I see camels in the distance, but they are far, far in the distance sitting in the back of a small flatbed truck. Who knew a bunch of Bactrian camels could fold their legs beneath their bodies and fit in such a small space? I am so excited that I start squealing a bit (overly excited at seeing my first ever non-zoo and non-American camels). He and Binderya laugh at me a little for being so excited. Then they laugh heartily at me every time we see camels from then on, especially the time there were a whole bunch walking in a hillside and I started exclaiming (maybe a bit too loudly), “Oh my God, oh my God, look!!!!!” It’s always good to provide your fellow travelers with some entertainment, right?

I want to stop for photos of camels in a passing pick-up truck, but we don’t. I’m disappointed, since the light is perfect for photography and the small pickup truck is a great setting, plus it’s a scene I’ve never seen before. I mean, how many times have you seen a couple of furry camels in the back of a pickup?

Dasha explains that these camels are on their way to UB for butchering. Poor guys. I wonder if I’ll be eating camel on this trip.

We passed some sheep during our first day on the road to Gobi.

We passed some sheep during our first day on the road to Gobi.

 

Stopping for the Night

Near dusk we pulled out the map. Pointing at a place ahead of us on the paved 2-lane road, Dasha suggests where we might stop to cook and eat and camp for the night.  He explains how far we’d gone and how much further until we arrive at Gobi Desert. He seems a little concerned that I might be disappointed we aren’t arriving in Gobi on day 1. When he finishes explaining, my response is, “And, we’ll see more camels tomorrow, right?” He and Binderya burst out laughing hysterically and finally seemed convinced that the main thing I care about is getting to see a million camels and maybe ride one, too. Yes, I’m just a funny tourist. And, then, I learn about their priority: mobile phone coverage!

Continuing our drive, their main priority is cell phone service, so the moment we spot a cell tower we scan the landscape for the best possible camp site. Passing near a big hill, Dasha lets us know this is the best area, so that we’re less visible to drunk guys passing by along the road. Steering the car while looking at the mobiles’ signal bars, Dasha pulls off our smooth 2-lane road. We bounce around on a mini cross-country drive toward the hills’ backside and find a flat spot for sleeping near a rivulet. Ugh. Seatbelts just want to cut you in half on the rough landscape.

Ahhh, priorities… camels and mobile phone coverage.

The 2 lane paved road is on the other side of this hill.

The 2 lane paved road is on the other side of this hill.

Next Chapter: Supper Time! Camping out in Mongolia.

Previous Chapter: The Road to Gobi Desert

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