Follow me on my trip :-)
Heading home :-)
Posted by Andy at 10th August 2010 at 12:33
10th Aug. Heading home :-)
Thats me in Ullan Bator getting ready to head home. A wee bit gutted my wee car didn't manage the last 400 miles. The rear suspension had bottomed out, springs looked like a pile of noodles and my petrol tank was damaged and leaking, sitting about an inch from the road which isn't great when the roads are so bad. Also loud grinding noise from the rear of the car, not to mention all the other problems on-route :-) just thought it wasn't worth the risk, as i am on my own and wouldn't want to get stuck in the middle of know where.
At least there is a charity drop off point at Bayankhongor so the car has been collected by the charity to be sold off.
I've had a good experience driving through 7 time zones and found people helpfull & friendly the majority of the route. Great to see many parts of the world i would not have seen any other way. Highlights: Ukraine, Russian Mountains, Rural Mongolia & the people.
See you all soon. :-) x
Posted by Andy at 10th August 2010 at 00:05
Another 293 miles but this time in Mongolia, the roads are really bad, i am about 90 miles east of Hovd on route to Altay.
Car is continuing to fall apart, rear suspension is getting worse and the back bumper has come off, but other than that it is still running well. Hopefully have a productive day tomorrow.
Thats another 327 miles done on really bad mongolian roads, that takes me approx 100 miles west of Bayanhongor travelling through the Gobi desert.
Not as pretty as western Mongolia, which was mountains, lakes and rivers, stunning views.
More car problems, the exhaust is knackered and i had to take it off, now the car sounds and drives like a tank :-)
107 miles to Bayankhongor and my wee car has given up the ghost!! sad although had a totally amazing day driving the Gobi.
Got to a large river and looked for a crossing point only to get stuck in the desert. Walked a couple of miles to Ger village for help. A whole team of people helped dig me out and offered to tow me through the river, only to get stuck in the middle as my car was filling up. Managed to detach rope and get out of the river. Ended up going back in to tow my helpers out the river, my backside was wet, just to give you an idea how much water was in thr car :-) but we all got out the river :-)
Really nice people and weren't looking for anything in return :-) Just flying to Ullan Bator for a couple of days and arrange my flight home!!!
Nearly made it!!! :-)
Posted by Andy at 9th August 2010 at 23:26
Stuck at the Mongolian border all day wednesday, the disorganisers haven't sorted the vehicle import yet, must admit pretty pissed off with them as i've phoned them twice from the border and just seem to get non-commital an time scales and just a lot of bull shit, wait and see what happens tomorrow :-(
Finally got through the border at about 11pm friday with no thanks to the disorganisers, another 3 teams arrived on friday so we all got through at that time, done a couple of miles and parked up for the night to have a decent sleep and a go at a decent drive saturday.
This is a missed txt from thursday!
Another day going nowhere at border. after getting a promise to get through at 1pm by the disorganisers, had a bit of a rant at them on the phone to no availe.
Another team arrived in the late afternoon and we had a good moan about the fact we are stuck here.
Fingers crossed it gets sorted tomorrow or might have to re-think my potions as the border closes for the weekend & that would mean i would be stuck here at least 5 days, which i am not willing to do!!!
Posted by Andy at 4th August 2010 at 00:29
Tuesday 3rd August.
Thats me at the Mongolian border, another 478 miles, the border is closed until tomorrow closed an hour ago. The drive down the Altay region of Russia was amazing, huge mountains and rivers, very green & lush countryside, bit of a tourist area for Russians.
Slight delay was caused by a rock slide, but was lucky they opened the road about 30 min after i arrived at the closure.
Had a good easy days driving with great views, just about to change my wheels over before i set up camp for the night. Tomorrow i guess will be the start of the real hard driving days :-)
Posted by Andy at 3rd August 2010 at 05:15
Sunday 1st august.
Change of plan after talking to biker from Derby, decided to take a shorter route back into Russia to give my wee car a fighting chance with lack of roads in Mongolia and not break the car on crap Kazak roads before i get there.
I went the route via Petropavlovsk in kazak to Omsk in Russia 469 miles. Dodgy kazak border gaurd tried to get cash for fast track border crossing but got nothing :-) ( Well i am scottish after all) lol. Spent 3 hours a border though.
Got stopped by kazak cops agian, but this time managed to wangle a police escort out of town so i could find the mail road i was looking for, on the open road agian! :-)
Posted by Andy at 3rd August 2010 at 04:55
Monday 2nd July
Thats another 563 miles down to Barnaul, roads ok, first 200 were gravelrds then the rest not too bad. Done a bit of a daft one, just going round a bend on a gravel road when a 'BIG' bee flies into my face through the window, i skid and end up in a field, car and me are fine :-) just had a wee heart attack.
Could be at the Mongolian border tomorrow all going well, Not sure how mobile coverage will pan out, i'll txt when i can.
My first guess at time taken to get to the capital is approx thurs 12th august, but guess i'll just have to wait and see how it all pans out. I do have a sat phone just in case. :-)
Posted by Andy at 1st August 2010 at 11:49
Sunday 31st July.
Better day, 487 miles Roads not quite as bad.
DIY to car, used cable ties to hold bumper and headlight, seems to work. Lots of guys here seem to have gold teeth and like to smile to show them off :-)
Laybys have vehicle inspection ramps, was handy to check the car over, there's also OTT roadside graveyards with ornate structures on most roads. I met a guy from derby on a motorcycle touring, he had come from Mongolia so gave each other advice for the road ahead.
Forgot to mention i got to a place called Kostanai. :-)
Posted by Andy at 30th July 2010 at 22:55
Hi all, thats me at Aqtobe about 400 miles done today, will have to check later,
The roads in kazak are barel roads, they even have dirt tracks next to the main road to drive on as the craters in the main road could easily wreck any vehicle, hence everybody struggles in the tracks.
Needless to say it has hade an impact on the old motor, front lower bumper badly damaged, 1 spot light knackered and rear shocks shot.
On a plus, a nice kazak couple found me a nice hotel and got me a cheap price, kindness of strangers again :-). Oh aye, got stopped with the kazak cops, again english saved the day or lack of it! :-)
Posted by Andy at 29th July 2010 at 23:02
Thursday 29th July.
Well thats another 472 miles done, im in Atiraw Kazakhstan.
Couldn't leave Russia without getting stopped another twice by the fuzz & yet again "No English" so sent on my way, but 1 did manage "Go Home"!
Kazak roads are poor so progress will be slow, seen lots of camels at roadside and decided to treat myself to a nice hotel, as it's been either camping or kipping in the car up till now. I must admit i do like the air-con and BBC world.
Decent sleep tonight and a nice breakfast should be good for the road tomorrow. :-)
Update: The fuel got much cheaper after poland and i met a couple of sweedes doing an unoffical mongol rally, taking lots of time. Met them at kazak border yesterday, also took about 3 hours to get through the border. :-)
Posted by Andy at 28th July 2010 at 22:54
Wednesday 28th July.
Thats me done another 520 miles & im at Volgograd in Mother Russia.
Did'nt get out of Ukraine without being stopped by the fuzz for 20 mins, no speak'a the lingo they got bored and let me go, same at the russian border for 2.5 hrs only words i got were 'Guns or Drugs' as he inspected the car.
Got stopped again in Russia but again officer gave up as "No Comprendie", seems to be a strategy for all situations if it continues to work, although kinda backfires when i want something. :-)