Inner Mongolia S203 keeps getting quieter by the mile. It’s being turned into a four lane and I am using the finished part of it. The old two lane is narrow and almost done for. Even the cows and horses hang out on it without concern. I keep wondering what tone Chinese cows moo in. Today I was just thinking about how bitchin’ this road was, and ended up singing Bitchin’ Camaro. That’s the great thing about being here. Nobody else to look at me funny when I sing weird shit at the top of my lungs. Unfortunately the only line I remember is something about doing donuts on somebody’s lawn.
I think I have two day’s left of riding to Russia. I’m now in a small city whose name I’m not sure of what it would be in English. Signs are in Chinese, Mongolian script, and, something new, Mongolian printed in Cyrillic as used in Outer Mongolia.
I love it when I’m trying to navigate through a strange city in a foreign country whose language I barely understand. By bicycle. Especially at night. Without a map. Ulanhot was pretty interesting that way. The way in I chose just happened to be through a dark slum. But I did manage to find the downtown. It took three hotlels to find a room.
Anyway, I’m just getting the hang of this country and I have to throw everything out and start fresh in Russia. Sometimes I can have a conversation for a few minutes without getting lost, but it’s hit or miss still. I’ve been practicing Russian at the top of my lungs out in the grasslands. Only the occasional cow can hear me. I’ll have to see how it goes.
I passed the 1,000 mile mark yesterday, about 60 miles north of A’er shan. Just before I stopped for the night. I found a small store and a family of Mongolians. They were kind enough to find a bed for me after a bit of drinking. They even taught me a couple of words in Mongolian. Services are pretty sparse out here and I’m not quite comfortable about stealth camping here.
The mountains ended just south of A’er shan. Google Maps says they maxed out at about 3600′ or so. It certainly did get nippy. Together with the gale force winds I’ve been getting beaten up a bit. Now it’s flatter grasslands, like South Dakota, but still stormy. I began two mornings ago with light snow flurries, which stayed with me until I crested and rolled down the other side. Even more remnants of drifted snow. Not a good sign as I am at about 50 degrees north and have a couple more degrees to go. Three layers of long sleeves and I can still wear shorts. Even the Mongolians wonder if I’m cold. It’s supposed to warm up this week.