We have just started to get the website going, so not sure what is quite happening as everything is getting so real.
We have also got the charities page working! (sooo happy, took way to long!!) so if you would like to donate some money to our charity that would be a great help, thank you.
The Tumbling Dice
WE MADE IT...JUST!
Posted by Ed at 8th September 2010 at 14:37
first of all apologies for the blogs drying up. mongolia had a lack of internet!
so we left you in almaty. well from there we cruised north heading for the russian border with the Greenyaks. after getting very lost in almaty, as once again the mid asians were incapable of providing signposts, we hit the road by 4pm. we drove as far north as we could and camped to what we thought was near a lake. however, in the morning we realised that there was no lake to be seen.
the next day, we aimed for the russian border. with weed growing naturally on the side of the road for the whole way it was quite an enjoyable journey. we took a wrong turn but found what we thought was a connecting road to where we needed to be. this was a dirt track. however, hugo and i stuck with it and we were thankful that we did because where we thought that there was a bridge to get on the road we needed, it was in fact a ferry crossing. but the ferry was very similar to the car/boats which Top Gear used to cross the channel. whats more there was millions of pounds worth of natural growing weed on both river banks. if only there was a way to get it back to england!! private jets perhaps...
anyway, we made it to the russian border that night. but not without incident. within 3 kms the Greenyaks cracked their sump tank on a pothole. we arrived at the border and saw oil pouring out of the bottom of their engine. this was at 10pm. so the only solution at this stage was for us to tow them. so lady tallulah (the small car) towed the skode octavia (the big car) across the border. we camped up and decided to deal with the problem tomorrow. so the next day the challenge was to find a garage. we towed them 50 miles to the garage and luckily they were able to get it fixed. however, it took all day because the mechanics had to drive 100 miles to get the aluminium needed to mend the sump tank. but no worries, it was fixed. however, we got lost again when we hit the road and ended up camping only 15 kms further from where we camped the night before. and with my mate from uni, tom day and his team whom we hadnt seen since the czechout party. they had seen our camp from the side of the road. crazy timing and coincidence.
anways, now with a convoy of three, with headed for the mongol border. this was the most beautiful road of the whole trip through very scenic hills, forests and rivers. it was a perfect setting for filming the shire parts of lord of the rings. half way to the border, our convoy broke up. tom day stopped to go for a swim, and the greenyaks did not stop until they reached the border. however, we caught up with them at the border the next day. we arrived at the border at 2pm and after some problems getting over the russian side due to customs having to deal with 3 coach loads of monglians, we arrived at the mongol border. but when we arrived, we were told we may have to stay til monday. luckily however, there were 7 other teams all wanting to get through. we had arrived just in time at the mongol border to be part of this group. the border guards sent us all through at the same time. so our wait at the border was only 4 hours rather than days. we were very lucky.
having crossed the border, and bribed the people giving us car insurance with cigarettes because we didn't have enough money to buy it, we drove on. we bumped into a local who invited us to his house for the night. i rode on his motorbike while hugo followed us. they gave us supper which consisted of chai and goat. they eat the whole thing, cock, balls, tongue and eyes. it didn't sit too well in hugo's stomach that night. they also gave us a place to sleep which we appreciated. the next day we agreed to take our hosts brother to olgly which was the first big town. however, we had to re arrange our car as it only had room for 2 at the time. this is when they knicked our sun glasses and our tool kit. bit annoying but in the grand scheme of things they need them more than we do. we got to olgly with no problems. having got there we dropped off our mongol friend at his house and headed towards khovd.
the road between olgly and khovd was awful. we were getting there slowly but surely when we caught up with the Greenyaks whom we had left the night before. they had managed to find a convoy of 4 other cars, one of whom was sorting out a puncture when we found them. when that was fixed we continued. however, within 15 minutes of meeting them, they cracked their sump tank again. this time however, it was more serious. they had a huge hole in it this time, not just a crack. there was nothing we could do so we had no choice but to continue. we made it to khovd with no further problems. we ate and chilled out at this specific mongol rally camp, who treated us to a local concert. we didn't want to stay there as it was 9 bucks to put up a tent and so after all the entertainment we drove just outside the city and camped.
