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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by BcDano, Jul 19, 2012.
We make our way to a track that follows the river and “appears” to be leading us back to the main track??? In a word wrong.
Can a person really go wrong exploring this land? If so we haven’t found it. Every turn right or wrong leads us on to a track we love.
After a long day, the few wrong turns seem so right around the camp fire.
Early the next day we run up against another river and there is no going back or going around but there is a very cool truck "ferry". All aboard!
Taking the ferry Mongolian style!
At times things seem so remote. Literally nothing other than the tracks and then BAM a road sign.
Not so strange or nearly out of place. More cairns and stunning scenery.
Closer to the towns we see a strange creature scurrying about the steppe.
In the end did we discover the resting place of the great Khan or perhaps gain insight into how he came to rule over such a vast empire? No of course not but wow what a place to roam about on ones adventure bike. Special is an understatement and fortunate doesn’t begin to express how I feel about getting the chance to have done it. For all the rest there is a great BBC documentary on the life of the Chinggis Khan. Check it out and then get over here and discover his native land for yourself before the tourist buses make it up this way.
Well Sara is fancy free and ALONE!! for 4 days!!! Time to explore the town, rest, and catch up on some Netflix.
But I like the statues of the ladies better.
After having no-one who spoke English around for the last 4 days it was nice to meet Moses from Texas at breakfast this morning. I had actually contacted him about a month ago on ADV after seeing his RR and his trajectory. Small world that we end up in the same hotel in this small town in eastern Mongolia. The guys returned from their adventure mid day and rested up.
Today we are starting out towards the Gobi Desert in the southeast of the Country. It is 875 KM to Dalanzadgad, which is the gateway to the Gobi.
We plan to do this in 2-3 days because of the distance, the spacing of the towns, and the cold rainy weather. It was pouring at breakfast, but cleared up a bit when we finally left at 1030. It is 340 km to Zuunmod just south of Ulanbaatar. We hope to take the cut off road from Nalaikh to Zuunmod and it look half paved on google earth. This was we can avoid riding thru the horrific traffic congestion in UB a third time.
It started pouring about 100 km down the road at it was very very windy and 5 degrees! After 210 km we reached Baganuur and stopped at at cafe to warm up, have lunch, and kill 2 hours waiting out the storm which was moving past us to Chinngis. Note the ceiling design!
When we left is had stopped raining and after another 30 km the sun was out and it was 10 degrees. We stopped in at the Ghenngis complex to see if the store that had these great Mongolia stickers was open as it was closed last time we were here. It was not, but the ticket girl asked around and decided to grab them for us and sell them to me.
From here we were much more comfortable temperature wise, but it was still very windy. We arrived to the cut off road and found the entire 25 km is paved. We arrived to Zuunmod at just after 5. The only hotel listed on the GPS and maps.me was defunct, the second “hotel” across the road was now an apartment building, and the third down the road was very very sketch ( Sara said “perfect place if it was already dark and raining”). We asked a taxi driver and he said the other spot, which was also listed on Map.me. The Ender dov 9 km away and on the road south. This turns out to be a defunct hotel that is now a private home and a moldy leaking Ger camp. No way. Options are 1. camping we would need to go back to town for at least water, but we are all pretty cold and it is windy and 9 degrees with the sun is still out, 2. hotel in UB and drive at least an hour on top of the 50 min Google time thru town(AGGGGH), 3. go back to the Oasis and have to back track on the cross road and come into the city by the very easy access from the east in about an hour total.
We messaged them at Oasis and they had 4 beds for us. We decided to go there today and for Orvar to get his bike service now instead of after the Gobi trip. Then we will not have to come back to UB before we go to China. It was like coming home….nice warm welcome, comfy beds, hot shower. They even reopened the kitchen for us to cook us some dinner.
We had a warm and cozy night here at the Oasis. Orvar has arranged his service for today. The rest of us will do a little sightseeing here in UB. We plan to taxi in and then walk the 5 km back from the centre, visit the “government” department store and a local handicraft shop. We finally found a money exchange to get rid of the Rubles we had left over. Then it was time for some real Mongolian hot pot for lunch. There was a surprisingly Costco like store near the Oasis.
We are headed south to the Gobi Desert and the road is now paved the 611 km to Dalanzadgad. Leaving UB we again did not go thru the city, but headed east and then south again to the cut off road to Zuunmod. From there we had a somewhat warmer but windy ride 311 km to Mandalgovi.
Since it has been so cold at night and windy we were not that keen on camping. To top it off Orvar has had a pretty bad night with GI issues. Here in the town the options are pretty poor. We did settle for the best of the sketchy places. For us the first room was made up, but smelled terrible. The room next door looked slept in and they just started to make the bed up again! I said no way and stripped off all the bed clothes, which they then made up "fresh". The place is almost clean. The bed itself is just a mat on a board and we again had to pump up our Expeds to get a good nights rest. For dinner we opted for noodle bowls from the grocery so as not to have to eat here in the restaurant. All that said we did have a good rest.
Today it is very windy, but it should be to our backs most of the day. It is 301 km to Dalanzadgad.
It got warmer from 15 at 10 am to 30 by afternoon. The terrain gets flatter and more sandy thru the Middle Gobi.
There are large herds of Camels all along the way.
There was of course a decontamination station when we entered the next district.
Dalandzadgad Contour-3 by Sara & Daniel Pedersen, on Flickr
We stopped at a road side place and tried to get food that was NOT goat!!
We arrived to Dalanzadgad about 230 and headed to the “best hotel” in town. We were in desperate need of a reprieve from the usual. This is the Khan Uul and is a nice western style hotel of higher standard for a whopping 60$ CDN for a very nice room, hot water on demand, and a real breakfast. They also have a fairly hip pub with very good food and very cold s.
The manager of the hotel speaks some English and he was able to arrange a driver with a Land Rover for us for the next 3 days. First Sara has had enough of the sand and a trip to the Gobi Desert is out on the 650, which is a lot to handle in sand and mud. Orvar has been sick for a few days and he has decided to ride in the truck as well. This means we can all enjoy the desert and Dan and Trevor can ride with naked bikes! The car and driver is 60$ CDN a day plus diesel a deal not to have to ride the dunes with luggage. The driver arrived to the hotel the first evening to sort out the planned route and the provisioning.
We met again at 10 am and packed up the gear. It was then off to the grocery store for food for 5 for 3 days and then gas. He also toted 30 L of gas for the guys if they needed it.
Our plan it to go thru the national park at Yolin Am, through the Dungenee canyon, then head towards the big dunes at Khogoryn Els, and finally to the Flaming Cliffs.
The first 20 km were on the paved road that leaves DZ and eventually goes to China (foreign nationals can not cross here). We turned off the paved road here on to the dirt track and into the national park.
Dan and Trevor were ahead and when they got to the control gate the guard came out and said the entry was 10,000 T each or 5$. That seemed steep and so Trevor ever the practical one said to the guy “ let me see the ticket”. On it was clearly marked the entry for Mongolians 300 and others 3,000! Bingo trying to rip us off. Just after this we pulled up with the truck. The driver said to him 4 tickets and the guard took the 12,00 and said nothing else!
The road into the Vulture Mouth Canyon (Yoliin Am) is about 14 km on a winding dirt road.
You park and then walk about and hour to the slot canyon. This has ice for quite a few months a year, but not in summer of course.