Bulgan, ~Khutag-Undur, Moron – ~480km
From Dashinchilen – a wee short-cut, about 150km of dirt roads, after a night of rain. (Oh – that night in Dashinchilen… I’d mentioned the bugs in the ger/yurt… that got better. After dinner, returning to the ger – it was raining bugs. Inside the ger. It sounded like the approach of a thunderstorm, where there’s a massive raindrop every 2 or 3 seconds. But… this was bugs, dropping from the ceiling to the floor of my accommodation. I spent the night curled up in a sleeping bag liner, attempting to remove any possible crack where a bug might drop in, or crawl in. And then dreamed about bugs. Bloody bugs, I dinnae like’em. In the morning – after thoroughly bashing every bit of clothing, I still discovered a (live) bug in the toe of one sock, a minute after putting it on. Bloody bugs.)
Anyway – the riding – I changed the oil in the bike, and then headed off for 150km of dirt (sometimes mud) roads, and at least one water-crossing, through the middle of nowhere. Really, really hoping that my first ever attempt at any sort of motorcycle maintenance hadn’t been completely botched.
Made it to Bulgan – a really happening town. (this is sarcasm). Wandered around that a bit – discovered everything there was to see. 1 statue of Chinggis, and 1 “National Museum”. Then found the only place in town serving food/beers on a Sunday, and settled in. Ended up drinking with a couple of guys staying in the same hotel as me – in a bizarre evening of food, beer, suddenly-loud-bad-music (and dancing), and Mongolians binge-drinking without the stomach for it.
From Bulgan, about 180km of boring tarmac road… just getting the distance done to get towards Khovsgol. Met a French couple in a spot I stopped at for lunch, recognising the bike and luggage as a very probable fellow client of my bike rental (greeting each other with “Cheke Tours?”) – and swapped plans/experiences. They’d been camping nearly every night, whereas I’m still working up the wherewithal to do that… I’m perfectly happy with the camping bit, it’s just the strongly recommended “rock up to some random family’s ger, ask them if you can put your tent up in their back garden” (as otherwise, apparently thievery and/or drunken local nuisances are likely).
Anyway – on this day, I’d decided I finally had all the kit I needed if I was to put up the tent for a night (having finally purchased a frying pan and some tinned food) – but came across a little restaurant/store/hotel in the middle of nowhere, about 25km west of my originally planned Khutag-Undur.
So – paid my £8 or so for a bed in a room, and spent the afternoon sitting in the sun, drinking beer, and then being befriended by a 12-year old kid speaking better English than most of the Mongol adults, and his ridiculously cute 3 year old sister. And then, their super-suspicious grand-uncle, thoroughly disapproving of anybody drinking beer, but who came around to my sparkling conversational skills.
In the morning, 4 Shineray 150cc bikes turned up to the restaurant, loaded with suspiciously western-looking luggage… and sure enough, 4 aussie guys who I could also meet with “Cheke Tours?!” They sat down for breakfast, while I loaded up – and headed off.. for another 150km of boring sealed road. The scenery is great, if a little “same-same” after some time, but the riding… just boring. I mixed it up by heading off-road a couple of times for photo-ops. And eventually, got to Moron – where I’ve opted to pay over-the-norm for a “proper hotel” – in order to get the wifi (so that I could post this, and let everybody know I’m still alive), and hopefully – a shower. The shower – yeah, I got one, but the hot water unit doesn’t seem to be attached to the actual plumbing.
Other than that – Moron has… about as much as Bulgan.
From here on – internet is going to be a very occasional thing, so… probably more sporadic and overly-long posts to “catch-up” similar to this one, I’m afraid.