After a few days rest at the Fairfield Guesthouse in Tsetserleg I packed the bike and waved goodbye to a comfortable bed, shower and great food. My eventual destination would be Lake Khovsgol to the north but first I wanted to have a look at the Tsenger Hot Springs that I had been told about at the Guesthouse, it was around 30 kilometres south east…30 kilometres can take a long time around here but the scenery was nice and as a very good start I had a bridge.
Then sometimes not.
The Valley was the usual spectacular scenery.
I arrived at the Hot Springs to find some renovations going on and it looked like they piped the water from the Springs into the building so you had to go in and pay to have a bath.
I didn’t have time for that so I found a nice shady spot for lunch.
Then I turned and headed back towards Tsetserleg, but not before these bloody horses ruined my run up for the creek crossing.
Just before town I decided I would adjust my chain again and I needed a flat surface to put the bike up on the Centre Stand, this abandoned factory was perfect.
On the way out of town I stopped at these Mineral Springs that the Guesthouse had told me about and filled up my water bottles, the water is safe to drink and was very clean. I think one of the young guys standing around was trying to charge me for the water but I knew it was free for everyone and sometimes it helps when you can’t understand Mongolian.
After the Spring there was another one of the local Toll Booths to travel on this section of the road, it cost me 500 Tugrik and within 500 metres after I paid it turned to gravel, I want my 27 cents back…..it was a dodgy Mountain Pass which this guy didn’t do right.
I did however find a nice spot for lunch and watched the cars and trucks negotiate the road.
A few Kilometres down the road and into the Valley the Bitumen started again.
Which didn’t seem to help these guys who consequently rolled their van.
They said they were OK so I rode on, knowing the Mongolian way they probably had serious injuries and walked up the road and died…
Around 10 Kilometres later I left the Bitumen again and headed north through another spectacular Valley……with some sand.
Not long after it was time to find somewhere to camp. My strategy starts with finding a big hill because you get good views from up there and if it rains you don’t need to swim out of your tent in the morning.
Next negotiate the sea of rocks at the top of the hill.
And find a flat spot for the tent.
I did score this Eagle Feather for my Helmet as a bonus.
And just sit back and look at the view.
The next morning the Sheep had me boxed in at the top of the hill.
Sheep are not that smart so I just rode around them, unfortunately I couldn’t do the same with the rocks.
Yes managed to get out of the rocks without breaking the bike…or my neck.
And back on some sort of road again.
Then a little bit of water as you enter the small town of Erdenemandal.
North of the town the sand pit started and this was a long one.
But the sand abruptly stopped when I got to this large River, my GPS told me to cross here, I calmly explained to the GPS the significant differences between a Boat and a Motorcycle then I rode further east looking for another proper crossing.
I followed a track to a small farm where the Farmer motioned me to head further east to cross, I had read that this River could only be crossed with a dodgy small raft that a local had made and charges to get motorcycles across, not sure if I was keen on that, but I wasn’t turning back either. When I got there I found a beautiful brand new bridge to cross, it should be smooth sailing from here.
But as abruptly as sandy track became a new bridge it then became a sandy track again.
After around 10 more Kilometres of this I found this new road which lead all the way into the town of Moron where I could get fuel and supplies for camping at the Lake.
The Bitumen road went all the way to Khatgal which is a small tourist village at the bottom of Lake Khovsgol.
Lake Khovsgol is 1645 metres above Sea level, 136 Kilometres long and has an average depth of 138 metres, it holds the second largest volume of water in Asia and holds nearly 70% of Mongolia’s fresh water. It stretches from Khatgal north to near the Russian border and is connected by tributaries to Lake Baikal in Russia which was partly frozen when I was there last month.
Khatgal was a little boring and touristy so I decided to find a way around the East side of the lake and look for a camping spot as it was nearly 7.30 p.m. Just outside the Village I went across another dodgy bridge all the time trying to look out for spikes and nails to tear through my tyres.
My Map had a campsite shown on it which was nearly on the banks of the Lake so I followed the track which was already wet and slippery.
Then it got more slippery and I had a few close calls
As the black clouds started moving in I thought if it rains while I’m down here I’ll never get out so I turned around and found the nearest reasonable place to set up camp where I would have half a chance of getting out again.
Minutes after I set up and took this photo above the Thunder and Lightening Storms started and it rained solidly until 6 p.m. the following day.
I had planned to spend only one night at the Lake but the Storms and Rain meant I had to spend two nights and a very wet day in the tent again, I’m getting used to this.