The road to Mongolia... on two wee bikes!

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by maria41, Oct 7, 2015.

  1. maria41

    maria41 www.franglais-riders.com

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    Day 56 – 16th of June 144 miles (Kazakhstan, Kegan)


    We were planning to spend one last time in Kyrgyzstan, in the town of Karakol, before crossing the border. However, as Karakol was only about 80 kms and the weather was good, we pressed on and got to the eastern border.


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    The ride there took us through a small terribly bad surfaced, sometimes gravel road, but the views were stunning. We climbed up into high valleys where the locals move up their horses to graze all summer.


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    We got to the border by mid-afternoon. It was a very small border with just few buildings for both sides. It would have been fast if the officials had not been bored and keen to speak with us!


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    The setting was in a beautiful and very peaceful valley, surrounded by mountains and horses!



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    We then rode to the nearest town. There were no money changers at the border! It was a tiny border. That was a problem as we only had 3000 tenge, about 16 dollars, and too many useless Kyrgyz Soms!

    After asking several times, and finally getting someone to take us there, we found the local bank! As usual, it was in a house, there was no way to know there was a bank there! We got some more money.

    By then it was getting late and we asked around about a guesthouse. After turning and asking a lot, we found a place for the night, with the bikes guarded by a cow.


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    We discussed about the itinerary. In Kazakhstan, foreigners need to be registered with the OVIR. If you arrive by plane, it is done at the airport, but by land it has to be done within 5 days. If not, we could get in big trouble.

    The only way to register is in big towns. We decided to go to Almaty and get a big hotel to do our registration. Few hotels can do this, the big expensive ones only! Although it was possible to cross Eastern Kazakhstan in less than 5 days, we could not risk not doing the registration, with the bike capable of breaking down any time!


    We had an overpriced dinner at the only cafe in town. But then, not speaking well Russian and without a written menu, they can price as they want! Kazakhstan is definitely more expensive than Kyrgyzstan though!
    #61
  2. maria41

    maria41 www.franglais-riders.com

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    Day 57 - 17th of June – about 160 miles – Kazakh, Almaty -


    We left very early as there was no breakfast on offer. We rode down from the high valleys through beautiful canyons. After the horrible flat desert of the west side, east Kazakhstan was showing a much more beautiful landscape.



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    So after riding for the last two days east and north, we turned west to get to Almaty!



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    We arrived early afternoon. The traffic was insane, with massive traffic jams and cars going anywhere and pushing us from all sides! I was not happy!


    After a long ride into the centre, we parked the bikes and Alistair went on foot to check out a hotel that might do the registration for us.... Meanwhile I was left to guard the bikes, in the intense heat of Almaty. We parked on a big wide avenue (all streets are soviet style big avenues!) between two cars.


    I nearly got on a fist fight with a local woman, false lashes up to her hair line, make up and false tan, tiny, on a HUGE range rover that she clearly could not drive. As she tried to get out of her parking spot, in front of our bikes, and with plenty of space in front of her, she still reversed enough to tilt Alistair's bike. I caught it on time, I was furious, if the bike had been going down, I think I would have used my helmet as a hammer to wreak her car! Maybe I am getting a little bit grumpy with age? I should consider anger management classes if this continue!


    Eventually, we got to a hotel, two hours after arriving in town. The hotel could do the registration, but it would take several days. Or we could do it ourselves. After plenty of asking we found out how and where. We were told to take a taxi to the OVID. The girls are reception wrote the address.


    We stood then on the pavement, waiting for a taxi. We saw none! After a while we went back to the hotel. It seems that in Kazakhstan, any car is a taxi! You just waive your hand and wait for someone to stop and see if they can take you where you want to go!


    We finally got to the OVIR around 4:30pm. After asking, we got on a big queue at a window. When I say queue, I mean a mass of people all trying to get to the window! When it was finally our turn, we handed over our passports, saying loudly "Tourist! Registration!".... Only to be handed back a form to fill. In Russian! Hmm... We got lucky as an Uzbek student was there and helped us fill the forms.


