Moron, Shine-Ider, Tariat, Tsetserleg – ~440km
Left Moron, didn’t stop being moronic. Got lost almost immediately, on the “roads” which just split randomly in the middle of plains… no signs to signify which are the “roads” and which are just well-worn tracks to people’s yurts/settlements/favourite-swimming-holes.
Eventually back-tracked, got back on the correct track… hoping to put in a solid 200+km day… and then realised my chain was rather loose. I’d never checked this, as the chain is completely enclosed in a cover. I discovered it was loose, by it coming off. So, on the side of the road in the stinkin’ hot sun, on a dusty track, I had a crash course in very basic motorbike maintenance… taking the cover off, getting the chain back on, some panelbeating of the chain cover, and then figuring out how to tighten that chain… as it was very, very loose… dragging along the bottom of the chain cover. With that done, and really really hoping I hadn’t completely botched the job – ended up stopping halfway through the intended day’s travel – at the charming little town of Shine-Ider. Shine-Ider has… not much. Some drunks sitting on the steps of a market trying to engage me, not understanding the concept of a language barrier; and a “Pub” which had one bottle of (warm) beer on stock.
Next day, finished the planned route (chain and rear wheel staying on, thus far) – realising the initial idea of a 1-day 220km ride on that particular road had always been a little unrealistic… spent the afternoon riding along the shores of a couple of lakes, before arriving at Tariat. In Tariat – I’d had a guesthouse recommended by the french couple I’d met many days ago – so turned up there. It was indeed a lovely (albeit basic) guesthouse, with a lovely hostess, and some other travellers to chat with. (This has been remarkably rare).
Today – a short ride along boring-old tarmac (to be fair, a bit of a relief/rest), to Tsetserleg – and encountering more and more foreigners on the way (on the road, at the lunch stop, and then in town itself. It seems I’m approaching the typical tourist trail, although I can see no reason why this would be on the tourist trail yet… I suspect a stopover for those heading to the far West?)
And on arrival, promptly checked in to a hotel I’d had recommended by the Argentinian couple I’d met in Tariat… who’d mentioned this very morning the mythical “hot shower”. At first attempt – shower was not hot. But after a wander around town, checking out the local museum (I don’t know what I expected – but it was exactly the same as every other museum I’ve seen in Mongolia thus far… I believe I’ve listed the standard items in a Mongol museum previously… it was exactly the same.)
Returned to hotel – had another go at the shower… hot! Very pleased. It descended to luke-warm fairly quickly, but the first hot-water in quite some time was very pleasing.