Pull, pull, pull

Pull, pull, pull

On the way to visit Chinggis Khan’s birthplace, the main trail/road was washed out, so our caravan had to cross a stream that was mostly mud. At the narrowest point, there was already a blue truck with two horses in the back that was buried deep in the mud. Nearby farmers were making money by charging vehicles for tows, but after many attempts, not even two tractors pulling simultaneously could move the truck six inches. Our two SUV’s had made it across, and they gave it a try from either end. But broken cables and great frustration were the only result.

stuck-in-the-mud trucks

stuck-in-the-mud trucks

For some reason I never understood, our cook van attempted to cross right next to the blue truck. But it failed to make it, and then the driver kept giving the van gas, so the wheels could spin and dig themselves deeper into the mud. DON’T SPIN YOUR WHEELS IN MUD, SNOW OR SAND IS ONE OF THE BASIC RULES OF DRIVING. Now both vehicles were stuck, and two tractors and two SUV’s couldn’t move our van either.

a muddy ford is no problem for a horse!

a muddy ford is no problem for a horse!

What to do, what to do. I eventually suggested that the horses should come out of the blue truck to lighten the load. That did the trick…although I can’t be sure that anyone really listened to my advice. The cook van also had to be emptied of its load, so out came the tents, stove, chairs, food…almost everything…and we had a picnic lunch, while pure manpower with shovels first took away some of the dirt and grass. Cleverly, there was a rubber, inflatable “jack” that was used to then help raise the van about a foot higher. And it used exhaust fumes from an SUV to fill up this red balloon.

patience is essential in Mongolia

patience is essential in Mongolia

After 2 1/2 hours, the lighter van was also liberated by two SUV’s doing the towing. Once all the supplies were repacked, we were finally on our way. But this was just another example of life on the steppes, when there are no tow trucks you can call with your AAA card. And for some reason, I was pretty calm, enjoying the view, the food and the experience. George’s perfect attitude was having its effect.

BTW When we returned to this spot on the way back, two 15-foot-long boards were used to drive on under the water surface, but above the mud. That prevented spinning and digging in, and we traversed the ford in seconds. It was our secret, hidden “bridge,” which we left for other vehicles…