    After more queuing, waiting etc, we got our registration form done.... What a day! We were happy as this meant we could leave Almaty the next day!
    #62
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  3. maria41

    maria41 www.franglais-riders.com

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    Day 58 - 18th of June - 174 miles – (Kazakh, Taldikorgan)

    We left Almaty after breakfast. Then we got on the road, straight north.

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    Now you must be wondering, we ride south, to Kyrgyz, then east to the border, then west again to Almaty, then North again! Why all those up and down, zigzags?


    Well, first, if you visit Kazakhstan, you must register with the police within 5 days or risk huge fines and big problems. If you arrive by plane, it is done at the airport, if you arrive by land, like us.... You have to get to a big town to do it, unless you are totally sure you can get out of Kazakhstan within 5 days!


    Also, Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakh or Kyrgyz, only Russia or China. Granted, via China would be a tremendous shortcut.... But it is sadly impossible to get into China with a motor vehicle. You need a guide, and the cost goes into the thousands of dollars. Only large groups can do so! For lone travellers like us, the only option is get via Russia... So north it is again!


    The road north was just a massive constant roadworks, so it was slow going. By the end of the day we stopped at a surprisingly pleasant town for the night. As we had a look around, we saw many girls wearing long dresses and guys in suits, getting their pictures taken ....We thought first that it was a wedding, but on second inspection it looked more like a high school graduation event!


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    We found a decent restaurant and had a couscous!

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    #63
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  4. maria41

    maria41 www.franglais-riders.com

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    Day 59 - 19th of June - 331 miles – Kazakhstan, Ayazov


    We left early as we had a long day ahead. Between Taldikorgan and Ayazov (331 miles!) , there was no town, only desert. At least the roadworks were over and we managed to get to Ayazov by daylight.


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    The town was some sort of military camp, maybe also a big prison, and an ugly town. Well at least it was a town of sort.

    We stopped near a shop to ask for a hotel. A guy told us about a place near the train station, another guy, in his car, told us to follow him. He took us to a hotel. However, the owner of the hotel wanted 10,000 Tenge, about 55 dollars, very expensive for such a dump town. I don't like to be taken for an idiot and I made it clear! The hotel owner dropped his price to 7,000 but we moved on. Also there was no safe parking for the bikes and, as much as possible, I prefer to sleep in a dump and have safe parking!

    We found another hotel near the train station. From the outside it looked like a soviet style dump! I went in and a nice lady showed me massive room, with its own living room, with a private bathroom, and it even had hot water. Ok the place was outdated, the plumbing beyond dodgy and the flooring and all workmanship like done by a 5 year old... But it was ok. For 5,000 tenge it was more reasonable! And they had a nice area at the back, locked and with dogs.

    Near the station there was an old Soviet train, Alistair went to investigate while I took few pictures of it.

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    After dining in our room with some pasties with unidentified fillings, and some peanuts, we went out to buy some ice cream. The shopkeepers asked about us, and when I went to pay, with my change, they gave us a chocolate bar, the typical Kazakh one! Lovely couple!


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    #64
  5. maria41

    maria41 www.franglais-riders.com

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    Day 60 - 20th of June - 205 miles – Kazakh, Oskemen


    We had decided to avoid the main border crossing between Kazakhstan and Russia (through Semey) on that side, and aim instead for a little border further east.

    The reason for that was to avoid the long ride through busy highways, and take a shortcut across Russian Altai region, using tracks and small lanes, cutting off a good 500 kms of busy roads and trucks! It sounded like a good idea, and it was described by Walter Colebatch in the HUBB (of Sibirsky Extreme fame, so the trail had to be good!). So taking advantage of some wifi few days earlier, I had noted the village names and highlighted the itinerary in my map of the region.


    So we left Ayazov early, as we had no breakfast, and made it to Oskemen, which was only 80km from the border. The town was big and people there looked decidedly Russian rather than ethnic Kazakh... The town was very modern and very expensive. WE tried a couple of hotels but the price was much more than on my guidebook....


    We found a supermarket and bought some food as we would need to camp in The Altai. Also as we would be quite a bit off the beaten track, we did not know if we would find any shops on the way....We picked some pot noodles and bread and pate, as well as some dried fruits.

