Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Day 24 Tuesday 22nd July, Ulaangom. Northern Mongolia

We woke this morning and started to address the outstanding problems on the bikes. It quickly became evident that it would take some time and therefore we made the decision to stay another night at the hotel and get the work done and have a rest day.

The hotel were starting to worry about the extent of the bar bill we were running up so Paul and Dave went to change some money at the bank. We had decided that we would change $500 into Mongolian money. The first bank that they visited just said no it was too much money they didn't have enough Mongolian money to complete the transaction. The second bank changed the money OK.

Whilst Frank and Dave and Paul set to work repairing the bikes Geoff took advantage of the wifi In the hotel to post all the outstanding blogs. He went onto the internet to look for motorcycle outlets in Ulaangom but drew an absolute negative.
The woman called Tsetsee who stopped and helped us at the side of the road yesterday was at the hotel visiting friends and she helped us again. She made some phone calls and said there was a local market where there is a known auto parts dealer. She offered to take us in her Toyota Land Cruiser so Paul and Geoff went with her to this market. We arrived at a busy bustling market place and she stopped outside of what just looked like a garage lock-up.

She phoned the number on the locked door and we then waited 20 minutes for the proprietor to appear. He had a battery of the correct size and sold it to Paul for just 25,000 Tsk. So clearly the hustler at the garage who sold me his Chinese battery last night got a good deal for 50,000tsk.

(Sadly I have a confession to make about the cost of yesterday's battery. After negotiating a cost of 50,000tsk with the "hustler" I wanted to offer something to the old man who had gone out of his way to walk and find different auto parts shops. I figured 5,000tsk would be a reasonable gesture, and so rummaged in the kitty looking for a 5000tsk note. Because we were only recently in Mongolia and none of us were familiar with the money, and because nobody had separated the Russian money in the kitty from the Mongolian money I ended up offering the old man 5000 rubles as a thank you for his trouble. So the battery cost £17 and the tip to the old man cost £80!!!!!)
Ah well we can afford it and it has probably made all his XMAS's cone at once. )
When we came to leave the market Tsetsee started her Toyota and it started making an awful noise. We lifted the bonnet and clearly the dean belt was screeching. It was established that the air conditioning pump had seized and straight away the fan belt was cut and the screeching stopped and we continued on our journey. Tsetsee just said this is how we do things in Mongolia.
We returned with the new battery but it was dry and needed acid adding, so we then set about draining the acid from the Chineese battery and using a syringe from our first aid kit putting the acid into the new battery. At one point we thought we would be short of acid so Dave rode back 20 km to where we had abandoned the old battery, but it was no longer on the side of the road, so somebody must have thought it was worth taking as scrap.
So after a lot of effort we at last have a proper sized battery fitted into Paul's bike.

Frank had decided we needed a metal plate fabricating to strengthen Geoff's top box bracket. We asked the man who had been hanging around watching us do the repairs, and he showed us a small garage area in the hotel courtyard where we were parked. We then found a piece of scrap metal and between him and Frank the cut it to shape, drilled holes in it by using an arc welder to blow holes in the plate, and then grinding it with an angle grinder.

YouTube Video

Amazingly everything fits and it should hold things together for a while. If it fails catastrophically then Geoff will probably gave to ditch the top box and just buy a hold all and strap it onto the back of the bikes (like the rest of the clever buggers have!)

Frank can't find his remote control for his headcams
Geoff found his original smart card reader so everyone didn't have to ride through the rain in busy Novisibirsk.

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  1. Enjoying your blogs. I once nearly paid £40 for a bottle of £4 wine in Spain when I got the pesetas wrong!

  2. Great adventure, loving all the improvising as the bikes clock the miles. I'm sure the regular repairs are frustrating at the time, but I'm sure they will also serve as great memories later. David C