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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by guerreronegro, Apr 18, 2020.
I was with ya 'til the goat organs, then ya lost me!
I'd probably try them too.
Lol best summary ever , couldn't have turned out better despite the wear
I was not able to describe how enthusiastic the hosts were. When they were taking care of that goat... me and Jorge could not tell if this is what they did everyday or it was their welcoming way to host us. It was impossible to say no to what they were cooking so happily, even if it was like this and besides we were hungry That being said, they were cool and laugh with us when they saw our faces of hesitation and while tasting the whole thing, probably they ran into other foreigners or knew people in the capital are not used to such delicacies. We gave them some of the pasta we bought before, and I was pretty sure they still prefered their goat . But boy, that taste persisted for the whole night in me.
The yurt is a ger, apparently there are details like the door entrance, the roof and ahow covered they are; that make them different from different nomad groups and the names changes.
It is a great thing to show your kids the adventure way. I have been lucky but ultimately it has been structure responsible for triggering me to go ahead in this adventure. I had money saved from previous jobs, no debt, little responsibilities and a full summer to do this. The best lesson here besides having an open mindset I guess it is to not hesitate to take an opportunity when it appears.
The experience of sleeping in a yurt was another thing, surprisingly warm yet in constant ventilation due to the small holes at the bottom and the small aperture gap at the very top. Wind was strong that night so sleeping in the tent would have not been a comfortable thing to do. The same wood oven they used to cook served as heating until the fire fade out but the isolation of the tent was very good and lasted ours.
In the morning when waking up at 8 AM, father and son had already left to oversee the cattle. When we got out of the ger, we saw Isumbilik the kid, lining all the goats in line with a rope to milk them. I still had my stomach affected by yesterday dinner but by now I was already getting used to the smell of anything goat related. Getting out and breathing fresh air was certainly a relief. There were some bits and pieces to be had as breakfast, but I kindly refused this time. I like to eat but after yesterday´s experience I did not want to have my stomach closed for the rest of the day. Jorge was with me on this, and we will likely have something for lunch later. The kid was amazing to see the skill he had at gathering the goats. We help lining them up and gave them the pasta we bought yesterday. I also gave them my local football team scarf I had brought with me all the way, they seemed to like it. In return I was given some more cheese, a really strong one. It could be eaten but it had to go with something, otherwise it was too strong.
We were very grateful to this family and we finally said goodbye, as we had easily another day out there until merging with the main asphalt road in Dalanzagdad, the main hub city closest to the border to China. Both Jorge and me were kind of looking forward to that as it was already 4 days just camping and full of dust. This day was not that intense, at least in terms of navigation.
The “road” was somehow visible in an intertwining of trails Mongolia style, sometimes we would even find signs like this one letting us know we were going in the right direction. The day started with good decent tracks being able to cruise quite fast. But as the day went by, I started to feel really tired, probably due to the lack of calories, the food, or the really bright sun that made riding with a jacket almost unbearable.
In the last minute we decided to abort crossing the Gobi Gurvan Saikhan via Gurvantes as we were told at least a couple times by now the trails at the other side going towards Dalangzagdad were very sandy. Jorge was worried also about taking these extra few days as he still had a long way until Vladivostok and could not afford more contigencies. I kind of wanted to try and go but at this point I felt very comfortable riding with him, and nobody guaranteed the trail we were taking was going to be clean nor easy for just one rider. So, we stayed together and deviated east as we reached Khatansuudal.
Then, as we were crossing a small canyon, I heard a big BOOM sound and the motorcycle stopped suddenly. There were no obvious reasons from my sitting position but as I got off I saw the ratchet strap I used to secure the broken top case had caught the rear wheel and made it stop violently also stopping the engine in the process. Luckily nothing else happen, and I think the explosion sound was due to the strap getting caught in the tire tread. So after a few seconds of electric starter and the top case secured with another strap, the bike was ready to go. Pretty sure the section down south was astonishingly beatuficul but this one was also amazing. We rided a few small canons, then again in steppe, and then into small hills and mountains with different vegetation. Every now and then we would also find strange things like this horse head (Simon sent me, but we saw an equal one) I was starting to think maybe this is a custom as the goat’s head from a couple gerts ago, was also cut in the same way.
After this incident we found a place in which to eat dumplings and finally get some calories back in. Jorge seemed to be fine but I was starting to make many silly mistakes on the bike, maybe because of the food or also because of the substantial difference in suspension systems.
I'm still living this trip with you guerreronegro. I'm glad we are away from the crazy border crossings.
