29 June 2006

MONGOLIA day-8 29th June 2006

109.21 km near IH HUL (85˚ @ 26.20km) 1148 metre.
Mongolian highways are gravel sandtraps,claytop and mud. Inevitably they are like unbraided rope, with many choices of roadway. In a day you'll see Russian *UAZ “Comby” vans, which are all the same dark blue colour and similiar to the ‘HHH’ motorbikes seem to be of an early nineteen seventies design. Long haul trucks are usually ex-Russian army and always can be seen with their bonnets up prior to negotiating uphill sections of mountain passes. Hyundai sedans in shocking condition seem to manage the corrugations. The most humorous sight is whole families exiting a van at a guanz stop - the numbers of people packed into a van that takes 30 hours to travel 700 kilometres is truly amazing. The whole country is on the move with the NADDAM festival only weeks away. As we near the Russian border some of the people are Caucasian in appearance, one herder having piercing blue eyes and was probably a Buriat in ethnicity. The exciting images of the day were nomads on the move, with all their belongings, including Ger and metal stove packed onto camels. At the end of this slow procession was an exhausted dog! Unfortunately the usual scenario is the cyclist being chased by a territorial canine, with us usually needing to squirt water bottles at them as a deterrent.

*UAZ-469 was very similar in design to the original Jeep - a sturdy, but not-so-comfortable car that was able to drive in virtually any terrain and was easy to fix. The UAZ-469 reached legendary status for its reliability and off-road ability.

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