Adios Bayan Olgii, and hello RussiaWhat can I say, other than Olgii is one of those dusty little frontier towns, akin to say New Mexico maybe 1930’s. The streets are paved, but mostly badly damaged from winter frosts and very overloaded trucks.quite few of the buildings have that Soviet mid sixties type archetecture. Not exactly say, Green & Green, nor Frank Lloyd Wright’esq……….just big drap cement blocks. I know the world trys to give Pablo Picasso credit for cubism, but really I think the Soviets should get the credit.
We stayed at an intown Ger Hotel, that was just fine for $10.00 per night. The showers, hot water and internet, all worked sporadically. What would you expect for that price. We walked the town, checked out all the Camel and Kashmere shops. Dang they beat us white guys up on that stuff. My own thoughts are that you need to hire a local buyer for yuo to do the buying. So, nothing comes home for me from Mongolia. I did buy a good friend something, but still need to find a PO so I can send it home.We got of Olgii by 7am, good start for the day. Big sunny sky, and huge clouds to diffuse the abundant sunshine. All incline as you leave, just steady 3-5%, so we just pedal and talk business, politics, and soccer. Actually, we never said a word about politics.
Stopped at 25 mile mark to visit with Herve Nobel, a motorcyclist from Paris. Compared notes on roads, places to go see, and places to just get thru and overwith as best you can. All the while our puffy clouds had turned black and ominous. We take our leave, put on our rain gear. While we are pedaling uphill into hail once again, we look back to see the frenchman riding in sunshine. Darned near froze going up over the pass, thermometer is saying 38 degrees at the summit. The last piece is plus 15% and dirt. Poochy Maggie the ol hips,knees and what not are sure getting sore. Zip up, and coast down the other side on dirt. Finally hit blacktop and ride the last 15 miles into Tsagaanuur. What a dismal little hell hole it turned out to be, even though it rests on the shores of a lake. We talked to some little kids for a while, then pulled out, riding due north towards Russia.
Lunch on the menu the morning we left Tashanta was Marmot cooked with a blowtorch.
Only 15 or so miles tomorrow and we pray we can get in earlier than our visa date.Okay, never mind Praying, the darned Russians just flat refused, and we rode thier 5 mile damn hill just to get told Nyet, back to Mongolia, and they closed the gate right behind us. My knees are both sore, but today my left knee with a brace went downhill severely. The pain is minor along the side of the knee when the brace strap is on. But today, the pain moved dire tly under the knee cap and any side load feels like I am going to nust have the leg go out. Both hips are sore as heck. Funny thing is, Pine and I both have sore Achilles tendons. So as it stands, I am at sort of a medical rubicon of sorts, and struggling with what is the best/smartest decision to make for my son/this trip/and my walking future. I do plan on having grandkids to go hiking with, and a beautiful wife to do the same and more with.I will go back a day and set the mood since I am feeling a little”whiskeytangofoxtrot” about the visa thing happening right now.
Pretty typical grocery store in the parts, this is the selection. On the floor there are sometimes a box with a few potatoes and onions, not always.
We are leaving Tsangaanuur, and have to ride over a swath of very sharp rocks to get back out on the main road. Several miles into our late afternoon ride I can feel myback tire is getti g soft. The sun is shining, but we have mountain to both our left and right, and each has a huge black cloud they wear as a mantle. I tell Pine to spot a camp sight that offers some wind protection, and he turns off to setup behind a gravel pile. Not so bad, camp is up, sun is out………then the wind turns 180 degrees and just sand blasts us for an hour. OMG, the entire tent is a sand dune…….how the heck did a camel get in there? The wind brought the storm to a head and the rain came just as I got my last guide line tied into place. Strong winds thats for sure, like maybe 40,ish. Had to put in the pegs twice as they kept getting pulled out. About an hour goes by, and we get a break so we cook our supper and get back in our tents for the night. I am right at the point where Lisbeth Salander gets shot in the second book of “Dragon with a girl tattooed on it”…….so I dont mind turning in.
I read my Bible on my phone for a bit- thanks sweaty for doing that for me. God must have a different plan for me/us, since the border was for sure NO, NYET, GET OUT.Well, back track or not things have really changed thruout working on this post. We got turned back at the border as I have earlier eluded to, rode back down that darned hill in the rain and now wind building. Got thru Mongolian side with little problem and rode out into mainstreet Tashanta……wait a cotton picking minute…..its the only street in Tashannta.
We are mostly looking for a place to set our tent where we can get some wind protection, we are not as worried about the rain as we are the wind. A lady with a silk like robe and wearing a sky blue hairnet catches our eye and waves us in…..hotel,hotel she points to her log cabin. Just like that we take her up. The hotel has one sleeping room, with 8 beds, and tonight only 6 men sleeping……oh goody……it will be the “Little house of Snores”. One room contains a long table, where we set our selves down to ask,ponder,consider and regurgitate our collective thoughts on how to deal with the border issues.A huge rucus outside as about a dozen Russians roll up in souped up 4 wheelers. They join us, we join them for a supper of Booz. In this case we had goat, wrapped in a farily thick chewey dough. These are then steamed and eaten like that, put the whole thing in at one time just like you would do if your wife wasn’t home. We have had them before and they have been sheep and also of Yak, I like the Yak best as it is not as greasy. The mutton are the greasiest for sure. Good thing here, the Russians had a hot chili sauce with them that really added a lot more flavor. They actually went down good, but didnt sit as well…..even harder to hold onto is also what we foundout.
Not much else, we sat staring at 4 walls, hacked some free internet as aguest brought a mobile hotspot with him. Next morning we walked down to check the border crossing opening time…….no border crossing till Monday at 2pm.OMG, what will we do here till then. We have now back tracked 100 miles south, back to Bayan Olgii, where action can be taken if we have anything Visa wise that we can,should do. Sitting in our yurt, rained like heck since we left here. Our bed is two mattresses stacked on top one another……bottom ones have water leaking out…..small odor problem……sleeping with our life jackets on…….gosh I wish I hadnt pulled that cord yet.WE NEVER DID GET MORE THAN 10 FEET INTO RUSSIA ON THIS TRIP, WE HAVE 12 DAYS TO KILL BEFORE WE GET ANOTHER CHANCE AT THE BORDER.