Cycling through Eastern Mongolia
Saturday September 8, 2012 - 48.4302° N, 114.31303° E
Choibalsan, Dornod Aimag, Mongolia
48° 4′ 302″ N, 114° 31′ 303″ E
804 kms since Chita, Zabaikalsky Krai, Russia
Yes! We arrived in Mongolia on September 1st 2012 through the border crossing of Solovjovsk/ Erdeenstav.
Prior to that, we had a wonderful experience crossing the Russian buddhist "enclave" Agin Buryat Okrug and now in eastern Mongolia, where we have been able to already see Mongolian camels, marmots, and above all thousands of Zerens (Mongolian gazelles) flying by!
My first 279kms of Mongolian sandy, definitely uncrowded, "road" or should I say trail have indeed been fun although challenging to ride on!
Along the way, I was blessed to meet a few horse/cow/sheep/goat herders who welcomed me into their farms, gers/yurts on several occasions in order to share a meal and/or a night!
I also had along my way an interesting meeting with Chinese nickel miners... At this stage, however, sadly, Gulnara is not able to ride her bike because she has a Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL) sprain.
As a result, she regrettably has had to hitch rides along her way with her bike and bags from kind souls (such as Russian gravel truck driver Sergey from Ekaterinburg and German adventurer Carsten Rennecke from Cebra Adventures on his way back from Vladivostok to Germany) in order to be able to continue her journey and meet me at respective points, while I am continuing the route on my bicycle.
We are not quite sure why she has suffered from this injury this year while she was able to ride "pain-free" 2100 kilometers on the infamous "road of bones"/ Kolyma highway from Omsukchan to Yakutsk, and carrying a heavy load last summer! She definitely hopes to be back on her bicycle as soon as her body allows!
I plan to write a complete report and post pictures on my Chita-Ulaan Baatar route once I will get there in about 660 kms...
For the time being, while the weather is nice, I need to push on to be able to meet Gulnara in Ondörkhan, 330 kms away!
Before I go, I would like to mention the latest media related matters:
(In Mongolian) First Mongolian TV Interview: Choibalsan, Dornod Aimag, Mongolia, Sept 5th 2012
(In Russian) Last Russian TV Interview: Borzya, Zabaykalsky Krai, Aug 29th 2012
(In Russian) Chita.ru web interview - Chita, Zabaykalsky Krai, Aug 21st 2012
Finally, as we are departing Choibalsan, we want to thank Tsagaandari Bayarbold and Saraa from Choibalsan, the friendly staff at Chadanguud hotel as well as Kirk and Mendee from Ulaan Bataar for the support they gave us in coordinating logistics during our stay in Choibalsan!
Dimitri and Gulnara