Ogii Nuur (өгийн нуур)

Friday, May 23, 2014

We ended up spending 6 days in Ulaanbaatar, which was just about the right length of time for us. But it was time to leave and continue our journey. In fact our journey which has been predominantly north through China to Ulaanbaatar now makes a left turn and we now head generally in a westerly direction towards Eeklo Belgium. It will be three months, 14,000 kms and maybe a dozen countries before we get there, but today was an emotion turning point in the journey as we head west to Europe.

But before we get ahead of ourselves, we needed to make sure we had supplies for the next 10 days. So we did a little last minute shopping for those essentials supplies (like bread and mouth wash), filled up Sterlin and got a little extra cash out of a cash machine. Now all set to head west. Unfortunately the coffee shop was not yet open when we left. People here don’t seem to want coffees early, as all the coffee shops open after 10am.

The road out of town was sealed and pretty good, much better than the one we came in on. We made good time to the town of Lun with a typical speed of 70-80kph. There were the occasional pothole and unmarked speed bumps in the small towns to avoid. Fuel stations with 80, 92 and Diesel appeared in every small town. We took the right fork just after Lun (turn off is at N47.85724 E105.18497). This road was even better and we continued to speed along, stopping for lunch and to take photos.

During a lunch break on the side of the road we could smell fuel. Turned out gasoline was leaking out of one of our jerry cans. Not sure what was going on, but suspected the fancy spill and child proof spouts that are now mandatory in the US might have some type of pressure relief system that is failing. The problem was quickly solved by siphoning the fuel out of the jerry can into Sterlin’s fuel tank.

We mistakenly thought the road we were on would take us directly to Karakorum, but as it started to head away from our destination, it became clear that our map was wrong and we started to look for a suitable dirt track heading south to fix this. We found one that looked very good and had the added bonus of passing by Ogiy Nuur (Nuur seems to be the word for Lake). At N47.89304 E102.91073 we turned South and headed in the direction of Karakorum. We averaged 35-40kph on this good track.

It was not long before we found the lake and a place to settle Sterlin for the night. After dinner the wind picked up terribly and we got a spot of rain as well. There were even whitecaps on the water surface of the lake. On the Beaufort Scale the wind was probably a “Fresh Breeze (29–38 km/h)”, but in the tent on top of Sterlin it felt like a gale force wind. Our first night of camping since Thailand turned out to be more adventurous than we wished. At 8:06pm someone switched off the wind and everything was quiet and calm. It was a little weird actually as Sterlin was no longer rocking from side to side. The eye of our storm passed over and 4 minutes later the wind was back, but from the opposite direction. Around 10pm things really started to fall apart, and we made the bold decision to abandon the tent and moved ourselves and our bedding stuff into Sterlin. This turned out to be a very good move, and although it was cramped in the car, at least we were warm and actually had a very good night’s sleep.  We had never slept in Sterlin before, but the shelving system was designed to allow for this in an emergency. So, guess that worked.

Sunday, May 24, 2014

Woke early to strong winds, rain and freezing temperatures. Not ideal conditions for camping. We packed up quickly and continued down the road. We planned to take a photo of us camped in Sterlin, but it was just to cold and miserable, so that moment will remain lost.

Sterlin is getting 22.3 MPG. Impossible I think.
Stephen looking at the Jerry Cans to see why they are leaking.
This horse was causing the other horses some grief.
Not usual road conditions.
Decisions, decisions, decision. There are no signposts in Mongolia.
Our Camping Spot for the night. Before the winds!