We were all up early. The mechanic took our frayed belt and drove off to see if anyone else had one of the same size whilst one of his workers started fixing the holes in our radiator pieces. They came back an hour later without any success. They couldn’t fix it with the belts they did have, and our one was not worth putting back in again. It seemed our rally was finished.
There were a number of teams from the Mongol Rally already at this mechanics, and others turned up whilst we were awaiting our turn. Talking to them we found out we were in a place known as the Mongol Rally Graveyard - the stretch of the Gobi desert we had just covered was notorious for breaking cars and ending their owner’s rallies. Within the mechanics yard, and inside the mechanics shop, there were a number of broken cars from that rally, as well as an ambulance from ours. We even recognised a couple of cars from the ferry we took across the Caspian Sea. Most of these were dumped there by the team owners, as they had issues that could not be fixed. read more »
The road to Altai from where we were was smooth, but just before the entrance the truck towing us decided to veer right onto a dirt track and pull us across some very rough ground. The tow rope snapped. We were reattached and pulled further along the dirt track. The tow rope snapped again. Again we were reattached. We were dragged along, with the bottom of the car being scraped almost continuously, until we were eventually pulled onto an actual road. We were then dragged across a speed bump, onto another dirt track and then pulled up outside of a gate. Behind the gate was a courtyard enclosed by a few squat buildings. read more »
The roads hadn’t improved, and despite driving slower than the day before, the stretch to Altai was bone shuddering. We were also now driving through mountains and the road had also become rocky. A few miles outside of Altai our car was hit with more problems. The engine started overheating, the battery light came on and we lost the power steering. Thinking some of the wires had come loose again we stopped and waited for MDS to come back and fix it. read more »
Before we took our leave of the truck drivers, the one with the Kalashnikov set up a few bottles and allowed us to shoot at them. I and Amir declined to take part, but MDS all had a go and completely missed the targets
We woke up early with a flat tyre. We’d noticed a slow puncture the day before, but had bigger issues with the car so hadn’t looked at it closely. One of the truck drivers said he would fix it. He proceeded to unscrew the valve and completely flatten the tyre. He then took a men’s rubber contraceptive, cut it up into small bits, stuffed it into the tyre through the hole left from where the valve had been, put the valve back in again and inflated it. We never had a problem with that tyre again.
Dave and Matt later told us that they felt guilty about Stuart going off with these truck drivers as it was them who had convinced him it would be fun and an experience he would always remember. He was the youngest out of the three, and he was peer pressured into doing it. read more »
The scenery after leaving Khovd was beautiful. We drove past a large lake, then into a wide valley with stunning mountains on either side. The roads were awful, then turned better, then back to awful again. The landscape then changed from green to yellow – we’d arrived at the Gobi desert. read more »