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Photo by Bettina Hoebenreich, at the foot of the Bear Glaciers, British Columbia, Canada.



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Old 31 Dec 2015
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Motorcycle trip around central Mongolia - 1200km offroad on rented 150cc Chinese bike

INTRO
Greetings fellow motorcycle and travel enthusiasts,
My name is Bruno, I am a serious motorcycle fanatic from the kingdom of Belgium, currently 29 years on the clock (sorry if my English is weird, I haven’t written any piece what so ever since college).
I love driving motorbikes, always have, love travelling too, and always looking for nice motorcycle destinations. So after staring at google earth long enough, Mongolia seemed like a nice country to go ride round a bit on a motorbike. And I have been wanting to undertake a "real" adventure for some time now. Never done anything like this before though. My usual motorcycling travels are around Europe and include hotels, , steaks and comfy beds. Not really a camper either. I actually only ever camp at Tomorrowland or some other festivals (cutting down on that lately though).
But I'm hitting thirties and so I guess I felt it was time for such a thing, Mongolia it is! since I only had 2 weeks vacation left from work, I couldn't drive my own KTM Adventure all the way over there (wouldn't that be a journey), and to ship it by plane is just too expensive.
Rental it is then…
Not many rental companies in Mongolia's capital city Ulaanbaatar (Ulan-Bator). Also my endless going on about my trip whenever I saw my friends, had 2 of them convinced to join me, which I was very stoked about. They are both close friends and brilliant motorcycle drivers called Chappy and Tom (28 & 25 years old, I think). But now I had to find 3 decent bikes to carry us around on a 1200km trip around central Mongolia, most of it off-road.
I ended up with Cheke tours just outside the capital, website is Cheke Tours
Friendly but strict and hard lady runs the business.
She rents out 150cc Mustang Shineray for 13€/day. After some research they appear to be "the real nomad bikes" and all locals drive it and they have good knowledge about fixing it with a hammer and a kitchen knife if needed.
Seems all a bit too good to be true for this kind of money, but I decided to go for it. There was not much choice anyway and I read (some) good reviews about Cheke online. So in the next parts you can read about our experience in Mongolia and some nice photos I hope you will enjoy.
Attachment 16688

Part 1 – OFF WE GO!

So here we are then, flights booked, motorcycles reserved, vaccinations received (not so fun), passports and international driving licenses acquired, camping gear sorted out (very last minute).Below a picture of us ready to go at Dusseldorf airport (cheaper than flying from Brussels)
Standing left is Tom, I am the tall guy in the middle and Chappy on the right.
Motorcycle trip around central Mongolia - 1200km offroad on rented 150cc Chinese bike-img_3968.jpg
We booked flights with China Air going over Beijing, which was all good, except for the food. But hey, nothing a good Chinese Ying Yang couldn’t fix (at least I think it was called that). Arriving in Ulaanbaatar a good 20hours after leaving Dusseldorf, I immediately got a good send of Mongolia’s nature. As you fly over and approach to land you can already see vast beautiful sceneries without any infrastructure in it, yessss just what I hoped!
Motorcycle trip around central Mongolia - 1200km offroad on rented 150cc Chinese bike-mongolia-012.jpg
The capital city from looked like one of those huge sovjet cities you’ve seen in the news.
Motorcycle trip around central Mongolia - 1200km offroad on rented 150cc Chinese bike-mongolia-020.jpg
After immigration and money change we took a taxi to the hotel I’d booked via booking.com. By the way in Mongolia I was officially a millionaire for a few days 600€ is about 1.3million Mongolian Tugrik, which was quite a few centimeters of money.
Motorcycle trip around central Mongolia - 1200km offroad on rented 150cc Chinese bike-mongolia-037.jpg
The first night in Mongolia did not go in too well though. We arrived at our hotel after a maniacal taxi ride just when the evening fell and it got dark. The hotel was “OK” for a 50 USD per night but was not in a very good part of the city (as we were already advised on the plane by a local passenger).
The Life hotel had no restaurant so we went out a few blocks to eat some pasta, which was quite good. But when we wanted to go to a bar we got hassled by a few drunks, Mongolia has quite a serious alcohol problem combined with high unemployment. They spoke no English and we had no idea what they wanted. They shouted and grabbed Jonas for some unknown reason and tried to drag him off to somewhere. After some shouting and pulling we got Chappy free of the fat drunk his grip on him. We realized the situation was bleak as it was a 15 to 3 man stand down in a strange country where NOBODY speak English. So yeah I yelled to run back to the hotel which was just a few 100meters away. These drunken sods would never be able to outrun us I assumed. They did try very hard however, they followed close on our heels all the way up to the hotel. We ran straight to the security guard (who also did the reception but spoke no English).
But it was no problem as the drunks did not enter the hotel, they stayed outside a while and took off again.
Below you see the morning view from the hotel of the street where we ran away the night before.
Motorcycle trip around central Mongolia - 1200km offroad on rented 150cc Chinese bike-img_3071.jpg
In the morning we received a breakfast which tasted very off so we did not go for that. Since we would depart on our motorcycle trip the next day, we felt we needed a boost. Also we were not looking forward to meet the drunks from the night before again, who knew where we stayed. So we decided to go for one of the best hotels in the city and give ourselves a treat. We stayed at the Chinggis Khan Hotel, which was rated on booking.com more than 150€ per night. Arriving at the desk however got us rooms for 65USD per night each, nice deal
The hotel also has a huge supermarket in it, where a lot of wealthy Mongolians shop. Since we would be out for 10 days we needed to stack up on a lot of food, and so we did. After a massive shopping spree and a bill of roughly 500000 Mongolian Tugrik we were ready to go! In the evening we enjoyed a last good steak and s in the excellent restaurant and discovered that the 40 USD massage you could have in the spa of the hotel, was not just a massage at all