I noticed there was no feed for the goats to exist on. Must be a hard life for all.
I am new to the forum and I have to say, this is an amazing read. Thank you for posting...
How the hell do i get to Mongolia. Epic stuff this is.
It is so incredibly easy to do. The hardest part is deciding to do it.
PM me for details.
Am in India and we are landlocked with feisty neighbours, Pakistan and China. Will have to fly out there and hire a bike.
Will reach out!
Keep going guerreronegro!
Oh there will be more of those coming up soon
Despite regaining back some energy, I was wearing out at a faster pace. I told Jorge to continue without me if I was slowing him down because the tracks were in good shape to advance at a faster rhythm, but he denied. I think the food from yesterday was paying its toll. At this point I have lost count of the many food poisonings i have had in this trip and I tried to keep as optimistic as possible so to keep moving while I still was able to. The funny part is I was not entirely convinced about the goat’s fault in my condition. Because of the heat, after the dumplings we found a supermarket that was selling ice creams and it was almost a sin not to go for one... it probably made things even worse. The batteries of the SPOT were also dying so I bought new ones there. Petrol stations so far were abundant, we had no trouble finding one every 200 km approximately but not all of them had Internet connection to use a card so by now I was also running low on cash. We would be stopping in Ulan Batar for one day so there would be time to rest there and my most immediate relief was Dalandzadgad to get proper rest, supplies… and hopefully a shower.
We continued riding together after lunch and waited after each other to take some cool shoots, this make things easier on me. The thing I was experiencing was like playing a videogame like Gran Turismo for the first time, where you don’t really have immediate input nor control over the vehicle. This lag was killing me and making me commit mistakes constantly. If the track would have been more technical, I would likely have fell. I just hoped for this drowsiness to disappear as the day advanced.
We marked on our maps a place known as the Flaming Cliffs as our last “touristic destination” in the Gobi. This place seemed to be the last we would be visiting in the Omingobi region. We would not be making it there on time due to the amount of breaks I had to take. We also made some navigation mistakes and stopped to make sure the track was leading to where we have fixated our compasses. Sometimes these corrections would make us go back a few kilometres to catch up with the good track and other times if the steppe would allow it, we would just navigate off track until merging back with the correct one. The last attraction of the day were herds of camels randomly blocking the main path and not really being afraid of human or bike presence.
In the end we settled to camp between two small hills way before than usual so I could rest a bit more. The landscape was spectacular with views to another valley fully empty. I was going to miss riding with someone after this. We still have not figured at what point we will be splitting pathways, but it was likely going to be after Ulan Batar. So far being in company and sharing the day’s highlights while having tomato and pasta dinner with tea felt great and it is one of this journey’s best memories.
Wonderful update @guerreronegro, such a joy to read . The comment of losing count of how many food poisonings you've dealt with - damn man. Guess it's part of the adventure and I commend you for trying so many different things while on the journey. The shot of you stopped looking down the track and over the scenery below is something to frame and put on a wall in your residence. Outstanding image.
And a super cool place to camp too.
Continue to thoroughly enjoy your report amigo; look forward to every notice I get telling me there's been a post.
Today it was day 50. We woke up with company. As I opened the zip of the tent, I heard some murmurs outside. A young couple had found us on their small motorcycle. They were very friendly, and curious about all our gear. We started the morning socializing with them as we gathered back our stuff and had breakfast. I took a photo with them and they moved towards their destination opposite to where we were heading.
The general feeling compared to yesterday was much better. I will never forget these camping nights with great quality sleep surrounded by nature and silence. They certainly compensated for the intense rides in the vast steppe. Weather was a bit cold in the nights but overall, we have had an almost perfect weather every day, so nothing to complain. But being September the 1st, we were told this was about to change fast. Jorge still had to get to Vladivostok and me, I was not sure yet about riding back or taking that Transiberian train. I noticed in the previous days the rear brake was starting to lose effectiveness. The rubber seal was gone, and I would have to pump the break three or four times before regaining back some clamping power. I guess I would have to add this to the to do list. I cleaned and lubed the chain and saw the sprocket was already very pointy, and the other handguard was also broken due to the many falls. Amazingly the tires remained in good condition with no punctures in the whole trip. The rear Karoo 3 was the best investment for this trip and terrain. I would only guess the air filter would need some cleaning after these days as well. Jorge had done his homework and knew of a workshop place in Ulan Batar owned by a Japanese former Dakar mechanic that also offered accommodation in Gers so we would be staying there once we arrived.
