The guys are headed to Dadal (Bayan-Ovoo), the birthplace of the great Ghengis Khan. It will make a 255 km loop.
Into the land of Temujin, the boy who would be the Great Khan. (Daniel Pedersen)
As with most places we visit I know almost nothing. Mongolia is no exception. Who knew that in a country with few “actual” roads and even fewer that are paved that the Toyota Prius would be the locals vehicle of choice. So what about my preconceived notions of the man who would one day rule the largest continuous empire the world has ever known. To find out we head into the north east of Mongolia a place that the Lonely Planet says “only super adventures dare to tread” in search of the town of Dadal the birth place of the boy Temujin and perhaps the undiscovered resting place of the man named Chinggis Khan.
Its not often that butterflies flutter about my guts but day one heading north from Chinggis city things were churning. Why do so few moto adventures or tourists venture out this way? Seriously “what’s the issue” I’m asking my myself as we leave the last pavement we will see in days.
So it begins, track left it is……
First thing confirmed as in many places here in Mongolia there are magnificent horses and lots of them!
We are on the correct track as cairns mark our way.
A quick stop for lunch and a view. Many comments among ourselves about the increased lushness of the valleys here in the east.
Making great time on firm tracks! Again everything is soooo lush!!
The green comes from water and where there is water it will cross our path. The first of many fun crossings.
There was a break in the wilderness as we rolled through small towns with BIG plans (note the fancy street lamps).
Just as we are feel ultra-adventurous a Prius comes out of nowhere and handles the tracks as easily as our bikes do.
More stunning valleys as we continue to blast north.
We popped out of a valley and at the crest of a hill the road leads into a sand track, but just before there is a an arch that says we have arrived. Dadal the birth place of the greatest conquer the world has ever know. This is the gateway to the land that gave us Chinggis Khan.
A simple but somehow moving monument of the great Khan when he was just a boy named Temujin.
A kind of cheesy monument to a man who vastly changed history just outside the town of Dadal.
After meeting some nice locals (as we always manage to do) it was back on the trail to explore more of the Khans roots.
Sometimes our exploring goes a touch to far and we find ourselves just riding in the forest with backtracking in order.
Sometimes it leads to an amazing track!!! We found ourselves stumbling upon a set of three rough log bridges that clearly haven’t been used in a long while. An assessment is made and repairs done, we have found a way out of a valley and over the pass. Stunning adventure riding!!
We are rewarded with a valley that is breath taking so we stop for lunch naturally!
We made our way to a track that follows the river and “appears” to be leading us back to the main track??? In a word wrong.
Can a person really go wrong exploring this land? If so we haven’t found it. Every turn right or wrong leads us on to a track we love.
After a long day, the few wrong turns seem so right around the camp fire.
Early the next day we run up against another river and there is no going back or going around but there is a very cool truck “ferry”. All aboard!
Taking the ferry Mongolian style!
At times things seem so remote. Literally nothing other than the tracks and then BAM a road sign.
Not so strange or nearly out of place are more cairns and stunning scenery.
Closer to the towns we see a strange creature scurrying about the steppe.
In the end did we discover the resting place of the great Khan or perhaps gain insight into how he came to rule over such a vast empire? No of course not but wow what a place to roam about on ones adventure bike. Special is an understatement and fortunate doesn’t begin to express how I feel about getting the chance to have done it. For all the rest there is a great BBC documentary on the life of the Chinggis Khan. Check it out and then get over here and discover his native land for yourself before the tourist buses make it up this way.
Well Sara is fancy free and ALONE!! for 4 days!!! Time to explore the town, rest, and catch up on some Netflix.
After having no-one who spoke English around for the last 4 days it was nice to meet Moses from Texas at breakfast this morning. I had actually contacted him about a month ago on ADV after seeing his RR and his trajectory. Small world that we end up in the same hotel in this small town in eastern Mongolia. The guys returned from their adventure mid day and rested up.
Today we are starting out towards the Gobi Desert in the southeast of the Country. It is 875 KM to Dalanzadgad, which is the gateway to the Gobi.
We plan to do this in 2-3 days because of the distance, the spacing of the towns, and the cold rainy weather. It was pouring at breakfast, but cleared up a bit when we finally left at 1030. It is 340 km to Zuunmod just south of Ulanbaatar. We hope to take the cut off road from Nalaikh to Zuunmod and it looks half paved on google earth. This was so we can avoid riding thru the horrific traffic congestion in UB a third time.
It started pouring about 100 km down the road at it was very very windy and 5 degrees! After 210 km we reached Baganuur and stopped at at cafe to warm up, have lunch, and kill 2 hours waiting out the storm which was moving past us to Chinngis. Note the ceiling design!
When we left is had stopped raining and after another 30 km the sun was out and it was 10 degrees. We stopped in at the Genghis complex to see if the store that had these great Mongolia stickers was open as it was closed last time we were here. It was not, but the ticket girl asked around and decided to grab them for us and sell them to me.
From here we were much more comfortable temperature wise, but it was still very windy. We arrived to the cut off road and found the entire 25 km is paved. We arrived to Zuunmod at just after 5. The only hotel listed on the GPS and maps.me was defunct, the second “hotel” across the road was now an apartment building, and the third down the road was very very sketch ( Sara said “perfect place if it was already dark and raining”). We asked a taxi driver and he said the other spot, which was also listed on Map.me. The Ender dov 9 km away and on the road south. This turns out to be a defunct hotel that is now a private home and a moldy leaking Ger camp. No way. Options are 1. camping we would need to go back to town for at least water, but we are all pretty cold and it is windy and 9 degrees with the sun is still out, 2. hotel in UB and drive at least an hour on top of the 50 min Google time thru town(AGGGGH), 3. go back to the Oasis and have to back track on the cross road and come into the city by the very easy access from the east in about an hour total.
We messaged them at Oasis and they had 4 beds for us. We decided to go there today and for Orvar to get his bike service now instead of after the Gobi trip. Then we will not have to come back to UB before we go to China. It was like coming home….nice warm welcome, comfy beds, hot shower. They even reopened the kitchen for us to cook us some dinner.
We had a warm and cozy night here at the Oasis. Orvar has arranged his service for today. The rest of us will do a little sightseeing here in UB. We planned to cab in and then walk back the 5 km from the center, visit the “government” department store (high end expat shopping place) and a local handicraft market. We finally found a money exchange to get rid of the Rubles we had left over. Then it was time for some real Mongolian hot pot. There was a surprisingly Costco like store near the Oasis.