The next day was our worst day of the trip. We awoke with a flat tyre. so we replaced it but we needed to go and put one of our spare tyres on our only spare rim. We got that done quite easily but as we left Khovd we realised that Hugo's iphone was missing. we went back to the mechanics but of course they denied anything. it was very frustrating. we knew which mechanic had knicked it as well. but we had no proof. nevertheless we continued. the road between khovd and altay was the worst of the whole trip. we passed a pink fiat which had a broken gasket, then an ambulance and another car. the other car had broken down and was waiting for a tow truck. before we got to those two guys, we were crashed into by another car. we were trying to overtake and it didnt see us, and trying to avoid a pothole, it drove straight into the drivers door. the door now could no be opened from the outside. but lady T was still driveable. after leaving the ambulance, our next problem was a puncture. we were helped by another car as our jack was broken. with the tyre changed we were going to convoy with them but they then cracked their sump tank and also damaged their gear box. that was the end of them. we continued and then found a green skoda which was stuck on the side of the road. their back axle had broken and had been waiting over 24 hrs for a tow truck. after we left them our problems started. our exhaust fell off at the front. we tied it up as their was still a little cable attaching it to the engine. but that then snapped so we just discarded the whole exhaust in the desert. our spare tyre then fell out from under the car. the latch which held it up snapped. we had to go and find it which was easier said than done as the tyre was the same colour as the ground as it was so dusty. but i managed to spot it just. the next problem was that our front left suspension spring snapped. it was still drivable but it was rattling around. then our engine fan broke. with each problem happening so soon after the other, it ended up being quite funny. anyway we got to altay eventually and got to the 'official' mongol rally garage. there was a mongol rally graveyard here and there were several teams there. we stayed the night there and had a meal.
the next day we had to wait for the green skoda to come back as we had given their team mate, who was at the garage, money to go and pick them up. they didn't get back til around 9pm. during the day we managed to get our fan fixed and we also discovered that where the exhaust had broken, the hot air was blowing on the sump tank. so the mechanic found a bit of piping on the floor and welded it so that the fumes were directed away from the tank. it still sounded like a harley davidson though, which we actually really enjoyed. we left after the green skoda came back and headed towards bayankhongor. we drove about 70 miles then camped on the side of the road.
the next day we just drove. after an exciting river crossing where we were helped by some local girls re. the best place to cross, we reached byankhongor. that drive was very dull with just nothing. at byankhongor we bumped into another convoy at a restaurant. we had an amazing meal of lamb and rice and then headed off. we convoyed our way as close to Arvaikheer as possible. we lost one of the cars as they sped off ahead but the rest of us (the other 3 cars) camped on the side of the road. unfortunately one of the cars' fuel tanks had a hole so a guy called Pete, who knew a lot about cars fixed it.
the next morning we set off early intending on making it to Ulaanbaatar that day. however the car with the fuel problems had more that day. Pete was going to take a while fixing it as he neede dto wire up a jerry as the fuel tank. so we drove on. however, after about an hour our clutch broke. the cable was fine but it was the bit of plastic which kept the pedal up which was the problem. after trying to fix it, hugo tried pputting it into first gear before starting the engine. then turning on the engine with a bit of revs. it worked. so even though we had no clutch we were still on the road. we managed to make it to arvaikheer and on tarmac. that was a nice surprise. having made it there we stopped at the mongol rally garage. we saw several teams, and some which we had convoyed with. after waiting around for a bit, we decided to go with team Cornwall to Mongolia (an ambulance we had convoyed with before) to find a camping spot. they knew the guys with the broken fuel tank and so we would find a spot which they could find when they were fixed. we found a good spot and had a big last night party.
the next day we all headed to ulaanbaater. 6 cars of us. we got to ulaanbaatar with no further problems. however, in the city we hit traffic. this was quite a big problem as we had no clutch. so Pete offered to tow us. He towed us until we saw the finish line and from there we drove the last 50 meters ourselves.
