Janos Peterdi Photographer

Mongolia I.

Leaving Astana behind, we left Kazakhstan after a smooth border control and crossed the Altai. The bad news is that huge forest fires are eroding Siberian forests and even more smoke is spreading across the area. Smoke is spread over six time zones, from the Altai to Lake Baikal, so we’ve seen the fog and we’ll probably see it.

The Mongolian border was a bit more difficult, we arrived at the border at night, there were 4 cars queuing up and we just parked after waiting to open the border at 9am. The first hour was at one place, not in the car, but really: with my papers, I was standing in front of an outdoor checkpoint and nothing happened. To add, it wasn’t too hot, I couldn’t get back in the car, because they would have stood in front of me. But no, at least we met a nice German couple who came with an old 4×4 Hiace.

We got through, waited for the Germans and went to the first major city garage together, because both of our cars had a little trouble. Crocodile still does not have the full power (though it still has a good deal of reserve), so we tried to investigate that. We wasted three days in the service parking lot and finally replaced the fuel pump and filter, this time with what we brought with us … In Almaty the Mitsubishi repair shop put a Chinese pump for $ 100, which was said to cost usd 5. That’s all about the Mitsubishi Service…

But there is still no full force. Instead of guessing, we decided to try again in Ulaanbaatar to see if we had more specific symptoms. We said goodbye to the Germans and the Australian lady we met at the service and, of course, Rex, her dog. The Australian lady was wrecking her Hiace just the way we were about to go, but the car didn’t have enough clearance for these roads.

So we set off on another road, went back 70 kilometers, and set off on the road between the mountains, but we were followed by three local guys and told us that it was impossible to cross because of the recent rains. However, there is another solution, but it requires a guide. After a long discussion we decided to go into the unknown with the guide. We stopped, for sleeping something, and then saw the guide carrying a dead dog on a motorbike to a foot of the mountains.His poor guard dog was hit and the car didn’t stop. The funeral consisted of being placed where the dead animals were placed, about a mile from the village. 500 meters away.

We left early the next day, as we heard the road takes others 2 days. We had a little over half a day, and we had to do another detour because the planned route was flooded. So we finally got on the road where a Hiace overland gear was destroyed. For us, this road wasn’t extreme, we rolled over it smoothly and quickly, but our car was prepared for that. We arrived at the lake, unfortunately there was a big storm, so we could not drone. We spent some time there and then crossed the mountains the next day and headed for Ulaanbaatar. There was a beautiful dirt road between the mountains, so beautiful that it would be a pity to spoil it with a paved road. Of course, it is worth arriving by off-road, otherwise it is not enjoyable. So we’re just hoping to have as few asphalt roads, because that’s where the adventure is!

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