Thursday, January 2, 2014

Mongolia X Journal 1: Bandit Bikers // Saved by Nomadic Herders

This motorcyclist was from Israel and purchased this BMW GS1200 from a dealer in Germany. He had motorcycled the whole way from Europe and followed the M52 through Russia. It was a relief after weeks of traveling solo to meet another fluent English speaking traveler. We shared perspectives of two different journeys, one with a motorcycle and the other with a mountain bike.

The family with horses had a son that found me laying out on the road [photo the herder and his friend a herder helper from another Ger camp]. I had been taking antibiotics for about a week since my water supply was all quite bad. He took me back to meet his parents and I laid down and couldn't get back up again for hours. Each hour or so, I awoke later to drink some goat milk salted and mixed with river water, boiled with herbs, a tradition in Mongolia. This repeated refill of tea really hydrated me, when I climbed on that horse about 8 hours later, it felt like the day I was born! 

Really happy for the moment, but I have succumbed to the parasites and am stranded by a lake as large as a volcano crater surrounded by 2000 meter peaks in all directions bordering Siberia. I met another man who after seeing images of my bowel movements taken on a field nearby with my digital camera, went to fetch something for me, an hour later he returned with a pill.

The parasite medication was strong, I arose at 0500 am the next day, thanked my second host, packed my tent and rode out of that lake valley. What happened next was riding sections and just walking pushing the bicycle for the next 12 hours!!!! I passed a 2600 meter mountain range, marmots were leaping across the tracks from their holes, some marmot would peep out and watch me struggling. Later that afternoon, some drunk motorcyclists passed while I trekking up the rocky pitch waving their bottles of vodka while laughing their heads off. I would meet them 10 hours later during the night as 4 of them attacked a Ger camp where I was also camping out. The leader of this drunken pirate motorcycle gang was one of the Mongolians I had just met from the volcanic lake shore (while I was trapped in the area for 48 hours shedding all my fluids!!!), I knew him well enough indeed.

Earlier in this episode, I spent 48 hours by the dry shores of the saline lake taking company with a herder family, and other visitors riding by on Chinese made 150cc motorcycles. Alongside the family I trusted, another boy came up to their camp and promptly rode away on my mountain bike. A herder motorcyclist was looking at photos taken (above) with my digital camera, he offered his motorcycle to to go after the mysterious herder boy. All this said, I initially considered my motorcycle-nomad offering  assistance - a new friend, I even gave him my business card to keep in touch should he find the internet where he permanently lived in the winters. He was fair skinned, well-dressed in western clothing, and didn't seem to be roughing it like other local herders and their families in this part of the Mongolian northwest.  

But, low to behold, 12 hours later up the tracks to the 2600 meter pass we meet again out of the valley and into the wilderness plateau landscapes with a few small lakes dotting the horizon on that night. I tried to speak reason to them, 4 intoxicated men with firewater eyes all reeking of 80 proof vodka. 

There is some imaginative anarchy that rules the minds of drunken madmen, hard to reason when you see the power of alcohol boiling in their eyes!  I spoke directly, authoritatively - or exponentially to these 4 intoxicated leather jacket clad motorcycle squad, all stumbling and swearing at all the herders standing nearby: "Bayar's tai! Bayer's ta...Mongol oos...Bako Bako, Bayar's tai, Sainbaino, Bayar's tai" All of which amounts to only "Goodbye...and Thank You!" But, I reinforced what we needed - speaking in mostly in intelligible English and body language - enough so these drunk men to understand, but my tone as serious as a siren and we were now standing off together, 4:1. 

3 drunk bikers decided it was time to quit (I bitched at them harshly to get the point!), they gripped their master, but the guy whom I considered my friend was all fire-eyed like madmen, drunken and powerful, knuckles wrapped in thick silver rings with inset stones. No doubt,  he had spent enough of his years with animals, herding and working manually, we were about equal strength though, who knows, at least I thought so and he wasn't so sure either in all this furry, noise, clambering around, behind it all was confusion and perhaps the truth. 1:1 now, the 3 others dropped and bowed to me, then they fumbled up and grab my arms again, but they were now on my side and trying to take their master back to the fields to chuck up, and hopefully catch some sleep!

We saved throwing punches, the delicious thought going through my mind, since I knew of his Ger camp location and mentioned it to the families gathered behind me, it was enough to save throwing punches, they rode around crashed a few times in the mud, and finally fucked away as they should have right away. 

Inside the Ger, I spoke with the herders by the stoking hot pot stove burning raw coal rocks, since we were close to a mining area. We discussed "kicking some ass" since there were 6 of us inside, and only 4 of them outside, we outnumbered them and were sober too. We could throw a piece of wood through their front tire, throw them over their bikes and proceed to beat them down. However, one problem with this scenario, although justice would be swift, they would have an advantage to follow me on the puttering mountain bike and do me in the next day! 

The idea of fierce offence melted into oblivion, besides, nobody herding sheep in this flock was ready to ride up with Genghis Khan on this occasion, they sipped on a liter of beer I purchased from their store and amused at my animation of the battle royale. Alas, I swilled a final paper cup of beer, and headed out into the black to catch some much needed sleep. It had been a 16 hour day, 12 hours struggling physically to get over the mountains, enough celebration already, I would call it a night finally.