We had a huge party that night to celebrate. It was an awesome experience, a challenging adventure and we would recommend it to anyone, whatever age.
Tumbling Dice x
Posted by Ed at 12th August 2010 at 13:14
Just a quick update that samarkand in uzbekistan is awesome. the registan which is the main sight to see is incredible. its a huge mosque/madrassa (school/university) built in the 15th century. we went up one of the minarets and got an amazing view of the city. heading to kyrgyzstan tomorrow if we can make it. made need another 20 litres of fuel which could be interesting as there is a petrol shortage here and we have to buy it off the black market as all the petrol stations are closed. still incredibly hot but were surviving.
Tumbling Dice x
Massive Update... sorry
Posted by Hugo at 11th August 2010 at 14:52
Ok... so here we go
Well we last left you in russia in st petersburg.. well that ended in tears. after all that effort getting there we could not see the winter palace and the Hermitage... because it was closed on Mondays, so that was the worst detour ever. so with that we left and headed to Moscow, with a book which teaches you Russian (well the alphabet is what we want) and we did about 450k, and then fell asleep in a petrol station. we woke up and got to the outskirts of moscow.. and after sitting in traffic for an hour and moved 1mile... we were like stuff this we are going to volgograd!! We then got lost.... very badly lost... for pretty much the ehole day. we drove 400 miles and actually move forward about 200km... which was a realisation that Russia is MASSIVE!! we cant comprehend how weird it is driving round and round, having no idea where we are, and just seeing for miles. very weird. eventually we ended up back where we were 3 hours previously and just said the name, Tambov, for where we were going. luckily a man heard us and he said follow me. he drove us to the right road and we made it to volgograd with no further problems.
however in volgograd we drove for 2 hours out of the city in the wrong direction. we wanted to go south and we were driving north west. not good. eventually we found the right road, and headed for Astrakhan when in the morning we met up with 4 other teams. so we were in convoy with them when we got to the border but had to wait for 2 hours til we could cross. then when trying to get over the second half of the border into uzbekistan the border guard went for supper and we were left there for half an hour doing nothing.. great fun in 45 degrees heat. we then camped next to a train track and had a party, for getting through and for meeting up with everyone else and it was one of the other ralliers birthday. the next day Hugo was very very Hungover.. not for drinking the most but for being the most pathetic.. That was the day we had our first offical break down. Our exhaust had broken slighty the night before so we got a unhealthy sound, like a harley davidson. however after about 100 mile the muffler was hanging down grinding on the road, so we had to take it off and go to a garage to get it fixed.
We reached Atyrau, just north of the caspian sea with the broken exhaust. Luckily for us we were not the only one who need the mechanic. In fact all the cars need a mechanic from fixing a tyre to reattaching shock obsorbers to figuring out why the engine had no power. after a couple of hours all the cars bar one were good and running. That night we went to a hotel and had a shower, first in 5 days. we wenty out to dinner and slightly cheated and went to TGI Fridays (inside joke) the bill ended up to 38,750 K which is about 250$ for 10 people.. not bad.
Next day, the convoy of 5 split up into 3 and 2. we were with a crazy welshman called gareth humphries (very welsh) and an american, Dan (a true yank). they were the ones with the problem with their shock obsorbers. they have a suzuki jimny which is crap. its broken down 7 times. each time is a proper break down. they make our problems look pathetic.
just before the uzbek border, we met up with 4 lads from st andrews whom george bb is good friends with and they joined our convoy. that night we camped in the middle of the desert. literally in the middle of nowhere. ed tried to sleep on top of the car but nearly fell off 3 times so decided the tent was a better idea. with them, we headed to uzbekistan and this border is in the middle of the desert. it took 4 hours to cross the border after going through several shacks (which were the border offices). this is where the road ran out and we were driving on dirt tracks. we exchanged 50 bucks into 105,000 Uzbek sums. crazy exchange rate. but it made us feel rich having a huge wad of cash.
