As I mentioned in my previous post, there are no worse roads in the world than a Mongolian highway. Our vehicle for this expedition was a 4 wheel drive Russian van called a “Yaz”. The ladies of our trip named it “Ivan”, and later after we it had proved itself worthy, gave it the title of “Ivan the Conqueror. Let me tell you, conquer it did! The journey was over everything from paved roads (the last 50km leading back to Ulaan Baator) dirt tracks, no tracks, mud tracks, and even full blown rivers. I was amazed at how well this little van did, especially considering it had the weight of 7 people plus their gear in it. Our driver, Oogi, was a master at handling this thing over the roughest roads. We got to witness exactly how good he was when it came time to cross a rain swollen river. Apparently an hour or so before us another van had tried to cross and gotten stuck. Oogi took one look at the situation, moved slightly downriver, and crossed like the van was on dry land. On the other side we tossed a chain to the stuck van, and pulled them free. As a testament to how tough these vans are, as soon as they were on dry land, the motor started up immediately!
Luckily not all rivers required such heroics to cross. Others like the one above just required a bit of insanity to actually venture onto the bridge. The one above had the helpful feature of a toilet attached to it, presumably so you didn’t scare the crap out of yourself while crossing.