    We were then ready for anything !
    #65
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  6. dwj - Donnie

    dwj - Donnie Long timer

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    Hi!

    Great Ride Report! :clap Could you please provide details on your Fuel Bladder and its performance? :scratch Thanks You!

    Donnie
    #66
  7. maria41

    maria41 www.franglais-riders.com

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    Day 61 - 21st of June - 220 miles – Russia, Altai region


    The breakfast at the hotel was beyond vile, with some non identify stooge on my plate, that I could not stomach. I only managed to drink my coffee and eat some bread! We then got to the border late morning.

    The scenery changed as we approached, form desert to green rolling hills.

    The crossing was fairly fast. After that we rode few miles and stopped at a bus shelter. There we had some lunch of bread and pate. We then got on the road.


    The region was agricultural and we crossed many small villages, along big valleys and gentle hills. The roads at first were asphalted, but then they turned into gravel and tracks.


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    As the day went on, we started looking for a spot away from the road, to set camp. We wanted to get some shade but the only trees were in the villages. Eventually we took a farm track and rode up a couple of hills. We set our camp there.


    As soon as we got off the bikes, the mosquitoes came out! They were the size of a jumbo jet, millions of them, and very hungry!


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    We managed to get a dinner of pot noodles and biscuits before taking refuge in our tent. By 8:30 we were inside, with the mosquitoes trying to find a way in!
    #67
  8. maria41

    maria41 www.franglais-riders.com

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    Day 62 - 22d June - 155 miles – Russia, Ust Kan

    By 4 am it was already light. My mattress was in some sort of lateral slope and I could not sleep well.

    Soon before 6am I had had enough and got up.

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    Mosquitoes were still around. We had a quick breakfast, packed everything, and were on the road by 6:45!

    For a Sunday morning, there were quite few cars around, so early! We continued in our shortcut, with the road turning occasionally into a river bed! Lucky our bikes were designed for that sort of terrain!


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    The ride was stunning, but we got rattled and shaken to death on those bad trails! We somehow missed some turnings and never made it to some of the villages detailed by Walter, but never mind, we still found our way round eventually, despite ending on farms tracks few times...


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    By mid-afternoon, very tired, we arrived at the little town of Ust Kan, we even found a hotel of sort in the town centre!

    It had a feel of far west on it, with the cattle being marched through town at dusk!


    Our hotel, or better described as a room in someone's house to be more precise, was in the main square. We went to buy some pot noodles for dinner as we had a kettle in the room, and did not want to chance the local eateries!


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    By 8pm all was very quiet, the fountain turned off and the cattle marched through the town. I was intringued.... Although we did not have internet, I checked in my iPad, changing the manual time zone, from Astana to Novosibirsk. Bingo, we had changed time zone once again and did not realise for two days! Not that it mattered that much!
    #68
  9. maria41

    maria41 www.franglais-riders.com

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    Hi Donnie, thanks! :-)

    I got the fuel bladder from an Australian company making fuel bladders for boats! I can't remember the name of the company as it was a long time ago.

    But I found something similar:
    http://www.fleximake.com.au/Home/EachProduct?Id=b4abdd93-82e0-41b3-ba27-4681008c1698

    My fuel bladder is very similar but is 8 litres. I saw others on sale on alibaba just now, but they seem very flimsy. For example, my fuel bladder may be rolled a bit but certainly cannot be folded as I have seen on some pictures. It is way too sturdy for that!

    It's performance is good. The only small problem we had was the bladder came with a plastic tool to pour the fuel into the tank. It did not screw well and it was too short. We ended up buying a big plastic funnel as it was less messy to pour the fuel like that.

    Otherwise, absolutely brilliant. It pack flat at the bottom of the roll bag and not taking any space at all when not in use.
    When in use, it was on top of the roll bag, under the Packsafe and secured with the RokStraps. Obviously add 8kg on top so best empty asap.