from the border we headed for nukus and found somewhere to sleep as we all badly needed a shower because we were all covered in sand. we had a few beers with gareth, dan and the st andrews boys (fred, fred, giles and digby). we lost the st andrews boys in nukus, when trying to find a garage for dan and gareth as they broke down again. this time it was only a flat tyre. that night we found a really cool little restaurant on the side of the road in the desert. for four meals, 8 beers and 2 bottles of vodka, it was only 20 bucks and a free bed. next day, at about 6.30 am, we headed to bhukara which is awesome. full of history and really beautiful. we bumped into loads of mongol teams there. but the problem with uzbekistan at the moment is there is a petrol shortage. it took us 6 hours in bhukara to find petrol. and once found, it was expensive and not good quality. but it was petrol. knackered after those problems, we had a few beers by a large fountain/pond, which ed swam across!! not exactly the cleanest water, which was highlighted by the stench afterwards.
we are now in samaqand which is also awesome, staying in a nice hotel and recuperating before our next leg.
Tumbling Dice x
Posted by Ed at 2nd August 2010 at 09:16
End of Good Roads
Posted by Ed at 30th July 2010 at 20:02
Since our last blog we have had some incidents!
having left ryan in erlangen with two of the best sandwiches in the world, we embarked onto Czech Republic for the Czechout party. we arrived at the campsite and there were already a lot of teams there. there were some interesting cars as well. a team called twats in tweed had a bbq attached to the back of their green vehicle. there was a very old yellow mini whom we followed in torrential rain, which struggled to drive straight with all the water, and another team with a stags head attached to the back of their vehicle.
one team unfortunately did not make it because half an hour outside goodwood, they were crashed into by another douche bag of a driver and their car was written off. pretty gutting!!
the party itself was insane!! the venue was a 13th century castle. dressed in stupid clothes we got free hendricks gin inside. hugo doesn't like gin so i happily helped myself to his! in the castle there was live music and they used the ruins for different activities. there was a cinema cave, a rave cave with drum n bass and a shisha cave. we endulged in the whole lot.
the next morning was a struggle and hugo took on the burden of driving to prague. one of the most beautiful cities in the world. we wandered round for the afternoon and did all the touristy things and then headed north on the journey to tallinn, estonia. THIS IS WHEN THE PROBLEMS STARTED!
attempting to leave prague, we got stuck in a traffic jam in the centre. so lady tallulah thought it was a convenient place to overheat and spray the contents of her radiator all over the street. we pulled her up onto the pavement and while we waited for her to cool down, hugo played the role of traffic warden. but not to worry, we got her on her way again and managed to get to the czech polish border with no further problems.
next problem was warsaw when again we got stuck in traffic and again lady tallulah decided to overheat. this time we were prepared and pulled over before steam started coming out the engine and before water and anti freeze deposited itself on the road. however, this was when we realised that the fan, which is meant to cool the engine down at slow speeds, was not working! big problem! so we pulled over and waited for her to cool down completely and added some genius stuff called wetter wetter which cools the engine down by 10 to 15 degrees. thank god this did the job but we still had the issue of a broken fan.
we reached tallinn, via riga, capital city of latvia for lunch, in a day which was about 600 miles. the next day, we were enjoying a picnic lunch on the coast when we came across an estonian, called Tanel, and a belgian, called Leo, who were interested in our mongol rally logos. it just so happened that both spoke english and Tanel was a mechanic. we told him of our problem and he offered to fix them...FOR FREEE! we hit the jackpot. in an hour we were back to normal and raring to go.
so now we are relaxing in tallinn, having had our first shower since germany, the second night, now with a little bit more confidence that we will make it to mongolia.
Tumbling Dice x
March to Czechout
Posted by Ed at 26th July 2010 at 11:05
So we are finally on our way to Mongolia. The Festival of Slow was awesome and we left by doing a circuit of Goodwood Motor Circuit. For those of you who have seen my Facebook profile piccy, we were right on the start line. (However, we weren't the first to leave. everyone left in stints, the first of which was 55 ambulances!!).