PART 2 – motorcycles!
So the big day arrived.
We get up in good spirits and all excited about what we are about to do.
We get in the taxi and after some unnecessary stops and detours from our cheeky driver who proudly wanted to show off his city, we arrive at Cheke tours.It’s located near a main road just outside the city in a small village, does not look like a business at all actually, but I did not expect much more to be honest.
Motorcycle trip around central Mongolia - 1200km offroad on rented 150cc Chinese bike-img_3080.jpg
The bikes were lined up and looking in good nick, thoroughly used already, but in good nick. We paid Cheke, who said the deposit for the bike was 700€ instead as 500€ on the website. But I did not feel like arguing and paid for the three bikes, a gps (very old one), a map and some cooking pots and a gas stove. We tied up our luggage and were keen to get going.
Motorcycle trip around central Mongolia - 1200km offroad on rented 150cc Chinese bike-img_3099.jpg
Above picture demonstrates the noobs we are at these kind of endeavors. We tied our water on top of the rack of the steering wheel, which is a very smart plan if you prefer endless steering wobble from 9 liters of water sloshing around on your front wheel. Also Cheke got us a bit nervous by talking about careless drunk drivers without insurance, robbers and aggressive drunk man in the open country side.

So with small hearts and high hopes we set off…for about 500 meters.
We pulled up at a gas station just outside Cheke’s and after filling up with dino juice, Tom’s bike did not start again and we could not find the problem. We went to get the mechanic that works at Cheke’s (who wore army boots and had a ring with the nazi swastika on it) to fix the bike. We don’t know what the problem was, as our right winged but friendly mechanic spoke no English. But it must have been quite a big problem it took him almost 2 hours to fix it. It was something with the carburetor that’s all we know.

Motorcycle trip around central Mongolia - 1200km offroad on rented 150cc Chinese bike-mongolia-047.jpg

Last edited by Brunoittt; 31 Dec 2015 at 11:25.
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Old 31 Dec 2015
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PART 3 – THE STEPPES

We had a route on the gps which we would use as a guideline, a 1000km tour around central Mongolia. We could cut or change our route with the map, we had planned to add some extra km’s to the route as we went along.
Motorcycle trip around central Mongolia - 1200km offroad on rented 150cc Chinese bike-route.jpg
Tom’s bike was now fixed and we set off again. The sun was up, we had an immense blue sky and a comfy 25 degrees Celsius.
After 20km main road our gps vaguely told us to leave the tarmac and hit the Mongolian steppes.
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The next hours we spent getting used to our odd steering bikes (we had already moved the water to the back of the bikes and laughed at how stupid we were to attach them on our steering wheel in the first place) and enjoyed the loneliness and the smooth dirt tracks, this is awesome riding . Even with a small 150cc Chinese bike with an amount of horsepower barely in the double digits, and we packed quite a bit of luggage, too much in fact.
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After a good (half) days ride we hit a dead end on very steep hill which almost killed the clutch of Tom’s bike and we had to go back down, tricky stuff this with lots of big sharp rocks.
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After the tricky decent we called it a day and set up camp at the edge of a small forest.
We enjoyed our first night out with some lasagna on a campfire, some techno beats and the very cheap Mongolian Ghengiss Khan vodka which served quite good for the with some cola
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After a short sleep disturbed by many birds, we enjoyed a breakfast of snickers and pineapple (yeah I know…) and a beautiful sunrise.
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We packed our gear and set off again, much more relaxed then the day before. We were still driving great smooth dirt tracks and were now crossing the vast plains up to the famous Orkhon regions and it’s valley’s.
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I was having a blast and was enjoying every minute of it, very confidently steering the rather agile but unstable Mustang Shineray round the bends, over the crests and through the patches of sand. Staring at the beautiful scenery too long however caused me to end up in a patch of sand I could have avoided and I was already near top speed (which is +/- 70km/h). So not much power left to lift the front wheel by opening the throttle. I had a big wobble and off I went crashing right hand down, smashing my wrist in the ground. I broke my right wrist at 2 places 6 weeks earlier on my KTM Adventure, the bike had no damage though.
Luckily it did not break it again and only had to deal with a hurt wrist, hurt pride and some painful scuffmarks. This unfortunate dirt excursion did not temper my fun though and after about an hour I had driven it off and was enjoying the ride once again.
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After a few hours and a few snack stops (mainly snickers) we reached a horse reserve which was fenced all around, this appeared to be one of the few fences that exist in all of Mongolia. The Mongolians are a nomad people and all the land is free for all to live and herd cattle, this means that we foreigners can go and camp where we want, within the reasonable boundaries of personal space I suppose. And space the Mongolians have enough, they are roughly 3 million people, and almost half live in Ulaanbaatar. However in this particular reserve that we had to cross, it was not allowed to camp. Since it was only 4pm we decided to cross the reserve which would be 13km until the other end of the fence as we had learned from the locals running the reserve.
The reserve was stunning but the roads were very deep and fine sand, with beautiful sand dunes in the background.
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Old 31 Dec 2015
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Motorcycle trip around central Mongolia - 1200km offroad on rented 150cc Chinese bike