    But definitely using it again for my next trip, next year!
    #69
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  10. maria41

    maria41 www.franglais-riders.com

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    Day 63 - 23rd June - 234 miles – Russia, campsite in Altai -


    The house had a little cafe on the ground floor, where we had put our bikes for the night. It was closed to the public but the cook was there, preparing the food for the day. We chanced it and managed to get fried eggs for breakfast!


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    After that we got the bikes out and left. We were now joining the main highway, the M52 that runs from Novosibirsk down to the Mongol border.


    The ride there was spectacular; the Altai is definitely the most beautiful place we have been so far in this trip! We stopped at midday, near to the top of a mountain pass, for a bit of lunch, finishing our bread and the last tin of pate! That Russian dark brown bread was still fresh; I bet it would last till the next ice age!



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    We wanted to get as close as possible to the border, and cross the next morning. Our map showed various towns along the way, all of the same size. In fact, as we went along, those villages were smaller and smaller.


    By 5 pm, as the weather was turning stormy and very wet, we decided to turn back few miles. We had seen a sign for a campsite, and it was obvious we would not find any place to stay in the villages. We followed the sign as it took us off the road into a farm track up and down hills for a couple of miles, across a small river and into the camp!


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    The site was a handful of gers, some small wood constructions for the staff, a kitchen, a large dinner Ger, kennels, a banya, and the usual wooden huts on a wood platform with hole on the ground that constitutes a toilet in Siberia!


    The gers were almost fully booked, but Iga, the lad running the place, got us two beds in a ger of 6 beds. We would have to share.


    The campsite was full of interesting people. Iga had two passions, Capoeira, and racing in dog sleds. For this purpose, he had lots of dogs. Running free we had two white Siberian Samoyeds, a couple of huskies, and in the kennels he had two young Alaskan Malamutes and two more huskies.We went to see one of the Malamute; it was enormous at only 9 months old. Next to it the Husky looked like a miniature dog! The Malamute had also incredible strength!


    Iga's dream is to race his dogs in Alaska and visit Rio! I hope he get to do both!


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    Iga told us that three bikers had booked a gers for the night. We wondered if it would be our Moldavian friends on their way back from Mongolia..... In fact it was three Russian bikers.


    As we finished our dinner, they came in the gers that was used as dinning room, and invited us to join them to drink some (excellent!) Russian Cognac!


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    That is how we met Pawel, who was very quiet, Anton, an IT programmer and Vladimir, a giant motocross racer. Anton spoke very good English and did the translation. They were from the Altai and were travelling few days on their bikes.


    We spent a long time talking. Vladimir had a business organising enduro tours around the Altai. We thought it was a brilliant idea and he could make a good business and good money by doing tours with rich Europeans! We told him about Patrick in Osh and how much he charges to rent bikes (expensive!)... But the reaction of Vladimir was interesting and humbling. His goal was not to make big profit but promote and bring more motocross events into the Altai and getting more people interested in his passion.


    It is good to see that not everyone is interested in making as much money as possible, and outside of the west, the cultures can be very different. I told him he had to get some low bikes for the occasional short riders (me!).... It would be cool to come back and explore the Altai with Vladimir and his inside knowledge of the region! And I could improve a lot on my off-road skills too with such a master! He laughed at all that… but … you will have to wait to see what happens there!


    Check out his website altai-moto.com and altai-moto.ru. The english site (.com) is still under construction.


    Incidentally, they did not look down on us, travelling on our little 125 cc bikes, as they themselves were on 250s! Vladimir did not see the point of anything bigger or heavier than 250 for travelling. Anything bigger would be too fragile and heavy!
    #70
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  11. Tom48

    Tom48 Long timer

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    A 1st class RR.
    Thanks


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    #71
  12. sgio

    sgio Been here awhile

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    I am enjoying your report! Thanks for taking the time. :clap
    #72
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  13. maria41

    maria41 www.franglais-riders.com

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    Day 64 - 24th of June - 126 miles - Mongolia, Olgii


    We left before our new friends woke up. We got to the border by late morning and it took 2 1/2 hours to get out of Russia!

    We had to get through four peoples who in turn, each i n their desk, would enter all our details into a computer! The height of inefficiency!