The next morning, the mist and dew soaked the orange tarpaulin of my North Face tent rain fly. I emerged, unloaded my morning offerings to the well nourished fields of goat and sheep pellets and returned to my tent. I always take a morning walk, brush my teeth and return to a water bottle to wash out my gullet.

The dot of blood soaked into my white socks, a gift from Alta when I met her group along the shores of Khovsgol National Park. When I tripped, I fumbled with all the weight of the bike beside me, I would chip off the inside of my ankle, ripping skin back layers deep. That moment of pain was sudden, I reeled for a moment and then laid the bike over, sat down to catch my breath. 

Exhaustion and extreme pushes with the bike loaded, 9 liters water when I had some and standing for hours on the old Pearl iZumi I-Beam shoes was just tough.  I kept replacing the soles with crazy glue (contact glue) and pieces of blown truck tubes that scatter themselves along the 2500 kilometer route across Mongolia. I had followed the northern rim of Mongolia, the tracks were rough and wandering, I accumulated altitude changes of 40,000 meters (131,234 feet) over the 38 days I was on the move. 45 days is a hell of a beating in Mongolia. I am looking forward to returning for more, bloody mad fun! (:

More journals to come! Thank you for reading the diaries of bike trips with Brian. 

No comments:

Please share the free inspiration and adventure cookbook with all your friends and families (:

Ted Simon Foundation

About the Korean-World Author

Brian Perich was an English as a Foreign Language (EFL) lecturer for a decade, father, and adventure cyclist based in South Korea.

Previously, Brian has led Canoe adventures in Quetico Provincial Park, Atikokan, Ontario, Canada (1993/1999); led Grand American camping adventures (2000); lived at Paramahansa Yogananda's SRF Ashram for 5 months (see the film "AWAKE"), formerly worked in titanium welding at Agilent Technologies, formerly worked in Winery industry in Marin County with Kendall Jackson in California; Surfing and Meditation continued for several years in California, British Columbia, South Korea, Yoga training in California 1999-2000.

Between 1994-1998 - Brian completed his own adventures with motorcycles. His motorcycling marathons took him across the United States and central/western Canada, while traveling solo over an astounding 24,000km in 60 days! Brian endured 900 mile/1300km average days in the motorcycle saddle and apparently loved every minute of those adventures.

Today, he has given up motorcycle adventures altogether, but finds an outlet for his enthusiasm in outdoor recreation while bicycle touring and micro-blogging about those experiences on his mountain bikes.

While employed as an English teacher in South Korea, Brian has became an advocate for bicycle touring on his mountain bikes. The Korean-World blog originated from those small adventures in Korea, now expanded to cover his recent trek down the TransMongolian highway to the Gobi Desert, cycling 900km east through the Khentii grasslands and in 2012 crossing Mongolia in 45 days, 2500 kilometers 1553 miles. HimalayasX expedition Brian previously cycled across western China, the Taklamakan Desert, the northern Himalayas of East Turkestan Xinjiang/Uyghur Autonomous Region, the corrugated back roads and mountains of Kham Tibet. Brian successfully completed his 2011 mountain bike expedition with 3200 kilometers / 1988 miles unsupported, on/off road MTB adventure cycling.
Brian has completed his second mountain bike journey, MongoliaX expedition - Crossing Mongolia 2012, an unsupported mountain bike MTB expedition across 2500km of Outer Mongolia from Ulanbaatar to Altai Taven-Bogd National Park bordering China, Russia and Mongolia.

In 2013, as a sequel to a trilogy of cycle tours, Brian enjoyed a more leisure bicycle tour onboard his Koga-Miyata World Traveller seeing the northern tier of the United States and western Canada covering 3400 kilometers / 2000 miles in 30 days. This North American cycle tour was called Totherocktour. Enjoying the adventure of bicycle travel and every great conversation started while traveling on the road - has refueled his inspirations to cycle around the Earth. In 2013, while he cycled solo from the Great Lake State of Michigan, United States to Banff National Park in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. He weaved through local communities and reconnected with friends, family and community after spending almost a decade in Asia.

Brian is now supporting several non-profit foundations through expeditions: IDEAS Foundation of Canada IDEAS is the acronym for Intestinal Disease Education and Awareness Society which supports the IBD community, those suffering from IBD-inflammatory bowel disease, also known as Crohn's and Ulcerative Colitis.

The second non-profit foundation is ETE.ORG - Education Through Expeditions, UK which supports educational outreach programs inside schools around the world. ETE connects explorers with students in the classroom, through an interactive online program in development (Beta).

Brian is researching support for a 18000 kilometer bicycle expedition across the Americas: North, Central and South America - ONE -Arctic to Argentina
Please contact him if you are interested in helping out.

Twitter: Cycleagain
Location: Gangneung, Gangwon-do, South Korea or southern Ontario, Canada.

Thanks for visiting my Journal from Asia

I hope you enjoy the updates!

This site is best viewed in Google Chrome

Brian's friends have also been...Cycling in Korea!

Brian's friends have also been...Cycling in Korea!

Cycling in Korea, Warning: always wear a helmet! (I gave mine to my friend)

Cycling in Korea, Warning: always wear a helmet! (I gave mine to my friend)

Popular Posts

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...