5th October – UB to Choyr and beyond

7 Oct

We were of two minds as we left UB, on one hand we did not need to be down to the Chinese border until Monday to meet the guide, but on the other hand we were short of one document and would need to get it at the border town on Friday to avoid delays on Monday. It would mean hanging around near Zamin Uud for a couple of days, which the Lonely Planet described as ‘a dusty border town where not much happens’. We opted for the safe option and decided to try to arrive at around midday on Friday.

The first 202 km to Choir are newly paved and was probably the best road we had seen in Mongolia so far.

 

 

It was actually quite relaxing as rather than concentrating hard, watching for the next pothole, we could both look around and enjoy the scenery. The road at this point follows the Trans Mongolian Railway and every 50 or 60 km there were little sideroads leading to rural stations and control rooms. There were generally a couple of houses, a playpark for the children and a little control room. It made a nice spot to stop for lunch.

 

 

 

We were invited into the control room by the Station Master.

 

 

 

The controller was very serious and professional.

 

 

In the afternoon we carried on towards Choyr where we were expecting the tarmac to end. After a few km the bitumen finished and the road ran along the side of the road that was being constructed. It was being built up but was not yet complete or paved. We saw signs saying that the paved section would be completed to Saynshand by 30th October. This is a pretty tall order!

Around 65km south of Choyr we met a couple of French cyclists called Sebastian and Elody who were cycling from UB to South East Asia. They were a really nice couple and, after sharing a cup of tea with them, decided to camp with them for the night.

 

They had actually cycled, over the last six months, from France to Turkey (near Istanbul) then taken the ferry to Russia where they had caught the train to Lake Baikal. They had then cycled to UB before starting this leg. Wow, you have to admire their spirit. We cooked enough pasta and sauce for four and ate in the camper. Not a lot of room but it was fine.

It was a nice evening and we made a campfire in a safe spot, in a sort of gulley out of wood that had been fly tipped from the little town called Dalanjargalan, which was just a few km further on. Normally there is no wood for a fire in the Gobi!

 

 

It had been a nice day and we enjoyed the company!

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