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Yes, we know. If you have been trying to following us from Greece to Turkey to Georgia to Azerbaijan to Turkmenistan to Uzbekistan to Tajikistan to Kyrgyzstan and across all of China—-well, travel has been a bit hectic. Keeping up with visa entry deadlines and just life on the road has left little time and energy to sort photos and write blogs. We will backtrack and give all the details when we slow down, but in the meantime, life has been too exciting to leave you hanging in the Taklamakan Desert in China, our last posting.

Arriving in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia, we had learned from ourLonely Planet Guide that the annual Golden Eagle Hunters Festival was taking place the following weekend on the other side of the country. All plane flights were booked so the option was to drive. Anyway, getting there is half the fun, right?

We are now in Olgii, Western Mongolia. In 1996, as we crossed all of Russia, we followed an obscure trading route along the Mongolian border to a town called Kosh Agach, described by our Lonely Planet Russian Guide as “close to the middle of nowhere”. Olgii is just a few hours south of Kosh Agach, so I think we have reached “the middle of nowhere”.

When the pavement ended, we were looking at a maze of two-tracks wandering across the grassland of the northern part of the Gobi Desert, (second in size only to the Sahara). This was a “National Highway”. No problem. While Gary watched for washouts, potholes and sharp rocks, Monika scanned the distant web of two-tracks and obscure road markers to make sure we were still going the right direction. It would have been very easy to get lost. Often the most obvious track lead off to a ger over the hill or to a small community not on our new Mongolia Tourist Map.

Nine hundred miles and five 10 to 12 hour days later, driving on 3-inch washboard, gravel, mud, crossing a river or two and the surprising short sections of blacktop, often not even sure if we were on the right road, we arrived in “the middle of nowhere” and parked in a dust storm at the site of the 14th Annual Golden Eagle Hunters Festival.

Was it worth it? We’ll let you know after we replace a few broken bolts on the suspension and crawl underneath to see what else is loose.