Bad roads, good roads, no roads… who cares. This is almost done, the views are breathtaking and after more than 10,000 miles, Ulaanbaatar is just round the corner.
A view from the top
The multi-lane dirt tracks continued the next day, briefly interrupted by small hills that offered the opportunity to take a small break an enjoy the views: hundreds of kilometres of vast unforested grassland, untouched by humans apart from the odd yurt here and there.
From the early morning we all realised that it was going to be yet another challenging day in the Mongolian steppes for our cars. Luckily though, despite our biggest fears, the water levels were not so terrible and the river crossings were much easier than before. Either that, or we had become great explorers.
All of a sudden, Mongolia threw a mountain pass at us, and why not. Climbing up to 2500 metres is nothing after what we endured in Kyrgyzstan and soon we were on the other side. Once again, we found a wonderful place to spend the night on. Only two more days to go.
After 50 days on the road we were exhausted and to be honest, quite dirty as well. For the last week, Lola has collected so much dust that we have given up trying to keep it out. She is driving better than ever before though, what a machine!
Craving for good roads feels like cheating, but at this point in the game I don’t think anyone cares. Every bit of tarmac is welcomed by the convoy as if it was holy water. How long will it last for? Don’t ask, just put the foot down.
Ulaanbaatar, at last
Finding the perfect people to convoy with for almost a month is not easy. There are four basic pillars that need to fit for it to work out: budget, timescales, type of car and personality. And we had all of them in The Fellowship. The bunch of people that we have had the pleasure to share with half of this trip are truly inspiring. And despite our different backgrounds somehow everything clicked perfectly well from day one. Thank you guys!
We have driven together from Ashgabat to Ulaanbaatar, endured border crossings, dealt with dodgy police officers and helped each other through some rough roads. Specially in Mongolia, which as many countries before, wanted to say goodbye at the last minute in its own way: with camels on the side of the road, vast steppes with nobody on sight and pot holes, quite a few of them.
We drove the last few hundred kilometres reflecting on what we had achieved, and remembering everyone back home who made it possible. Thank you so much for your support!
And finally, there she was hidden behind a hill, our final destination, Ulaanbaatar. As many as one and a half million people live in this chaotic place, home to both skyscrapers and yurt camps. Undoubtedly there is a lot of money in this city, but, as in many other places, it is in the hands of only a few.
Mission accomplished, Lola has safely arrived after 10,000 miles and 54 days without a single puncture, ready for her new life, in the land of Genghis Khan.
The finish line, a visit to the Book House project and yes, the shave that everyone apart from Enrique has been waiting for!