Ha Ha Ha, even the roads are hard for us.

This blog has posted today, but was written nearly a week ago:)

Tonight we ate our final dinner in Ulaanbaatar before we head west through Mongolia to Russia tomorrow morning. Chinzorig of Drive Mongolia and his wife joined us and we discussed the best routes to take west. No matter who you talk to, Mongolian or not, it seems that many conversations tend to lead back to the roads here. These talks are not concerning the condition of the roads, but more likely some other interesting info like where they lead to or how many days [not hours] it will take to get from point A to B. Due to the fact that normal day trip distances at home could take weeks here, roads are a major concern of most tasks.

The idea of where a road leads is somewhat different here.  As Chinzorig brought up this evening and we learned while we were in the Gobi, one road may end up at your destination, one may lead to a mine, the other may lead to a Ger camp, while all the rest of the roads lead to nowhere.  The problem is that all these roads tend to look the same.  The advice from our seasoned Mongolian driver…follow your compass. It was the same in the Gobi. Each time we would try to follow a track that seemed right, we would end up driving miles out of the way and look to the trusty compass to get back on track.

Our learned behavior tends to steer us to the most trodden path, but here sometimes that path is the same one that everyone else made the same mistake on.  The only reason it looks so used is because so many people were fooled by it. Chinzorig even admitted this evening that he gets lost from time to time as well. It does not exactly promote confidence when most Mongolians you meet even admit that the roads are difficult. On Bouey’s trip out the wedding, even the locals heading out to the same camp they had been to before led the group down some wrong roads on the way.

We are confident, we have our supplies, our new shocks, some traditional Mongolian overcoats and even down jackets from Marmot. Our camping gear is state of the art and our sleeping bags should do a fine job of keeping us warm in the below freezing temperatures. However, it is still hard to convince your self that heading out into the middle of nowhere is a good idea when snow is dusting the ground and there are no real towns, no real roads and even the locals laughing at the difficulty of the task. For the next week we will be meandering around the Mongolian countryside with our binoculars and compasses trying to find our way to Russia. So if you find yourself asking where the blogs are in a week from now, it probably means that we got our bearings wrong and are still wandering amongst the Gers.

The Thundra looks cold, brrrrr.