Motorcycle trip around central Mongolia - 1200km offroad on rented 150cc Chinese bike-p1010084.jpg
Progress was slow and we did not get to see any horse in the reserve, we did however see horses everywhere outside the reserve. After 13km of wrestling trough the sand and stopping occasionally to enjoy the scenery, we arrived at the other side of the reserve. By that time we needed to pitch camp before it got dark. We met an old man who drove the same Shineray bikes as us, and had his old lady on the back. He urged us to follow him to his ger (yurt as we know it, that is a Mongolian nomadic tent). We had to give full throttle to keep up with this skilled old man with his lady sitting undisturbed behind him. After a few kilometers chasing the old timer we arrived at his ger. Nicely build and decorated, as were most of the gers we had seen up to then. I did not take any pictures of them though as I had been told that the Mongolian nomads are not too keen on them or their home being photographed.
We were however invited for a nice snack of cheese and some sort of rock hard bread which almost broke my teeth. We also got some nice sweet yak milk and some sour fermented yak milk which tasted really strong. After explaining in hand/sign language what we were doing in Mongolia and after showing on the map where we came from, we were invited to put up our tent near this old friendly man’s ger and cattle and dogs.
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We put up our tents and enjoyed the vast beautiful view of the steppes ahead of us as you can see in the picture above. Also one of the old man’s dogs felt very protective over us and he stayed with us almost the entire evening.
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When we were having our luxury evening diner (pasta out of a can spiced with vodka) we were joined by the friendly old man and we invited him for some pasta.
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There was some iffy weather coming in and the old man let us know we were free to shelter in his ger if the weather would actually become too bad for our tents, but this turned out not to be required. The bad weather passed us by and we spent a lovely evening out in the open with some poker games and some cuba libre. At night however we were visited by plenty of noisy cows grazing around us and the dogs barking at those cows.
We woke up with the sun rising in what seemed to be another beautiful morning.
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Lovely temperatures and again blue skies so we ate our breakfast of snickers and oreo’s in good spirit and set off for another day of riding.
To my surprise we had to do a few kilometers of tarmac which was quite a welcome relief.
Although I love “offroading” and that is the main reason we chose Mongolia to drive through, being able to relax for a bit on tarmac is always a nice breather. However Mongolian tarmac seemed to be more dangerous than the dirt tracks as we had to dodge pothole after pothole. And I am not talking about European potholes here, these babies were mostly a meter in diameter and easily half a meter deep. Catch one of those with your front wheel and your holiday is over for sure.
After a short but stressy tarmac drive we passed a little town with a very “Farwest” look to it.
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Not surprisingly a good deal of the locals already were quite drunk by now, and it was not even midday yet! We caused quite a scene by shopping for some more water and cola in the local stores, and were assisted by the very small, friendly but very drunk man in picture above. He enjoyed very much repeating everything we said but did help out strapping our groceries on the bikes very well.
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After some time on the mesmerizingly straight road we were keen to leave the tarmac again, and so we did…
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We were hoping to reach the Ugii lake before the evening fell as we were all looking forward to wash ourselves up in some fresh clean mountain water. However the road was long and our stomachs were empty so we called it a day after driving 7 hours straight and we pitched the tent, no lake in sight. Minutes after erecting the tents we were visited by 4 local nomads on 2 Shineray Mustang bikes like the ones we had. After a brief exchange of pleasantries and information by hand language and a good deal of candy, the nomads set off again to their respective gers. We saw them ride up a mountain very far away, which means they must have jumped on their bikes as soon as they saw our little convoy rolling up. They covered all that distance just to fulfill their curious minds and see who was crazy enough to ride in this part of their world, unguided and not being part of any touristic group.
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In above picture you see the mountain in question where the nomads came from, there gers are so far away you can’t even see them in the picture.
As we were eating a nice pasta meal with some lasagna as dessert we noticed a big big storm rolling in. We braced our tents with the storm lines and the many volcanic rocks we found surrounding us.
We were a bit unnerved as we were totally alone here and did not have a backup plan if the weather would overpower our tents. But still we made the best of it and kept fooling around outside as long as we dared
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minutes later the rain came down…hard, accompanied by bright lightning and heavy thunder. Quite exciting but I could not make any video of it as the rain would have killed my cam for sure.
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Old 31 Dec 2015
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In the morning the storm had passed and we all made it without problems. Below picture is taken from a hill nearby where Tom wanted to photograph some giant vultures, but they escaped his lens. You see our tents in the middle of the frame in the picture below. (I have to lower the quality of some pictures or I would run out of upload space before the story ends)
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However Chappy had hurt his shoulder during the night (I did not dare to ask how) and was in considerable pain. We feared that he got some sort infection to his muscle or tendons of the shoulder, which would be quite an issue as we were nowhere near tarmac or villages. So we (he) had no choice and we pumped him full of Dafalgan painkillers and told him to keep his shoulder warm and get on with it. The driving itself was a lot smoother due to the heavy rainfall that night. All the dust was packed up and we could blast over the damp dirt roads, avoiding the puddles because they were very slippery. Due to Chappy’s shoulder calamities the luggage on his bike was not properly secured and we had to stop many times to pick stuff up that fell from his bike. In below picture you see me repairing our 5kg bag of rice after it made another tumble. This rice bag had fallen a few times already and now was mostly contained by duct tape rather than the original packaging.
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We also felt that the temperature had dropped considerably compared to the previous days. We wondered if this was due to the rainfall, or if we reached the end of the “Mongolian summer”. Normally the summer ends in Mongolia halfway through September, and since it was already 5 September now it could be we would have to dress a lot warmer from now on.
Motorcycle trip around central Mongolia - 1200km offroad on rented 150cc Chinese bike-3.jpg
Also Tom’s bike in above picture was very difficult to get started that morning, and he complained about his clutch which started slipping a lot after every gear change or serious incline.
Then after all we reached the Ugii lake, where we had planned to wash up and enjoy some skinny dipping.
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However since it still was quite chilly at that time, we skipped the swimming and just freshed up a bit, refilled our water bottles and enjoyed the company of a very sweet dog.