We moved on towards the Flaming Cliffs and passed through some campsites with Gers for tourism. Some of those Landcruisers seen before were visible near the sites. I would have liked to hear an explanation to the site because other than one more spectacular landscape, there was not much left to see. The terrain was very orange, and the sand around them was more like dust. While climbing one of those cliffs, they were very soft, almost like yeast. With a push of a finger they would almost disintegrate. After a couple cool pictures, we kept moving this time going a bit up to get a panoramic view of the plateau.
After another couple shots we kept moving, Dalangzadbad was very close now. But before arriving we saw a big crew on motorcycles and a Toyota Landcruiser behind them. We stopped to talk a bit. Turns out they were all Japanese hiring a tour around the area on some dual sports. There was also a Hungarian young girl hitchhiking Asia on her way to China who was riding shotgun on the Landcruiser with the local guide. It was nice to chat with the Japanese crew, and this lady. Certainly, we got a different perspective of travelling.
On our way to Dalangzadbad we accidentally crossed an entire airdrome. We just saw the prohibition signs while exiting but not at the entrance. Of course, there was no fence or any clue that would let you know this was a restricted area. At this point, all transitable paths were good enough for us and we would automatically jump in them if they were in better condition. This experience of navigating the steppe without GPS turn by turn navigation just looking at paths, paper maps, asking locals and using the compass turned out to be great, but now we finally arrived to some civilization and back to paved roads.
Dalangzadbad felt strange after all these days out, like a post-apocalypse town. We proceed as usual finding a grocery shop to resupply, petrol, and an ATM. We also found a place with a washing machine. And after taking care of all this we found a restaurant in Maps.me to change from the dumplings and pasta diet we had been having in the last week.
The same restaurant we had lunch in, also had some rooms available. It was still too early to stop riding so we decided to keep moving north taking advantage of the paved road. There was a town called Tsogt-Ovoo which seemed to have some services so we headed there.
The pavement looked much like the first section of Mongolia close to the border-crossing northwest. Relatively new but with some pot holes that signalled the quality of the road. This road was a complete straight of plain terrain. It was a relief to actually hit some tarmac in terms of confort but it killed me after a few minutes not being able to pass 60 mph. The RPM on this bike were constantly hitting the red area and if I was not paying enough attention the spark would cut. This happened I don’t know how many times, which gave me an idea of how much focus I was putting at riding. If I had time and motivaton I would change the sprocket so that I least can cruise at 70 mph later in the day. Not much traffic was found and once again, thanks to Jorge, the two hours passed by relatively fast as we were making photos and videos of each other on the go. Interesting to see how the road was following the previous dirt tracks, there were many of them parallel to us.
We arrived in Tsogt Ovoo with enough day light and explored the town a it in search for a place to stay. Some of the walls in this town featured swastikas very similar to the ones of Nazi Germany. I remember reading something about swastikas being a sacred symbol in some parts of Asia but it was certainly something shocking to see. Doing a Google search taking advantage of some 4g connection I also saw this result which made me then question what exactly these represented.
We eventually found a decent place for the two of us. When asking for a bathroom the owner told us the whole town used the same facility for showering. They did have one sink but the type in which you have to preload some water in a container right above it. The beds seem comfortable enough, so we took it. Jorge went first to explore the facility with showers and I stayed in the room catching up with the diaries. The stomach pain had not left and sometimes it would come back very aggressively. Once taking off the motorcycle gear and hitting bed I knew I was not going to move from there until next morning and that is what end up happenning in about 5 minutes.
The Swastika is actually a symbol for health and prosperity and fertility earliest known use of the symbol is on a bird carved from Ivory of a mammoth circa 15000, it was forever tainted by the Nazi's
However, go anywhere which has pre-WWII memorials and you will find this symbol heck there is even a few right outside the Balmoral castle where the queen of England resides.
Also, they are battling the Iron Fist wrapped in a velvet glove, aka the Chinese World colonization which is pretty scary
Huge interest-free loans to improve infrastructure, contracts are allocated to Chinese companies using Chinese labour force, hence none of the capital stays in the country.
