10-Jul-2004 -- Most of the Mongolian Degree Confluence Point visits start with a jeep ride from a town in Mongolia.
We started with six campervans (RVs) in U.K. (although only four of them made it all the way to Mongolia) We came via Albania, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Kazakstan, Russia and entered Mongolia in the north west at Tsagaannuur. This border crossing was only opened to non-CIS registered vehicles in May 2004 and we think we were only the second group to cross into Mongolia here.
See www.silkroute.org.uk and click on "Siberia 2004" for more details of our journey.
All the "roads" in western Mongolia are actually multiple dirt tracks and their position is not shown accurately on any of the maps we could get in the U.K. before we set off. This made planning a Confluence visit rather difficult. However between Khovd and Altey (about 32km east of Bulgan) we found ourselves only 8km due south of 47N 94E.
At this point I explained over the CB radio to the other three vehicles that:
1) We were at 46.92N 93.99E.
2) That there was a Degree Confluence Point only 8km away.
3) What a Degree Confluence Point was!
4) That I would like them to wait an hour whilst we drove to it.
Of the four campervans only ours had four wheel drive so only we drove the 8km to the Confluence Point (as it happened the "cross country" drive was far smother and faster than the corrugated road we were on!) We stopped our campervan 300 metres away from the Confluence Point and found the exact position with our handheld GPS.
The other figures on the GPS give a good idea of the difficulty of driving in western Mongolia in a European campervan that you want to last long enough to get you back to Europe. As you can see we have travelled only 120km during an 8:17 hour day with a moving average speed of only 23.9kph. This was typical of our progress from the border to Ulaanbaatar.