|10-12-2012, 08:31 AM||#136|
Joined: May 2007
Sorry for the philosophical rant. Back to the story.
Things were right back to normal with nice weather and a beautiful morning at our camp. We had to face the facts that we didn't have enough time to push any farther south and we would have to alter our intended route to make it back to Ulaanbaatar on time. We weren't giving up on the camel rides though. The herd we saw a couple days back gave us hope that we could still get a camel ride. All this talk of camels of course brought up the term "camel toe" and we were curious if there was any relation at all to a camel's foot and a pair of really tight female blue jeans worn in a certain way. We were going to try and find out.
We had to back track up the 89km that we rode in the rain two days before. Things had dried out significantly but there were still lots of mud puddles around. This little single track section got us off on the right foot though.
We were making good time where the route wasn't all that bad. We stumbled across this herd of camel. There weren't any nomads around so we figured any type of camel ride was out of the question.
These beasts are some wild looking animals!! We were hunting for clues to the camel toe and trying to document it with photos but we weren't too lucky.
We start to encounter some areas that were still pretty wet and Minxter got her front wheel locked up and went down.
We were not going to screw around trying to unpack the mud so we got rid of Minxter's fender for a while.
This truck was stuck in this spot 2 days ago when we first came through going the other way. This was a challenging mud hole for us that day. This day we were able to squeak through with little effort. The truck driver was out wandering around talking on his cell phone, waiting for things to dry some more.
We spotted another herd of camels near this ger and Minxter really wanted to try to pull off a camel ride, so we stopped in to see what might be possible. Their fierce dog came running at Buuuuurrrrt and lashed out trying to bite him but missed and bit a hole through one of his side bags! The owner scolded it off. Whew! Close call. This family was just hanging around the ger. We brought along stickers and tattoos that we were handing out to all the kids. This was always a hit with the parents.
They had recently made a batch of cheese (camel cheese?) which they were drying on the roof.
We were finally able to communicate the word camel with them. The term is "temee" pronounced timay which could only make us think of the mentally handicapped character in the TV show South Park who can only yell his own name. Well, it turns out that this cat that we're trying to communicate about riding a camel has been pounding vodka so he is equally as handicapped as Timmy in South Park. We're pointing to the herd and doing charades trying to show we want to ride one of the camels. This cat hops on his chinese bike, dumps the clutch and roars off toward the herd with us in tow thinking we're going to need to pick up the pieces after he eats shit! He's LOADED and is just pinning the bike, swerving all over the place.
As this scene unfolds some more, we start to realize he and his family have nothing to do with herding camels. He's trying to help us anyway by sneaking up and trying to grab the reigns of one of them. These animals are massive and now we're thinking he's going to get trampled and we're going to have to go back and tell the family! He actually gets a hold of one of the reigns but, THANKFULLY, the animal jerks it out of his drunken clasp. At this point we decide we gotta put an end to this and keep moving before Timmy gets hurt by a temee.
Just as we're leaving, Buuuuurrrrt spots a huge clue to our mystery about "camel toe". We're pretty sure it's not just a myth that the two are related.
We were able to navigate through all the mud holes and we arrive back in the town we were in two days ago. We stock up, boil some eggs, and draw the usual crowd of curious Mongols.
We start heading onto our new route out of town. We'd given up hopes of riding any camels when, WAIT, another herd and a very nice nomad couple bringing them home. We decide that trying to ride them is not going to happen so Minxter decides she just wants to pet one! (Yeah, yeah, we're pretty naive when it comes to camels!). After saying "temee" and doing our charade gig, the nomad couple understands and they try to wrangle up a couple of camel. The women gets one of the reigns but almost gets yanked off her feet when she's trying to handle it. The guys gets one also and we start to approach but the camel starts reacting by shifting sideways and showing it's teeth and hissing. Ok, ok, no petting the camels. These beasts are much more distempered than I would have guessed.
At this point we have a nice smooth section of single track and we're making good time when Buuuuurrrrt flats out. I can't remember the flat classification on this one but is was nothing more than a class 2 single hole. No big deal. He repairs it and we're on our way again pretty quick.
