Day 3: Erenhot – Altanshiree (296 km)

( We had no Internet at our camp last night which is why I’m afraid this is a little late)
This morning we left our hotel at 07:45 in order to be at the Chinese / Mongolian border for when it opens at 08:00. Crossing the border took a bit longer than expected and put us over an hour behind schedule. We had to first go through a pretty thorough check, in order to get out of China and then again to enter Mongolia.
Even after driving only a few kilometers into Mongolia, the differences to China were very apparent. The landscape was just as open but in Mongolia there was also a lot of sand and as a result dust. The roads though were the biggest change. Up until our arrival in Erenhot we had always driven on tarmac, however a few mere kilometers across the border the road abruptly ended and so our adventure continued on dirt tracks.
Driving off road was a lot of fun and also made it more interesting to overtake, however it was quite a bumpy ride. It was a beautiful and warm day, but this meant it was close to 40 degrees in the car. We had to drive with our windows open to try to stay cool which had the added effect of covering us and absolutely everything else in the car in a layer of fine dust. By the time we arrived at the camp out clothes had taken on the color of sand and our hair felt like concrete.
While we were driving we could see that they were building a new road however we were only able to make use of the 80 km that had been finished. It was a welcome change to be able to drive quicker following the slower average speeds that we were making off-road. Over the course of the day we also had two time trials. During these stages we were given a set distance that we had to drive in the quickest time possible. On one of these stages we were held up behind another car that we were having trouble overtaking so our overall position in the rally at the end of the day was 20th.
We were one of the earliest cars to arrive in the camp so we were still able to set up our tent in sunlight. We had a pop up tent with us which is meant to be extremely easy to use as it doesn’t require putting together but instead just springs open. It was a bit more complicated though because the strong winds meant that we had a bit of trouble differentiating between the top and the bottom, as well as fastening it to the ground.
We were lucky and did not experience any technical difficulties today. The amount of luggage and spare parts we are carrying does significantly weigh down the car though, so we have been bottoming out the tail end in the deeper holes. At one point we bottomed out both the front and the rear and had to be pushed back onto the tracks. Although we were largely okay a number of the other cars did experience problems and 7 didn’t make it to the camp. Of those which did quite a few were tinkering away throughout the night in order to be ready for the start in the morning.

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Categories: Uncategorized | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “Day 3: Erenhot – Altanshiree (296 km)

  1. Alex

    hallo Noele, hallo Mario,
    die Bilder sind einfach schoen!! Nach 3 harten Tage, wie hat es das Auto ausgehalten?

  2. I never have pictured Mario as a Nomad, but at least you have a car not a camel

  3. Simi

    Fantastic commentary and beautiful pics almost feels like we r part of your exciting trip
    Have fun

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