Mongolia. This is an endurance rally and since my last post it truly has been an endurance event! Long days on the road. Little sleep. Difficult road conditions. Rain. Storms. Dust. Rocks. Flooded rivers. The most incredibly beautiful scenery. Friendship. I am having a fabulous time.
Thoughts; what I have seen; my experiences all scratched bumpily unbounded by the rectangles on the page of the route book. I’m feeling a bit like that at the moment… going outside the boundaries and living such a privileged life doing incredible things.
I have so much to share and I would love to write more tonight, but I’m thinking I need to just do a short summary to let you know how we’ve been going otherwise I will always be trying to play catch-up and I will never get any sleep! I’ve decided to write a book of this remarkable journey because there is so much more to tell than I can in these posts. I will keep you updated on that.
The schedule is hectic. Rally start time is either 7am or 8am and our position in 16th overall has meant that our start time is 31…. So we start at 31minutes past the hour. We then have passage controls which are approximate times to be at a location; and also time trials with a combination of speed and calculation of the correct arrival time. We also have a main time control in the evening, which we have made each day with last night by the skin of our teeth in the last safe minute before penalty. Max is hoping for a gold medal, which means completion of all the stages in the allocated time. That means ultimately that i have navigated well.. Max has driven well.. and Penny has been cared for. 🙂
We have traversed to the west of Mongolia through deserts, mountain ranges, rough rocky roads and swollen rivers. Many cars have sadly retired from the rally because their cars just couldn’t make it. Last night a shower was very welcome after 5 nights camping across Mongolia and one night camping just past the border in Russia; where water boiled in a large pot over a fire and ladled into a small red bucket was kinda fun to experience in the wind with one make shift cubicle for 250 people. There wasn’t a queue though. LOL.
The locals in Mongolia wanted to take photographs of anything related to these crazy people driving intriguing vehicles; and nothing stopped them even at midnight when they tripped over our tent ropes, they tried to push the doors and spare tyres to see if they were ‘real’. Even when the wind blew a brand new plastic shower screen with shells patterned over it, on to my wet goosebumped skin they still wanted photographs and to have their ‘pictorial programme of all the cars’ signed. LOL. We must be such a curiosity.
Every day… every crest brings a new spectacular vista. The landscape has been breathtaking… from the open spaces of the deserts…. to the exposed geology of the earth. At times I have found myself quite emotional just looking around at the landscape…and not knowing where to look because the scenery is so extraordinary. Open spaces to snow. Blue lakes to swollen rivers. One of the younger competitors said it was ‘Epic”.. and it truly is.
Yes… We are now in Russia. It is a bit surreal actually. The border process was to be expected but I was not prepared for the toilets, which were worse than anything I had experienced – even throughout India. Eucalyptus, lavender and peppermint oil was my saviour and helped stop me gagging… and a few drops on to some paper pressed over mouths and noses was much appreciated by others. In the cold wind and rain; I, along with several others had diarrhea; so my Russian border crossing will be one which was one of those experiences I would rather have never had… and can only laugh about now.
We were generously welcomed by the Russian Car Federation ( I think it was that so I do apologise if I have the name incorrect). Folk musicians celebrated our arrival. I loved the throat singing and Jews-harp and felt the rhythm of a traditional song about riding horses which I had fun dancing to. I also LOVED one of the performers hat! She popped it on my head for a pic… sadly it didn’t stay there as Penny travelled west to Aya in the Altai Province of Russia where we are now.
This is just a very quick update to let you know we are fine and having a wonderful time. It is a hectic pace with Penny having no major issues and with a few parts being flown over to meet us in Poland… she hopefully will be able to continue strongly.
We are in Aya in Russia with a delayed start for one hour due to road conditions and only approximately 86 cars of the 105 or so stayed here last night. The others are either on trucks or drove straight through to Novisibirsk to repair their cars.
I will catch up on my incredible stories from Mongolia in future posts. Subscribe so you are in the first to know of my journal broadcasts.