Ulaanbaatar to the Gobi Desert Complete With Fire and Ice.

With Bike maintenance complete and Visa obtained it was nearly time to head south to the Gobi,  but just as we were getting used to being the only ones at the Oasis these 3 crazy guys from Germany and Austria turned up after crossing Mongolia west to east in 5 days, and then a father and son from Switzerland who also travelled a similar route.   So what else do you do but all go out to dinner and then polish off the bottle of Vodka Kinga had been carrying since Siberia.

So with sore heads all around it was time to say good bye and leave after 8 days at the Oasis.

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This is the first part of the plan, head south to the Gobi Desert and find the Yolyn Am Ice Canyon, sounds easy.

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But first we had to get out of Ulaanbaatar, the worlds most congested small city.

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After we were free of the traffic it was back on the open road, it was good to be moving after over a week sorting out the Bike and Visa.

Then it was time for lunch at a small roadside ‘Café’ these are pretty much sheds and Ger’s set up on the side of the road where they cook your meal in the same room and the choice is a little ‘limited’ but good stop for lunch and you get to eat with the locals.

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I think this guy was keen on swapping bikes but I’m not sure the wife was interested, and yes it was a bad hair day.

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So due to the new bitumen Highway they laid just for us we made it easily past the town of Mandalgovi which had its own Ferris Wheel, every town should have one.

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Where we set up camp in a large hole beside the highway.

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After a cold and windy night despite sleeping in a ditch we got back on the road with all the other traffic.

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Before we new it we arrived at Dalanzadgad, one of the largest towns in the Gobi and guess what, they had their own Ferris Wheel, I didn’t take a photo of this one because it looked exactly like the last one, made by the same people?

So now it was off the Bitumen and through the mountains to find the Yolyn Am Ice Field, why is it called an Ice Field, in the Gobi Desert you ask?

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Lets go and find out….so its back onto the Freeway…

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We weaved our way through the valley to find a Parking Lot where you had to walk around 3 kilometres to see the Ice Canyon, this is why Motorcycles were invented so people didn’t have to walk.   So we decided to camp in the Valley that night because it was nothing short of spectacular, and it was nearly dark so that was an easy decision.   We found this spot out of the wind and set up.

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As it was still early I decided to go for a gentle stroll and I picked the nearest hill behind camp, which turned into a bit of a mountain and took longer than I thought, but check out the view….

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Looking South towards the Chinese Border.

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Camp seemed to be getting smaller and smaller, whose idea was this again?

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Looking North towards the Gobi.

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And smaller still….

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Once I got my breath back it was time to go back down, which is always easier….always.

The next morning we awoke to find we had been adopted by a heard of Cattle, you will never get lonely in Mongolia.

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I had decided overnight that I came along way to see the Ice Canyon and Rain, Hail, Shine or a pitiful chain fence was not going to prevent this, after all this was Mongolia the last ‘Unfenced Wilderness’.   I will add Kinga thought this was a stupid idea and didn’t want to risk riding around the fence (she had other ways of risking injury).

So back to the car Park and after a little ‘Motorcycle Boot’ excavation I managed to fit the GS between the steps and the last post with millimetres to spare, fully loaded at well over 300 kilograms it was going to be very untidy if I had to walk back and get Kinga to help me lift it.

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Getting back up was not so easy and involved a lot of throttle, spinning wheel, flying dirt and a rear wheel sized gouge up the hill but it was worth it.

So on the way down the walking track I smiled and waved as I rode past a number of bemused Hikers and ended up here.   Yes Ice in the Gobi Desert, so much for Climate Change……

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So I returned from my ‘Dangerous Mission’ to find this……

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Kinga had been messing around in the sand and this is what happened, once you lose balance with these bikes you just have to let them go, but unfortunately this one fell on her leg.

So after picking up her bike and cleaning a fair amount of Cow manure from it we packed up and headed back out towards Dalanzadgad for some fresh supplies for the next destination.   It started off with a few kids doing wheelies on their push bikes and ended up  a small crowd like this…..very friendly guys all with good information about the roads.

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The next destination was Bayanzag or ‘The Flaming Cliffs’ around 100 kilometres or so north west of Dalanzadgad.

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So back onto the Freeway again….

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Sometimes at least one of the tracks you see matches the line on your GPS.

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And sometime you just have to make your own.

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These tracks are a mixture of corrugated hard packed gravel where you need to keep the speed up or get shaken to bits and then sneaky patches of soft sand like this one hidden behind a mound, this is why it can take all day to cover 100 to 150 Kilometres here, and yes I did help pick it up……

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So after a pretty tough days ride we found those ‘Flamin Cliffs’ and with the condition of the roads getting here I expected them to actually be on fire…….

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After checking out a nearby Ger Camp who wanted 45,000 Tugherik ($25 AUD) for the night we decided to rock right up to the side of the ‘Canyon’ and pitch the tents for free, try doing that in Australia.

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And the view from the Balcony.

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The next day the Sun was up before we were and it was going to be another hot one.

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Plenty more to come from Mongolia, stay tuned.

 

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