to make his way back, it was sapping his strength, our Mongolian onlooker started to mutter his concern seeing Ed's forthcoming fate.





Ed had asked me to use his camcorder to film him as he crossed and it was a surreal experience to see my mate finally succumb to the relentless flow of water through a viewfinder

Down he went and was swept downstream by the flow as he swam back to the near shore.

As quickly as I had lowered the camera the Young Mongol horseman had thrown off his clothing like a comic book hero, kicked off his sandals and his muscular body was now only adorned by his Y-fronts

At the sight of the athletic underpant wearing Mongolian superhero Ed yelled from the river as he bobbed towards us Whatever happens do not let him try and rescue me!




And so knowing that my friend knew how to swim I dissuaded our Mongolian David Hasselhoff from a rescue attempt. I learnt a lesson, in the time it would have taken me to remove my MX boots Ed would have been a mile downstream, I noted to myself the need to at least unclasp them if we were in that scenario again.

The Mongol man (I think anyway) told us that he swam here often, and it dawned on me that I just assume people can swim having grown up in a Cornish fishing village where the children all left primary school able to swim at least a kilometre, but we were in Mongolia, a far cry from any ocean, and I hadn't seen much water that was swim friendly around these parts.

As if to mock our efforts a herd of cows wandered down and into the river a little downstream, their spindly legs unaffected by the fast flow of this river as their bulky bodies kept them weighted in one spot




We were still considering attempting the crossing at this point, after all we didn't want the pessimistic Frenchman to have been right!!! but we would need more manpower, and quizzing our hero though it seemed that the next two rivers might be deeper, he suggested that 100km away there was a possibility to some how go around?

So we said Da Svedenya to our helper




and looked for a place to camp



So naturally as slow learners we ascended a nearby hill, choosing remoteness from some Ger tents and a view over our problem river over any shelter from the wind

You can just make out the white Ger houses down by the river




Here we were quickly joined by two young boys on their 200cc, as it got closer to us you could hear it really struggling with the thin air and gradient that we had enjoyed blasting straight up just moments before, they were fascinated by the bikes, our food and...well everything really, I gave them some Haribo Gummi Bears I'd bought back in UB as I went about the business of settling down for the night and enjoying the views, thankfully after just staring at us for a while they headed down the slope before it got dark





and so I soaked in the last shafts of light as the sun sank beneath the line of hills we wanted to reach on the far bank of the river






And retired to the tent to decide what we should do next in awe of this beautiful land in front of me


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Old 03-16-2014, 07:40 AM   #99
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The next morning we packed up slowly, I decided the next move was to take an exploratory trip, to see if we could find this shallower crossing point that had been possibly suggested by the 'Baywatch' horseman from yesterday.

Nothing was very certain, it was clear that whilst he was no idiot and probably knew this area as well as anyone he had a limited experience in translating his knowledge of the area through the form of the map I had used to try and get him to show me, and with no common tongue all I'd determined was that something was 60-100km in the vague direction he had pointed (we had resorted to drawing numbers in the dirt)

It was a risk in terms of fuel range, but it seemed our best hope to break through to the Northern Route! something we were so anxious to succeed in reaching, foolishly I allowed the pessimistic Frenchman we had met at the cafe days before steer my decision process, You will not make it, on these bikes, like this

I was determined to prove him wrong, For Queen and for country and with a stiff upper lip! what what old chap!

As we attempted to put away our camp we were alerted to the drone of a squadron of 200cc Shinrays, the Mongol hordes were approaching us!




What followed was a surreal orgy of bike prodding and poking, we reciprocated by pointing out the pimped out accessories some of these guys had on their bikes, tassles, LED headlamps and other assorted tat but we were outgunned. All in all a cordial exchange but it took a little while, especially as I had to show them the GPS functions in full including showing them where Mongolia was in relation to where we had travelled from in the UK



The thought of a group of bikers sporting swastikas approaching you would normally be less welcomed by a vulnerable foreign visitor, however one assumes its a reference to an earlier meaning in Buddhism the symbol means 'good' and it was reinvented by the Nazi's as part of their propaghanda

We rode back along the trail from the day before before blindly taking a smaller track North in the hope it would go the right way, at this point I had no relevant mapping data, not on the GPS nor even a line on the large scale map of the Country, we were taking a wild stab in the dark with nothing to go on, this was pretty exciting

Somewhere in that day Ed dropped of again, I'd done the usual, riding for ten minutes and then just stop and wait thing, but it soon became clear something had stopped him?

