Stories

Sharga to nr. Bayantes

Every night we camped was great. Most nights there was a breeze which cooled it down a little to be bearable and the silence was amazing. We never had any dew or rain of any type so everything was always packed away nice and dry which is always good. Nothing as bad as packing up a wet tent … and then unpacking it that evening.

Anyhow, we got underway to clear blue skies yet again. Horses are everywhere and run wild a lot of the time it appears.

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This particular horse was trying to stare down Paul

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Paul was having none of it and was staring it down too!

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Needless to say, the horse won and so Paul fell off

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It really was a low speed, almost stationary fall over, lapse of concentration but no harm done. We picked up the bike and carried on. Just before a small water crossing we stopped at this yurt and had a break while watching these two chaps fix a problem with their bike. They really are amazing and can fix virtually anything, I guess it’s a case of necessity in their world. Nice guys too even though language was a problem like normal.

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The small water crossing was just that, but it was fun. Here’s Paul going through it while adopting the correct pose. Good man.

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We made our way nice and steadily towards Tsetserleg which was one of the nicest town we came across. They’re all pretty nice really but the people we met here were especially nice.

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One of the few things we had that would always spark common interest and advice were Paul’s maps. I even learned the Russian word for them “Karta” which if you think about it is quite obvious. Anyhow, the guys came over and gave us advice on which routes to take and just for a chat and have a look around the bikes. Mongolian people are great and I keep comparing them to inquisitive children, they want to touch, prod, poke sit on the bikes etc and mean no harm at all. It’s nice. I think the overall greater attention grabber was the F800GS with it’s adventurous looks and cool angles but little did they know, they were on the best bikes out of us all. Their little Shineray bikes were brilliant.

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We left the town after stocking up on water and chocolates, our new staple diet. Paul had also found he had an affection for Fanta grape, it was very popular.

The scenery was spectacular still.

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It was also roasting hot, I reckon it was 40 Degrees if not more. These horses had the right idea.

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It was so warm in fact that Paul decided he’d have a lie down for a bit.

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On a serious note though, you can see it was starting to get a bit sandier again and it’s a pain to ride in for Paul and I. Neither are overly experienced or confident in the sand. I know you’re supposed to give it throttle and “If in doubt, flat out” but when you’re already a relative amateur and subliminally you know that if you come off in a big way then it could be a potentially serious issue. We’d rather fall off lots at 5mph and be ok rather than once at 40mph and be in a spot of bother.

We rode on for a bit, quite slowly as we were struggling with the sand and confidence. It seemed that every time you got up to a decent speed and were making progress then a massive sandy patch would come into view and you’d panic and slow down again. Like I said, slow and steady, the middle of nowhere is no place to be a hero.

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We met some Mongolian lads at the side of the road. They were coming back from an event with their horses and one horse had a lot of medals and the lads had a framed certificate for something. They were extremely proud of this and insisted we got a lot of pictures with them. Once again, the nicest people you could meet.

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They even wanted a photo with me for some strange reason. I didn’t have time to sort out my helmet hair, look at the state of me.

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Then they contemplated swapping for Paul’s F800GS. I think that the minute he took it off the side stand he realised his little 125 was more appropriate for sandy roads.

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While we were having our little party three more people pitched up. Two Germans and a Brit. The Germans were on smaller bikes, an X-Challenge and something else, the Brit (John) was on a fully loaded R1200GS LC. The thing was huge and like the starship enterprise.

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The German (I’ve forgot his name) was explaining how John’s mate had got home sick in Bishkek so simply dumped his bike there and flown home and leaving John to fend for himself. John had then come across the Germans who noticed he was pretty damn talented on his R1200GS and wouldn’t be a hinderance and they all decided to ride together.

A real nice bunch of people too, I wish them well on their trip.

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No matter what I did, I couldn’t get the Mongolian chap to smile for the photo. If the camera was away then he was all smiles, the minute you pointed it his way he was Mr. Serious Lovely guy, wife and son.

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Not long after this we decided to call it a day. We’d spent a long time at the lunch stop and again with the other bikers so didn’t go too far but it was a brilliant day with fantastic people. We setup camp for the evening and had something to eat before doing a bodge fix to Paul’s satnav as the mounts had failed.

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The sunset that evening was amazing as it set over the hills in the distance. I had a little play with the camera to try and get some arty shots. They look ok on a computer, this forum software doesn’t do the scenery justice. I’ll leave you with these just as we did before we called it a day, possibly the best yet!

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Map Location

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