Loan Interest-free period expires, country can't pay it back, Chinese either confiscate assets, or Country is forced to sign over more assets or mineral rights to the Chinese
This night was hell. The almost forgotten food poisoning intensified in the midst of the night to the point an improvised visit to the patio had to be made. It had been a tough week so far. I was only looking forward to finishing the coming day and go back to another bed where to lay down once again and properly recover. Luckily, it did not cost me much to resume sleeping until the first sunrays made its appearance in the morning. I took some of the remaining Ibuprofen I had on me and hoped for the best. Today it was going to be a tough one. Around 500 Km of paved road in a straight line, a continuation of yesterday’s freshly made road. I did not change the sprocket and I was not feeling like doing the job in that morning. Our destination would be the Genghis Khan statue located to the east of the capital.
The rear brake was at this point completely gone. The front although bended since Turkey, was surprisingly holding up but I had to anticipate events which required extra concentration. I was not sharp this day and missed huge potholes but the bike nor the alloys seemed to care. Same as yesterday, no traffic and nothing but us and the parallel old dirt tracks at each side of the new road. The only stops were done just to refuel bike, and in Mandalgovi to put some pressure in the tires while refueling also mind and soul with the Asian Red Bull of choice. We agreed not to stop until the Genghis Khan statue and try to eat, if I could, some dinner in the capital.
Little by little I started to feel better as the day went by. The intercom as in past occasions proved to be essential for such a long distance in this kind of mood. We had to pay a toll for the last miles before arriving to the statue. Upon arrival, there were some tourists and fellow ralliers visiting the area. The statue is huge, one of the biggest in its kind, but the place is not well taken care of. Inside, there is a museum and history of the yurts, and paintings of all Mongolian rulers since Genghis Khan qith a huge boot at the entrance. We took some pictures inside and out. While at the top of the statue, there was an exhibition with one of those big birds (golden eagle maybe?) I saw back in the northwest. We concluded the tour with some souvenirs and set course to the capital.
It was rush hour which meant Ulan Bator was immersed in huge clouds of dust. Surprisingly, the outskirt roads leading to the capital were not paved and it was hell to go in the traffic. In winter, the city has its reputation for being one of the most polluted worldwide due to the extended use of charcoal for heating. It was already pretty bad riding like this so we took every shortcut available to limit exposure to car (mostly 2nd gen Prius) traffic. A motorway was being built in some of the sections we went trough and we jumped briefly in and out. We then arrived in the city centre and without knowing it we ended at the big square with the Parliament. There were no signs indicating where to park so we innocently took the motorcycles close to the building and that brought us trouble with military securing the square.
We were then detained by four officers who took our passports and started asking many questions to which we did not understand anything. Not knowing exactly what we did wrong we waited for them to come to a verdict response. One of them then took us to our motorcycles and pointed us to an area it would be ok for them to be parked while they called their supervisors. They still had our passports, so I asked one of them what was the deal with that. I always avoided using the English language in this kind of situations, but he somehow understood the word “pasaporte” and what I was after. He was still very inquisitive about the bikes being out of the massive square, so we followed his word after convincing him to come with us to tell us where he exactly wanted them to be. We then waked with him, now more calmed and him even making jokes. We spend a few more minutes taking pictures around the square until they gave up and returned the passports to our possession. We learnt later President Putin was in the capital and this might have triggered this kind of response.
After some adrenaline pumping in the body, the general discomfort I had in the morning was gone for good and we headed straight to a Mongolian Barbeque restaurant in iOverlander for a well-deserved dinner after a very long day. Food was delicious, and it was all you can eat type. I tried some varieties of thinly cut meat. With dinner sorted, we headed to Fortec, runned by the Japanese former mechanic. We arrived in complete darkness and had to use the phone for someone to open us the gate. We were welcomed by Koji himself, and checked in a very nice yurt with all amenities. Now time to rest.
Haha. I can empathise with the food poisoning. Happened on my trip just a couple of weeks back and it was hell!
I got food poisoning when I was in Mongolia. I took a quick ride from The Oasis to the pharmacy in between agonizing stomach cramps and runs to the loo. 2gms of Tinidazole later, I was right as rain.
I dosed another traveler with similar symptoms during my trip. I recommend anyone traveling in like areas to carry meds with them and to take them when symptoms first hit.
PM me if you want more info.
Interesting. Guess food poisoning comes in different forms. Here's what i did:
1. Starved for two straight days (easy)
2. Drank a full bottle of pepsi/coke (that shit cleans everything out of your bowels)
3. Drank lots of hot water to hydrate
This time i decided no meds. The last time i had a bad dust allergic reaction when on a ride about 1500 kms from home, and i dosed myself with anti allergy medication. I was riding home with meds for breakfast lunch and dinner. It was just outright hell because the meds were dosing me to sleep on the bike.