Well seeing as you asked, yes we are getting there !
18,000km done 4500km to get to Vladivostok! With 23 days to do it in.
Currently in Ulaanbaatar capital of Mongolia having a well deserved couple of days rest and recuperation after an eventful and exhausting couple of weeks crossing this huge country with so much to see and experience.
Bit of a tight squeeze but we made it! Through this narrow gorge in the middle of the southern Gobi desert but before we got here a lot of kilometres traveled and bumps and experiences along the way!
Bit more tractor porn! They like to bale their hay on the green side with no worries of it catching fire . I gave the driver a lesson in roping down a load of hay with a Wagoners knot he was really impressed that a foreign tourist should have this skill and trundled off down the road with a smile and a wave.
On the side of the road there are these very handy inspection ramps which I couldn’t resist driving up on and giving Amber a good check over from underneath and to my great surprise not a leak in sight all present and correct except for a split rubber boot on a steering ball joint which I managed to resolve with an old inner tube wrapped around the joint and held in place with a couple of cable ties to keep the dust out another bodgetastic moment!
A selection of random camping sites just pull off the road and get out of site of police park up crack a beer and chill out!
No it’s not a grizzly bear! It’s me doing some essential pant washing in a river much needed after a sweaty day or four! Sue wouldn’t allow her photos to be published
You’ll be pleased to know we are keeping the culinary standards up and still managing an odd Gin or two.
I even dressed for dinner well I changed pants! Yum Yum pork chop and risotto my fav!
Leaving Kazakhstan at Russian border 8.5 hrs wait finally got through just as border closed for the night at 11:00 in a thunderstorm .Awoke to this view of where we had parked up in the dark.Wow we have arrived in Mongolia at last.
Travelling east in the middle of nowhere ,we stopped to help a pregnant lady with a small boy who had broken down .I fixed her leaking radiator hose and filled up with water from our mobile shower Jerry can so might not get a shower for a day or two!
Onward and Eastward in dusty conditions with some interesting roads to contend with and still Amber trundles on!But which track to take?
We attended a traditional Mongolian wedding and festival after a full days drive into the Alti mountains the groom was the son of a famous Eagle hunter so quite a Do with plenty of food and entertainment including ,wrestling,singing and dancing,and various horse related sports.
Mongolian wrestlers in action lots of flesh and tight pants !
Tug of War with a goat skin as a rope.He who grabs it and pulls it hardest wins !
Tradition says if the man wins the race then he can claim a kiss,if the woman wins then she can keep her man after Whipping him all the way in this race between male and female.
Staying the night in a yurt / ger just had to be done.
After a 4 hr journey heading to the northern part of Mongolia we encountered some streams which turned into raging rivers which we managed to cross four of but had to turn back as the fifth was just too wide and wild so four hours back to where we had started
Rain,mosquitoes and river crossings what more do you need for an exciting day!
Really wild camping with these wild camels for company notice the two humps as opposed to the single humped versions painted on the side of Amber.
After a day of extreme heat 44 degC I was looking forward to a nice hot shower from my Jerry can which was great until this desert sand storm blew in I just managed to finish showering when the dust arrived and covered me in dust .Incredible strength of wind made it difficult to stand up so we retreated to Amber for shelter.Thankfully no photos of a dusty bear!
Just when things were going well cracking on at a steady 80kph the road bridge had given up apparently this collapsed in 2017 and it’s still awaiting repair!
Some wild life shots from our resident Photographer ,Navigator and Co pilot!
Sometimes the road just craps out and you choose whichever one looks the best!
Which sometimes means you park up in very remote areas ,as we head even further into the Southern Gobi desert ….
This remote spot called the flaming cliffs was our destination where we were lucky enough to follow a guide who showed us the site of some dinosaur eggs laid 80 million years ago!
This gorge was formed by ice which cuts its way through , unfortunately for us the last of the winters ice had melted only last week but made for a great walk.We then drove to the other end and camped for the night with a Dutch couple Denis and Mieka and Felix and his dog Essa!
And that brings us back to Ambers tight squeeze!
We then headed due North heading for Ulaanbaatar the Capital of Mongolia and found a wonderful campsite for the next few days where we could shower,do laundry chillout and write this after a day visiting some Buddhist monasteries and other sites.
So our next challenge is 4500km to Vladivostok with the first 200km of road reportedly very difficult conditions with recent flooding and treacherous road surfaces awaiting us.
But on the way we have other issues to be a little concerned about
Raging forest fires in Siberia with smoke already in Ulaanbaatar and Putin announcing a state of emergency we will be travelling east hopefully south of the worst of it!
And just in case we hadn’t had enough excitement so far we need to be looking out for incoming missiles from Rocket man!
As I say on these occasions “NEVER A DULL DAY IN A LAND ROVER”
See you in Japan!