We slowly woke up naturally as lilly prepared coffee for everyone and Gavin suddenly came up to find us again. Tom let his drone fly and some other Norwegians passed us to say hello, these guys had strapped a cows skull to their car and were speeding across the dirt in quick time. With some morning rituals we packed up and went on our way, realising that we were surrounded by nothing but emptiness.
The roads were a disaster, but at this stage still fun. Lilly was driving us through the offroad proving giselas worth as a offroad vehicle, meanwhile, all of us were fighting for the drivers seat. Some way down the road and we went up a rocky hill, climbing the mount like a landrover. The norwegians´ drone passed us, and as we reached the top, flew back towards where we came from. Shortly afterwards their car approached us from the other side and we realised they had lost their drone.
Off began an hours search for this drone – as Gavin, Niki, and Lilly searched the area by foot, Don took the Norwegians and Gisela to track down the original path of the drone and found it perfectly positioned between some rocks on a grasspatch. We set off, and shortly later lost Gavin, who left being fed up with all the drone footage we were taking – who can blame us, after all, we didn’t go through the trouble of getting the thing through Uzbekistan for no reason. In the meantime, Gisela got a makeover, as a tribal sign of strength, in the form of a skull found in the desert tied to her bonnet.
A little later, and we settled down for a lunch in a small Yurt village, eating our first Mongolian dumplings and talking to the friendly locals. The roads were beginning to get on our nerves, but there were still 160 kilometers left. 1000 to Ulaanbator…
Climbing, scaling, evading and drifting through the sand and dirt we worked our ways forward one by one at 30 kmh, puncturing another wheel and using our last spare tire – now we could no longer afford another broken wheel.
We crossed paths and looked for ways through the country, sometimes turning around to find a better way forward. Towards the end we could see the town that would bring the promised tarmac, and were in the dirt for 6 hours already. Madness had settled in and we began baahing to deal with the anger over these “roads.”
Undeniably, however, the mongolian steppe had finally hit us – endless green fields and herds of horses, hand in hand with small yurts gave us the wild romance of a nomads life. It was stunning and we could hardly believe its beauty and endlessness.
Finally we hit the town, teddy kissed the tarmac, and Niki got a new tire right away. Outside the tire store two children stood and watched our cars in amazement. Donatus and Lilly talked and eventually pulled the Laybag off the roofrack – Donatus showed the two children how to inflate it, and the three sat down for some time before packing it up and giving it to the kids. The elder always let his little brother have everything first, he gave it to him and then continuously re-asked whether we are sure. Eventually they left happily with the stuffed toy from the Norwegians and our laybag. We carried on until the night hit, and a storm brewed above us. The pitch black sky overhead helped the night creep in and we came to realise what horrible drivers the Mongolians are. Evading every possible sinkhole and every blindingly bright lit car by flashing our LED light we worked our way to try and find a yurt hotel until we came to the conclusion that this would not be possible anymore. We settled in a nearby town and found the next crappy hotel. The ATM swallowed toms credit card and Donatus got a very uniquely bad room. Not that it mattered anyways – we passed out soon enough.