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Old 02-04-2014, 10:57 PM   #46
KL__07
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Bravo awesome report

Keep going
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Old 02-05-2014, 09:14 AM   #47
Miikka OP
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Chapter II: Mongolian Entree

Day 12, June 12th
Lake Höövguul - N48 54.553 E102 49.365




Our host

Woke up 6:40am from our Ger accommodation, ate breakfast and hit the road at 8:10.
First we headed further up to the highest point in vicinity to check out the view to the lake
Höövguul. Great view and compulsory ovoo.


Southern tip of the lake Höövguul (or Hovsgol). "Dark Blue Pearl of Mongolia". 125 km long and plunges to over 250m!


Jani worships ovoo


These guys were building a log house. Not the most modern equipment but looking good.




Backtracking the same construction route down to Khatgal wasn’t as much fun as climbing up.
There’s just something oddly fun climbing up a hill..
Our route went through town Möron and we fuelled up. Had a lunch break in the middle of
nowhere on huge plato after noon. Another fuel break in Ih-Huul.


lunch break. (Still gotta love these signs!)






Saw a cafe in the middle of nowhere and decided to have a coffee break. Well not really, since
finding coffee in Mongolia is not that easy. Tea is everywhere. Decided to have tea instead…
without bearing in mind their taste for their “special” tea. So we got full cups of the traditional
Mongolian tea! Jani had trouble with it and not so politely left the cup basically untouched.
I thought it wasn’t too bad and finished my cup with a smile.


Tea time




medicine

By late afternoon Jani reported feeling not so well. Kinda weak and stomach issues.. Imodium
to the rescue!


Hey, when you gotta go you gotta go?






Slowly the tracks got better and we found even proper gravel roads. (mostly under construction)
Later we hit tarmac and figured that the best part of Mongolia is soon behind our backs. Tarmac
was welcome for tired riders but we could not help feeling sad that we were already out of the
“wilderness”.


Only in Mongolia?


We began searching for a spot to camp but that turned out to be a much more difficult task
than earlier. The road was built high up and all the accessible land next to it had tons of cattle.
Or farm houses. We didn’t want to camp with cows or on anyones backyard so we kept searching.
Finally we found a sign for Uran Togoo camping site. Result!
We followed the sign to a smaller road and after few kilometres into even smaller road.
Road looked like no man has driven a vehicle there in a while…certainly no tourist bus.

Found the place and there was not a soul present. Off season strikes again.
Well, we were tired and not hopeful of finding a better spot anytime soon and since we were
off the main road already we decided to camp out half a km away from closed Uran Togoo.
Camping spot was great, normal evening procedures and worn out bikers hit the sleeping bags.


Brutal snack






407km, total 6991km

Ritsikirja notes:

- Miikka begins ibuprofein self assigned medication for aching wrists (white knuckle syndrome?)
- First signs of stomach problems this afternoon. Both guys start to medicate. J for a clear reason,
M just in case..
- bye bye off road, hello tarmac.
- Miikka’s rim has gotten some love


Tough love
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Old 02-06-2014, 12:05 PM   #48
live2ridetahoe
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Awesome updates!! I'll hopefully be on one of those Shineray Mustangs with the luggage racks in a few months. The lake looks beautiful.

JG
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Old 02-06-2014, 01:32 PM   #49
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Better late than never.. Subscribed.
Very good, thank you for posting.
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Old 02-07-2014, 03:24 AM   #50
Miikka OP
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Chapter II: Mongolian Entree

Day 13, June 13th
N48 54.553 E102 49.365 - Ulaanbaatar


Woke up 6:30am. Jani begins morning with Imodium…and spends most of the day paying
close attention to possible places for instant relief!
Morning temp only +10, elevation about 1500m.






First UB sign for us


Tarmac road lead us to Bulgan for a fuel stop. I was spacing out and pushed my bike
away from the pump with side stand down. Side stand made contact with ground and bike decided
to go to unexpected direction and…well that’s one way to check the condition of bash plate.


only mental damage


Jani wasn’t feeling too hot and riding wasn’t too much fun for him. At least the timing for stomach
issues was fairly good since roads got progressively better and the last 100km to Ulanbator were proper
asphalt so that riding didn’t require loads of attention besides keeping eye on random traffic that
did not seem to pay any kind of attention to bikes.


