The diaries - 3   

26 April

Olgy - Mongolia


When we were talking to Kevin and Julia Sanders about our trip they said: "plan by all means, but not too much, because the problems you encounter will not be those you had envisaged." How right they were!

Little things like Mick's watch battery failing and not another to be had anywhere - how many times a day can he ask what time it is!

Oil pressure switch, leaking oil. A problem with his foot which had been operated on before he left  (type of ingrowing wart - bit like a  mushroom) meant we had to sort out an operation in Barnaul (super value, about ten quid). The ear plugs supplied by Jim Brown at Green Leopard were wonderful, I never heard him scream once (well, anaesthetic was extra).

His GPS packed in; he had considered getting a new one for the trip, but decided to stop with 'old faithful'. I told him people had been navigating round the world without GPS - look at Marco Polo - Mick reminded me it took him 23 years to get home!

He dropped his Sony video camera and broke the eye piece, his tank bag zip broke, rear mudguard broken, tooth filling lost - despite a visit to the dentist before leaving - now who could have foreseen that little lot!

Despite it all he remains ......... well, he remains!

We got to Mongolia yesterday, after many adventures and so many fantastic people along the way.

A special thank you to Nina, the Russian lady in Kow-Aray, who threw a party for us with some typical Russian food. She stole my heart: such a lovely person. I can't speak Russian, she can't speak English. but with a few vodkas we understood each other perfectly!

One of the memories I  chuckle at is the sight of 2 young Russians and a young lady, 3  on a motorbike, whom we had helped mend a puncture. They were gob-smacked when we got the electric pump out to blow the cracked and bald tyre back up again, we were equally gob-smacked at the way they roared past us in the sand and dust, grinning, waving, no helmets, no protective clothing, riding the way only kids can do!

When I said I wanted to go to Mongolia, the land of no roads and no fences, I never really knew how tough it was going to be. Ok, I have done a little bit of rough stuff before - but sand? DEEP SAND? Hell, I was knackered when we got to Olgiy. The landscape is surreal, soft and mellow are the mountains in the light, could because the sharp edges are taken off in the sand storms!

First and second gear,
20 mph, dropped the bike once, fortunately no damage. The thought of a month of this horrified me yesterday.

Changing tyres today I hoped I was going to help, putting on the knobblies as they say - we shall see. Unfortunately, taking off the front wheel we found a wheel bearing shot to pieces. I shall let Mick tell you about that!

So I pass you onto Mick, the adventure is only just


All I can say is that this trip is turning out to be a kaleidescope of experiences, sights, meetings.  The most common factor is the wonderful people we meet - without a doubt truly fantastic.


The Poles tell us not to go to Russia, the Russians warn us off the Poles and those from Belarus should be avoided.  The Customs into Mongolia were totally surprised that just the two of us had ridden all the way through Russia and were still alive.  I can tell you this... I cried when I left Russia!


Two or three hours to get through the border from Russia into Mongolia wasn't really a problem.. easier then we expected.  Getting to the damned border post in Mongolia after leaving the Russian Sector was exciting, with some real off-roading.  From the crossing the fifty miles to Olgiy were on some of the roughest, sandiest roads we'd been on.  Sue took a SST (Soft Sand Tumble) but all was OK and no damage.  I nearly lost mine several times!


Arriving late last night, we were knackered, so decided to have two nights here - well it is only a fiver a night, and a decent hotel too but the real reason being that we wanted to fit the Continental TKC 80 tyres we were carrying, supplied by Wunderlich.  The 'Escapes' have now done 5,800 miles and still got two to three thousand left in them!  Fitting the knobblies to Sue's bike we found a front wheel bearing shot.  Strewth... I have some at home, but decided not to bring them because of weight and space.... yes I know!!!!!


The hotel proprietor kept bringing his pals into the back yard to show us to them, and showing the bearing to one guy he just took my hand and walked me half a mile to a 'bikers bazaar'.  Yes, you've got it.... bearing bought for 75 pence.  Not totally sealed with rubber like the original, but metal sealed at one side, a gearbox application methinks but It'll do, it's fitted, and all now OK.


Gonna sign off now, but sufficient to say everything OK and things running fine.  next update as and when folks....


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