July 22, 2006 GMT
Across Mongolia

I’ve got a new Chinese visa since yesterday and I’m going to be able to go back to China, as soon as I leave Mongolia, to pick up my motorbike at the border near Vladivostok. The plan, after I have my bike, is to cross Russia all the way to Europe.

After arriving in Mongolia from China on July 8th, I took a night train and went directly to Ulaanbaatar. I wanted to see the Naadam festival which was just starting three days later. According to the Lonely Planet guidebook: “Part family reunion, par fair and part Olympics, Naadam (meaning ‘holiday’ or ‘festival’) has its roots in the normal assemblies and hunting extravaganzas of the Mongol armies”. It’s like also like a Chinese New Year, meaning that almost everything is closed.

It’s the biggest event of the Mongolian year for foreigners and locals alike. Small Naadams are held throughout the country but the one that competitors as well as spectators want to attend is the one held in Ulaanbaatar for three days starting July 11th.

After the festival was over I went back south into the Gobi desert to restart my itinerary where I had left it. I started in the small village or Irdin and slowly headed north by train from one station to the next. On July 16th I arrived at around 10:30 pm in the small town of Sainshand which is supposed to be one of Mongolia’s most dusty, dry and windblown aimag (provincial) capitals.

Outside the station, I met a businessman from Ulaanbaatar who helped me found a small hotel. As I was beginning to take a shower, I got electrocuted inside the bathroom and my journey almost ended there. I still don’t understand how I managed to extract my body, which was violently shacking under the 220v electric current, from that bathroom.

I remained half unconscious on the bedroom floor for a while where the receptionist found me. She called that businessman who had brought me there and he arrived soon after with a doctor who gave me an injection to revive me. They had to carry me to my bed. I couldn’t walk. They left at around two o’clock and at three o’clock the police woke me up to check my passport. The receptionist told them what had happened and that I couldn’t get up. They managed to take my name and my nationality and left.

The next morning I was feeling a bit better although my entire body was still very painful. I needed to do something somehow intensive and positive in order to put that awful experience behind me. I decided to go into the middle of the Gobi desert to visit a confluence. The closest was less than 20km away from the city. I called that businessman again and asked him if he’d be interested to join me.

We rented a Russian jeep with a driver and we made it across the desert directly to the point with the help of my GPS. We found the confluence with the skeleton of a cow lying less than ten meters away. Except that carcass, there were just a few plants here and there which are made into a concoction by nomads to ease stomach pain.

The same day I left Sainshand late at night; again by train. Finally, on the 19th, I found a car in the village of Airag that took me directly to Ulaanbaatar where I’m going to stay for a couple of days.

Posted by Fabrice Blocteur at July 22, 2006 04:51 AM GMT

HU DVD Summer Special!

Now that summer is here, get On the Road! Take 30% off the Achievable Dream - On the Road! 2-DVD set until August 31 only. Get On the Road! Learn the tips to staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure!

Our veteran travellers share their tips (and great stories) for staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure.

"A fantastic, informative and inspirational DVD."

"It's brilliant - thank you very much!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'ONTHEROAD' on your order when you checkout.

Renedian Adventures

Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!

What turns you on to motorcycle travel?

Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.

Books & DVDs


All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.

Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

Story and photos copyright ©

Sorry, you need a Javascript enabled browser to get the email address and dates. You can contact Horizons Unlimited at the link below. Please be sure to tell us WHICH blog writer you wish to contact.

All Rights Reserved.

Contact the author:

Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.

Hosted by: Horizons Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!