What larks in the Motherland.
Single lane traffic queing up at railway crossing suddenly turns into 2 lanes when cars hare up the outside. This turned into 3 lanes then one of many clapped out Ladas that somehow go faster than the latest BMW's, Audis etc tried to make a 4th lane but ended up playing Roly Poly down a ditch!! Gave us all a giggle...
He even managed to climb out and rejoin traffic!
Great fun had by all last nite. We joined teams Grumpy old Men, Men in Sheds, Monkey Wrenchs and the organisers. The atmosphere was always going to be great and we had loads of fun swapping stories. The head guy from CDPF made a heartfelt speech, thanking us all. And then to our collective surprise we were presented with plaques signed by the president of Mongolia bestowing on us the title of 'Envoy of Honour'!..Oh and a bag of sheeps ankle bones to predict the future with.. Which was nice. Vodka war poured (ouch) and then we took part in a giant and impossibly difficult quiz set by an American woman. 4 questions in to the 3 hour quiz and we and lots of others decided to give up and continue with the merriment. Up this morning for the weirdest breakfast ever. But still enjoyable. read more »
Found the CDPF compound yesterday and handed the car over. A strange feeling that was having lived in and relied on the old girl for what seemed like an age. But the staff there were very hospitable and sat us down giving up food and beer for breakfast. Which sat better than expected. One can a piece was enough though. We chatted heartily with them for a good couple of hours discussing border crossings, the Ukraine, routes and the crazy roads here. After unloading the vehicle and several photographic opportunities we were taken to a hotel where we shall be based untill our flight home. Having been invited by our new friends to Dave's Place that evening we showered once again (more cold water) we met up and had a meal in the hotel. read more »
We no longer own a Toyota :-(. We found the CDPF compound wher the really friendly volunteers there sat us down for a chat and burgers and beer were lavished on us. Very much appreciated as it was our first meal for over a day. We then emptied the vehicl while the good folks organised a good place to stay near the city centre. They even gave us a lift the short distance to the hotel. We caught a few glimpses of the city's sights. The main square looks really impressive. Although i may have to represent the prize for worlds maddest drivers.. The Moscow Madmen cant quite match the Bataar Batterers. Its as if its all so new to them and amidst leaning out of their windows to shake our hands they honk horns just because they have them and drive like they are all alone out on the steppe. read more »
We're here. In UlaanBataar. But what a mission to get here yesterday. After leaving the last town before our destination. We discovered tarmac. Lovely tarmac. Which we were adamant couldn't last. But it just went on and on. Our hopes risen we pressed on using fifth gear, a treat in itself, and discussing what wondrous food we would consume that evening. Then fifty miles out, Mongolia threw it's final coup de gras. The black top ended. Our dreams dashed we pushed on across country following the remnants of a road. Darkness fell and a refuel in the dark required leaving our moods rather sanguine. Getting lost once more we ended up following other cars as we knew we were close. Driving over a mud built carrier we stupidly had assumed was there for a reason. We were in. Albeit a little later than planned. With a bed for the night and a cold shower we finally retired at 2 this morning.
WE'VE MADE IT!!! :-D we pushed real hard, found tarmac stretching over 200 miles. Easily long enough for us to believe it would glide us all the way into the capitol... Shame on us for thinking this, the strangest of lands would for once do the sensible thing. The road suddenly ended and threw almost 170 more miles of the hard stuff as a final test it seemed which we had to negotiate the last 100 in darkness! A couple of pitch black wild goose chases and the city appeared. We're starved and exhausted and once again BLOODY ELATED!! More about the city later when we peel our strained eyes from the windscreen! :-D...cut to commercial!
Lots of fun after a long day yesterday. Extremely heavy rain that turned what little there was of a road into a swamp (must have looked all 'actiony' though) then baking winds and sandstorms in the desert. We met Men in Sheds and Grumpy Old Men plus a cool Canadian guy who'd been travelling by motorbike for four and a half years!! We all camped by a river and did the whole washing in the river, Timotei type thing this morning. Got a bit lost this morning but didnt put too many extra miles on. We now sitting on tarmac (how long for is a mini sweeptsake). 270 odd miles from UB. Dont know how close we'll get. Maybe all the way if the roads stay level...fat chance. B-)