Day 20: Yakeshi to Manzhouli

After a nice sunset last night, we left Yakeshi this morning about 9 a.m. to drive to Manzhouli, which is on the border with Russia.


Yakeshi sunset last night

Yakeshi sunset last night (Eileen Bjorkman photo)

After about 60 miles, the G10 expressway we’ve been following since Suifenhe came to an end — we thought it would take us all the way to Manzhouli. But not to worry — we continued on the G301, which turned out to be an excellent four lane national highway, although we did have to slow down a few times for cows crossing the road.


Some of the many cows we saw on the drive today

Some of the many cows we saw on the drive today (Eileen Bjorkman photo)

We saw many horses and sheep as well, including this herd of horses that raced to a nearby river, where they plowed right into the water and started playing and drinking.


Horses racing to a river

Horses racing to a river (Eileen Bjorkman photo)

The forests from yesterday disappeared and the terrain became smaller rolling hills — we’re now traveling on what’s known as the steppe. The weather was nice again today, but very windy. It reminded me of the winds in the deserts of the southwest U.S. — I even saw a couple of tumbleweeds go dancing down the road, and one got squashed by a car in front of me.

I could see the railroad track running parallel to us for many miles today, so I’m sure the original racers saw some of the same scenes as us. However, they would have missed the giant wind turbines perched on the surrounding hillsides. What they saw was probably something close to the picture below:


Typical steppe scene

Typical steppe scene (Eileen Bjorkman photo)

We saw many yurts, the tent-like structures that Mongolians use for everything from houses to restaurants. We stopped at a resort that had large yurt for the reception area and restaurant and smaller yurts for the rooms. The large yurt had a main room filled with stuffed animals.


Main yurt at resort area

Main yurt at resort area (Eileen Bjorkman photo)

Yurt hotel rooms at Mongolian resort

Yurt hotel rooms at Mongolian resort (Eileen Bjorkman photo)

Some of the animals on display in the main yurt

Some of the animals on display in the main yurt (Eileen Bjorkman photo)

We arrived in Manzhouli about 1:30, having made only one short stop at a closed gas station for a Roadster refueling from the side tanks. The wind was blowing so hard, it rocked the Envoy as we sat there.

Tomorrow: A short tour of Manzhouli and then ensuring our customs paperwork is in order for the Friday border crossing back into Russia.