My Mongolian entry was delayed by 3 days and I had to turn back from the Russian border due to an official holiday for all the border personnel. I traced back 70kms and pitched my tent next to a river with two Germans who were stuck too. We had a great time amidst the mountains. On 13th June, we made our way into Mongolia, I was really happy to be in Mongolia as I even named this Journey “Trails D’ Azure” because of it. “Azure” means blue and Mongolia is the land of eternally blue skies, I was speechless to see the sky groove with time, it was a spectacular sight.
We made our way to the first major town Uligii (Western Mongolia) and took up a Ger camp. The next day we were to take two different routes across Mongolia to the capital, Ulaan Bator. I had planned on taking the Northern route, which is really beautiful and quite challenging as it’s completely desolated. I started at 10 AM and it was a gloomy day. I made 280 Kms till about lunchtime tackling the rough conditions of the Northern Mongolian Terrain. There were no milestones, no boards, just endless vast plains, and mountains.
I bumped into Kinga @onherbike (She’s on her RTW trip and started from Australia) en route on the northern route just as I started off, We did exchange a lot of information on road conditions ahead, we started off opposite ways. The route ahead was really gnarly. One of the toughest terrain I’d ever encountered in my life. there were a lot of corrugations and loose sand. The tracks were really confusing. I had to either pin it at 90 Kmph or porbably paddle my way through the rough terrain. After some 60 odd kms, I heard a weird noise off my motorcycle. Then I examined to spot a crack on my Motorcycle’s frame next to the seat. I was shattered, I thought this was the end of the Journey for me. The next town even though it was just 40 km away, it would have been tough to work on the Motorcycle or take it to UB by truck. So I decided to find some help in the middle of nowhere and started retracing my way back to Uligii, I had to push the bike for over 5kms and sat on the tank and rode it for some distance. Uligii was a bigger town than Ulangoom, which was up ahead. I found some locals Mongolian nomad camp and asked them if they could help with my special skills of sign language. I was denied twice. The motorcycle was impossible to ride.Then I found this ger camp and some good folks came to another, I explained the situation, somehow after too much of negotiations, they agreed to help me, I was relieved. A lot of things were running in my head, a lot of negative thoughts. We loaded the motorcycle on the truck and started towards Uligii. After 4 hrs, I made my way back to the Ger camp and didn’t want to think about the situation, just wanted to sleep over it.
I woke up next morning with a lot of thoughts running through my head to handle the current situation. I started calling for help to transport the bike to the capital somehow. After some hustling and running around, I got a contact and I was assured that the truck will come and pick the motorcycle up by 4 PM. It was a good news, as I called the hostel in UB and arranged to repair my motorcycle. It was 5 PM and there was no sign of the truck, The truck guy bailed out as he had too much of luggage to be transported. I sulked and didn’t know what to do. I got online and started looking for help. In the meantime, I booked my flight which was really cheap to the capital, but now the bike was still stranded. After many phone calls, though some local contacts, 2 guys came to check the motorcycle. The ger camp owners told me that these were the bus drivers and there was a bus leaving for UB in the evening. Then I went to check where the bus will the bike be transported. I was taken aback! It was in the luggage holding and the motorcycle had to be horizontal. I was really skeptical but was really out of options. I somehow convinced myself to take a chance and go with this plan as i was running out of Visa too. I quickly agreed to the plan, The bus drivers said that they’ll come and pick me and the motorcycle up by 5PM and to be ready!
At 5 PM my journey along the southern route across Mongolia began. I was accompanied by my 4 other people, A very young couple, who spoke broken English and a Grandmother – Grandson duo, these were my company for the next 46 hours.