The last few days have been very intense in emotions. While, we are cleary living a dream and enjoying every second of the amazing Mongolian scenery, the riding has been particularily challenging on both the riders and the machines...
We spent the last 4 days travelling from Ulaangom to Tosontsegel in Central Mongolian on a mix of dirt roads, sandy tracks and pure off-road, getting lost many times and fully relying on our GPS for the proper directions. The landscapes are simply breathtaking and we hope to be able to download more pictures soon.
Yesterday was my worst day (by far...) since the beginning of the trip. It all started with my engine not running very smoothly and delivering very little power at low revs. As a result the first steep climb in the mud was simply hell with the bike not even able to start on 1st gear. On a fall, I completely destroyed the protection underneath the bike leaving the engine completely exposed to any hit. A few kms further the front brakes got completely stuck and we had to dismount both brakes pistons at 2000m high. A few kms further... the engine just stopped ! We dismounted the entire engine on the side the road to get access to the carburators, clean them, clean the air filter, the spark pluggs... without success. Niccolo had to go on his own (for the first time since the beginning of the trip) to get some help and found a bunch of very helpfull Mongolians and a old Russian jeep... After many miscommunication and iterations, we loaded the bike in the jeep, removing the jeep seats in the process.
We got to the nearest town (more a few houses/yurts stacked together) and got told that it the nearest decent mechanic was 700km away in UlaanBaatar... and the transport would cost about USD500. Moral was at its lowest and on that note, we decided to take the bike all apart and try everything possible to get it fixed. We spare you the details but it seems that it was due to the very bad petrol quality and changing the air/petrol mix did the trick so far (engine not running very smoothly still...). Thanks to Nicco for the patience and the technical support.
After a snow storm yesterday evening, and a night inbetween a snoring Mongolian and ... couple (no privacy here in the yurts), today was simply beautifull with greatest sunshine, blue sky and superb scenery.
We will keep going east over the next few days and hope to reach UlaanBaatar in about a week. By the way, so far, we have not found any shower facility in the country... but we keep asking !
Now it's my turn (Nicco)...For me it was an excellent time even though we had these tensions and problems with the bike. My bike (Fat Bertha) behaves so well for the moment even though I mistreat her badly by throwing her around big time and she still likes me somehow...
The last few days have been what this trip was about, a real adventure! With the technical problem solving, the off-road riding, the GPS navigation, the personal tension sometimes, but in the end we have come so far and this is a testiment of the great team we are..hehe, a bit of self motivation.
We have both learnt so much in the last few days and these are the experiences we were looking forward to. Let's hope both our bikes keep up to the mistreatement and we arrive safly back on tarmac (near Ulaanbaatar).