Today we wanted to cover 400+km and be close enough to Ulan Ude tonight so that tomorrow we could get to the city mid morning to spend some time there looking and doing chores. As it turned out the weather was not great, 39°F this morning, cloudy and windy all day, and the road, though paved, was terrible. So today we got to experience the best and worst of our GXV expedition vehicle.
The best, is tonight, literally parked in a field beside the road with a howling wind outside, and we are snug and comfortable. I would definitely not want to be out their trying to cook and prepare a meal and set up a tent or roof top tent. This is the kind of night that makes us appreciate the spacious accommodation we have.
The other side of this coin is the worst. Today we have traveled on very bad sealed roads, lots of potholes, and lots of changes in level and camber. In these conditions the GXV/Unimog is simply horrible. We have tried hard today to cover distance and all we could manage for the day was an average speed of 60km/h (36 mph) and that does not count rest breaks. The high center of gravity of the vehicle (thanks to the high and heavy camper) makes the vehicle bounce and rock all over the place. At times one is tempted to say it is un-driveable.
The countryside has varied between forested hills with beautiful stands of pines and lark through wide open valleys almost devoid of trees and a bit like some of the America prairies. We have passed by (not through) numerous villages and they have a sameness to them. Dark grey timber is the dominant color with the occasional splash of blue, dirt tracks rather than streets, big piles of fire wood, and well prepared vegetable gardens in the backyards.