Day 3 – Erenhot to the desert camp in Mongolia

There were no starting positions posted the previous evening for day three.

Day three is for the border crossing from China to Mongolia. Our previous experience was that it would be arduous.

That evening after we had gone to bed we were awoken at 11.00 pm to be told that we should be ready to cross on the border at 7.30. Leave hotel at 7.00am. Breakfast at 6.30.

On the morning of the third day we did what were told and were ready to go and assembled as advised at the border crossing. Then waited. And waited.

Waiting on the China side of the border

Time to discuss what had happened the day before.

Lots had happened. There was still discontent over the results of the first days hill rally that was cancelled and the results averaged. Penalty points issued.

The car on that accident had been repaired and looked really good, ready to go.

We fuelled up before and only need to do so once more at a small village in the desert, the last for some 600 kms.

All the cars that were tinkered with last night were now rearing to get off the tarmac and hit the dirt/sand of the desert.

We got through the borders at about 10 am.

Heading out of China and into the Mongolia desert. The terrain changed very quickly

The MTC was to be 13.08 in the desert somewhere. We had not a show, but will give it a go. Over the rough desert terrain Denise came alive mastering the tracks like a warrior, under Steve’s command of course. No worries!  Under the assumed stress of trying to get to the MTC on time.

We didn’t. When we did arrive the advice was that because of flooding over the previous week of rain, the entire course and competition for the day had been abandoned and that a convoy be formed to get to the evening camp. Not good news, but that’s what can happen out here.

It was a diversion from the planned course so we couldn’t follow the tulip book for directions.

So we did as we were told and made our way in line for the next 80 odd kms across the broken desert. Not much excitement but a nice introduction to desert rallying. One sand trap caught an unwary driver forcing two cars to get stuck. We flew through knowing the condition.

Stopping and waiting for instructions before our convoy

Good fun.

The desert terrain changed as we moved through it, the sparse grass growth patterns looked like it was hand planted. A fractal effect.

The changes on the desert landscape

On a makeshift Passage control we were back on course. From there we could make our own way according to the tulip book and the GPS route.

This too was a 80 km track and every driver had a go at pushing the boundary of his vehicle. Racing across the unroaded plains. Big boys toys in action. This was more like it!  Rough sandy and dirt tracks over rolling countryside. Some big holes and bad roads to avoid requiring constant concentration to read. Tiring to say the least but that’s what it’s about. This was good fun.

A Mongolia temple in the desert. And the continuously changing desert

Then we were at the camp site, a serene setting somewhere in nowhere. What a contrast to what we raced through.

Tents up in uniform pattern dotted the landscape with army like central service tent for cooking and eating. The toilet tents and a large shower tent. The water heated with the large portable boiler was welcome to some. The wind was out in force and for those setting up their own tent caused havoc with flailing tents like Mary Poppins in the windy conditions. Stephen elected to pitch his own tent preferring this to cramming in together. The tents provided are small and would not have been comfortable nor cozy for two.

The campsite and the surrounding rock formations there. And Denise having a well earned rest

The cars started to arrive in numbers and soon the site was abuzz with activity. It was 6ish in the evening with the sun going down and lots of hungry people to feed.

The diner cooked in the desert was better than the hotel food. Surprise, surprise!

Fresh bass fish with black rice and so much more.

No drinks for Steve and I. It was warm local beer. Headache material.

We hit the pit almost straight after dinner. We were “shot”.

Steve had a shower but I elected not to. Too cold to drop my clothes on the windy condition. Will make up in Ulaandaatar.

Sleep we did but awoken by music, the Beatles, then more cars coming in late, lumbering, wheezing and spluttering onto camp at around 12.30 am. Poor buggers must have had some mishap. Will report later.

At 4.00 am awoke to the sounds of what I though was Steve dismantling his tent. He’s an early riser so thought that he was attending to things. The zip noises that I thought I heard became louder and more regular. It’s called snoring. And it could be heard from all the tents. Plus some other noises and some giggling.

Time to rise and shine.

Being awake I commenced writing this blog.

Nothing else to do but write down what I can remember.

Time for ablutions before the throngs arrive and mess things up.

Traditional welcome and singing at the last hotel in China

One thought on “Day 3 – Erenhot to the desert camp in Mongolia

  1. Glad you are having fun out there, cool pics!
    Its never been about the posibility of actually getting a decent placement in this race, as this seems futile…no matter how much you try, its the amazing journey and experiences each day that you all have. 🤘



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