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People warned us before our trip not to touch or approach Mongolian dogs as they can carry diseases and are not very used to human contact and can be very bity, but I could not resist petting this sweet lovely dog and hoped I would be immune by now from the Mongolian bacteria.
Meanwhile we saw some heavy rainclouds approach from across the massive lake and decided to each wear our rain suites. We left the lake behind us and set off for another day of driving the beautiful Mongolian dirt tracks, which we came to love by now. Just gotta watch out for the sharp rocks!
Not even 5 minutes after we left the lake my clutch cable snapped in the middle of a very steep hill. I had all the trouble in the world getting the underpowered bike to the top of the hill without stalling, as I could not shift down without declutching (very clunky gearbox). Luckily Cheke had provided us with some spare parts for the bikes and one of those parts was a spare clutch cable, so we got to work and got the cable replaced in less than 15 minutes.
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When we were just about finished a friendly local nomad passed by on the now familiar nomad bike and stopped to help. His help was not needed however but we enjoyed a funny conversation in hand language, and the nomad enjoyed his first tasting ever of some Pringles chips. He loved it so much he kept asking if he could eat some more, and finally he ate the whole can
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Above picture shows my bike in front after our repair job, and the nomad’s bike in the background where we are posing with our new friend with his belly full of chips.
The rest of the day we enjoyed the dirt tracks and stayed clear of any rain, although it sometimes got very close. The dirt track by now were getting very twisty with very steep sections we had to do in 1st gear or the bike would stall. Very fun stuff this and I enjoyed every minute of the tricky ride.
By now we were approaching the large mining town Kharkorin and we knew there was to be a tarmac road in our path any minute now. Since it is not advised to camp near a tarmac road or village (the drunkies, remember? ) we called it an early day and looked for a suitable camping spot. It was only 16pm by now which is the earliest we stopped driving since we first started. We found a nice spot in an open stretch between a monastery and a local nomad family.
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Since we had so much time to spend this evening we decided to prepare ourselves a festive diner with all ingredients we had. So we made a nice stew with rice, tuna fish, tomato sauce and some lasagna to add some meat to the dish. That sounded all very nice to us but I must admit the result looked less tasty than I would have imagined.
Motorcycle trip around central Mongolia - 1200km offroad on rented 150cc Chinese bike-8.jpg
Also we did not boiled the rice long enough and it tasted exactly as it looked unfortunately, damn we are shabby cooks
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Old 31 Dec 2015
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Thank you for sharing! I wait the the rest of the story.
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While we were eating, the patriarch of the nearby nomad family came by on his Honda and invited us to his ger for some drinks, we invited him to join our meal but after a look at our cooking pot he wisely declined
After our botched diner we hiked over to his ger camp which was about a 15mins walk away. The fact that this man drives a Honda motorbike and not one of our Chinese rattle sheds, indicated this man was above average wealth for a Mongolian nomad. His gers were nicely decorated and he had satellite TV running on car batteries he recharged with solar panels. We sat down on the guest chairs in his main ger and were treated to some of the sweet yak milk we know very well by now. This man also had yak yogurt, which was excellent with some sugar and finally we got the main dish…homemade yak whisky, distilled right in the middle of this man’s house.
They spoke no English though (not surprised of that) so with my best and most polite hand gestures I asked if I could photograph this man. With a cheeky smile he agreed and you can see the house owner with me on below picture and his wife in the back ground.
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on below picture is the father of this man, who sleeps in another ger next to this one.
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And below you see the whisky distilling setup which is placed on top of the central furnace which is fueled by dried up yak droppings (this gives off a very special but delightful aroma, I am not kidding it smells great)
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Our friendly hosts kept filling us up with the home distilled whisky, which was very sweet also and drank very easily, so we got quite drunk (at least I know I did).
After a few hours we wobbled back to our tents, full of energy from the devilish whisky. Actually I keep calling it whisky but I’m not so sure it officially was whisky. But hey, you try and mimic an alcoholic drink by hand language  . The sun was still up and we decided to play a game of baseball using a small bat we brought along to fight off drunkies, if ever needed. This was all very fun until we saw some bad weather closing in again.
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We ended this very lovely evening with some vodka and some card games, but the vodka did not mix well with the self-distilled whisky in my stomach and I learned a valuable lesson about Mongolian whisky that night (I shall spare you the details).
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The next day we woke up in beautiful sunshine and blue skies once again, business as usual I assumed. However it still was noticeably colder than the first mornings we awoke to the Mongolian steppes. We enjoyed another breakfast of snickers and pineapple (once you get used to this, it’s quite a fulfilling breakfast) and started packing up the tents. While packing up, our camping ground got invaded by a huge flock of goats who did not at all seemed bothered by us.
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Time to hit the road it is!
Today we knew we would have follow the tarmac road leading into Kharkorin, this road was in much better nick than the previous stretch of tarmac we encountered earlier on our trip.
The road was completely deserted and arrow straight, which was quite relaxing, and allowed us to make a beautiful poster picture of our rolling trio (picture taken by cam on self-timer)
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The scenery on this road was breathtaking and the tarmac was velvet smooth. Our goal was to hit Kharkorin early in the day and stack up on food and water, we were running quite low on the latter. After about 30km of the only smoothness we experienced in Mongolia so far, we reached the town of Kharkorin as seen on below picture taken from the gas station.
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We found the only supermarket in town (Mongolian alphabet is in Cyrillic script, so not easy to find since all buildings look like houses in Kharkorin, except the monasteries).
The atmosphere in Kharkorin was quite grim to our liking and everybody stared at us very openly.
We were quite an attraction in the “supermarket” so we hurried getting all we needed and left Kharkorin, not many things to see there anyway, although it was quite interesting to see how the villagers live there in this very remote settlement.
We left the town using our GPS as main guideline, after some trial and error Tom mounted the GPS on his steer, much safer then riding with one hand on the steering wheel and the other tapping on the GPS, as he had been doing so far.
Motorcycle trip around central Mongolia - 1200km offroad on rented 150cc Chinese bike-17.jpg
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Part 4: ORKHON VALLEY

