Saturday, August 26, 2006

Out of Mongolia

After our trip in Gobi, we reached a flat land, a steppe that we crossed in 3 days of riding on long, pretty boring roads (lots of washboard..). We quickly stopped over at Altai (no hot shower in the hotel) and dashed through Khovd to end up in Olgii, to the extreme west of the country.

The last camp was nice, next to a stream with 2 neighbour gers so of course we had some visit. The woman was washing the clothes in the river while I was pumping some water, and when she saw me she went and came back with a bowl of fresh yak milk. All without a word. Do you think this would happen anywhere in Europe? We used it to improve the mashed potatoes (tastes like fresh cow milk to me). Some guys joined us after they had rounded up the goats so we shared a cup of tea and a few cookies.

In Khovd we met a group of Swedish bikers going from Korea to Sweden across Russia, Mongolia and Kazakhstan. They were pretty heavily loaded (a couple BMW 1200, KTM LC8 but also a more reasonable Dominator and F650) and they were also followed by a 4x4. They passed us when we stopped for the night, but then we overtook them the next day while they were crawling on the washboard (once you manage to get over 70 km/h then it becomes much more bearable; but it does take balls to do it on sand and holes and big rocks..).

The weather was really cold (crossing a pass at 2600m), with a few drops of rain, so it was a bit painful in our worn-out summer gloves.. Arriving in Olgii it turns out the (best) hotel has no hot water, so we dash to the public bathhouse and get a long and much necessary shower after 1 week without.

Anders wanted to take a break to do some various repairs (12-V power supply, etc..) and some shopping in the market, and sort out the pictures on the computer, so we'll stay 2 nights here. Today the weather is improving, hopefully tomorrow we'll cross the broder and enter Russia without freezing our ass in the Altai mountains. But the rumor goes that the border is closed on Sunday.. we'll see, but I hope we won't have to spend a day camping at the border (not sure we can even have a cheese fondue over there..?)

4 Comments:

Blogger Marie said...

Bonjour!Ceci est un essai. Amélie m'initie aux joies de l'internet!Marie

5:38 PM  
Blogger Marie said...

Intéressant et instructif: on complète son vocabulaire anglais (ass ?). Pourtant, et malgré la qualité de la narration, on souhaiterait quelques photos, affaire de se sentir dans l'ambiance (odeur du lait caillé, ominiprésence de l'edelweiss dans les steppes, lumière exceptionnelle après les orages, arrière-fond sonore en chant diphonique, etc.). Avis à ceux qui souhaiteraient voir Laurent déguisé en mongole qu'ils peuvent se rendre sur le site de son collègue où sous l'onglet "world tour", on trouve de la documentation iconographique surprenante. Marie

8:10 PM  
Blogger Marie said...

Intéressant et instructif: on complète son vocabulaire anglais (ass ?). Pourtant, et malgré la qualité de la narration, on souhaiterait quelques photos, affaire de se sentir dans l'ambiance (odeur du lait caillé, ominiprésence de l'edelweiss dans les steppes, lumière exceptionnelle après les orages, arrière-fond sonore en chant diphonique, etc.). Avis à ceux qui souhaiteraient voir Laurent déguisé en mongole qu'ils peuvent se rendre sur le site de son collègue où sous l'onglet "world tour", on trouve de la documentation iconographique surprenante. Marie

8:11 PM  
Blogger Rico said...

Salut Laurent, je vois que votre trip est une grande aventure humaine, que vous bravez le climat sibérien avec courage et que d'une manière générale c'est assez grandiose.
T'as pas encore trouvé un zinc? Je vais détourner Vidoud et son flying devil sur ta destination pour un chti VR entre potes car la semaine prochaine, on fait le tour de Suisse, donc ce sera l'occase de faire ce forcing avec un couteau sous la gorge de Vidoud...
Tschaw
Rico

4:30 PM  

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