We have a few days until we enter China. What do you do in the meantime? We want to get stuck! So off with the cars in the desert Gobi.
We meet with “Reisevirus” (Walter and Ruth on Suri 2) and “on-a-journey”(Benni and Verena on the fetten Elke) in Arvayheer. From there we start our journey through the Gobi.
From Arvayheer to the Flaming Cliffs
The first episode of our journey takes about two days and ends at the Flaming Cliffs. We drive from Arvayheer to Bayangol, Sayvan-Ovoo and Mandal-Oovo and finally to Bayandzag. The route is not particularly demanding. Before Sayvan-Ovoo there is a small river crossing and around Mandal-Ovoo is strong washboard. The travel speed decreases rapidly and we lose almost one of our external storage compartments (the screws are loose.) On the evening of the second day and after a total of 327km we reached the Flaming Cliffs. The red mountains rise majestically over the plain. The ride on the top of the cliffs is challenging – very sandy and very steep sections. We are rewarded at the top with a fantastic view. The Flaming Cliffs shows you the power of the water is in the desert. Heavy rains have created the spectacle of nature and shape it further.
From Flaming Cliffs to Khongorin Els
Again we face 1.5-days of driving. We leave the Flaming Cliffs and drive from Bulgan to Bayandalay. The ride is beautiful but challenging. We follow after Bulgan a route into the mountains. There is a river running up and it continues on a huge plateau on 2,200 m altitude. The last passage leads us through the mountains. There are narrow passages, steep climbs, washed river courses, which we must pass. Eventually we reach Bayandalay and continue west to Khongorin Els. The Road -better the track – is terrible (washboard). Towards evening we reached the first sand dunes (Khongorin Els). The next day we went to Seruun Bulag – an oasis at the foot of the Great Sand Dunes (Khongorin Els).
Seruun Bulag – Sevrey – Bayandalay
We ignore the advice of the Mongols and didn`t go directly back to Bayandalay the same way. We want to pass the dunes and go back on the other side passing Sevrey. The dunes lie ahead. Somewhere should be a way. It is sandy. Reduce tire pressure to increase the bearing, is announced. As we note later, it was unnecessary. A dry river crosses the dunes. The sand is perhaps 20-30 cm high inside the river bed and is mobile. On the other side, the air must be refilled. With Loki is a longer affair. After 30 minutes we can all continue. On the way to Sevrey we pass washed out creek beds again and again. In Sevrey the Mongols do not recommend the track through the mountains. They adviced us to go further south (70km more) and then turn east towards Bayandalay. Mountain road is a “Bad road”! What the Mongols understand a “bad road” is we should notice soon. So we drive off into the mountains. Our GPS devices fail almost immediately, but we want to fight. Shortly thereafter small creek beds crossed our track every 100 metre. Loki has a lot of space below and a long wheelbase. We can pass the creeks easily. For Suri 2 and the fette Elke it is not so easy. Again and again, stones are sought or taken out the spade. Before a real difficult, because deep and steepy, creek we spend the night. Tomorrow looks of the way hopefully better. Far from it. There is a sign Bayandalay 114km – to the right, but where? There are a lot of tracks and dried rivers going right. Nearly every 200 metre the track splitts in various directions. The map tells us there is only one way the GPS says nothing at all. We wander through mountains that do not want to end up in the east. The mood drops. After five hours, we have made perhaps 20km as the crow flies to Bayandalay. We are looking for a way into the valley. Finally we took the next dried out riverbed to the south and drive down. It works – we actually come up to the valley. We arrive in the evening at Bayandalay and continue towards Yoliin Am. We have not much time in a couple of days we have to be on the Chinese border.
Bayandalay – Yoliin Am
Rested, we spend the night in a dry river bed, we make our way to Yoliin Am. It is only a short distance of less than 30km to the famous Vulture gorge. If we only know at this time that the gorge for us is unattainable in this way. Loki fails already at the entrance to the Dugany Am. The entrance to the gorge is narrow and too narrow for Loki. A stream aggravate the situation even more, since he has washed out the driveway on one side and the vehicles are at an angle. The fat Elke it creates problems. For Suri 2 (Toyota Land Cruiser with body) the skew is the river bed to the problem. It takes a long time, but they create the passage. We have to take into the canyon a way around the outside. The slope is steep, narrow and with extreme skew. Somehow we make it. When we meet the others in the canyon, our knees are still trembling from the adrenaline. After 20km we reach out a way out of the canyon. In only 5 km air line is our goal – the vultures gorge. It goes back to a narrow, steep path. A curve lies ahead. It is comparable to a steep curve at car racing. A Mongol comes to meet us and must stop. He slides the same across the steep curve down into the ditch. We can do it, or not? We decide against it and not take the passage. Without the possibility heranzuschaffen to have “heavy equipment” so close to China, that car knocking down here. No, not us. Others think similarly. We are looking for another way out of the canyon. There was not previously a branch? Yes on 2.200m located at the end of the stream bed, a small dirt road that leads out of the valley to the top. Yoliin Am is just 4km away from the vultures gorge. But the road leads steeply along the mountain and ends apparently only once in nothingness. We decide to turn around. 2 Suri and the bold Elke squeeze back through the narrows at the entrance of Dugany Am.
We tremble over the mountains again and after six hours back to where we started the day. Our paths here separated. We want to take the short route to Dalazagad, the other the better marked in the map route south of Yoliin Am. Our road to Dalanzagad is good. It is quite fast in the creek bed up and down. Approximately 40 km from Dalanzagad at the level of Yoliin On the paved road begins. Blog Links: On-a-Journey Reisevirus