After leaving Kharkhorin the tarmac ended immediately and we followed a nice dirt track heading up a big hill. The GPS seemed to indicate that our prefabricated route runs south of the river Orkhon so that’s where we headed off to. Below a picture of the majestic view that greeted us from this hill just outside Kharkorin.
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This view was staggering as no trace of human life was visible in the entire view ahead, a picture really does not show how vast the landscape ahead was and how immense the sky above.
With high spirits we entered the famous Orkhon valleys and negotiated some of the most beautiful dirt tracks we had seen so far.
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Chappy’s shoulder had become less of an issue for him by now and we could really open up the taps on these roads. At top speed we meandered through the thousands of corners and scaled many hills. Every new view was more spectacular than the previous.
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Above picture shows an extremely difficult ascent which was only possible in 1st gear, and even some clutch slip was required to make it to the top. Tom’s clutch was behaving badly by now and slipping a lot so he had to be careful to spare his clutch for the remainder of the journey (by now we were only about halfway). Late in the afternoon we noticed the GPS was starting to make no sense and kept changing direction all the time, and became almost useless. We switched back to using maps and discovered we had been riding at the wrong side of the Orkhon river all along. We checked for many places to cross but the river was very wide and strong current due to previous rainfall.
Motorcycle trip around central Mongolia - 1200km offroad on rented 150cc Chinese bike-24.jpg
We met a few locals who advised us not to cross the river here, since we were quite far off the route by now, we decided to make camp and head back the next day direction Kharkorin where we had been told there was a bridge nearby (which we apparently had missed).
Motorcycle trip around central Mongolia - 1200km offroad on rented 150cc Chinese bike-25.jpg
We camped at the location in above picture, which was the most beautiful camping spot I have ever spent the night. That evening, spirits in our camp needed a boost as we felt a bit low having ridden so many kilometers in the wrong direction. We had a double portion of pasta and filled our bellies with all the candy we had brought on the trip. What a bit of food and sweets can’t do to lift your spirits right back up again .
After some washing up at the mosquito infested Orkhon river, we spent the evening dancing on some old-school Dutch rap music guided by vodka and followed by our best campfire stories. Although there was no sign of any camp fires due to NO trees in Mongolia, only the first night we found a small forest and some dry dead wood to make the only camp fire we had in our stay in Mongolia.
Motorcycle trip around central Mongolia - 1200km offroad on rented 150cc Chinese bike-26.jpg
Motorcycle trip around central Mongolia - 1200km offroad on rented 150cc Chinese bike-27.jpg
Above picture demonstrates our dancing moves with long exposure shot by Tom’s cam, it was almost dark by then but the long exposure makes it look like daylight.
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Dear readers, I ran in a bit of a problem, I could not upload anymore pictures as I reached the maximum quota. Since I can't find a way to increase this quota I have made a new account with almost the same username: Brunoittt -> Brunoitttt. I have used another email address since this is required, but rest asure it's still me and you can read the rest of my story on below posts Off we go again!

