Tuesday, July 28, 2009


First, a quick note: The rains we posted about on July 17th have continued. The one we wrote about took 29 lives and caused a fair amount of damage. We had another heavy storm about a week later and the streets turned to rivers, again, though not quite so bad nor as long lasting.

Then, as we journeyed to Choibalsan these past few days (the real purpose for this post) we found on our return trip that another area had been hit. There were several new lakes in one of the small towns and the fairly new asphalt road had been washed out in a couple of places forcing us to 'off road' it again for a time.

These have been very unusual rains and we wonder if they will continue. Now to our Choibalsan trip.

We took the Workshop that we do, to the farthest away point yet in our mission experience. Other seniors who have gone west to Choibalsan have taken the plane. But not us. NOOOO! Clever us, we decided to drive! Thought it would be interesting and save some of our limited office budget. Live and learn!

Many times we were stopped by herds of horses, sheep, goats, camels, or cows. They seemed to really like the road, for some reason.

The roads were like these which you can see trailing off seemingly into the horizon. Well, we not only drove as far as you can see here, but through several such stretches before we were done.The pictures pretty much tell it all! The first 3.5 hours was fairly good paved road. The last 6 hours were on "roads" such as those pictured.

Much of the time this was our view as we followed President Andersen (our mission president), with whom we traveled. And we thought "Eat my dust" was only an idiom!

The rains helped make for an interesting mix of terrains (pardon the pun)for driving in. The potholes and mudholes were bad enough, but we really were challenged to the limit by kilometer after kilometer of washboard! Give me mud holes any day!

Mongolia really is a wide open country with lots of open space. It is about seven times the size of the state of Utah and just a bit larger than Alaska. That is a lot of land for less than three million (2.9 million) people to roam around in. For comparison, Utah has nearly the same population size (approx. 2,850,000).

We finally arrived in Choibalsan at about 5:15 pm and were happy to be out of the car. We tried not to think of the drive back to UB!

What more can we say!


meglex said...

That is horrible that 29 lives were lost!! I am glad you both are safe!
Looks like a...um...fun drive. At least you had some what of a road this trip, instead of making your own roads like your other trip. Well, actually maybe making your own road would have been better, those roads look pretty bad.
Glad you're back. We missed hearing from you for so long.

Gaby said...

Wow! Looks like a very entertaining ride. Just curious, but which of the following would you rather have while driving; lots of mud or lots of dust? :)
It's been fun reading your blog and learning a little more about Mongolia.
Love you both!

Lindsie, DJ and Jarod said...

Guess now we have to be grateful for all the road work here in Utah. At least the roads are kept in decent shape! Suppose that's better than driving in mud.

The Cowley Clan said...

I don't think you skipped the plane to save money. I think there were other reasons....

Maybe the plane ticket would be cheaper than the wear on the car!

Glad to hear from you! We were getting a little worried. It's hard when we can't just pick up a phone and give you a call!