    We then rode the 20 kms to the Mongol side.

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    It took only 20 minutes to get through. On arrival before the Mongol borded compound, we had to get through decontamination! We paid 50 rouble each to get a lady vaguely spray a bit of water on one side of our wheels! What's the point of that? We also had to buy insurance and pay some sort of tax.


    We then rode all the way to Olgii, through a mixt or tarmac, gravel and deviations across cross country!


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    We avoided many marmots set on committing suicide by getting caught on our wheels!
    #73
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  14. maria41

    maria41 www.franglais-riders.com

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    Day 65 – 25th of June – 0 miles, Mongolia, Olgii.


    We had a day rest in Olgii to do some chores, like laundry, bike maintenance, catching up on the blog, buy food etc....

    We had pretty much made our mind that we wanted to ride the northern route, which is supposed to be the hardest, but also the most beautiful.

    We stayed at a Gers camp in town. We met with few travellers there and we exchanged information with them. Apparently the main road north was blocked by two rivers that were currently too deep for even trucks to pass. Two cyclists, father and son from California, on a round the world trip, told us about a combination of short cuts. A Dutch couple , driving on a big land cruiser from China to Holland gave us also some valuable info on the northern route.


    Day 66 - 26th June -about 100 miles – Mongolia – on the road


    For various reasons we left rather late. Mainly because breakfast is served very late….

    Our plan was to take a shortcut, from Olgii to Ulaangom, as the main road north was impassable.


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    To start with, it was an obvious gravel road, that turned into various tracks. Navigation became difficult as there were tracks on the ground going all over and no idea which one to take. Eventually, it did not matter, we trusted our compass and the GPS, at least we knew we were going roughly north - East....


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    The tracks got from bad to worse; these are probably the worse tracks we ever rode. Lucky we had the perfect bikes for that, they were amazing through rocks, sand, rivers, anything!


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    We went up into high deserted plateaux, across mountain passes, down green valleys and lakes and up again. The scenery was incredibly changing! And up again and down into a valley with a big lake, where the tracks changed from rocky to sandy!


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    A storm was behind us, so we only stopped to eat an apple for lunch before pressing on!



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    Then the terrain changed to some dry river bed with big stones.


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    Up a mountain we met with some canadian cyclists and spent some time talking to them.


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    Then we came across our first river crossing. We just went through, it was a small river and shallow enough.


    We then came across this scene below. A bike down, a man on the ground, face full of blood and bruises, a kid standing along....


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    We stopped. The man was still alive; the kid did not say a word.


    We did not know what to do. We decided to take a picture of the man and the kid, and Alistair rode back up the hills to a small settlement, using the photo to explain what happened and get help, while I waited with the kid. I did not get a word from him, maybe he was in shock? He did not speak russian I guess...


    Meanwhile Alistair found some people, but when he showed then the picture they just laughed at it like complete morons!


    Eventually he came back. We were considering getting Alistair to take the kid pillion and ride to his home and get help there. We could not leave the man there, it was getting late and he would surely die of hypothermia overnight!


    Then, a young lad turned up in a motorbike, he conversed with the kid, they seemed to know each other. The lad gave the kid his backpack and rode across toward a lake, to a ger, to get help.


    So we left them to it. There was not much more we could do. By then it was very late. Too late to make it to Ulaangom in such slow going tracks and we were tired.


    We rode for a while and took a track toward a lake, but the shore was very far. So we just set camp. We could see some gers far away.We rode for a while and took a track toward a lake, but the shore was very far. So we just set camp. We could see some gers far away.


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    We got the stove and prepared what is now our staple diet: pot noodles

    As soon as we got eating, a couple of motorbikes turned up and two mongols came to stare at us. We gave them some bread that they ate... Then, without a word or a smile, they left!
    #74
  15. aleckan

    aleckan Adventurer

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    :clapThank you for taking so much time in post this exellent RR and sharing your story and wonderful pics.
    It is source of inspiration as i am planning a similar trip.:-)
    #75
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  16. maria41

    maria41 www.franglais-riders.com

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    Day 67 - 27th June - about 65 miles – Mongolia, Ulaangom


    We had a good night sleep; it was a peaceful place and no mosquitoes! Such a relief!

