Monday, 2 July 2012

Ride to UB

It rained last night – quite hard - and again this morning. It had the effect of damping down the sand and dust a bit, but nowhere near enough. But it made the grasses alongside the tracks smell great. There is some herby grassy plant that grows all over the place here – maybe oregano or something as it is a familiar smell and it smells great after a bit of rain.

Nadine changed the brake pads on both bikes last night while I cooked the grub, and they seem to be much better now. Its odd though; neither showed much sign of wear but both bikes had 'moments' where nothing happened when the brakes were pressed the brakes and nothing happened. Not great, and certainly not confidence inspiring.

So today then. We rode miles and miles across much the same awe inspiring landscape, but we are bit over that now as we are dirty and badly need to wash some clothes, and a bit fed up with 2 minute noodles and biscuits.

Got chased by two of the biggest nasty bitey dogs I've seen in a long time toady. We weren't anywhere near their ger but they suddenly appeared, fangs a flying and they really spooked me. Consequently, I was off like the proverbial scalded cat, and it took me quite a while to calm down after that.

Came across a small town after about 50 kms. Bought some food there and chatted to the lady in the supermarket. Gave her 5 year old daughter a pen. Then we spotted the paved road to UB.

 What a moment that was when we reached it, It was so good to be rid of potholes and gravel and sand etc. So we hacked it for 100kms, and descended into UB and the smog, and what do you know? The paving ran out again and we were back to potholes and crap. But we eventually got to central UB, true to type arriving at peak hour but it was Ok, with people hanging out of car windows, shouting to us, asking where we were form, welcoming us etc. That is still cool, even after all this time on the road.

So now we're in a hotel, scrubbed clean and almost human looking. And we have eaten well – a proper meal and we both feel better now. The staff here are lovely; the bell boy helped us with our stuff and within seconds was covered in the same dirt that we were. But he was all smiles and didn't seem to mind that much – although he probably did poor chap– and produced two shopping carts for us to roll our stuff up to our room.

Tomorrow we have to do some visa stuff and then track down my Mongolian sister in law's brother who has been expecting us for several days. But my phone won't work. Thanks Virgin; a real crappy service you provide. And we also have to go to the kids mental home, so we will be here for a few days.