After nearly losing him yesterday, and all the fuel I had spent trying to find him, I had been a lot more cautious today, anything that could be construed a hazard had seen me stop and wait but we had literally been riding along a flat sand track flanked by grassy pasture? Oh well, perhaps a puncture or something? Best go take a look.

Turned out his luggage had gone on the offensive, the bulky fleece lined hoodie he had brought along? had slipped the restraint of his bungee maze and been gobbled up hungrily by his chain and rear sprocket.

The net result had been a rear wheel locked solid, we had to cut his jumper out and remove the rear wheel to free everything up

Ed's favourite jumper!




Blue Steel or Magnum? Ed fashions the garment derelique style as per Zoolander



spot the difference?


Having got back on the road again I was a little surprised that twenty minutes later we had to repeat the incident, lightning doesn't normally strike the same place twice!

But Ed's the kind of guy to stand on top of the tallest mountain shouting 'By the power of Grayskull,I have the power' whilst holding his sword aloft in the middle of a storm

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Albert Einstein


This time his favourite T-shirt got reduced to hamster bedding by his rear wheel




He is one of a kind that boy, but we had a laugh about it, after all it wasn't my favourite t-shirt!

On several occasions we had to go 'off piste' swapping some minor sheep track for one on the opposite hill, crossing boulder fields and riverbeds. The track got smaller and smaller, the sand got deeper and soon we were fenced in by crops which surely meant we were near a river? And then I saw hope in the form of a pale blue UAZ bread bin van,

It was driving in the opposite direction to us, and that told me that there was 'something' in the direction it had come from, and whats more, if it had crossed the river then there was a strong chance we could also.

I was a little surprised when I saw the river I'd hoped to be smaller than yesterdays, far from it, it was metres deep and flowed quickly!?!

But more importantly there was a wooden structure and a ferry of sorts!




Although there was little alternative but to use the service I enquired to the cost of transit whilst annoyingly Chris De Burgh's song 'Don't pay the ferryman' went on as a sort of soundtrack in my head on an annoying loop. "Don't pay the ferryman, don't even fix a price, don't pay the ferryman until he gets you to the other side"

For reference the cost was 500 tugruk each, so about 25p I paid the ferryman in advance and gave the mini CdB that was singing in my head a two fingered salute

I boarded the rickety catamaran, there was a sign that suggested this enthusiastic collection of welded together car panels was rated to take 10 ton across the river, I have no idea how this figure was derived, I found it hard to imagine there had been some inspection on this vessels welds or complicated loading calculation made, perhaps they put 11 ton in the last one and it sank?

There was no engine, just a rudder which was turned so that the flow of the river gently steered the boat each way whilst a cable strung between each bank stopped us from going backwards.





When I first rode off the ferry I realised Ed wasn't behind me, and given that I'd ridden only 200 metres this seemed odd, again I started to wonder if he'd crashed getting off the boat? But there were two Mongols who would pick him upright if that happened, I waited a few minutes, turned out the rear wheel of the KTM had pushed the barge away from the bank and he'd had to wait for the current to bring it back to shore


Strangely the scenery seemed to change completely on this side of the river, the road became a golden sand and something about it made me think of Africa, in that moment I would not have been surprised to see a lion saunter across my path, But I had a great time on this twisty remote track, muscling the bike around and steering on the throttle with a new found confidence in the tyres, it was a great days riding.

Q: What's the difference between a tiger and a lion ?
A: A tiger has the mane part missing



WCIP We Come In Pieces, the title of our project
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Old 03-17-2014, 02:47 PM   #100
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A piecefull ride indeed.
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Old 03-18-2014, 03:51 PM   #101
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Eventually we crossed over the top of a ridge of mountains, on the bikes in the dry they were fine, but they would have been very hairy in a 4x4 in the wet, it went some way to explaining why we had seen only one other vehicle in a couple of days and why the route wasn't showing on my maps/GPS or map

Every now and again it would become very steep and subject to landslip, but it was all good fun on two wheels, and with the exception of really hoping to find fuel soon I was concerned the marked route we were about to follow would be too boring?




Before long we came across a small town where we could get fuel, real fuel, 92 Ron! and food and drink, It was Ed's turn to shop, mine to look after the bikes,

In the delight of finding three rows of different goods on the shelves of the petrol station he went a bit crazy, buying Coke, Lilt and Fanta, some Khan chips (crisp/polystyrene packaging hybrid) and some biscuits.
I went back in and got us some water shortly afterwards!! but everything tasted pretty good to us at this point.





