We made it, good times! The car didn’t, bad times! After 9,670.6 miles, two wheels destroyed, a new fan, 5 breakdowns, the engine cutting out every half hour, having to hot wire it every time to start we finally made it to the Mongolian border, 350km from our destination. read more »
After leaving the kazakh farmers we went str8 to the russian border. Got thru within 2 hours rather than the 6 we had been expecting. Arrived in barnual early morning completing a 24 h drive of about 700 miles! Drank some beer! Good times. Driving From barnual to irkutsk we enjoyed a solar eclipse, were acosted by a wedding party on a bridge, met some russian locals in a cafe who we think are now our wives (Not Chris) and started to experience car problems. The car now has a hole in exhaust, massive over steer to the left, electrical problems making engine cut out, bust dampner and odd noises from underside of car. All caused by russias excuse for a motor way (cratered mud track). Last night the car finaly gave out on the worse road so far. In a forest, in the middle of nowhere, prime bear/psycho killer teritory. When the sun came up Ian and nick hitched a ride with a strange lorry driver to the nearest strange village with a really strange and un helpfull mechanic. on the 15 k walk back in Thunder, lightening and heavy rain they were picked up by a small half cut ginger man and his wife who made ian drive his lada back to the car after about 5 cigarets and another beer he diagnosed and fixed the problem. A broken electric cable to the starter motor. Now enjoying some rally style driving though better gravel tracks through forest still trying to make it for a hoe down in irkutsk. Fingers crossed!
Random couple of days since last message drove to almaty through beautiful countryside. We shacked up in a hotel and went out for a beer, 2 hours later found the only one open on a sunday only a few people in there got invited to have a drink with miss kazakhstan and the kazak ambassador of America both very nice. Spent the next day in almaty then drove 400 km swam in a lake (not the polluted one) and slept in a field. Set off today on progressively worse roads and did 800 km destroying 2 front wheels in the process. Both too damaged to sit tyres on. These were proper potholes, I mean craters , a foot deep right accoss motorway with no warning for miles on end sump guard taking a battering. Eventually stopped on a quiet track only to be invited by the farmer to stay at his place. read more »
The awards for the best police stops are in! Best saving: Chris for getting off of an $80 bribe from 5 policemen through sheer persistence and not under standing the word 'dollar'. Best speeding stop: Ian for getting stopped doing 78km in a 40km zone, on a road with no speed signs! Let off with a warning. Most stops in an hour: Nick for getting pulled over 3 times, twice in 2 mins, and not getting any fines. But then last night our west country charm and good looks finally failed us. Nick got pulled over and was 'fined' $30 for not stopping quickly enough! Our usual tactics failed, and he was put in the back of a police van and told he would face prison on fake marijuana charges! After much deliberating we decided it was probably best to bail him out, as it was his turn to drive next and we were tired! We left with lots of smiles and are now best friends with those policemen who told us we can now cross their check point as much as we like, bribe free. We felt honoured, such generosity! 1200km to go in Kazak, which is a really nice place.
6080 miles so far. From the river stop we drove through the desert, got stuck in sand and were pulled out by a lorry driver. Which we in turn reversed into the back of him. drank 20 litres of water that day. Dodgy night at the border with wild dogs, donkeys, cows and truckers! Very hot! Driving through Uzbek we stopped at buxoro and samarqand. Did some culture. Found a nice spot to camp far from the road only to be woken early morning by two men on horses circling our camp. Soon after a man on a donkey with a herd of cows walked by followed by more cows people, dogs, donkeys and horses, pretty much noahs fricking ark! read more »
Stopped to get directions in Iran on route to border, had a guy open the door and try to nick stuff, brother made the lock down call and we drove off at speed! Iran a great place and very friendly though. Spent 3 hours trying to leave iran then another 3 hours in no mans land trying to get into Turkmen without a visa. After lots of negotiating with men with gold teeth and parting with $450 we arrived in Ashgabat with $30 to our name! Then found out there was no way of getting cash until monday, so there was only one thing for it, we checked into the nearest 5* hotel for 2 nights as it was the only place that accepted visa, life on the rally is tough! read more »
30 hour drive from Trabzon to Tehran, roads cross country good, buildings either side like something from the future blackened and half built with neon lights everywhere and mountains behind. Tehran is a modern city , no anti american slogans or terrorists. Actually very relaxed and friendly, drivers insane -anything goes! Ended up in a 4 star hotel, we were too tired to find anything else, shame! First shower for 4 days now driving along side sefid mountains En-route to Turkmenistan, Strange!
30 hour drive from trabzon to tehran, Roads cross country good, buildings either side like something from the future blackened and half built with neon lights everywhere and mountains behind, tehran modern city no anti american slogans or terrorists actually very relaxed and friendly, drivers insane anyth [Missing part 03] [Missing part 04]
Spent the night in the hills outside Trabzon, met our neighbour who gave us carte D'or ice cream, nuts and more pears. In the morning he took us for tea then sent us off with his son to get the car fixed. Spent the morning in a garage drinking tea with the mechanics and left with more friends, an oil change and a radiator fan twice the size of the old one. Almost at the Iran border now dodging terrorists in the Turkish hills, only joking Mum!