Morning revealed another beautiful sunrise and a clear day ahead, even the temperature was better than the days before.
Motorcycle trip around central Mongolia - 1200km offroad on rented 150cc Chinese bike-28.jpg
Motorcycle trip around central Mongolia - 1200km offroad on rented 150cc Chinese bike-29.jpg
Normally our morning ritual of breakfast and packing up our gear easily takes up 2.5 hours, but since we had some catching up to do today we were ready to go 1.5 hour after sunrise. We even got Chappy out of bed early, which is quite a difficult task.
Off we go then, back to where we came from. Personally I did not mind this whole bit where we drove the wrong way, these were the most fun tracks we had ridden so far, and the surroundings were absolutely breathtaking. After a few km’s however my clutch lever broke in half. That was very strange since the clutch was very light to operate and did not require much pressure on the lever. But nevertheless it snapped clean in half during a downshift and there I was, stranded again thanks to my clutch.
Motorcycle trip around central Mongolia - 1200km offroad on rented 150cc Chinese bike-30.jpg
The situation was worse now though since I had no spare lever (normally these things never brake unless you crash). For those sharp readers who think my previous crash on day 2 might have caused the clutch lever to get weakened, I crashed right hand down and the clutch lever is left, so no that was not it, but thank you for thinking with me! 
Since I had not too much choice on the matter, I disconnected my front brake and attached the clutch to my front brake lever (which did not really fit so it was a botched fix, but it worked nevertheless). We continued on our way but I had to keep much more distance to both my mates as I did not feel like running in the back of them due to not having enough stopping power. The rear brake was not really in good nick so engine brake was my main anchor, which made heavy downhill sections quite tricky. After a few hours we found the bridge in question just before reaching Kharkorin again, and we finally crossed the Orkhon river and started to follow it from the other side, the correct side.
The km’s tumbled and we made excellent progress on the winding dirt tracks along the river, the going was more difficult though and there were many sharp bends and steep inclines, and lots of rocks peppered along the tracks. We did not make too many pictures that day as we had to make up a lot of time. Below a picture of a break we took along the river, while washing up our cooking equipment.
Motorcycle trip around central Mongolia - 1200km offroad on rented 150cc Chinese bike-31.jpg
That day we easily covered more than 100km of dirt tracks without any significant issues.
When the evening approached the tracks got more and more difficult and the bikes were suffering on the hard bumps and rocks. Suddenly Tom’s bike cut off without warning and refused to start again. On below picture we are trying to figure out what the problem was, it definitely had something to do with the ignition as the spark plug did not give a spark.
Motorcycle trip around central Mongolia - 1200km offroad on rented 150cc Chinese bike-32.jpg
After an hour we got desperate and started to fear we would not find the problem.
Minutes after this negative realization an old 4x4 Russian van passed by. It was one tough looking male driver who had about 20 kids in his van, quite strange this…
This man stopped to help us but never spoke a word, he just got out of his van and started taking apart Tom’s bike. With some hand language and funny noises we explained that it had to be an ignition problem. Our tough looking Samaritan dismantled the bike until the framework and discovered there was a wire loose at the contact with the ignition coil. Meanwhile Chappy was handing over all the candy we had to the 20 joyful kids in the 4x4 van, they were really cute!
After about 45mins Tom’s bike gave ignition again and we were absolutely elated! Tom gave our friendly but silent man 20000 Tugrik (about 10€) for his wonderful help, his face lit up when he received his reward and he could not believe we wanted to give him so much money. After Tom insisted accepted and waved us goodbye with the most warming smile ever. He then started his Russian van with a huge crank handle like in the good old days and hobbled out of sight.
Motorcycle trip around central Mongolia - 1200km offroad on rented 150cc Chinese bike-33.jpg
We set off once more for the remainder of the day, but we were really getting tired now (as you see in above picture)
Suddenly some bad weather came in and we were caught in some of the heaviest rainfall I ever ridden through. The road became incredibly slippery and I almost crashed several times. Sometimes my front wheel would slip away more than a meter before getting grip again, which made for some stressy driving. Around 17pm the rain stopped and we needed to find a good camping spot off the road. Then we encountered by pure chance a large ger camp from a big nomad family, who had some spare gers to rent out to travelers and make some extra cash. We were so glad we did not have to pitch tents for once and gladly accepted there offer to use once of their gers. We tried to make out what this would cost, but the nomad lady in question was not impressed with our sign language and just smiled and walked away. We assumed (and hoped) they would not charge all too much and settled in the comfy and warm ger.
Motorcycle trip around central Mongolia - 1200km offroad on rented 150cc Chinese bike-34.jpg
The temperature really started to drop now and we realized we would be travelling much colder days for the rest of our trip. The ger however was like a sauna with the traditional nomadic furnace in the middle, and we enjoyed the prospect of an evening and night in absolute comfort.
Motorcycle trip around central Mongolia - 1200km offroad on rented 150cc Chinese bike-35.jpg
Things got even better when we were invited by the nomad family to join for dinner in their big family ger which you see on below picture.
Motorcycle trip around central Mongolia - 1200km offroad on rented 150cc Chinese bike-36.jpg
Motorcycle trip around central Mongolia - 1200km offroad on rented 150cc Chinese bike-37.jpg
we did not take any picture of our delicious meal consisting of yak meat, paprika and rice as we feared taking pictures might be rude towards the family. After dinner we retreated to our comfy ger and made another meal of pasta with tomato sauce (we were really hungry from this day of riding and needed more sustenance then 1 plate of yak meat ). Also the nomad family’s ger camp consisted of an outhouse with (a sort of) toilet, so it was a very welcome change to be able to sit down again like a civilized person, instead of squatting down like the animals we were .
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That evening we stayed up late and enjoyed some more vodka cola’s with some card games.
Motorcycle trip around central Mongolia - 1200km offroad on rented 150cc Chinese bike-38.jpg
Although our ger was very comfy and warm we did not have a very good night sleep. The nomad family’s camp was surrounded by big yaks who all came grazing around our ger during the night. This was to the dismay of the dogs that guarded the camp and they barked at the yaks all night long.
Not surprisingly a ger tent does not insulate against sound
Motorcycle trip around central Mongolia - 1200km offroad on rented 150cc Chinese bike-39.jpg
We easily could have stayed another few days in this lovely place, with the comforts we missed during our trip. But our scheduled by now was getting very tight due to the unforeseen detours we had been making so far. So we had to get going if we wanted to be back in the capital in time.
So that morning we woke up and noticed it was nearly still freezing, and we knew we had to dress properly against the cold for the day ahead on the road. While packing up we found the leg of an entire yak that had been eaten by the dogs. We were not sure if the dogs had killed a yak, or if the owners gave the dogs a treat after slaughtering a yak for it’s delicious meat, but we guessed it would have been the latter.
Motorcycle trip around central Mongolia - 1200km offroad on rented 150cc Chinese bike-40.jpg
So reluctantly we packed our gear and prepared for another day of many km’s, which we hoped would not be too hard to negotiate as we wanted to cover at least 100km’s. But our hope seemed to be in vain. Also before we left Tom spotted an old Russian bike somewhere behind the nomad camp. This Russian broken down bike still had a clutch lever, so I quickly took it from that bike, modified the shape by grinding it on a rock and fitted it to my bike. So once again I had a clutch AND front brake, nice!
Motorcycle trip around central Mongolia - 1200km offroad on rented 150cc Chinese bike-41.jpg
That morning we were also presented with our “bill” for our night stay and the lovely diner we had. It turned out to be a measly 75000 Tugrik, that’s less than 12€ each which was a tremendous low amount for the comfort and hospitality we received. Oh boy I am not kidding when I say we wanted to stay there a few more days
Motorcycle trip around central Mongolia - 1200km offroad on rented 150cc Chinese bike-42.jpg

