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Korea, Russia, Stans To East Europe (page 44)

White Lake To Urgamal Continued

Filling up and turning south from Songino it was more like a trail bike ride in NZ than a main road, that is common theme in Mongolia.

I was riding between trees (yeah I know, trees) and rock formations making for scenic riding, the track progressively got harder or more to the point softer as I neared the sand dunes.

Awesome rock formations
Grande vista and the dunes I was heading to the end of
Beautiful rock formations everywhere

I was getting tired as it was hot as well, stopped for many breaks and I was hoping it would get better track conditions. Of my 390 km for the planned day I managed 320 km, about 200 km of this was pure sand and deep sandpits. I questioned my choice of road/track at one point and was thinking of turning back as I really was in the middle of nowhere and solo in harsh conditions.

The row of sand dunes
Yeah, now the cool stuff is always hard to get to

I was prepared, I had water and food enough for two days anyway so I continued but my wish was not granted for better roads/track, in fact it got worse at the end of the dunes and I was reduced to 2nd and sometimes 1st gear and paddling.

Downside of prepared mean extra weight with food and about 7 litres (kg) of water.

Where I am coming from
Where I am going too.

I kept plugging away trying to keep the train rolling thinking well at least I will be nearing a shingle road soonish…maybe, stopping for some nuts and drink I look down and the tire…yeah 45 had been nailed, first flatty.

Ok, not a biggy, I am running tubliss so I did a big finger to the shy and yelled TRY AGAIN!!!!!

For you not familiar with tubliss check them out, brilliant!!

I larfed and thought 16 PSI is a good pressure to run in the sandtraps anyway and knew I could easy get to a better place to do a repair.

Finally the road/track turned into a sand shingle road, the breeze picked up, the pace picked up and I arrived at Urgamal, a quick clock in to Ellen to let her know she doesn’t need a new husband yet and I got a hostel room, no toilet or shower just three beds.

Needing to fix the tire and it was getting on time wise I opted to stay splashing my $9.00 around like a king for the penthouse suite of Urgamal.

Mongolian bread and sausage fried in sesame oil and some small greens concluded dinner and the night along with a screw and aquaseal to fix the flatty.

Will pump up in the morning and hopefully will be all good.    









Urgamal To Altai

The screw worked as the tyre stayed up ,WOHOH game on an easy fix was done.

Proud of my simple fix I loaded 45, I pulled on the left pannier bag strap then bang it came off in my hand, the strap had worn through, I grabbed a tiedown and made it work and hit the road.

Being a main drag a I was hopeful for a reprieve from heavy sandpits and corrugations, this was to become a distant wish.

The main drags in Mongolia are actually far worse than the little roads and this was no exception.

Just as well the scenery was good
The extended dune were very coool

Corrugations were so bad I was averaging 17km/hr, poor of 45 was taking a beating and she finally had a complaint, the left mirror and clutch mount went limp as it broke through the middle, this was purely from the corrugations and the mirror flicking back and forth.

Mirror in the backpack, I tightened both screws and I was on my way looking at the broken mount figuring out a plan B on a repair.

The rest of the road to Ulgai was the same so another 200 km of this.

I worked it out, apart from the people in Urgamal and had not seen 1 person, vehicle or any sign of life other than a few camels in 430km so yes it is a very remote and very lonely place to be.

My reward of course and the reason to be there in the first place was the sand dunes, my fascination for these see me get to some shitty places but the scenery is stunning and worth every bit of swearing and cursing.

Leaving the sand dune area the landscape changed with small salars (salt lakes) on my way.

Small salars dotting the horizons

On exciting the desert at 3.00pm I stopped to air up and lube the chain, some people in a Landcruiser stopped and asked if I needed help, I said no I was all good but they still pulled over and pulled out a very cold 1.5L fruit juice and gave it to me which was awesome and welcomed.

Does not seem to matter how much you drink during the day it is never enough.

With slow progress during the desert section I was late and no way to make it to Altai without riding in the dark which I refuse to do, I found a sheltered animal camp on the leeward side of a hill as the wind was strong and gusty, my new home very quiet and I had the entire valley to myself.

Home complete with rock fence
Speckles of rain on the horizon
Author of this article: Twomotokiwis