Yet our journey has not been without incident. We stopped on the way to Dover at which point water gushed out of our engine. Again it was the radiaor - the bane of our lives! again it was because the cap was not screwed on tightly enough. but its been sorted and we got to france with no further problems.
we spent the night in Brugges mainly because we watched the film the night before we left and wanted to go up the clock tower, which we did yesterday morning before setting off to Erlangen, a small town just north of nuremburg to stay with my housemate from uni, Ryan Cleary. Brugges to Erlangen is about 450 miles which we did on one tank of petrol. quite good news considering the vast distances we need to cover.
today we are heading to a 13th century caste called klenova, which is south west of prague for the czechout party. this will be awesome. the adventurists are providing hendricks gin on the house...
Tumbling Dice x
Posted by Hugo at 24th July 2010 at 08:32
We have had a special few days recently. First Ed started off well with filling up the radiator with water, which was fine. However he did not but the cap back on.. So after driving about four miles, at some traffic lights someone came up to him and told him that there was water running out of the engine. So Ed pulls over and checks the engine to see that there is water pouring out of the radiator and there is no cap. Ed rings me to tell me what is happening and i went out side to where the car was parked to see if the cap was still there. Luckily it was!! so i then got the tube down to ed and gave him the cap, before putting it on we had to put 2 liters of water in the car as she was thirsty..
As for Hugo, he has failed to get an international driving permit. He went to the post office yesterday to get one but because he has an irish driving license, this was not possible. After speaking to representatives in ireland, he effentually got through to the AA and they said if they got to Basingstoke with certain documents he could get one. This was at 3.45 on a friday afternoon. Hugo missed his train to basingstoke and got on another which was too late. So no international driving permit. But we'll get round it somehow...
Anyway, we leave today so next update will be from the Continent!!
Tumbling Dice x
Posted by Ed at 21st July 2010 at 11:21
We have just completed the first leg of our journey. However, this is before the Rally officially starts. Having bought Lady Tallulah in the beautiful setting of North Yorkshire, the first challenge was to get her down to London. This was a smooth journey with no hiccups. However, the warning light for the radiator came on about 10 mins before we arrived in Vauxhall at Hugo's flat. A little warning and reminder that our radiator isn't the strongest part of the vehicle and should be kept an eye on regularly. This could be more of an omen than we first thought... we shall see.
We officially leave from Goodwood motor circuit on Saturday with the official launch known as the Festival of Slow. Any of you who would like to see us off please feel free to come down. It's free to come to the launch and there is free parking there as well.
We shall keep you all regularly updated.
Getting scared now
Posted by Hugo at 14th June 2010 at 15:23
This is another update, as we are not very good at them, this is going to be a bigger one.
Firstly we have a car, she is a peugout 106, black, with blacked out windows(not our choice) and she is called Lady Tullulah. She is at the moment being serviced, her Cam belt is being changed, and in a bit we are going to have it fully serviced so we can learn about the her. As we know didly squat...
We also need to tell you who is in the team, as there has been a bit of a mix up. Bubbles (Charlie) sadly can not make it as he failed his test three times, and then missed the dead line. Also sadly Rosie cant make it as things just fell through. So it leaves me, Ed and Tullulah. We will miss them loads, but hopefully Bubbles has a incredible time in Africa and Rosie has an insane holiday.
The Visa's are now coming through at last, I have Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan and Ed has all of them except Mongolia.
The charity has done very well, and we would like to give a big thanks for all the people who donated or who are about to. We have hit are target of £1000 however don't stop because of us. If you are feeling charitable and wanting to donate, just use the widgit on the left and go to our just giving page.
That is about everything at the moment, and we will give a new update soon.
(oh yea, congrats Bubbles for passing on your fourth time!!)
Posted by Ed at 19th May 2010 at 11:18
Things are looking really positive. We now have our vehicle. She's a little black Peugeot 106 named "Lady Tallulah." She's a beauty. We have just sent out several fundraising letters so hopefully we shall reach our target in the not too distant future. This is when everything starts to get exciting.