In the morning I went to the local marketplace to see if I could find an URAL suspension. This is a more heavyweight Russian motorcycle occasionally found around the area. I found one, but even that didn’t seem strong enough. I left after lunch, hoping that the rubber would hold on for a few days.

I tried to cover as much ground as possible stopping only at an interesting grave of some sort. There was a family of four next to it. I assume it was their child inside the grave because it was very small. Then they all got on the small motorcycle and disappeared. All four of them… I’m getting used to this scene.

The road crossed above a high plateau. It was supposed to be sandy but the recent rains had hardened the ground a bit. Instead of sand, there were hardened sculptures of wheel tracks in sand. It was very deceiving.

At one point, I met a big herd of wild horses. I stopped to watch them for a while. They looked very much at ease in this barren desert plateau. Some of them were grazing the ocasional plants and the others were rolling in the sand. The ability to travel long distances in the steppe is what makes these animals so comfortable about being here. The herd is confidently spread around. They are a group, but every one of them have an individual poise. In a way, my motorcycle looks like that too. I guess riding a bike is as close as I can get to being like these animals. That is as long as I can find the next petrol station…

I rode about 83 miles that day. Still not too bad, considering I had only 5 hours of riding. Parts of the rubber in the suspension had peeled off but the ones which did the real job were still there. I arrived in a very small town I believed to be Delger. But the mileage on the map did not match up. All the children gathered around me. I started giving out some balloons to them. In a matter of seconds I gave out 30 balloons and there were still empty hands reaching out. I asked for a place to stay and one of them took me home.

I spent that night in a room playing and sleeping with 4 children of varying ages. They were really clever kids. I managed to communicate with them much better than I did with the grown ups. At one point, they started teaching me basic Mongolian. Numbers, phrases, greetings… One of them even gave me some road information. Amazing minds.