Saturday 18 August 2012

Hello from Mongolia!

After getting some new suspension springs fitted, Beverley (did I mention we named the car Beverly?) now has a much smoother ride and is ready for the Mongol roads, which is good because that is where I am writing this from!

 After leaving Almaty we rejoined Red Dog Racing, briefly rescuing them from a flat battery situation, and made a large dent in the distance through Kazakhstan. Since we were cutting it close with some peoples Russian visas we opted for the fast road through the country without stopping for much more than fuel. We had intended to camp just short of the border however a friendly policeman found us searching for camp spots and escorted us to the nearest hotel, probably out of concern for our safety. Unfortunately the hotel only had one double room left, so we managed to squeeze all 7 of us into the double room… cosy.

 The next day we successfully re-entered Russia, where we were reunited with ‘To Infinity and Baatar’ after leaving them in Kyrgyzstan. Team convoy reunited, we headed for the Mongolian border arriving at about 6pm. Leaving Russian was reasonably straight forward, my folder of organization paid off when they wanted to see some of our old Kazak documents. The No-mans-land between Mongolia and Russia is quite spectacular with rolling grass hills, since we didn’t expect to make the Mongolia side in time we were looking forward to camping there. However when we reached the Mongolian side we were ushered into a concrete holding pen where we found several other team waiting for the border to re-open in the morning. Sadly we have no photos of this due to border restrictions.

 The main hold up at the Mongolian border is just for the car paperwork, so we were allowed to walk into the border town to buy dumplings and change money etc. After a somewhat chilly night camped on the concrete we got underway with our paperwork and queuing finally being allowed across at 3pm, some 21hours after arriving. We left just as the rain turned into snow, the road conditions where no too bad however and tonight we find ourselves staying in a ger in the town on Olgii. It feels pretty good to have finally made it to Mongolia, we’re not sure how regular the internet will be over the next few day but we’re hoping to make the finish line party on the 24th August if there are no major beakdowns between now and then.

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