Tuesday, September 16, 2014

MongoliaX2014 // Mountain bike touring in the land of Nomads // Legends of Genghis Khaan // Microadventures by Brian Peric

I left this journal blank. It was a great summer in Mongolia and in South Korea. I worked out a plan to cycle to the eastern Gobi Desert (Sainshand) and visit Terejl National Park (photos below) in the same 7-day route nearing the Chinese border (Zamiin-Uud Замын-Үүд). I met new friends in Ulaanbaatar again this summer. Travelers arrived from Estonia (Lauri Mihkelson), Germany, United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Switzerland, Holland, Serbia, Korea, Japan and Mongolia (Mongolians are naturally the kindest hosts in the world) (: I stayed at Zaya's Hostel in central UB. There, I split the MongoliaX2014 into three (3) Microadventures: Terejl National Park (1), Gobi Desert-Sumber East (2), and visiting Khentii grasslands on a return trip through Avarga mineral lakes (3)

First into the Terejl National Park (1) to see the running horses, bright green pasture Steppe hills and mountains, some herders and flocks, road workers from China, and wooden bridges towards the Turtle Rock. There, I camped there nearby a Shaman ground where pine trees were wrapped in colorful ribbons and cloth alongside the snaking hiking path towards Turtle Rock of Terejl Park. This location is just 60km (Park entrance, 3,000 Tugruts) 80km outside of Ulaanbaatar riding east on Peace Avenue directly from downtown (State Department Store - MAP of central Ulaanbaatar). The city of Ulaanbaatar is changing and developing - I noticed the paved roads of this capital city have improved since I started my trip in 2012 (massive holes filled in). The city was safer than two years before, as police or security officers would wait outside major shops or patrol through downtown on sidewalks. 

Second, riding southeast into the eastern Gobi Desert (2) along the TransMongolian railway route to China. Along this route, I met the most cycle travelers in all my travels. A family from Serbia with trailers on the road for 5+ months with their 3-year old son in tow; a Dutch couple on Recumbent bicycles having a blast riding to/from Ulaanbaatar to Sainshand in the Gobi all summer long. A Swiss couple (Jean-da and Leo) several years into their Round-The-World Tour, they are still traveling as I update this journal, bonnes voyages mes amis! I also picked up a ticket for the TransMongolian railway and bribed ($2.50) my way onto the train back to Ulaanbaatar to have lunch with a Japanese friend named Tomoko before leaving for Khentii grasslands, a Japanese cyclist/engineer who has ridden in Antarctica and designed a Fat Bike.

Third, riding east and west to and from the Khentii grasslands and offroad to the Avarga mineral lakes (3).  This section of the journey was different than the first two in several different ways.  I met a cool family outside of Baganuur, they resided along the highway and the grandmother had her year-round Ger tent setup with a large pasture of milking cows and horses from neighbors would often get mixed into her herds and shooed away by her grandchildren and their friends. From Baganuur, I continued east to Khentii leaving TOV central province into the greater grasslands which sprawl out for thousands of kilometers. I met 

An Ovoo - Shaman or Buddhist spiritual mound on mountain crossings (Davaa)

My first tour across Mongolia (2012)...
MongoliaX2012 - Solo independent crossing by Mountain bike (MTB). Mongolian tracks which can take you across the country, I tried and completed 2,500km or 1553 miles of them on the first trek I called the MongoliaX2012. Following my own route cooked up on Google maps and uploaded into a Garmin 705 cycling GPS. I completed that journey 53 miles further than the current record holder (Ash Dykes) for solo, unsupported crossing of Mongolia - but he pulled a cart, I cycled, trekked and pushed my bike to complete the shoulder-breaking journey two years before him with the aid/freshment/conversation and exchange of gifts with Mongolian Nomads from TOV province to Bulgan to Khovsgol Lake to Barunturuun to UVS province to the furthest point inside Altai Taven Bogd National Park in Kazakh Bayan-Olgii. I went the length of Mongolia from central to northern to far western solo/unsupported (for myself), but made the best of cultural connections to do it. I returned this summer to complete another 1200km to reach the Gobi Desert (Sumber - Eastern) and across Mongolia to the far east Khentii grasslands

My second tour across Mongolia (2014)...
The easier ride this year, 745 miles/1200km mostly on pavement, 200km out to Avarga mineral lakes). I traveled to see Mongolia, meet international travelers, relax in nature, and enjoy. (:This trek was more about feeling Mongolia - the clean air, finding and utilizing clean water sources either through filtering rivers (MSR microfilter) or carrying 10 liters of unfiltered well water (filling a few liters in villages, it's clean and delicious direct from a deep spring) or sometimes topping up on near-surface well water used by horses and humans (in which I always filter before drinking or use in cooking). I cooked this year in Mongolia, previously I carried no stove, pots, fuel or perishable food that required cooking for 45 days crossing the country. I enjoyed cooking meals this summer, and prepared them over LPG (Liquefied petroleum gas/natural gas) and a simple LPG burner head, on a stainless steel pot, and carrying a spoon and a small knife.  
I have completed through solo crossing thr 4-corners of Mongolia 3700km or 2299 miles (2300km offroad) unsupported in 65 days (7 rest days included).  Like many of the travelers I have met in Mongolia (including David Yu - Los Angeles Med Surgeon/friend/new sponsor), we always want to return to the magic of Mongolia. I did it because as George Herbert Leigh Mallory (18 June 1886 – 8 or 9 June 1924) said when he climbed Everest...Because it was there.
Terejl National Park on day 1 of my 20 day tour. 1200km was no problem given the surfaced roads going East/Southeast to the eastern Gobi Desert along the TransMongolian railway route.
I didn't carry rear/side panniers, I chose to use a 35L backpack and sleeping bag stuff sack contained all my clothing except the Goretex jacket. Upfront in the Ortlieb Frontroller Classic panniers I packed spare parts/tools/food/dead notebook computer/medicine/First Aid/and snacks.
The pavement, the landscape, the horses free to roam the park. Terejl was a good place to be.
Out of sight in lower right, a dead dog in this river. Very important to filter all water sources downstream!
I roll to ride Mongolia.
This is my dream, or one of them for bicycle touring in a foreign country in the summer. 
At night, I gathered twigs as kindling, and unfortunately there are Mongolians who picnic and throw trash in collective piles, I burned some plastic bottles as ignition and packed out a pile of other garbage left behind. Remember to always pack-out what you bring in on camping trips and microadventures. Leave the place cleaner than you found it, it helps the next person who wild camps in these beautiful locations. (:

Shamanism is alive in Mongolia
A lone calf walks by the Ger camps. These host international travelers taking Jeep-guided tours for the day or several days from Ulaanbaatar. You can actually do a lot in this area, Terejl also hosts a beautiful monastery - just a few kilometers beyond the Turtle Rock. Follow the gravel road Northeast and you will find it there. There are horseback tours arranged with you tour company in this area as well. Enjoy.
MongoliaX2012 - 1553 miles, 2500km, 40,000 meters, Offroad, 45 days. A first "solo crossing" for me. (:

Traveling is about the friends you meet, the places you see, the experiences you keep, the dreams under your feet traveling for a few months at a time. This is traveling adventure that is familiar to me. Going some place far from home and familiarity is exotic and it can be life fulfilling as a journey. These journeys don't have to end, they are a step to a new beginning.

More adventure coming soon, thanks for visiting (:

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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

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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)

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