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Old 08-18-2009, 06:04 PM   #31
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The idillic sunset gave way to a chilly night and a cold wind blew off Lake Baikal straight into my tent.
The North Face Tadpole tent I was using is well ventilated with a mesh inner door and roof more suited to warmer places.
I found sleeping with my head at the far end a great solution.


I was enjoying Siberia and the lure of pressing on to Magadan would have to be for another day.

Heading away from the lake we stop in a small town, the locals all resemble Borat and I get collared by a middle aged woman who is the local English teacher and wants to practice her language.



At long last we've stopped heading east and take turn south past Ulan Ude and towards the Mongolian border.

I see a bike ahead and quickly catch it, it's got a UK number plate, we all stop.
We meet Dennis, an Australian travelling from Britain on a type of GS airhead by himself, his route is similar to ours. A lanky sort of pure Ozz and one of the most well travelled people I've ever met, I warm to him immediately.
Later it's agreed he can travel with us during our month in Mongolia, our route is much more ambitious than his but he felt comfortable to do it in our company.
So began what I hope will always continue to be a great friendship.




Next to the Mongolian border three local girls introduce themselves, the one on the rights not bad looking and I have an email address if anyone's interested, as for the other two, well as I got to know Dennis better I reckon he would


Late afternoon and we're poised for entering Mongolia, a moment I'd anticipated for a long, long time.
Would it be all I'd hoped, would it present the challenges I sought and the freedom I yearned for...................?
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Old 08-18-2009, 06:12 PM   #32
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This is just fantastic! The kind of stuff I run home from work to see the updates. I love the trucker story. Too funny. I also love the Land Rover, what a great rig. Dont forget to post the pretty girl pics.
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Old 08-18-2009, 07:01 PM   #33
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Mongolia!!!

I spent 3 1/2 months studying abroad in Mongolia and got to visit several places, including Lake Baikal. I've been dreaming of taking a bike through Mongolia for several years now, this ride could not have been anything short of absolutely stunning! Anxiously awaiting the rest of the report!
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Old 08-18-2009, 07:42 PM   #34
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A smartly dressed young man who works at the border helped us through customs.

Once through, I race towards the others, jubilantly sliding the back wheel sideways and stopping in a cloud of dust YEEHAA!!

We'd only been on the road for 18 days, one of those was spent stuck at the border. So that was the 7,000 mile liason stage over with.

It's late and we need to eat, the border official takes us to a decent place to eat around 20 miles south.


Fatty mutton soup followed by six of these each, they are fatty mutton pasties, our host manages only two, Baz just about manages all six not to be outdone, I do my best but stall at five and a half and nearly throw up.
The taste of fatty mutton is a big part of Mongolian cuisine mmmm!



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Old 08-19-2009, 04:31 AM   #35
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Once over the border and into Mongolia the whole world changes straight away.

The road to Ulaanbaatar is tarmac but the landscape, people and way of life is strikingly different.


Flippin' fantastic! I was so excited at being there and was to feel that way every day for the following month. Years of dreaming, all the accounts of travel I'd read, the place names, the incredible history all fell into place and I was actually there, riding my perfect bike.

I won't ask the reader to excuse my enthusiasm at this point, for me this is the ultimate expression of motorcycling and later in the trip I'm sure you'll understand how I experienced the ultimate in motorcycling freedom, it simply doesn't get any better.




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Old 08-19-2009, 04:54 AM   #36
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Ulaanbaatar, pronounced Oolanbarter, was our first destination.
A sprawling city in the centre of this wilderness, it was around 36degC as we got there.
Another major milestone in this journey, a great moment for us all I'm sure and for me a fairly emotional one
.


We all felt it had been a hard grind of a ride to reach this point and knew I was lucky to be alive after the near crash, perhaps it all made the moment sweeter. But if we thought the 7,500 miles to get there had been hard then we were in for a suprise, many of the following 10,000 would prove a test for us all, it was only now that the real ride started.
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Old 08-19-2009, 05:19 AM   #37
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Riding into Ulaanbaatar was our first experience of feeling like a celebrity in a city, several more were follow in other countries. Cars toot their horns, drivers and passengers all wave, it must be obvious we're a long way from home.

We stay at the Oasis, an aptly named place beyond the centre run by an Austrian couple. The owner, who's name escapes me, is an ex offroad biker and Moto crosser, I say ex as he believes Mongolia is too dangerous to ride in and warns us to take care. There are no reliable medical services in the country, an accident could mean a flight to Bejing for treatment and that's if your lucky.

We need to rest a few days, change tyres and service the bikes before heading south to the Gobi desert.
Rather than sleep in the guest house we take over three of these Gers (yurts) in their compound. It snows!


The stove is lit and we settle in to enjoy our surroundings, who knows how long it'll be before we're clean and comfortable again after leaving here.

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Old 08-19-2009, 06:23 AM   #38
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Having the bikes in perfect condition was a priority.

