We are finally going to leave Ulan Ude. The forecast is for no rain today, but it was still only 6 degrees when we set out for the 230 km to the border. The plan is to get there and depending on the weather and the time for the border we will with stay at the border town of Altanbulag where there is 1 hotel or go 120 km to Darkhan where there are lots of hotels.
We stopped again on the way to the border at the only spot there is to have some coffee and soup to warm up and this is 80 km from the border. The road was dry and there was no issue with the mud. There is a police check just before the border and they record your passport info.
We gassed up to get rid of our Rubles just before the border. Then we lined up at the exit gate. They kept letting all the trucks in and we had to wait over 45 minutes just to get access to the border area.
From here you ride 300 m to the customs clearance. You are directed to park outside and there are vehicles going in both directions here. This place is total chaos. You have to go up the stairs 2 flights (follow the pictures of cars and the arrows). There is a room with desks behind glass, a bunch of numbers, and 50 people waving passports and customs documents covered with dozens of stamps. After 15 min of “no queuing” going on and only 1 of the 3 agents seeming to be doing anything Trevor pushed his paper to the front and yelled “CANADA”. The agent took his paper immediately and scanned his QRS code signed it and gave it back. That was enough for all of us to get in front of her and we were served also.
You then go back outside and the same mean Russian lady we dealt with last week was there to check our papers and then 3 agents searched your luggage. They kept asking if we had weapons or drugs specifically Tramadol. 1.5 hours and we were finally done.
Then you ride 300 m to the Mongolian entry gate. There is no agent there and we waited until a truck came and they opened the exit gate. We were told to follow him thru the decontamination bath of spuge. Here you are supposed to then stop and return to the guardhouse.
The want your passport and “moto paper” and give you a paper with boxes on it for your stamps. They enter all your data into the computer. Then you ride down 400m and park under the covered area. Here the agent stamps your paper the first time. You go inside to passport control to get an entry stamp. Then you must pay for the decontamination. Here there is a bit of a scam as the local are paying 1000 T (.50$) but the woman asked us for 100 Rubles ($2). Trevor called her on it and she gave us the local price. Next you go to customs clearance for the bosses stamp. He also chicken pecks your data into the computer. Then you go out to get a final stamp on the paper and you are done. 1.5 hours as well. Next you ride 300 m to the exit gate where they check you have all your stamps. There is also a fake insurance person after the exit and a tax office outside it and we just rode by. It is cold an windy and now 4 pm, but we headed south.
In Darkan we made for the first hotel we saw the “Jasper” and it was cheap, clean and had nuclear hot water for the showers. There was another biker here Mark who lives in China and just bought a Russian bike and is headed???. They also produced a decent chicken “stew-Fry” for dinner. Breakfast was hot and included for 9$usd per person per night not bad.
What a difference a day makes. It is clear skies and sunny. It is still 10 degrees however. The ride south will be so much more pleasant than the rainy cold day we went north. The plan was to ride 225 km south to the airport, pick up our parcel, meet the other guys at Oasis for lunch and then ride on to the Ghenghis monument complex. From there we would head to the next town Erdene for the night after 315 km.
Dan and Sara set out ahead at 11 am as they needed to go to UPS and the Customs clearance at the airport and so we left the guys to tighten Orvar’s chain again!! (yes it does eventually break). We did see them once when we stopped for coffee about 90 km from the city and then not until the Oasis. We luckily had asked for some instructions on where to go at the airport as there is absolutely no signage. “Go to the red building near the DHL in a south east direction”…. In fact even with this we had to have locals make 2 calls for further instructions.
The second was made by a DHL guy who saw us driving back and forth. He made a few calls and then walked Dan behind the MIS training centre to find the customs office to get his paper work. Then they both went back to the DHL office where they actually had the UPS package. This is 2 stators we ordered from Electrosport! Dan was in the secure employees only area with the UPS guy and he had his colleague “pull the parcel”. Then they discussed the duty it looked like it was going to be over 150$! After some discussion the package guy walked away and UPS guys said to Dan “I have to go make a call outide” wink wink… in other words take your package are go!
UPS in the red tower
Across the road from DHL is the Customs office, but around the back
It is now 230 and we are 21 km from the Oasis….Traffic is horrendous as usual in UB and once we hit the city the last 7 km took 45 minutes. That said the guys had had even worse traffic and actually arrived just before us even with our hour spent at the airport.
Trevor is not feeling that well and he booked a hotel near by with a private bath. This is 1.3 km away and the route is on a very bad dirt back alley road full of massive holes and ends at the hotel (not where it says it is on booking.com and it is not even a functioning hotel!!) Back to the Oasis where at least the dorm room 1 is empty and close to the bathroom. They have a ger for us as well and the beds here are soooo comfy. They have good food, but the kitchen closes at 6 and so we pre-ordered and put it away in the fridge for later. We were all set up with the big screen for the season finale of Game of Thrones. Trevor is already feeling better.
Today we will set out east from UB towards Chinggis in 329 km, but first we plan to visit the Ghengis Khan Statue Complex 48 km east of the city.
This is a 40 m tall statue of Ghengis on horseback said to have cost 4.1 million USD. It is made from stainless steel.
We visited the neck of the horse for a great selfie spot. The biggest issue we had here was the hordes of tourists we had to keep chasing off the bikes. They would go over a sit on the for photos if we walked away. In the end we moved then up behind the building of the monument base.
We did not leave here until after 1 and stopped to brewed a coffee on the side of the road. The road is paved and there is little traffic once you leave the city.
We decided when we were about 100 km from Chinggis that we would wild camp and so we stopped at a small market and stocked up on water and supplies. We found a track from the road and went about 2-3 km to find a sheltered valley to set up.
We made some noodle soup for dinner. We hiked up the hill and just about missed the sun set.
After dark is was a bit cooler at about 10 degrees and the guys started a “cow pie” fire. Not 20 minutes later a truck pulled up and the Mongolian guy came over for a drink of our vodka and to give us some advise on the fire protocol with cow poop. (Break it up into small pieces to best use it) We had some amazing stars again tonight and a cozy nights sleep in our tents.
We were enjoying our coffee when a goat herder rode up on a motorcycle. He was interested in the bikes and we offered him some food and coffee. We also lubed his chain for him “all bikers are brothers”.
There is only 70 km to go to Chinngis and we set out about 11. The road is a bit rough in sections and there are quite a few large holes.
This is a bigger town than we thought and there are several hotel, but only one is really any good. The rooms are nice, but the beds are just a board with a thin mat on it and so we had to sleep on our Exped mats. The food here in the restaurant is pretty good as well. Sara will check in here for the next 3 days while the guys take off to explore more of the remote eastern reaches of Mongolia. Time for her and the 650 to have a break from the sand and have some ALONE time! That means sleeping in, reading, blogging, and catching up on some Netflix!