We reached city limits at 5pm. UB traffic seemed to be familiar looking chaos. We reached town from
west and our destination Oasis Cafe was pretty much at the east end of the town so we had the
questionable pleasure of fighting our way thru the traffic. Took us about hour and a half to get
thru the town.

Close to Oasis we got stuck on traffic lights that did not seem to turn to green at all.
Bunch of vehicles ran the red light and we followed…only to notice a traffic cop a couple hundred
meters away one hand high up and the other pointing at us. Fun. The other vehicles didn’t seem
to interest him.
In a split second I made a judgement call and told Jani over the intercom to wave back at the police
and just keep on going. So we both waved and kept on riding. My bright idea was to test whether the copper
bothers to do anything about it. On my mirrors I could see him use his walkie talkie and we knew
that our attempt was most likely doomed.

He did not go after us so we were expecting to be greeted by other cop(s) soon enough. We did
ride more than 1 km before we hit next roundabout and there was that expected welcoming committee
for us. At this point we realised that there are frequent roundabouts and each
one of those has a small traffic police “hut” so our attempt was in vain.

We quickly negotiated our strategy over the intercom. Which papers to show and how much money
to have in wallet in case a “donation” will be necessary. We chose to hand over international driver
license, copy of bike registration and insurance papers. All those are secondary and could be left
behind in case needed.
We were invited to the small “hut” where the highest ranking cop was sitting behind his desk.
He started by asking if we had seen a police officer trying to stop us. His english was quite bad but
semi understandable and we decided that our english is even worse and spoke mostly finnish with english words here and
there. He got bored and frustrated in less than 5 minutes, handed our papers back and not so
politely gestured for us to leave. Result!

So we rode 7411km from Helsinki to UB before we had our first encounter with police less than
300 meters before our “destination”. So close.
Maybe police officers shaking money
from western bikers is just getting too risky for police. Or we were just lucky. Either way, we were happy
not having to deal with law in frequent manner.


Police "hut" in the background

Pulled in Oasis Cafe at 6:30pm.



After “checking in” into our ger we were happy to enjoy warm shower and well deserved hot meal with
cold beverages. Have to say we felt pretty successful reaching UB without any major hassle or damages.
Not to mention injuries. We were finally able to Skype home and “see” our families for the first time after Ölgi.


After few celebratory cold ones our sleeping bags were calling our names. Mighty tired after 13 days on
the road but I had trouble falling asleep. I was having mixed feelings about the journey and....life I guess.
Really happy to have accomplished something we had been talking about for years. Happy to enjoy the
freedom of the open road. At the same time I felt really guilty about being far away from wife and kids, selfishly
taking the time to have an adventure.

Also the apex of the trip had been reached and the remaining journey was in advance less exciting
and less special.
In addition our route and direction from UB was open. Original idea was to cross the continent to Vladivostok
and ship the bikes back home. Plan B was to ride home…zzzzzz.






412km, Total 7411km.

Ritsikirja notes:

- When in doubt accelerate doesn’t always do the trick
- Really bad english is (maybe) an easy way out.
- Bikes tolerate quite a beating 13 days in a row, guys could use some more rest.
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Old 02-07-2014, 09:45 PM   #51
flying.moto
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Thumb Kudos!

Love it!
Anything having Mongolia in it is epic in my mind :)
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Old 02-07-2014, 10:59 PM   #52
7days1shower
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Great report !

What month did you do this Northern route in?

Looks quite straightforward as people always say it is very challenging?
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Old 02-08-2014, 02:15 AM   #53
Miikka OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 7days1shower View Post
Great report !

What month did you do this Northern route in?

Looks quite straightforward as people always say it is very challenging?

Thanks. We entered Mongolia June 8th (as text suggests).

It was fairly straightforward for us! We were lucky with weather. There had been no rain in past two or three weeks
and we didn't get any rain either. IF it rains it will be a totally different ball game. The small rivers that we went thru
without any trouble may be unpassable for days in a row. Then there will be tons of mud.

We "only" had to deal with soft sand/gravel/washboard and gazillion rocks. Totally doable by anyone with some off road experience.

I still wouldn't call it easy. Challenging would be better word.
We rode pretty much around the clock (8am-8pm) without long breaks and managed to cover 300-350km per day
in the heart of the northern route.

