Herder's Paradise

Trip Start Jun 05, 2011
Trip End Feb 28, 2013

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Tent on Tes River

Flag of Mongolia  , Hövsgöl,
Thursday, August 18, 2011

Northern and Western Mongolia Tour Day 12 of 34
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.

The paved road ended at the edge of Moron. Most of Moron's streets are dirt. The temps were higher at this lower elevation. It was more dry and the grasses were mostly yellow. We left a trail of dust in our wake as we were again thrown side to side and sometimes bounced off our seats. We joked that we should have those restraining bars on our laps like at the amusement park rides. We have to laugh it off. 

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. 

At 4:30 we pulled into a field next to a stream. We set up our tents then washed a few things. Our camping gear was in pretty bad shape. The air mattresses were beyond repair and another sleeping mat was ripped too. And we talked about our cheap tent before, eh?  We watched the herders and horses come in from grazing their animals. Ducks flew by. Dave chased down a herd of sheep and goats so he could video a pair of young billies that were butting heads. The video is not bad. But the more he tried to catch up with the herd, the faster they walked.

The breeze picked up and we made sure our tent was tied down. We watched lightening to our north. We were treated to more wild skies as storms formed in the distance. 

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.
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Gary Nelson on


I'm sure enjoying reading your blog. It is interesting to see and read about life in Mongolia, as it isn't something we see that often here in the USA. Of course we've heard of Mongolia, but so little is seen or talked about back here in Michigan. The photos are good and will make a nice book someday if you are ever able to whittle them down to the "best" ones.

Hope you and Michelle have safe travels. I'll keep reading about your adventures via this travel blog.


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