Tuesday, August 26, 2003  

On the Train

From skoveradino in far east Russia, it was necessary to take a train past a small section of no road onto Ulan Ude. After our usual Russian language bumbling we managed to locate the train depot where the train was leaving the same day and unfortunately was already full, which meant another night in a comfortable hotel which was very much to all our liking considering we were as usual . . .Exhausted.

That night Matt had his tank bags stolen off his bike, unluckily for the thief they were just filled will very smelly clothes but kids will take care of anything.

The next day we headed down again to the train yard and had to wait a good 6 hours before the train showed up and we were allowed to board.

In typical Russian fashion only after we had boarded did the 'owner' of the carriage tell us the price which turned out to be 3 times what we had been quoted the day before. However with the help of a German speaking Russian missionary we were able to get this down to an acceptable price.

After tying our bikes to the inside of the carriage we settled down to a long and sleepless night with me sleeping right beside my bike fervently hoping that the bonds I had placed on the bike would not break. Luckily for me they did not, as I am sure that would be a rude awakening.

The next day we after a delightful journey we arrived in a small town which was clearly not Ulan Ude. Undisturbed by our protests we were escorted of the train along with the rest of the passengers and left to our own devices.

After figuring out we were still over 1000km from Ulan Ude we quickly jumped on our bikes and headed of into some murky rain clouds and what we assumed was the right direction.

Luckily for us it was and we made it to a small city called chita that night where we settled down comfortably in what was for us an expensive hotel - about $60 USD a night for the 3 of us.

The next morning it was still drizzling but with the help of the much better quality roads we were able to cover the extra distance before the end of the day to the comparatively large metropolis of Ulan Ude besides lake Baikal to spend the next 2 days preparing for the left turn down to Mongolia.

posted by Shaun; | 2:27 PM

Monday, August 25, 2003  

quick update

Shaun and I (along with Ilja, a fellow f650 traveller from Germany, and Roman and Mirella, a swiss couple touring the world in an old Fiat van that we met along the way) arrived in Ulan Batoor Friday evening after many an adventure. Looks like we just missed Henning, which was unfortunate. We'll be writing a few stories over the next couple of days and finish repairing the bikes after our ordeal in the desert. This is an incredible region and well worth a visit. We rode almost 2,000 miles but only saw about a 1/6 of the country. However, we've seen it all on this trip. Scorching heat and snowstorms; sand dunes and mud; broad flat plains and rugged mountains; primitive gers with solar power and satelite tv; ancient monasteries and soviet style apartment buildings.
After we leave here, we'll be heading to the Lake Baikal region. Ilja and I will race towards Moscow, and hopefully meet up with Henning there. Shaun is still planning to tour the 'stans and I hope to meet up with him in Turkey or Europe.
Stay tuned for more news at 11 :)

posted by matt; | 1:29 PM

Thursday, August 07, 2003  

Russian Border to Ulaan Baator

Posted and taken by Scott who lives in UB and kindly met us at the border before riding down with us. Great photos (I like the locals one) ;-)

Check out the story and pictures

posted by Shaun; | 10:18 PM

Wednesday, August 06, 2003  

Hitting the Gobi

Matt and I are leaving today for the Gobi, before moving westwards in a big loop to the mountains and the steppes.

Henning will stay here in Ulaan Baator and make day trips from the city during this time.

We should be gone about 7-8 and will have little or no contact with the outside world during this time but will be sure to get plenty of photos and videos for everybody.

Matt was able to replace his tire and I replaced my brakes yesterday. However my bike won't start this morning which is another problem :-( I think there is a short somewhere.

Thanks again to my brother who sent me a digital camera from Japan to replace my broken one and we'll be seeing you all in a week or so.

We have had many requests from around the place of people wanting us to take photos of certain things or write about particular parts of culture or country. I would be delighted to do this and if anybody has a request, I have added a forum to the message board just for that which we will do our best to meet. Bring on the requests!

Story, Photo, Video Request

posted by Shaun; | 10:20 AM

Tuesday, August 05, 2003  

The story of the Mongolian Naval Officer.

Told to me by a US consular official and I thought I would pass it on.

When Mongolia was still a vassal state of the Soviet Union it was common place for the locals from the provinces to be sent to various parts of the state for military training.

Most Mongolians were sent to the Army or Airforce training camps, however there was an exception when one young strapping lad left mongolia for Minsk with his papers that he had recieved in Mongolia.

Unfortunately the official that had steadfastly stamped this one mans papers had made a mistake and marked the training as naval. So when our young hero showed up at minsk he protested that there must have been a mistake due to the fact that mongolia is a land locked country and far from any blue seas.

In typical communist fashion though, the superiors in Minsk refused to see the logic of this argument and as it was there in black and white on his papers, the young officer was driven into Naval training.

He spent the next 11 years becoming the most knowledgable (and only) naval expert from Mongolia. By the time that he had finished his training the union had broken apart and he was sent back to mongolia where he still works in the military and has against odds risen to a formidable rank.

And so is the story of the one and only person in Mongolia's Navy.

posted by Shaun; | 7:20 PM

Saturday, August 02, 2003  

New Position Report

New Position Report Yes! we made it to the end of Leg 3! gasp ;-) we are now in Ulaan Bataar. We will be posting further over the next week and more on Mongolia. Loving this place already.

There are also two new People on the Road profiles available for view

posted by Shaun; | 10:58 PM


New Chronology Section

Due to many requests for an easier to read format of the sequence of events, I have added the chonology section available on the top menu and the side menu on the main page.

View here

posted by Shaun; | 1:01 PM


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