I woke up giddy, excited, anxious, and a bit sad. This was it – our last day of the Mongol Rally.
It started exactly 5 weeks earlier on a Saturday in London. Now here we were 300 km from Ulaanbaatar Mongolia’s finish line.
The day started like any other; local visitors bringing gifts of food and airag. We packed up the tents one last time and headed east on our lovely tarmac road.
Lest you think that tarmac in Mongolia is easy…it’s not. Sure, it’s better than what we were on for the last 1400km, but it is rife with issues. It’s crumbling under trucks that are too heavy, poor construction, and harsh climates. It would be perfect for about 5 km and then boom…it was full of pot holes. This was often more dangerous than the previous roads as our speed was much greater on tarmac. So swerving and screeching to a halt was much more difficult!
The anticipation was killing me. I sat in the back seat thinking how this was just like running in the 25th mile of a marathon. You were exhausted, but the excitement of finally achieving something that you had worked so hard and long for was an overwhelming emotion.
However I had to remind myself that as much as I wanted to get there, there was still a lot to see and experience. This part of Mongolia was the steppe, or grassland, and it was full of new scenery; rivers and lakes, meadows, rolling green hills, and even a section of sand dunes.
I felt as if this was the most populated area of herders that we had seen so far. Livestock surrounded us. A horse ran across the road and we noticed a ger family trying to contain their horses, so we stopped to watch. We watched in confusion as 4 different men ran around trying to get the horses all in one area and one man on a motorcycle ran after a particularly obstinate brown and white horse. All of the little ponies were already tied up near the ger and the horses kept running around in pandemonium.
Another car was pulled up along the side of the road also watching the herding spectacle. It was as fascinating as any television show. We watched as they finally caught/lassoed the brown and white horse and then proceeded to put a saddle on it. I thought to myself – there’s no way in hell I’d want to get up on that horse – he clearly had the most spunk out of all of them who had now dispersed around the ger.
However it all became clear shortly. As the young boy on the motorcycle got on the brown and white horse and trotted off, he quickly rounded up the other horses and they obeyed effortlessly. Clearly the brown and white horse was the leader of the pack, and once tamed they all followed suit.
The horses were all brought back towards the ponies for milking. We also watched as the mother milked mares in order to make airag. I had always wondered how they milk horses in Mongolia – and now I was able to witness the whole process!
We got back on the road after our horse diversion and slowly moved closer and closer to Ulaanbaatar. More trucks and buildings appeared slowly and then more frequently. We were close, I could feel it.
Then we came around a corner and I got the first glimpse of Ulaanbaatar in the distance. Relief and happiness flowed over me. I felt giddy. We had really made it.
- It’s Real Now
- Pimpin’ Our Ride
- Festival of Slow – Mongol Rally Kickoff
- First Stop – Brussels
- Stopped by the Police – Mongol Rally
- Mongol Rally – Working on the Road
- Learning to Drive on the Autobahn
- CzechOut our Camping – Mongol Rally
- Racing Through Prague – Mongol Rally
- Driving in Romania
- Twilight in Brasov – Mongol Rally
- Four People One Key – Mongol Rally
- Crossing Borders with Natasha- Mongol Rally
- What I see out my window – Mongol Rally
- Ukraine Highway Culture – Mongol Rally
- Ukraine Hardships – Mongol Rally
- Hotel Nissan – Mongol Rally
- Kiev Paperwork Forgery – Mongol Rally
- Teaming up in Volgograd – Mongol Rally
- Russian Stereotypes
- SMAC Has Taken Over Ottsworld!
- Good Luck at the Kazakhstan Border – Mongol Rally
- The Hardest, Longest, Slowest, Dirtiest Road Yet – Mongol Rally
- The End of The Road – Mongol Rally
- Camping on the Mongol Rally
- Locals to the Rescue – Mongol Rally
- Setting Up Camp – Mongol Rally
- Bad Things do Happen on the Mongol Rally
- The Birth of Kazakhstan Tourism – Mongol Rally
- Kazakhstan’s Secret City – Astana
- The Best Laid Plans – Mongol Rally
- Our Car’s Health – Mongol Rally
- Playing the odds – Mongol Rally
- My ride in a Kazakhstan Police Car – Mongol Rally
- The Real Adventure Begins – Mongol Rally
- Minor Repairs – Mongol Rally
- How To Wait at a Border – Mongol Rally
- Border Bonding – Mongol Rally
- Mongolia Freedom – Mongol Rally
- Lost in the Mongol Rally
- Slowing Down – Mongol Rally
- The Mongol Rally Diet
- Muffler Mayhem – Mongol Rally
- Sink or Float – Mongol Rally
- Mongolian Hospitality – Mongol Rally
- Driving in Mongolia
- Tire Trouble – Mongol Rally
- Desert Illusions – Mongol Rally
- Mongolian Malls and Mechanics
- Shocking Tarmac – Mongol Rally
- Mongolian Cloudscapes – Photography
- Ulaanbaatar in our Sights
- The Finish Line – Mongol Rally
- Hurray for our Mongol Rally Sponsors!
- What’s it all for?
- What Happens to the Car?