Trip Start Jun 05, 2011
195Trip End Feb 28, 2013
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Where I stayed
Tent on Tes River
DRIVE TO TES RIVER: 229km
8am – 4:30 PM
Camped 20 km past Tsetserleg
Max distance was the goal for this day. There were no special stops on the itinerary. Just nice views from the van as we travel due west through the north part of the country before finding a nice place to camp.
Before we left Moron, we stopped to download emails at the city office building that provides free WiFi. We got a nice e-mail from Junko and Jason and some comments on our blog. We read them off line as we drove and could not respond immediately. Uemaa went into one of the buildings and faxed copies of our passports ahead for the Russian border permits we will need for the Bayan-Olgii province.
We wound through the countryside up and down the mountains and hillsides. At one point we had river next to us; a beautiful sight. We love the gers spotting the landscape. Mongolia is the most sparsely populated country in the world and we were seeing what that looks like first hand. The grazing needs cause the nomads to keep a good distance from each other. Because they are nomadic, sometimes all we saw were vacant wooden structures and fenced off areas for livestock presently in other locations. We presume they will use these in the winter.
From her prime spot in the front seat, Michelle spent a good part of the day watching the beautiful sky with ever changing clouds. One could make a gorgeous photobook with just pictures of Mongolian skies.
We reached Tsagaan-uul, a small village with a restaurant. The parking lot was filled with Russian vans. It looked like it could have been a Russian car dealership during hard times. The restaurant had decent food. Dave and Sereg had the big pile of fried meat with bell peppers and onions covered with an egg. High protein and pretty tasty. Michelle and Uemma had the combination plate with soup, a small dose of fried meat, potato salad and cabbage salad. We all had juice made from reconstituted raisins.
The drive continued to be uneventful as we passed vultures and ravens near the roadside. We went further than planned. We guess they planned for shorter distances to compensate for frequent breakdowns. But we have been lucky so far. The one time Sereg's van had problems, we could continue. It began to run rough and seemed like we had a batch of bad gas. It slowed us down on the uphill climbs. Overnight, Sereg rebuilt the carburetor and the van has been running like a champ ever since.
Uemaa served spaghetti, heavy on the noodles and very light on the sauce.
Pancho has been moody for the past two days. Maybe he has had his fill of us. If something is bothering him, he won’t say. Uemaa on the other hand is very bubbly and she does not hide it when she feels put out. She doesn’t have a nurturing personality. She doesn’t seem to like doing the mundane things it takes to be a guide, cook and babysitter. She is peeved that we insist on taking turns sitting in the front. A few times she put on a little drama when we stopped, bending to heave. At meal time, she porks out. Car sick people don’t pork out at lunch stops, do they? That girl likes to eat.