Friday, 18 July 2014

Day 19 Thursday July 17th 200 miles from the Mongolian border

Last night we stayed at an hotel where the people running the place were extremely friendly and helpful, which wad a pleasant change from the woman at the huge hotel where we had tried earlier. This had been the first place where someone had been deliberately dismissive of our attempts to communicate.
We also tried a place off the main highway which was now derelict and boarded up, and an old man had appeared from behind the building who was the spitting image of Jed Clampett from the Beverly Hillbillies.

Late last night after Geoff and Frank had gone to bed, Dave had gone out for a smoke and when he came to go to bed he couldn't remember which room he was in. He woke up two different families at 1:00am knocking on their doors. He then phoned Frank and after the third time Frank decided to see who wanted him at this god awful time only to discover it was Dave asking which rooms we were in!!!

Breakfast was again the same food as last night so it was stewed vegetables again.

Geoff is suffering with his back after 19 days on the bike. Paul has kindly lent him a kidney belt that is helping.

Early this morning we arrived at the scene of a recent accident. The car was a total write-off and they had a person who was clearly seriously hurt wrapped in blankets right next to the car. We passed the ambulance and police car going to the scene some 20 miles further down the road, so it was going to be a long time after the accident before they got professional help!

We stopped for lunch ( snicker bar and coffee) at a nice cafe where they had produced wooden models of water wheels etc.
Here we befriended a young couple with a kiddy who wanted to ride on a bike!

Later Geoff thought he was developing a problem with his gearbox, but it was just the chain need adjusting. It was riding up on the tooth of the sprocket and then clucking back. Paul and Frank had been kindly oiling everyone's chains at regular intervals and clearly had not done a good enough job on Geoff's bike. "You can't get the staff these days you know"!!

We climbed up into the mountains and hotels were starting to get few and far between, so we decided to buy vegetables and provisions and prepare to camp.
Right at the top of the pass there was a place that rented out cabins and we went to enquire. As we rode up to the place there were about 20 people all exercising and stretching exactly as speed ice skaters move. When we enquired at the admin building they said they were full but we could camp free if we wished. They also confirmed that the people were all the Russian speed skater team on a training event.
Just as we were about to make the decision to camp, the weather changed very quickly and we would obviously have been putting tents up in pouring rain. We changed plan and decided to travel down the mountain and see if we could escape the bad weather. A good decision we rode for another 10 miles and emerged into beautiful sunshine. We came across a cafe that had cabins beside the river and decided to stay the night. It was a beautiful spot and Psil and Dave got their fishing rods out and had an hours fishing. No fish however!

YouTube Video

We have ridden our bikes over a bridge and into a field adjacent to the log cabins. This is a bit of off-roading in preparation for things to come. We all hope that it just doesn't pour with. Rain all night and we embarrass ourselves by not bring able to ride the bikes back onto the road.

People now have the distinct facial appearance of Mongols, and it really feels like we have travelled to a different land.


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