Super fun and totally unique to be in a place where you can choose your route freely!
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Old 02-09-2014, 05:47 AM   #54
Miikka OP
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Chapter II: Mongolian Entree

Day 14, June 14th
UB

Staying at Oasis is a guaranteed way to meet people from all corners of the world. We ran immediately into our
“neighbours” from Estonia, Sven and Juhan. They were on their way around the globe on their big boy Beemers
and they were "sponsored" by Unicef. Toughmiles.com guys Pete and Jon arrived on 14th full of steam
and prepping their tiny little Suzukis (open door, come on..) for respectable ride thru BAM road. Pete and Jon were also on
a trip around the globe. Great chaps! I had the pleasure of meeting and feeding them couple months later in Bellingham WA, USA.
Like I said, It’s a small world. There was also a couple from Switzerland and two gents from Italy. On top of that a dozen
other globetrotters on four wheels or campers.




Sven and Juhan told us that the southern route was a bit of a disaster. Road building / construction work most of
the way! Sounded like southern route will soon be easily passable by any given vehicle. Booooring!
(naturally one can pick any direction and trail also riding south but it might feel slightly odd to spend five days
doing off road and knowing that there’s a new tarmac road right next to you all the way. Or is just me?)


Maybe time to wash helmets..?


Our first “day off” was a relaxed day of socialising and gear maintenance. Of course we also made a trip downtown to
check out UB. Ulan Bator (dear child has many names) population is a bit over 1 million, as far as they know..
Modern sights and skyscrapers sit next to traditional gers / yurts. (at least til modern buildings and companies overtake the properties)










Local system against trespassing. Families live in their yurts surrounded by brick walls and shattered glass on top of it.
It's safe to assume that if your property isn't bolted down and locked behind bars it's gone by morning..

A Finnish "flying missionary" (Mission Aviation Fellowship) bought an old russian Uaz "jeep" a while back in UB and it came with a shipping container.
He was quite puzzled...and then instructed that the only way to still own that car tomorrow morning is to park it inside that container and use
sturdiest locks possible to secure the container.


0KM, Total 7411km.
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Old 02-09-2014, 03:17 PM   #55
zcd
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Amazing RR, I'm in (hoping for more!)
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Old 02-11-2014, 12:26 AM   #56
Miikka OP
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Chapter II: Mongolian Entree

Day 15, June 15th
UB

Another day of rest and maintenance + a trip to local black-market.


Jani kicking back


Gathering breakfast with my reverse raccoon tan








Pete and Jon were trying to find inner tubes and adequate road tires since they wanted to spare their proper knobbies for BAM.

They found inner tubes. PINK.






We were still weighing different route options after UB. The original idea a couple years back was to continue riding east
thru remaining part of Mongolia and cross the border to China. Then maybe ship bikes from Beijing.
After carefully looking into that for a better part of year we decided to scratch that plan.
It would have been doable but we could not justify the amount of hassle and money it would have required. Especially the hassle.

It would have cost $4000+ per person to make the arrangements (excluding shipping). And how much
fun can it be to ride in China following “a guide” on a vehicle..?

So our remaining viable options were
a) Vladivostok + ship bikes home (fly home)
b) ride home..




0km, Total 7411km.
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Old 02-11-2014, 01:24 PM   #57
live2ridetahoe
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Old 02-11-2014, 05:18 PM   #58
RiderRick
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Great report!

Hmm, cliff hanger, what did they do? Ill say they rode!
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Old 02-11-2014, 06:37 PM   #59
Northstar Beemer
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Kiitos, gentlemen

I love your report.

Were there any problems in mounting the containers under the panniers? Seems to make sense, but I've never seem them mounted there before.
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Old 02-12-2014, 12:19 AM   #60
Miikka OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Northstar Beemer View Post
I love your report.

Were there any problems in mounting the containers under the panniers? Seems to make sense, but I've never seem them mounted there before.
Thanks NB!

No problems. We used Rotopax mounting hardware; lockable mount + backplate inside pannier to be on the safe side.
Only "downside" is that you will have to drill thru your fancy pannier. (silicone will make it waterproof again).

That was our solution for carrying emergency fuel and water and have the weight of it as low as possible.
We didn't face any problems with the setup. (Having said that, one does need to tape the lock or otherwise
it will gather all the dirt in the world and will not open without a hassle.)

Oh yes, it does reduce ground clearance. In case you throw your bike into corners like Valentino Rossi,
your rotopax will be the first thing to make contact with ground. We did not find that as a problem..
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