We found an ATM machine in Moron, a very Soviet looking city,





And we headed outside of that city to find a place to sleep for the night, the weather was brightening which was nice













We found an elevated position that overlooked the City of Moron which is actually the Mongolian word for River





And we tucked unashamedly into spicy korean noodle soup (2 packets each) and followed it up with some choccy biscuits






It had been a good day, and we were now on the Northern Route so far it was all going pretty well
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Old 03-18-2014, 06:52 PM   #102
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Like it!! Caught up and now subscribed.
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Old 03-19-2014, 09:47 AM   #103
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Like it!! Caught up and now subscribed.
Welcome aboard!
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Old 03-19-2014, 10:10 AM   #104
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What is the point of cameras with in built GPS?

Well it's probably so idiots like me can work out what photos were taken where!! Doh! (they haven't saved chronologically) Anyway on with the show

So we headed out from our campsite near Moron and shortly found our surroundings changing as we climbed over a mountain pass

















There wasn't much to report that day except for the fact that the weather closed in on us for a few hours, the concrete like hardpacked mud which previously polished to a shine by passing trucks and 4x4's became like ice to ride, now all the torque and power of the KTM became quite difficult to reign in, simple manoeuvres led to the bike becoming cross rutted, the rear spinning with just a whiff of throttle from a feathered clutch, in most instances it was better to risk the crunch of rocks or to sink into soft patches whilst riding along the thin veneer of turf that afforded traction than to take the smoother track.

Occassionally our bikes would get tired and need a little rest, I actually had my first spill in Mongolia after coming to a stop, unable to put down even a single flat foot on the lofty bike with my stumpy midget legs I dropped the bike after attempting to pull away in third and stalling the bike (what a muppet mistake)
fortunately the bikes screwed together in such a way it just shrugged this off inviting me to try a little harder next time!



The Main Road, Mongolian Freeway :-)



By now Ed was getting bored of his heavy luggage and having his photo taken each time he dropped his beloved Tenere


I stopped on one better section of track to indicate a hazard to Ed at a bridge which could have proved interesting, I'd probably cruised up to it at about 50mph and could easily have been doing more as the track here was graded luckily I tend to keep my eyes pretty far up front and judging by the skidmark leading up to it had caught someone not paying too much attention





As the day wore on the clouds started to lift and we enjoyed uninterrupted blasts across grasslands as smooth as golf courses, the shot below was taken after a blast from the bottom of the valley that had me see speeds of around a GPS 90 mph, topped out in sixth with the rear wheel spinning in the soft sand, and for a brief second or so I allowed myself the indulgence of imagining myself in one of those Dakar races, the helicopter flying a low pass alongside for a better camera shot of some racing legend. And although I'll never have the skills or bravery of those guys I can console myself with the memory of that grandiose delusion. it was seeing the likes of Meoni that had me lusting after the Big KTM since 2003





We came to some small town just as the townsfolk were out for some festival involving horsemanship and drinking but after quickly filling up on what food we could (including bread, a relevantly new phenomenon in Mongolia as Wheat was introduced by the Russians, ours was hard enough to have been from the first batch baked I think! as it was I lost it from under a bungee within two minutes, probably denting a small car or killing someone assuming it didn't swallow the entire village in the crater it produced! Oops might have got carried away with that description, I've told myself a gazillion times not to exaggerate OK it was a bit unleavened






The next bridge we came across was much better!






We soon retired ourselves for the evening, it had been a short but wet day We had decided to plan our time around the availability of water and food, the wind blew up that night, clouds raced across a full moon that silhouetted a lonely pair of conifers on the ridgeline, and so out here in the middle of the emptiness I drifted off making sure not to think about any werewolf horror films or anything, In fact I called across to Ed's tent to tell him not to worry about wolves or anything after pointing it out to him too before my sound slumber


Hawooooooooo!!
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Old 03-19-2014, 12:50 PM   #105
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I stopped on one better section of track to indicate a hazard to Ed at a bridge which could have proved interesting, I'd probably cruised up to it at about 50mph and could easily have been doing more as the track here was graded luckily I tend to keep my eyes pretty far up front and judging by the skidmark leading up to it had caught someone not paying too much attention


That picture made me shiver once more.
Came up to a similar pit, pitfall I might say, after a grueling section of mud and triple drops. Only I had a narrow strip, one foot wide, with a tree at the side to pass by the pit. Halfway a piece of luggage embraced the tree. Half an hour later I was still screaming and singing.
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