BRAND NEW! Wooden Suspension System.

BRAND NEW! Wooden Suspension System.

Altai to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

The next day consisted mostly of fording rivers around washed out bridges, racing Team Karma Kar through puddles and stopping to give Marshal (with a fresh stomach virus) a chance to do his business. He seriously gets sick so much... 

More dirt roads and picturesque landscaped filled our windshields with the occasional ger, goat herd, or lone hawk. The day was filled with a long long drive. We found a camp site at the bottom of a breathtaking gorge, next to a freezing river. After Tom went off to fish for dinner (just managing to get his fishing pole wet), we introduced the Kiwis to their first s’mores ever. Needless to say, New Zealand will never be the same again.

In the morning, we discovered the Kiwi’s suspension was completely broke, but with some kiwi ingenuity, their Fiat Panda was outfitted with some wooden blocks and bit and pieces of salvageable suspension springs. A stiff, but working ride to Bayankhongor awaited us.

There was almost no other vehicles on the road, that is, if you can call it a road. Yet it was a hauntingly beautiful drive nonetheless. It was mostly a multitude dirt paths that crisscrossed the hilly terrain, all seemingly headed in the same direction. The wind howled outside the car and the sky was full of dark, ominous rain clouds that thankfully failed to develop into anything minus a short stint of hail and blob of rain. We arrived in town ahead of the Kiwis and managed to find an awesome shop/restaurant where we managed to get some hot soup and buuz (dumplings).

brand spanking new!

Once the Kiwi’s arrived, we found that their wooden shock replacements were causing them problems. After some words with the shop owners daughter (who was a Radiologist, home visiting her family) Jimmy and Josiah headed to the market with her father, looking for replacements. After checking every stall/freight container, we finally found a mechanic with the right parts. The repairs became a bit of a party as every part of their car was examined by everyone in the vicinity. Finally the kiwi’s were back in business and we hit the road.

A few hours up the road, we camped next to some gers and built a grand fire to thaw out of cold bodies.

The next day, while Tom and Josiah were sleeping in Marshal, Jimmy, and I climb up a hill to see what our campsite looked like.

We then headed onto a rugged side road as we attempted to cut across to Kharkhorin, the (supposed) birthplace of all Turkish people.

The gold part is the extent of the Mongolian empire, Blue is what Mongolia is now.

After a morning of shenanigans and poop flinging we came across a small forest. Jon got it in his head that we needed to take some dead trees for fire. So after a bit of manliness, we strapped 3 full trees and countless smaller wood to the top of our tiny cars.

People stared wide eyed at us as we drove the last few hours to Kharkhorin with our giant passengers on the roof. We found a beautiful camp site next to a big river just outside of town and proceeded to make a monster fire. Much vodka’s were shown (show me vodkas now), rock bottom Jimmy made an appearance and we celebrated our last night camping together in style.

The next morning we stopped at one of the few buddhist temples to survive the communist rule and then we sentimentally drove our last stretch of rough road before the tarmac took us swiftly to Ulaanbaatar.

We wearily stumbled into Megs Guesthouse to find a cold beer and other rally teams waiting their for us. At that point we all really knew, the rally was over. Sadly, we didn’t know how truthful that would turn out to be…