A beautiful morning with a clear, blue sky. It was a cold night though, 3 degrees in the early hours of the morning. Woken by horses rubbing against the Land Rover. Not the usual start to our morning. Dennis had to do some maintenance on the Land Rover. There was an issue last night with some drops of oil under the clutch pedal.
Navigation was much easier today. A wide valley virtually the entire way from Songino to Tosontsengel, running in an easterly direction. So, although the road separated out into numerous tracks across the valley, they were all going in the same direction. Even 2 signposts! We had the added bonus of the road that is under construction and which we got stuck on yesterday, continuing on through this valley. This was easy to follow and was being used in sections, so we spent the day getting on and off it. Reasonably speedy on this road, but slow on the in between sections. The problem is avoiding the puddles, the boggy parts and ruts left from people getting bogged down.. We came across one truck well and truly stuck. It was carrying large concrete pipes which are being used for drainage in the culverts under the road. Later we came across a truck carrying cut timber that had overturned and shed its load trying to negotiate a very uneven patch where water obviously washes through when it is wet.
I hate to think how difficult it must be to get anywhere when it is wet here. The supposedly major roads are just tracks which turn to mud as soon as they are wet.
The machinery being used in the construction of the road and the writing on some of the signs by the workers camps is Chinese. We wonder if this road is being funded and built by China as part of the Silk Road Project.
Arriving in Tosontsengel just after 5.30, we managed to find a bank with an ATM and a supermarket, as we were running out of water. We made camp just outside of the town in a wide, green area next to a lake surrounded by gers, yaks and cows. We have only covered 127 miles today. It is hard going in these rough, bumpy conditions.
For those of you interested on flora and fauna. The valley has a lilac hue. It is covered in miniature Michaelmas daisies. In fact if you look closely, there are numerous tiny flowering plants. Flocks of geese sometimes pass over and this morning we saw 4 cranes beside us. There are eagles everywhere. We see their shadows as they soar over the Land Rover. They are often seated on a rock beside the road looking very imperious, but I have yet to catch one with my camera.We also see small marmots scarring into their burrows.
While I was cooking dinner in the Land Rover with the tent door open beside me, I looked around and was confronted by a large head and a very long pair of horns. Cows are very nosy creatures and one obviously wanted to know what this strange contraption was in it’s feeding ground. I shoo’d it out, but while we were eating dinner more cows kept coming and touching the Land Rover. Hopefully, they won’t disturb our sleep.