    Then as we were getting ready to pack up, two guys on two motorbikes turned up and inspected all our stuff, our bikes, and were more than willing to help us packing, but not with the best results! To pack all our camping gear small enough that it fits in our roll bag is an art form! Once all was packed they left us.


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    We got back on the road, the scenery across a mountain and valley was sublime.We then got into the good road to Ulaangom, it was even paved! The place was a bit of a dump but we needed to buy supplies for several days and have a last shower! Beyond Ulaangom, we knew we would go into the wilderness for several days, until we reach the town of Moron! Honest, that's the name!


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    In Ulangoom we came across a group of 4 or 5 rides from Germany if I can remember well. See how enormous their bikes look next to ours! Like many riders in gigantic bikes, they looked a bit down on us…. Oh well… they would learn the hard way, as we did!
    #76
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  17. Johnnydarock

    Johnnydarock Been here awhile

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    Spent a lot of time at work reading this...when I should have been working. Great ride report!
    #77
  18. maria41

    maria41 www.franglais-riders.com

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    Day 68 - 28th of June - 154 miles, Mongolia, on the road…


    And so we left Ulaangom early, with no breakfast, as none was on offer!

    We were aiming to camp by a lake. We were then in the district of Uvs. It means grass in Mongolia. Why? No clue as it is really only desert. The good news was that the exit of town and for about 80 miles was paved more or less.


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    Coming across a large Ovo, we circled it. We saw lots of bank notes and other offerings, even crutches! We left all undisturbed...

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    This below is the shortcut of the rivers are too deep to cross. That section between Olgii and the section with the A16 is sublime, I totally recommend it!


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    We wanted to find a specific trail and spot on the edge of the lake, called Khetsuu Khad, where apparently there was a gers camp and wonderful views over the lake.

    We never found the junction or any trail going in the right direction!


    We rode that road back and forth several times, asked some road builders and could not make sense of the response (they kept pointing in all directions!). In the end we decided to ride cross country. The soil was not too bad, no ravines or high rocks, it was doable. By the time we reached the East side of the lake, we realised that we would not have enough fuel to reach that gers camp and come back. So we picked a spot by the lake and set camp. The place was like a desert, with funny looking lizards that had like a big sting on the tail, and raising them like a scorpion! I did not fancy one of those coming close to me!


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    The only company were lizards and some horses. I was surprised not to see any Gers....
    #78
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  19. maria41

    maria41 www.franglais-riders.com

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2006
    Oddometer:
    409
    Location:
    London
    Day 69 - 29th of June - 185 miles – Mongolia, on the road


    Concerned with fuel, we consulted the map. It showed a village off a small trail, with a tiny fuel sign. Not even the GPS using Walter Colebatch (Sibirsky-Extreme) waypoints where showing fuel anywhere....

    Our GPS did not show any road there. Once again we rode back and forth, asking for that village and fuel. Once again, we could not make sense of the answer, involving pointing in lots of different directions. If we continued, the next town on the main "road" was too far. So we decided to turn back on the paved road and ride back about 55 miles to the last fuel pump.

    At the same time we stopped at the village shop to buy water and some food. We filled also the fuel bladder. That gave us an extra 8 litres of fuel, as we were going to cross a very desolated area. It is called the Great Depression. It deserved that name! By the time we got out of it few days later we were ourselves very depressed!


    Anyway, at the village we were surrounded by two idiots touching everything on the bikes! I kept saying in english " yes it' s a motorbike, it has two wheels, just like yours!" To no avail!


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    We then rode to the fuel pump and same circus again! We had a quick bite of bread with some chocolate spread, that looks like Nutella but comes in a swirl of neatly separated white and brown spread. By the end of the day the whole spread had mixed into chocolate colour, due to the tremendous vibrations and corrugation of the trails.