Part 5: HARDCORE ROADS BACK EAST

Our day on the road started with some tricky river crossings, one of them you can see in below video, where Chappy crosses the river like a true Mongolian nomad.

(the site does not seem to accept this video so I'll find another way later to post this)

However these river crossings got our feet all wet all the time and the temperature did not seem to rise above 10 degrees C that day.
Motorcycle trip around central Mongolia - 1200km offroad on rented 150cc Chinese bike-43.jpg
Also every km of the road we drove that day was very hard work. The smooth and winding dirt tracks were a thing of the past, and we had to negotiate brutal inclines, dangerous descents and very tricky road surfaces. It was such hard going we did not bother at the time taking pictures of the real hardcore off-roading stuff, as we were so focused on making progress and not having a bad accident.
Also Tom’s bike developed another issue. His right footrest snapped clean off while on the road. We examined the broken off metal and it was completely rotten from the inside. Since we still has so far to go we needed a solution. With some luck we found a wooden plank aside the road and strapped this to the right side of Tom’s bike, giving him at least a spot to rest his right leg while driving. This made his posture on the bike look quite funny to us
Motorcycle trip around central Mongolia - 1200km offroad on rented 150cc Chinese bike-44.jpg
Motorcycle trip around central Mongolia - 1200km offroad on rented 150cc Chinese bike-45.jpg
It does not show in above pictures but that hill was so steep and was only negotiable in 1st gear and took us over an hour to complete. We often had to get of the bikes and push one another to make sure we would not kill any of the clutches on the bikes. On the top of that hill we arrived in a huge swamp which was incredibly difficult to wrestle through.
Normally I love this kind of hardcore roads, but boy I was longing for my KTM now. These Chinese bikes did not have enough power to pull themselves through the slush and we often had to pull and push each other through the dampest parts of the swamp. In retrospect I regret heavily not having photographed these swamp “roads”, as I never encountered anything close to this anywhere and believe me it would have blown your minds if you saw what we had to get through on these puny powered bikes. In roughly 6 hours we only managed to cover 35km’s and were falling behind schedule even more.
When we arrived at the top of another brutal hill (Tom’s bike had to be pushed upwards as his worn out clutch could not handle that steep section) we knew we only had 2 hours of daylight left at the most. Below picture shows you the view that greeted us.
Motorcycle trip around central Mongolia - 1200km offroad on rented 150cc Chinese bike-46.jpg
You can’t see it very well in the picture but the entire valley before us was a huge mineral mine which we had to cross, we checked the maps but there was no way to drive around it. We had been warned by Cheke when we picked up the bikes, that we could not camp near any mine under any circumstances, as tourist are very unwelcome by the local miners. The local Mongolians in the mine are very poor people, exploited and receiving very low wages, and they live in crappy wooden sheds in the middle of the mine. Needless to say the mining owners want to hide this truth from the rest of the world. So we decided to cross the mine and camp when we left the site far behind us.
This was easier said than done, the mine was a maze of slippery polluted roads and we got lost many times. After driving about 12km in the mine we were stuck and could not find a way out. All the mining operators in the truck and diggers were shouting at us and gestured us aggressively to get the hell out, and believe me, we wanted nothing more than that. Thankfully a dirty lady in worn rags came out of her wooden shed as she heard our commotion and she pointed us the best way to get through and out of the mine. We found the way out but immediately stumbled upon a small mining village close after where the actual mine ended. The atmosphere there was way worse than in Kharkorin, and we immediately realized that we could not stop there at all. All the villagers were very poor and dirty and started to shout at us and ran towards us as we passed. The houses were very crappy sheds and the village was littered with garbage and dead animals. We even saw a villager lying completely passed out in the middle of the only road that ran through the village and nobody bothered to even look at him or help him. By that time it was almost freezing again, so if nobody has helped that poor man in the streets he will have died for sure only hours after we passed there. Clearly everybody in that village was completely drunk and it scared the living hell out of us how aggressive they were towards us.
So we drove through the village at top speed dodging people, garbage and other icky stuff.
We feared some villagers might follow us so when we left the village we also turned off the road and drove about 5km’s into the hills, making sure our camping spot was completely out of sight of anybody that might pass by in the neighborhood.
Motorcycle trip around central Mongolia - 1200km offroad on rented 150cc Chinese bike-47.jpg
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The wind also pick up and it started to freeze, our feet had been wet all day (there were some more river crossings right before we entered the mine, to make sure our feet would be nice and cold all day long).We set up our tent in the hard ice cold wind and were shivering heavily. We changed our clothes (but had no extra pair of dry shoes) and I wore about every piece of clothing I brought along to get my body to warm up again. That evening we made double portions of pasta to ensure we had enough energy to keep us warm. And after the meal we immediately turned in for the night, no point being outside in the freezing cold and battering winds.
Motorcycle trip around central Mongolia - 1200km offroad on rented 150cc Chinese bike-48.jpg
We all had expensive down sleeping bags who had limits up to -36 degrees C, but even though we were very cold in our tents. I went to bed wearing 2 jogging pants on top of each other, a thermal pulley and double t-shirts inside my sleeping bag, and still it was bitter cold. And worst of all I managed to puncture a hole in my sleeping mattress while being stupid so I touched ice cold bottom ground in the middle of the night. Thank god I was able to fix the whole with a good 10 meters of duct tape and reflated my mattress for the rest of the night.
Due to the cold I woke up early in the morning (aside the many times I woke up during the night) to a frozen world.
Motorcycle trip around central Mongolia - 1200km offroad on rented 150cc Chinese bike-49.jpg
The temperatures had dropped easily below -10 degrees C by night and our tents and bikes were completely frozen up, our wet shoes had become frozen solid in our tents.
Motorcycle trip around central Mongolia - 1200km offroad on rented 150cc Chinese bike-p1010217.jpg