Then he flats out again! This time it's a class 2 patch failure. The patch was right over a seam that we didn't get sanded enough and the initial hole got bigger under the patch. We threw in our spare tube in hopes of continuing our good pace.
Now it's Minxter's turn to do battle with a vicious dog only he actually gets a hold of her leg!!! Luckily, she's got enough gear on that the dog's teeth didn't break through the fabric and puncture the skin. He left a nasty bruise though.
The dog bite took place in a town that we came to where we were able to replenish our patch kit and get another spare tube.
We ride out of town for a while as the sun gets lower and really lights up this awesome two track we're riding.
We pull over in the middle of nowhere and settle in. I fill up the fuel bottle with gas in preparation for our Gobi Goulash.
We drink vodka, cook our goulash and reminisce about the last few days which were quite entertaining at this point.
147km for the day. We were happy with our progress considering we had to battle mud for a portion of the day.
|10-12-2012, 10:10 AM||#137|
Joined: May 2006
Location: SF Bay Area and Las Cruces, NM
1997 Moto Guzzi 1100i Sport
2005 KTM 525 MXC (plated)
1960 Lotus 7 (hey, it's a 4 wheel motorcycle!)
|10-13-2012, 07:38 AM||#138|
Joined: Mar 2010
Great report. Loving the pictures.
What time of year did you go in?
|10-15-2012, 08:39 AM||#140|
Joined: May 2007
The date was September 13th, 2012. Minxter has a nice bruise showing from her little "Fido" run in. Quite lucky that's all it was.
We had no idea what the day would bring. We were heading toward Ulaanbaatar on an alternate route that we hoped would pan out for us. We really didn't have any high expectations for anything really noteworthy this day.
Then we spot one more herd of camels (yeah, here we go again!). We decide we are not going to try and ride or pet them. We are going to herd them and get to the bottom of this "Camel Toe" myth.
Camels are actually quite easy to herd and we'd had a little experience now with a few different herd. We were easily able to round them up using the all terrain mopeds. The plan was to get them together and then get them going one direction. Someone would go out in front of them and try and shoot photos capturing the "Camel Toe" as the herd was coming at them.
There was one "White Camel" in this herd. Quite stunning!! Somewhat rare as well.
And there it was!! The "Camel Toe"! We'd done it. We'd proved it more than just a myth. Herding the camels, seeing the white camel and then sleuthing out the myth really made good closure to our camel saga.
At the next town we stocked up and enjoyed a frozen goat yogurt.
The locals were getting ready for an event and were putting up a few 'ger' while we were patronizing the stores. This was really cool to see how they assembled these things. First the frame of lattice and the crown with roof beams coming off it and the door.
Then some sort of membrane on the roof, I suspect to keep water out.
Next, the insulation.
Now, the exterior.
Cinch the thing tight all the way around and add the roof flap, and you're done in about 40 minutes.
Right out of town we had a fairly good sized river to cross. This dude showed us how to do it "2 up" (no shoes).
We followed his lead with no problems.
It was about time for us to clean up again and it was a nice warm day so we took some time to bathe in the river.
Continuing on, we found the municipal "hutag" in the next village and filled our water containers. We had quite a bit of gas still so we didn't feel the need to fill up. It seems like you should always fill up when you have the chance.
We attracted the usual crowd at the next town. We were starting to think about selling the bikes in a few days and thought it would be wise to call some of numerous people who were interested in the bikes. Everybody has cell phones in Mongolia. They must be very inexpensive because basically anyone we asked would let us make a couple of calls. We tried to fill up in this town but the power was out. Uh oh.
More excellent riding.
More spectacular birds.
We had a really nice ride this afternoon.
We found another perfect camp and had some vodka. We were out of the Gobi now so it was back to Steppe Stew for dinner.
We were definitely back on easy street again.
172km for the day.
|10-16-2012, 05:32 AM||#145|
Joined: Nov 2010
Location: Reaver's Shed :o)
This is one of the best pics I've ever seen. I want to go there even more now. Really nice indeed
Keep the smile on your face!