    Then we rode the same road again, passing the end of the lake, running out of tarmac into horrendous tracks. They went from bad to worse. We looked for a side trail going north but once again never found it or any evidence of a track. We were glad not to insist as a sudden electric storm started, with massive lightening coming down on the valley we had planned to cross. Those lightening were frightening, especially as it is flat desert and the only thing sticking out is us on our bikes!


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    The tracks were going in all directions, many criss crossing, some running parallel, all bad, either very bad corrugation or sand. It was stressful and exhausting! In top of that the scenery was just desert, with nothing around, not a gers camp, not a camel or a goat, nothing.


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    We continued slowly for a long time until we got too tired.

    We then rode away from the road to set camp. The next village was very far away.

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    As we set the tent and our inflatable mattresses, we found out that one particular plant was very spiky! It pierced the tent floor in a couple of places! We had to empty the tent. We defined a square zone with my boots, and started a weeding job to remove all these herbs! Eventually it was done and we set the tent there. It was incredibly hot!


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    After our usual dinner of pot noodles, we set to rest, just to realise that my mattress was losing air fast! Big puncture. Some roots were going through the floor and punctured my mattress! Damn! After repairing the puncture, we used the thin mini plastic chopping board and my motorcycle winter gloves to isolate from those. We finally set to sleep, although my mattress must have had another tiny puncture as it lost air slowly and I had to reflate a couple of times overnight!


    We finally set to sleep, although my mattress must have had another tiny puncture as it lost air slowly and I had tore inflate a couple of times overnight!
    #79
  20. maria41

    maria41 www.franglais-riders.com

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2006
    Oddometer:
    409
    Location:
    London
    Day 70 - 30th of June - 98 miles – Mongolia, Nomrog


    We got up at 6 am as the sun was high already and it was too hot in the tent.

    By 7:30 we were back riding. We eventually crossed some valleys with some sign of life, few animals grazing, few rare gers.


    We came across, in the middle of nowhere, of a ger selling some drinks and providing food. We declined the food but had a couple of sodas, warm as they had no fridge!


    As we sat in the Ger, on what was the unique massive family bed, the family sat in front of us, on the opposite side of the get, on a sofa and two armchairs; the mother, the father, the teenage daughter and younger son, and another bloke, all staring at us, as if we were from outer space!
    Watching and commenting our every move. It was a bit unsettling!

    We were happy to be away from the sun in the shade for a while, but it was very uncomfortable having this group of people just staring at us! So we left after we finished our bottle of (warm) soda.

    They all came out to stare at us put our helmets and jackets on! After waving goodbye we left.

    The tracks unfortunately got worse, with long sections of deep sand, and badly deformed tracks with huge deep holes and bumps all over the place.

    We observed more storms and electrical storms once again! The views are so far away in these open spaces, that you can observe several storms at the same time!


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    Through the day I dropped my bike three times in sand. It was exhausting.


    By mid afternoon we got to Nomrog, the first town since we last bought fuel! Town is a big name for what is only a single street!


    Nomrog had a hotel, of sort. With no running water in town, there was no showers or bathroom and the toilet was outside, the usual wooden but, with a wooden platform, with one plank missing and a big hole! Using those filled me with dread but there was no choice!

    We were too tired to continue so we decided to stay. At least we would be out of the sun. We cleaned ourselves with some Wetones, hoping for a shower the next day!


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    The hotel had a big kitchen and dining room, set like a restaurant, although it was completely deserted during our stay. Then, upstairs, there were several bedrooms. The owner showed us several rooms and we picked one. The beds were made, usually guesthouses and hotels since Georgia, beds are unmade, maybe to show the bedding is clean? In this case I doubt it was.


    As evidence, the next morning, the entire family emerged from one bedroom, the son, two daughters, the mum and another lady, all sleeping in one bedroom! That was one of the bedrooms the woman had showed us. Then she made the beds there again and I suppose the next traveller can sleep in there again! Oh well, considering how dusty I was I just felt sorry for whoever sleep in my bed sheets next!


    We observed later again, on in other guesthouses, where a full extended family, children various men and women will share a bedroom! I suppose in gers that is how family life is, everyone sleep in the same gers, sometimes in the same giant bed.....
    #80
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