This is the first town of any size that we’ve encountered. Everyone’s in good spirits after quite a lot of bumpy and dusty travel. Our original Land Cruiser (and driver Tsele) had to be towed all the way back to Ulaanbaatar. As far as we can guess, the fuel filter/fuel injection was totally shot, as well as maybe the transmission. Our drivers attempted to fix this by breaking a hole in the exhaust with a rock hammer?!? and our fears were confirmed when we reached town. Anyhow, we all huddled into the Russian van for quite the ride across some of the craziest roads yet to Biger. There, we met a wonderful new Land Cruiser and driver Nyamsaikhan who scrambled out from Bayanhongor to meet us. By all accounts, he’s a pretty rugged guy, and a really nice addition to the crew. Our work in Biger went unbelievably well, and we haven’t missed a beat. We’re now poised to take our first day, or half-day off tomorrow, before driving west to Darvi and Dzereg. We’ll turn back towards Ulaanbaatar no later than July 1st, budgeting around 4 days for the drive across the country.
I’m feeling really well, and have been able to go on some amazing runs out here. We’re actually at a bit of altitude (a few nights ago we slept around 8000 ft), so maybe some of my fitness and acclimatization will help for the upcoming climbs. I’ve also gotten quite a bit of reading done and have enjoyed passing the evenings laughing and joking with the Mongolians. Derek, Jeremy and Jobe are hilarious as usual.