We woke up, went through the morning rituals and faffed around for a bit. It was raining so we weren’t in any rush to get going and in the end it worked out well as the rain stopped and the roads started to dry up in the heat. We’d locked our bikes up the night before around the back of the hotel so they were out of harm’s way and dry at least.
I don’t recall us having any hard and fast plans for every day (As they’d go wrong anyhow). Today was going to be some off road as I’d offered to deliver some photos to a Mongolian family who live in a small village about 150km south of us. The photos were taken by a bike rider in 2010 and they really were nice snaps of the family. I guess that just the same as in the rest of the world everyone stores their photos digitally and we rarely print them anymore. For us it’s a case that we’re lazy, but I suspect that going to a “Kodak Booth” in the middle of Mongolia isn’t quite possible so giving them photos is a lovely gesture.
We headed out of Erdenet on more tarmac. We stopped in the town of Bulgan for fuel and snacks. Fuel stations in towns and even villages now seem aplenty with only one town only having 80 octane for our journey. I’m not a big plain water drinker, but I was going through the recommended 2L each and every day easily. In the towns we saw the digital temp displays around 37 degrees.
I stayed with the bikes as Paul went in for water and he treated me to a Twix, what a guy!
We filled up with fuel, all 4 tanks which always amused the petrol attendant. I have the HotRot Welding 9L aux tank and Paul has the Cameltank which we always kept full. Giving us each about a range of 300 Miles at 60mph. The lowest I got on the entire trip was 250 miles.
A normal sight in Mongolia. We’d see 3 on a bike, 4 on a bike, newborn babies in their mothers’ arms and even one newborn being cradled in their father’s’ left arm as he rode and throttled with his right!
35 miles later and the dirt beckoned. We needed to head south to the village for the photos and leave the tarmac. We turned off the road and onto awfully slimy dirt. The top 1 inch was slimy, gooey and horrible to ride on. I hadn’t been on the bike for about 2 months so tentatively headed off while slip sliding away. A few seconds later I heard a lot of revving and commotion behind me and I turned around just in time to see Paul drop his bike at about 1mph. The revving was him catching his throttle rocker as the bike went down, so the throttle rocker was promptly removed after that.
We picked the bike up and carried on, but it was clear that the trials were going to be like this all the way. We crested a hill just to scope it out about a mile later.
We know you can ride off road anywhere and create your own tracks if you want, but I wasn’t that desperate. It was still early in our holiday too and I didn’t want to risk breaking anything either. So after a brief discussion we decided that we’d give it a miss and head back. The 1 mile had taken us about 10 mins and we had another 50 or 60 to go for the photos. The decision was made easier by the fact that there was a backup photo guy coming a few weeks later anyhow on his own adventure.
Back on the tarmac mostly we headed to the town of Murun, Meren, or whatever other translation you’d like. I preferred “Moron” because I’m a child! The weather was damp still but drying up. The off road was still quite damp in this region though. We’d heard that they’d had 20 days of rain prior to us arriving.
Another hotel in Moron and a decent dinner of fried beef in the restaurant before retiring to the hotel pub and oogling the Victoria Secret fashion show that was on the TVs there. We spent some time listening to a tour groups’ dinner conversation, Aussies and Americans mostly and all I can say is that I’m glad I don’t do organised tours with strangers! Paul and I are a much better combination, plus if I want to be left alone then I can just turn up the music in my helmet
We got a relatively early night. Today’s false start into offroad wouldn’t be repeated. Tomorrow really would be offroad as the tarmac road ends in Moron!