On the road

Day 54 - Ulaan Baatar Airport

Our flight to Beijing was for18:30. Dave and Stuart were also on the same flight as us, and on the same flight back to the UK. Matt was hanging around in Ulaan Baatar for a week before taking the Siberian Express to Moscow.

We checked out of the Kempinski and headed down to the airport just after 1pm as we expected the traffic to be horrendous. It was pretty bad, despite only half the cars being allowed on the roads, but we still arrived close to 3pm. The check in desks weren’t open so we decided to get some food whilst we waited. There was one restaurant at the airport, and they served grilled sandwiches and pot noodles. The airport is not very modern.

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Day 53 - The Book House

We went to the charity offices and transferred the car over to them.

It was finally done.

With another team, we climbed into a Range Rover and Ariguun drove us the 20 miles to one of the charity projects. It took two hours due to the traffic. Sunday is a day where all cars were allowed on the roads.

The project was called the book house, and was a small building where local children would come to learn. They were taught stuff on the school curriculum, as well as English, and crafts such as jewellery making. There were about 15 kids there when we turned up.  read more »

Day 52 - The Kempinski

My wife Farzana had somehow managed to convince the Kempinski hotel in Ulaan Baatar to give us two complimentary rooms for three nights. The day we arrived was the only day they couldn’t accommodate us, so we had stayed in a different hotel. The next morning we checked into the Kempinski.

We’d changed our booking from two rooms for three nights to three rooms for two nights, so MDS could have a triple room.

The Kempinski was lovely. Not as good as the one in Baku – it didn’t have a pool – but really luxurious. My bed was huge.  read more »

Day 51 - Ulaan Baatar!

The tow truck arrived and it was a proper one that winched our car onto the back. We left the side of the road and drove the 15 miles into the city centre. It took close to two hours due to traffic. Not having seen more than 10 cars in any one place in Mongolia, it was a shock to see the size of the traffic jam we were now in.  read more »

Day 49 – A Truck Driver’s Life

The truck we were in had two people – the driver and his friend. We asked them if they had a Kalashnikov, and they told us no. A good sign. The cab had two seats in the front and two mattresses, one above the other, in the back. The upper mattress was full of junk whilst they were driving and only used for sleeping. I sat in the front, and Amir and the driver’s friend were squashed in the lower mattress in the back.

We were then rammed by another truck.  read more »

Day 49 – No More Driving

In the morning we asked the truck driver transporting MDS if he could take us to the next town. He said he could take us only to Ulaan Baatar as he wouldn’t be able to drop us off before then. The reason for this was the way the cars were loaded up. The truck was a kind of flatbed truck with sides that had been clipped on, but it didn’t have a ramp that would lower for goods to be put in the back. The way our car was put on was by having the truck back up to a mound of sand, and our car then being pushed up the mound, but from the other side, and then rolled in. It would need to be rolled off the same way, and that meant doing it outside of the town – not into a mechanics yard.  read more »

Day 48 - Super Highway Dreaming

It was quite late in the day when we left them, and our progress was slow. We’d also started losing power intermittently. Matt had told us that the oil leak he fixed may have been from the gearbox, and not from the engine oil. This meant our gearbox was failing, and we needed to get to Bayankhongor quickly so we could have it looked at. At our current speed we’d not make it, and we didn’t know how long our gearbox would last.  read more »

Day 48 - The Four Rivers

The following morning we looked under the car and there was no oil. However, the car didn’t have any power when we tried to drive forwards. The guys had a look, but couldn’t see anything wrong. We tried driving forwards again, and this time it did move.  read more »

Day 47 - More Witchcraft

The roads became horrible. Rocks the size of footballs littered the tracks, and the tracks themselves became hilly, potholed lanes of rubbishness. The roads became dangerous for everyone. After one particular bad stretch we started losing power. We stopped and MDS came back to take a look. Matt got out of the car and put his hands on his head and said “Oh No!”

I got out of the car to see what he was so upset about. We had an oil leak – it was almost flowing out under our car. Matt very quickly got a large 4ltr water bottle, cut it in half and placed it under our leak to catch the oil.  read more »

Day 46 – Dirt Tracks

We once again made slow progress, travelling at less than 20mph. The scenery was beautiful. We camped in the evening in the middle of nowhere.

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