We'd used Tourance and Trail Attacks to get here, it was a shame to throw only part worn tyres away but Rick didn't want their weight on his Landy in Mongolia. He had agreed to take our TKC80s for us with him though which was a real bonus

The original plan was to have a pair of TKC80 tyres flown out to UB and for anyone considering a trip like this then that's a very good option, use DHL and they'll even deliver to an address ie, the Oasis, or pick them up from the airport which would be a drag. The same goes for any unexpected spare parts you may need, get them sent to a destination on your route if possible. A rear 1200 oil seal was ordered from uk in Russia and sent to UB. Dennis had a tyre delivered from UK by Royal Mail!

Use the Lonely Planet guide for both Mongolia and Central Asia, many other travellers will be staying at their recommended places and you'll meet them which is useful for picking up information.

Learn to change your own tubeless tyres, brake the bead with small tyre levers or use your imagination, lube the beads with shampoo and find a compressor. The mini ones often carried are not quite enough to seat the tyre, but Rick had one only slightly bigger which just about did the job (take a right angle adapter for the rear valve), if it still won't seat try joining two luggage straps together and wrap them around the tyre, struggle, swear a lot and you'll get them on. They lasted until Istanbul, a hard 7,000+ miles away.

I gave my bike a full service here, all oils, valve clearances, throttle balance, brakes shake the dust out of your airfilter, save your spare for when you really need it! In anticipation of the many river crossings I'd made a rear diff breather extension to come under my seat. (not applicable to 1200s).

Remember the biggest mechanical problem likely to be encountered on a trip like this with a heavy bike is suspension related....as poor Baz found out, so keep your bike as light as possible and fit the strongest suspension you can find.....and there opens a can of worms.

Pete makes his waste oil container.


Baz on a steep mechanical learning curve discovers some black stuff in his engine.


A rear oil seal is change on Pete's 1200


Decent rubbers fitted, the bikes taken to a car wash where three girls dry them off and we're ready to rock!


...er, but I think we'll wait for the snow to stop first
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Old 08-19-2009, 07:03 AM   #39
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We're still not ready to go, Dennis needs to make a second visit to the Kazahkstan embassy for a visa so we head for a day and night on the town in a taxi.
It's a bit cramped in the back and Jarvo lets ripp a fatty Mongolian mutton fart that rattles Baz's thigh and the driver has to open the window before we're all poisoned.
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Old 08-19-2009, 07:31 AM   #40
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So it was a great relief for both us and the taxi driver, who was still holding his breath, that we were bundled out into the main square and fresh air.


Mongolian history is remarkable, yet the rural people are generous beyond belief, respectful, strong, resourceful wonderful company although some are perhaps still reeling from the communist influence.




We tried unsuccesfully to find some traditional throat singers so went to the museum instead.
Chinggis Khaan was long gone but there were some other ancient relics on display.

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Old 08-19-2009, 07:41 AM   #41
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Nice thread and RR.
keep going :)
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Old 08-19-2009, 07:56 AM   #42
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A top night out

We find an Irish bar and this can only end one way.


Jarvo gets his beer goggles on and thinks he's pulled some women: and invites them to our table

Somehow or other (copious pints of Guiness blurrs my memory) the girls are in taxis with us heading back to the Oasis....it all seems to be very innocent.

Once back we all eat cheesecake, but the security guard phones Sybil the owner of the Oasis.
She tells us that either they go or we do ...immediatley

Now young liberated city types in UB who have only just shaken off communism don't take kindly to foreigners telling them where they can or can't drink (or eat cheesecake) in their own country so they start kicking off.

Baz escapes outside the compound with a girl and plate of cheesecake to continue his 'conversation' in a car.

We politely ask the girls to leave, they're not happy, one tries to steal my wallet and becomes aggressive, not a good move, so I pick her up, carry her through the gates and dump her on the road outside.
The security man looks impressed, and I shut the gate to keep them at bay.


But of course, we didn't realise Baz was now at their mercy

They pile into the car he's in demanding "money", "or we'll call the police", one girl, who's now recovered from being dumped on the road makes a grab for his sunglasses.
Baz gets bitten on the hand in the process

The next morning we wake with thick heads and only begin to remember last night when we discover the teethmarks on Baz's hand.

It's a poor photo and you can only just make them out but I'll include it for prosperity.

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Old 08-19-2009, 08:20 AM   #43
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The following morning after grovelling apologies from us all, Sybil on the right forgives us and sees us on our way with her lovely assistant.


Right, let's go and do what we came here for!

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Old 08-19-2009, 09:14 AM   #44
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IT and hi tech plays little part in my life since I'm too thick to understand it, so here's a rough idea of the route I had in mind.
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Old 08-19-2009, 09:38 AM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timolgra1
IT and hi tech plays little part in my life since I'm too thick to understand it

Does this mean that you do not have the GPS coordinates for the Irish Pub. A small group of us have plans for a very similar trip in 2010. We'll be watching this RR with more than just a passing interest!
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