Second Two Days in Mongolia Week 17 19th - 20th August 2011
We weren't too sure what to expect from crossing the Gobi Desert.

But at least it seems to be like a lot of deserts. Feed it some rain and flowers grow.

We think there are more sand dunes and less vegetation to the West of us. However, travelling on our own we think that might be a bit ambitious.

The 4wd is to get us out of trouble, not into trouble!

Doing it the hard way!

We passed a convoy of about 10 cyclists, following a local 4wd, followed by a small bus.

Unlike the Mongolians they were in far too much of a hurry to stop ... though some of them waved.

It did occur to us that "hurry" and "cycling" were not synonomous.

But they were probably travelling almost as fast as us.

Another loo stop!
The vegetation changes constantly.

The track has varied from rough stones, smooth coarse sand, and corrugated hard sand and clay.

Speed has been between 30 and 40 km/hr. Comfortable for us.

There are occasional rough bits where water has settled, mud formed, trucks driven through it, dried out, more trucks to smooth it. Just like home!

If we'd needed diesel this is where we would have purchased it.

Just outside Dargangalan.

There have been signs of recent rain on the road but we didn't know how recent.

These camels had found a biggish patch to drink from.

Campsite at the end of day 3.

Middle of nowhere again. The silence is wonderful (when there aren't trains in the distance).

We had a visit from a mixed herd of goats and sheep.

The Mongolians don't seem to speak much - I guess they wouldn't if they knew they wouldn't be understood.

But we did exchange "hello" and smiles with the modern young herder on his motorbike.

A coal mine.

Hauling stripped overburden to the top of the mullock heap.

It was a reasonable sized operation. We counted 10 haul trucks.
And at least one dragline.
Also planted in the middle of the plain were occasional modern looking settlements.

Tall blocky looking buildings surrounded by gers.

And more of our braided road.
Which just South of Choir became sealed road.

The first thing we notice is that its harder to just drive off the edge and stop.

Grrrr. Who would think to spoil our fun by sealing the road.

Then again, it would be a bit selfish of us to impede progress!

Choir is the middle of Gobi-Sumber Aimag (province).

There's one sealed road which leads past shops to the railway station.

Lots of work on sealing other parts of the town.

The houses have very thick walls, double glazing, and double doors
The railway station is a monument such as railway builders everywhere build.
The line is still wooden sleepers and fishplate track joins.

The bins looked like they are used for burning rubbish.

The next passenger train is not too far away. We passed it as we drove North.

We imagine it gets quite busy at train time.

But right now the station is deserted.

We stopped to pump the tyres up.

Tyre pressure was about 40 psi on the desert roads. We pump them up to about 80 psi for the roads.

While pumping them up the hose from our compressor burst. The compressor outlet had become hot and weakened the hose. Fortunately cut a bit off and remake the join. The compressor has a 100% duty cycle at 120 psi. Hadn't bargained for the outlet getting hot! It takes quite a few minutes to pump a large tyre from 40 to 80 psi.

While waiting for things to cool this largish insect crawled past on its way to the next dung heap.

Long, straight, sealed, road.

But the promise of some hills ahead.

There are periodic railway sidings for trains to pass.

Not sure what the ladders on the roof are for. Maybe clearing snow.

Our campsite for day 4.

A gravel pit at the top of a small pass.

Our altitude is 1570 m. Erlian, at the border, was about 1000 m.

Overnight temperature was 13 deg C, daytime as high as 30 deg C.

Took about a half hour to walk up the hill on one side of the pass and was rewarded with all round views.

The dark line is the railway. 

Looking West. Its a bit greener in the bottom of the valley.

We've traveled 640 km in Mongolia and haven't seen any running water in rivers or creeks.

This gentleman was sitting on top of the hill.

He's using a monocular to count his herd. He had two herds, one on either side of the road.

His wife / daughter / grand daughter was with him. Their horses were branded differently.

The saddle, and stirrups, looked just like the one in the museum at Sainshand. He was very bow legged!

I think they wondered what I was doing there and walked back to the Tardis with me.

Lots of smiles and they went on their way.

Through Ulaan Bataar to Khogno Khan Uul, Mongolia Week 18 21st - 23rd August 2011

Susanna Wed, 24 Aug 11 23:36:01 +1000
Hi, Julian & Ali. Your pictures of Mongolia are wonderful. I like the one of Ali with the truck with the camel especially!

I won't have access to internet for a month or so. And I don't have your email address with me now. I want you to know that I'm very grateful that I was part of your trip, and it's really my honor and luck to have you as my clients and friends! Thank you both for being patient with me when I lost my patience, and keeping me amused all the way along the trip.: )

I'll write to you again in October! Enjoy your trip! Thank you again, for everything!

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