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Diary Last Updated: Jun 16th, 2015 - 16:51:13


Stage 7 - Ulaan Baatar - Friday 2 May & Saturday 3 May
By Dick and Pip Smith
May 3, 2008, 09:41

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Lay days in Ulaan Baatar.

 

We have spent a very productive time here preparing the Earthroamer and ourselves for one of the longest legs yet – over 4,000kms to Vladivostok.

 

We were amazed to find it snowing outside when we woke up on Saturday morning.  We were both relieved that we had already reached Ulaan Baatar and didn’t have to drive on the dirt tracks now covered with snow which would turn to mud. 
We woke to find it snowing outside. This is the view from our hotel window.
The same view around lunch time when the sun had come out.

 

We left the Earthroamer with Ford and they have worked on it for two days.  They have done everything from an oil change to welding a strengthened frame on for the spare wheel.  They also swapped the tyres from right to left and also tried to rectify the surging of the turbo charger.  They have topped up the air in the tyres and washed the vehicle completely so it looks like new – well, almost.  They have done a fantastic job.
Only the Earthroamer's engine would fit into the doorway of the Ford service centre
The mechanic drilled holes in the Earthroamer to hold the strengthened frame for the spare tyres
The Ford mechanic welding some strengthening to the frame that holds the spare tyre on the back of the Earthroamer

 

Dick spent all day Saturday either underneath or inside the Earthroamer.  Firstly he replaced the batteries with Korean made units with a total capacity of 340 amp hours – not the 500 amp hour batteries that were originally installed, but Dick believes they will be OK nevertheless.  He located the fault with the diesel heater – the fuel line had become disconnected where it leaves the frame of the vehicle and connects with the frame of the Earthroamer (i.e. the house part).
Dick working on fitting the new batteries which run our 'house'

 

Pip spent the day in the comfort of the Kempinski Palace Hotel in Ulaan Baatar sorting out and choosing more photos that she had taken over the past five days to add to the web site. She emailed them back to our office on the hotel’s wireless internet and hopefully you will be able to see lots more photos – so go back to Day 71 and have a look!

 

He used Araldite to glue the TV set where it had broken off the fitting, and got it working.  He also glued the pin hole leak in the hot water system – I’m not sure if that is fixed yet!!  Dick inspected everything he could access and spent 50% of the time lying in the dirt under the Earthroamer.
Dick fixing the back of the TV

 

On Sunday, Dick went for an early morning walk to the main square to re-visit the Genghis Khan monument. Eldos then picked us up in a friend’s car and took us to a bazaar to buy some rope.  Each stall holder uses an old 40 ft shipping container as their shop.  We bought rope and a number of spare tools and then drove over to Ford.  Pip spent a few hours thoroughly cleaning the inside of the Earthroamer, even inside all the draws that had become full of dust.
Dick buying rope in the bazaar in Ulaan Baatar
A lady in the bazaar selling phone calls on her radio phone
Fresh fruit and vegetables for sale in the bazaar
The new and old in the bazaar
Dick and Eldos buying some spare tools
Pip giving 'our home' a good clean

 

Graham Taylor from Karakorum Expeditions visited us and couldn't get over "how American it was" due to the huge size, and he commented that it was fitted out like a luxury yacht.

 

We drove into the city for lunch and stocked up with food from a very modern supermarket.  We could even use our Visa card.  It was amazing to see the selection of fruit.  There were Chilean apples, Russian oranges and plenty of fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and capsicums.  There was also the usual selection of cabbages, potatoes and onions.  We understand that most of the food is imported.  We took it all back and stocked the fridge and cupboards ready for our trip through Russia. 

 

We found that Mugi and his fellow mechanics had taken the vehicle through the Wagner’s vehicle wash and had given the driver’s cabin a good vacuum.  We topped up the water tanks and put more air into the two spare tyres – they certainly needed it.  We would have been in serious trouble if we had experienced a flat tyre!
The Earthroamer clean and ready to head back onto the road
Filling the water tank and topping up the air in the tyres
Mugi (in black) and his mechanics who worked on the Earthroamer

 

We paid our bill and left our Earthroamer looking spick and span, ready for our early departure tomorrow.  The traffic builds up to complete chaos in the city so we plan to leave the hotel at 6.30am and get a taxi out to Ford.  Fortunately their premises are on the western side of the city and that’s the way the road leads us out towards the Russian border.

 

We finished the afternoon by finding a hairdresser and for $2.00 AUD Dick was given a very good hair cut. We spent an enjoyable evening having dinner with Graham Taylor before returning to the hotel and packing our bags for our early departure.
Dick getting his $2.00 AUD hair cut
Dinner with Graham Taylor

 

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