Consider Yourself Rallied, Mongolia.
Day six was quite the eventful day. Jake woke up to the plaster from the ceiling falling on his head (apparently there was a leak above), James (Aussie) woke up without his pants, jacket or shoes and had no idea where they were, and the Nat, James (English), and I were feeling the pain of a night full of vodka. The others had gone back after dinner, parked their cars in a secure spot, and had a good nights sleep…after apparently getting in a fight with a local who wouldn’t let them be until they ate the bread the locals were forcing upon them.
After a quick reassessment of the night before, James located his pants, James realized that there was a huge puddle of water on the floor that barely missed soaking his bag, and the rest of us headed next door for breakfast, and we realized the gas cans we had on our car were long gone. Luckily, we had put the 20 liter one inside and had planned to take care of the other two 5liter ones after dinner. James and Jake were also missing all their gas cans. Luckily, we were close enough that we wouldn’t need them, but we would have liked to use the gas that was in them. Jake also realized he didn’t seem to make it home with his wallet…a bit of a disaster of a night all around.
After chatting with the local Aussies in the cafe, eating an amazing breakfast, we decided to check out and pay our hotel bill. As the room Nat, James, Jake and I were all sleeping in was falling down, pretty much all onto Jake and his belongings, we decided we were not paying full price for the room. Oh me Oh my. What a debacle that turned into. Jake had already had the police there earlier in the day (which the owner was not happy about) to file a report about his stolen petrol and now we were apparently trying to rob them. After a bit of an argument between Jake and the owner, the next thing we all know, the owner has jumped into the boys car and reached into the glove box and swiped their camera. Now he is saying Jake must pay 10,000(Mongolian money…i forget the conversion) to get it back. We were only looking to pay 4,000 less for the room. With the help of one of the cafe next door workers as a translator, the owner was accusing us of putting water on the ceiling and making the leak. After quite the back and forth, Jake finally walked out with his camera and having only paid the 20,000 we were looking to pay for the room. Needless to say, we burned rubber out of the town…until we realized we went the wrong way and had to turn around.
After another lovely drive and a few wrong turns, we made it to these amazing hot springs where we were able to first, shower! and second, soak in the hot spring water. After a lunch that took about a year and a half to make, we drove on a bit further to another ger camp, this one being a full on real ger camp. A man came around and lit fires in all of them (they quickly went out but we were all able to get them going again), we had a nice meal prepared by a nice mongolian woman, and played a few games before going to bed in preparation for the finish line the next day.
Our last day of driving was pretty uneventful. Somewhere in the last couple of days, we lost our suspension, making it so that even with the tiniest bump, our heads were practically hitting the ceiling. I don’t get car sick, but I almost did this day. After a bit of driving, we hit a fully paved, asphalt road. We had never seen anything quite as beautiful. We rolled into Ulaanbaatar around 4ish, really pumped to hit the finish line. Unfortunately, it was pretty anticlimactic, as it was just in a parking lot that was already full and we ended up in a huge traffic jam trying to get out. We had heard about this nice guest house a little out of the city center, so headed there to see if they had room for 8 smelly, tired souls (Ian and Leon opted for a hotel in the city). And room they had. We stayed in gers in the backyard (6 in one, 2 in another), had amazing showers, amazing food and got ourselves ready for the finish line party that night.
Oh the finish line party. Nothing will ever prepare you for a party like this. Everyone there had one goal the past 6 weeks, to get to Ulaan Baatar, and here we all were. We had all made it. While not everyone who was there car made it the entire distance, they at least had. It was quite the party to say the least.
So, on Sept 3rd, exactly 6 weeks from the day we started, we had successfully driven from England to Mongolia. We didn’t quite reach the 10000miles mark (the people who went the southern route thru Iran did, though)…I think our final mileage was somewhere around 8,700. Quite the accomplishment, if I do say so myself.