So we dressed as warm as we could and tried to walk of the cold a bit until the sun came up above the mountains in the far distance. I think I managed about 10 layers under my motorcycle vest, to ensure maximum insulation
Motorcycle trip around central Mongolia - 1200km offroad on rented 150cc Chinese bike-50.jpg
Motorcycle trip around central Mongolia - 1200km offroad on rented 150cc Chinese bike-51.jpg
Once the sun raised above the horizon things warmed up and we ate some frozen solid snickers and mars bars (the canned pineapples were long gone by then).
Motorcycle trip around central Mongolia - 1200km offroad on rented 150cc Chinese bike-52.jpg
We packed our gear and got ready for another long days of driving. Priority was to cover as much distance towards Ulaanbaatar as we could. Before we left we had a visit by a friendly nomad with the greatest smile ever. We gave this man what was left of our rice bag and he was very happy with that. He also was on the same Shineray bike as us and used it to herd his cows.
Motorcycle trip around central Mongolia - 1200km offroad on rented 150cc Chinese bike-mongolia-100.jpg
Since we were so far behind on our schedule, we decided to cut off a part of the route and skip through the Northern Gobi desert to make sure we got back to the capital in time.
That day we easily covered 250km’s, the most we had on any day so far, and made it back to the main tarmac road heading to the capital. Since time was precious we did not take the liberty of stopping for breaks or photographs, accept for a few when our butts and legs cramped up.
Motorcycle trip around central Mongolia - 1200km offroad on rented 150cc Chinese bike-p1010219.jpg
We passed an incredible range of sand dunes in the Northern Gobi and saw some camels too, but the road was littered with crazy truck drivers so we did not stop to take it in the views and pictures as it was just too dangerous and there was no where to stop safely.
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We passed through a village where we stacked up on water and cola and then Tom’s bike decided to blow it’s rear tire right next to the only tire shop we encountered in the whole trip. That was an amazing coincidence, maybe it was more a strategy of the shop owner than really a coincidence, but hey let's not get to paranoid here
Motorcycle trip around central Mongolia - 1200km offroad on rented 150cc Chinese bike-53.jpg
The tire shop did not actually have any equipment in it for bikes, so the mechanic just replaced the inner tire outside his shop with a spare we had purchased earlier.
When the day ended we were about 250km away from the capital, which we estimated would be perfect for 2 days of driving on dirt roads again. This would have meant we would arrive back in Ulaanbaatar exactly as scheduled. However while setting up camp that evening, Chappy managed also to puncture his sleeping mattress. But it was a much bigger whole then mine and this one could not be fixed with duct tape.
Motorcycle trip around central Mongolia - 1200km offroad on rented 150cc Chinese bike-54.jpg
So we knew Chappy would have a terrible night (and he did). That’s why we decided to skip our plan of 2 days riding of dirt tracks, and we would switch back to the tarmac main road and negotiate the 250km the next day.
Motorcycle trip around central Mongolia - 1200km offroad on rented 150cc Chinese bike-55.jpg
This meant we could eat almost all our food we had left since it would be our last night out in the open. We ate double portions of pasta, some noodles, cookies and more candy until we could eat no more. I took the time to enjoy my last night in this fabulous countryside and wandered off alone in the evening, with some vodka and smokes as company, taking in what we had done and how much fun and beauty we had encountered. Mongolia truly is an amazing place with unmatched pristine untouched nature and it’s very cheeky, bold and curious inhabitants.
The next morning Chappy woke us up a 06am as he could not take any minute longer in his tent, lying on the ice cold bare floor with his deflated mattress.
While still being dark we pack up and were ready to go. We ate the last of our oreo’s, I squatted down in the bushes for what was to be the very last time (thank you god for that!) and we set off for our last stint of 250km of straight tarmac road.
Motorcycle trip around central Mongolia - 1200km offroad on rented 150cc Chinese bike-p1010109.jpg
Very boring this but also dangerous. At a certain moment Chappy got launched in the air at 70km/h due to a sinkhole in the tarmac he did not see, and we really thought he was going to come off the bike in a very bad crash. But somehow he managed to stay on, leaving myself to be the only one who succeeded to crash his bike into the Mongolian dirt on this trip. Also we constantly had to brake for crossing cows, yaks and horses who always jumped on the road at the last minute. After 250km of terrifying driving (trucks would pass you full speed only 10cm from our bikes) we made it back to Cheke to hand over the bikes.
We had ridden a total of 1273km’s on these rattling wobbling bikes.
Finally…what a journey, but we all made it in one piece. This trip was one of the most beautiful, terrifying, exciting and unforgettable trips I ever made (and maybe ever will make) , but believe me I was glad when our taxi driver dropped us off at the hotel. We enjoyed the next 2 days doing nothing but sleeping, eating, swimming and enjoying the…eum…massages… in the hotel. 2 days later our taxi driver dropped us off at the airport and we waved goodbye to this amazing country.
Motorcycle trip around central Mongolia - 1200km offroad on rented 150cc Chinese bike-mongolia-111.jpg

I must say I quite enjoyed writing this story, as it brought me back with my mind into the trip which now is already 3 months ago.
We are now planning our motorcycle excursion for next year, which will probably be a round trip in Namibia and Botswana, 2 pearls of the African continent.
I hope you enjoyed reading my story, and maybe next year you will all find my next story of our African adventure

For those who have additional questions or just want to share some experiences, you are all invited to mail me on brunomommens@hotmail.com

Thank you all for reading, keep travelling and keep on riding!

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you're welcome, I posted the last parts so now the story is complete, I hope you enjoy it!
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Many thanks Bruno. Great trip report.
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Nothing like a real adventure and you guys definitely had an adventure - thanks for sharing
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2017 KTM 1290 SD GT, 2019 KTM 300 XC, 2019 KTM 500 EXC, 2019 KTM 350 SXF, 2003 Yamaha TZ 250, 2008 MV Agusta 1000 312R, 2010 KTM RC8
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Hey Bruno,
great report of you trip.
Was really nice to read and ispiring also.
I am looking forwards to any upcoming trips of yours

Cheers H.
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