2019-09-12 Day 350 Thu

They love their colorful roofs and fences
 Out houses would be chilly places in winter....

Very overcast heavy sky. The lovely snowy mountains were not visible this morning.
After showers we packed up and moved on at about 1100hrs.
I walked for a ways. It was cold with a very little bit of drizzle.
We were still on the west side of the road, upon reaching Bulgan(2) we had some internet so checked emails and sent an all OK to family. Just as we were leaving fat soft snow flakes fell on the windscreen.

We stopped and checked weather forecast. Snow flurries from 1pm to 2pm then partly cloudy min -5C overnight. It continued to snow and then to settle. It was still 8 degrees. More and more settled till we struggled to find the track. Then around the corner it as all clear again. 
Although we had about 1000m to climb we thought the snow will not be to thick...
We continued on and turned NE onto the Bulgan-Duut track about 14:30. It was not snowing but there were snow clouds up north.

This monument was seemingly in the middle of nowhere
 What a gorgeous drive up a creek bed.

Within half an hour we were in snow passing corrals, 


huts and yurts 


along with yaks Then into the snow. As we followed the valley up the snow slowly thickened its blanket on the rocky ground.

We could just discern the wheel tracks under the snow of the track and managed to continue. The low clouds drifted away and we were left to enjoy a really beautiful day.
It was a total of 70km from the turnoff onto the track to a small town called Duut.

We had decided, because of our untrusty engine, that we should camp close to civilization. Hence sadly we would not be camping at the summit (3200m).

Although still above freezing, the snow was dry and not slippery. The track was still covered in snow but looked like it had been created with a dozer.
But at about 3000m the back wheels started slipping around a corner I had gotten into deepish snow.
John backed down and on his 3rd attempt and going wide he managed to drive up.

30 minutes later at 3150m at the switchback again the back wheels slid out. We felt it prudent to try out our new chains. Only took 15mins to fit after finding some warm clothes. It was -1.5C. 

John backed down and drove on up without a slip. Easy chains to fit did not have to move a wheel. 


We continued to the top in brilliant sunshine. What a glorious vista arriving the summit 17:20 about 3 hours to travel some 26km.  

Now for downhill. Still on the bulldozed track but a lot of snow still on it and still very rough.

We got talking and john thought he would try for a smooth track. I was too late with my warning that he was leaving the track and front right went into a hole. Needed the winch to get her out.

Just got moving again when John mentioned we had visitors. A UAZ was coming up hill. We gave him a wave. 

Very thankful he came along as soon the bulldozed track stopped and with out his tracks we may have fallen into more holes. Another one soon came up followed by two motorbikes who were struggling in the slippery rocky snow.

A very slow drive out of the rocks then a short cut up and over some ridges, fast and slow spots, back onto track and camped above the town of Duut around 20:00hrs. 7.5 hrs for 60km
Forecast for about -5C over-night

123km Camp site  2597m alt.

2019-09-11 Day 349 Wed

It rained gently in the night and was still drizzling when we got up. Internet was quiet good John is organising our next service in Russia and two sets of front springs. Fuso springs are not available would have to wait till October, so we said non-genuine was OK. 
We filled with fuel at Uyench then neither of my cards would work so leaving my phone with the attendant we drove into town to the ATM and I withdrew enough for the diesel. 
Turning off the main road just before Bulgan and within 50km of the Chinese border, we headed north, on a white road.
Within this section of fence was quite tall grass, so yes the land is being denuded by the animals. I wonder if it is farmed harder now that families need money for clothes, tv's satellite channels, solar panels batteries and cars.

The valley floor was full of this tall grass which appears nothing eats.
Soon we started seeing trees. Trees have been very scarce in Mongolia.
A herd of sheep/goats eating the grass below this "weed"
As the valley narrowed we drove next to the river. I cannot find the name of the river on google maps or Osmand. But we were on the Bulgan – Deluun road. And what a great road. 
Beside the crystal clear waters and the trees, then the barren hills rising above us. A really lovely trip. Hundreds of river side camps to be had. 

We saw no one. Then a truck stopped and out piled these three guys for a chat..

 Lots of wonderful camp sites but too early in the day for us.


Just outside the little village of Ulaan khus bag a truck was stopped having repairs done. We stopped to offer help but they were all good, however they did come to check out the map with a motorcycle rider or two.

Again very clean and tidy town.

I think this pump supplies the local bikes with Petrol.

We crossed the river to try for a slope to camp on but the ground was really rough with stones washed out of gullies.

We crossed back


Choosing the smoothest slope we could, we settled in sight of snow for the night.

However settling near and just above a farm yard does have it’s drawbacks. Two young guys arrived on a motor cycle accompanied with a bottle of Vodka. They stayed and drank for a while then moved on.

182km Camp site  1806m alt.

2019-09-10 Day 348 Tue

Driving down into the big depression we tried to skirt the town of Darvi and the lake. Darvi was much bigger than what is on the map.

We took track short cuts but ended up having a longer trip. Most of the tracks on our map did not exist anymore. We ended up driving past/through the rubbish dump. I got out to walk in front to ensure we did not run over anything sharp.
We did discover what happens to goat/sheep heads after they are killed but still no other bones….
Up the other smooth side of the depression. The depression is about 20km across.

Very little feed but we still saw 3 big herds of goat/sheep. The herders seem to enjoy chats.

This huge eagle, wingspan must have been over 2 meters, was not exactly afraid of us just kept his distance so we got to see him take to the air a few times. He’d run along flapping till he got enough speed up. Great to watch.


 We took what we hoped was a short cut across to a narrow white road. However just before getting to the pass, a van came towards us and told us the road did not go through. We returned to the main road. When we got to the turn off for the small white road we decided not to take it as it was very narrow and rough.


More camel herds

Got onto a red road and made a few miles. Quite a few holes in the road but generally we could sit on 60km/h.

We think they were loading the horses onto the trucks. The first horses we have seen with covers.

Driving off the road we found a saddle to perch on.
We now know that the issue with the engine is not the batteries….
224km  Camp site  1464m alt.