The next morning was great, I was hoping for a lovely sunrise but there were a couple of low lying clouds on the horizon which was a bit of a shame, but still a lovely start to the day.
Paul and I had a chat about what to do. His knee was sore and swollen but he thought he may be able to limp on but we weren’t convinced. Ulaangom was about 70km away which even at our normal pace would be well over an hour and a half. As we were weighing up our options we had a visitor stop, it was Dam (The Mongolian chap living in Moscow who we met yesterday). He was on his way to Ulaangom and stopped to say hello. He noticed Paul’s bad knee and had a look himself. He declared Paul unfit and in need of an ambulance and a truck for his bike. “Wait here, I will be back in 2 hours” and off he went!
So, our decision was made a whole lot easier and we did what we were told. The cloud from the morning has come over and was actually providing us some nice shade. We watched massive rain fronts come in and go across the plains just a few hundred meters away from us at times.
Here is one such rain front on the right hand side.
So we lounged around, ate breakfast night and slowly and packed out stuff up. Paul removed all the kit from his bike in preparation and we waited for our saviours!
We waited and waited and waited…. We got a bit bored so I took some random photos.
Eventually Dam returned. He was about 5 hours later than planned but who cared, he was here and brought with him an ambulance. Paul had said an ambulance was a bit over the top but Dam was insistent and you never turn down this kind of hospitality or genuine helpfulness.
A few of the guys hung around and waited for the truck to come to take Paul’s bike. Ironically they got a flat tyre too so ended up changing their one.
The truck then arrived and we loaded on Paul’s bike.
They headed off on the sandy road and I doubled back to the fork by myself so that I could ride the decent road. It was now about 4pm and I had some of the best riding so far. It was a good surface and I was flying .. literally at some points when I misjudged dips in the road. After about 30 mins though I came across the chaps in the truck, they’d got stuck in sand. So I spent 45 mins in the baking heat helping to dig them out.
Anyhow they got out eventually and off we went. I had no mobile reception but as I came into Ulaangom I checked my phone and messages had come in from Paul. I headed to the clinic (GPS POI) and txt Paul. He came about 20 mins later by foot, limping along. Poor lad. Dam’s brother had found us probably one of the last rooms in Ulaangom. It was a massive festival and everywhere was booked out. Our room/hotel was basic, 2 beds, shared toilet and no shower. But it was clean and we were happy.
We walked around the town a little that night and got some dinner. The restaurant was an upmarket place but it was a bit of a joke, everything they had on the menu was not available and they spoke zero English so we resorted to charades as normal Eventually we told them to bring us anything, literally anything. We got chicken and rice and it was pretty good.
I wasn’t feeling great at all, not enough water drank and was suffering. So we got an early night. Dam came to the hotel at about 10pm to check on Paul. What a splendid guy, absolutely great. What we would have done without him I do not know.
We called it a day and went to sleep. Tomorrow we’d hopefully get Paul’s bike from wherever it was being kept and continue our journey. We still had to discuss the route though as we had the option of river crossings (15 deep ones) or a much longer detour.
What an adventure today had been.