F800GS - The ORANGE ones are faster!!
|10-16-2012, 07:08 PM||#146|
Joined: Mar 2006
Location: Black Bill Park
Fine looking Trials country there. Who's up for a world round in Mongolia?
ATGATT: When you fall off your motorcycle, you will be wearing what you were when you got on your motorcycle. Dress accordingly.
|10-17-2012, 01:06 PM||#147|
Joined: May 2007
We woke up to another perfect morning and did our food and drink routine. We were hoping to get within striking distance of Ulaanbaatar by the next morning to slide in just after sunrise to avoid the traffic and any police as our bikes were not legal at this point. This meant that we had to have a flawless day and cover about 200km on the mopeds.
We quickly came into a town hoping for gas. No power. Not good. We didn't have close to enough gas to get us to Ulaanbaatar. We expected to see a lot more of this type of structure around Mongolia. We didn't see all that many temples.
Despite not getting any gas we pushed on. Excellent riding once again this day and we were making good time, at least while we still had gas.
The next town; no power = no gas. There were also swarms of these little flies coming through the town in waves. First there weren't any, then they'd be super thick then dissipate again.
We were bumbling around trying to figure out what to do about gas. We decided we couldn't leave this town without any. Then, we stumbled into a Mongolian who spoke english pretty well. He had actually gone to school in The States and was planning on attending graduate school there. He was happy to try and help us out with the gas situation.
He got a hold of his brother who lived in the village and his brother came up with 10 liters of gas that we could buy. Our english speaking friend told us we'd have to go the paved route from here because even with the 10 liters, we would never make our intended route. The paved route would add over a hundred km's and that would put us short from Ulaanbaatar in the morning. He taught Buuuuuurrrrt how to say "do you have any gas I could buy from you?" in Mongolian. Buuuuuurrrt practiced it until he got it then recorded it on his iPhone as a voice memo. We divvied up the gas, thanked our english speaking friend and took off in the exact direction he told us not to. There wouldn't be any more towns with gas until Ulaanbaatar but we were going for it.
The riding continued to be excellent.
The two tracks were smooth and fast and we were covering a good amount of ground.
We pulled over for lunch in a huge valley that we were traveling in. Buuuuurrrrt was getting really low on gas by now and we came to the conclusion that we had to do something. Of course, at this point a curious nomad and his kids show up. We pull out the stickers and give them some tattoos. We start pointing to our gas tanks and saying Ulaanbaatar and the nomad was just staring at us.
Then Buuuuurrrrt whips out his phone and plays the voice memo. BINGO!! The nomad takes us over to his ger and siphons some gas from his van which we offer him double what it would cost.
Buuuuurrrt was pretty pumped on these vans we kept seeing around and the next thing you know, he convinces the nomad to let him have a little joy ride! CLASSIC!!!
Of course the family has to have us in for some refreshments of Airag which is fermented mare's milk. Kinda strange stuff.
We thank everyone and wave goodbye.
The riding continues to be smooth, fast and scenic.
By the end of the day we were satisfied that we'd covered enough ground to hit UB in the morning. We'd covered 214km of dirt on the mighty off road mopeds. Throughout the trip we'd learned that the locals don't use the "thumbs up" to express that things are good. They use "pinkies up"! They would always point to our bikes and give us this sign. It took us a number of days before we figured out what the hell they meant. So, here we are at our last camp site giving the pinkies up.
|10-17-2012, 04:51 PM||#148|
Joined: Sep 2012
Damn! Top notch storytelling and photography. I am hankering to go ride across Mongolia now!
Looks like those cheap Chinese bikes are holding up great!
|10-17-2012, 05:32 PM||#149|
STILL Jim Williams
Joined: Oct 2005
Location: Providence, RI
Stunned. Funny. I just read Oisins book, and he gives a very different interpretation of Mongolia. I'm guessing it has a lot to do with weather and attitude. I want to go. ASAP. I want YOUR trip!
2012 Triumph Tiger 800 XC
2008 Yamaha WR250R
1971 Lambretta DL
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