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