Contrary to our previous statement. I'd like to assure everyone that we're not going to die on this trip. I hope this assurance doesn't take away from the entertainment.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Stranded in Mongolia

Crossed the border 4 days ago, but it's not been easy going since. The first full day we drove for 100km until the road vanished completely into an endless nothingness. After careful consultation with the illustrative Mongolia map in the lonely planet it was decided that backtracking was the only option. When we made it into a town there was a festival on because some big Mongol General was in town. Naturally we were invited to sit at his table to watch the dancing and wrestling tournament. We finally dragged ourselves away and made it to the first 'city' Ogli (probably about 30,000 people).

Tried to leave town yesterday, but car broke down shortly after setting off. The Unlikely Lads gave us a tow back in and it was straight to the garage. It was only minor really, the fuel pump was blocked, the vacuum pump on the distributor had fallen off and the boulder sized dent in the sump had broken the oil pipe up to the driveshaft. It's potentially fixable, but we're still waiting. In the meantime we're investigating the cost of loading it into a lorry to Ulaan Bataar and the cost of motorbikes to ride alongside. Should only be 4 days drive to UB, but not sure when that'll start.

In the meantime loving Mongolia, one of the most amazing places I've visited. Loads of teams passing through as well so there's plenty of fun.

Travelling with Alex from team 241, website is as follows, might be some photos going up

Wednesday, 8 August 2007


It's been a while. After the last message we got offered a lift in Istanbul by the guys from Perseverance, who we hitched with through the whole of Turkey and Azerbaijan. We arrived in Baku to find one of the weekly ferries to Kaz was leaving that day, so we jumped at the chance and got the prone to sinking ferry. After 16 hours at Kazakhstan customs we were finally in Kaz. Since then we have spent 68 hours pretty much continuosly on trains to arrive in Almaty. Still trying to find somewhere to stay but I'm sure we can sort that. There's even some chat about the Opera tonight? Check us out.

I'm meant to be back at work on Monday, so don't know where we go from here, but I'm sure something is sortable and we've come so far it would be a huge shame not to make it.

Saturday, 28 July 2007

From despair to where?

Ok so we are in Istanbul, sadly as I'm sure you heard Hyacinth is not. After smoking pretty badly through Bulgaria it got to the point where we had to physically push her across the Turkish border. We spoke to two mechanics, and it basically amounted to two or three days work and a full engine re-build, we were quoted 870 euros for the work and we couldn't see how we could get her back on track afterwards with our non transferrable Turkmen visas starting tomorrow (They imprison people there for overstaying their visa). The reason for frying the engine? At some point the air filter was removed and not replaced so the engine has been sucking dirt off the road since we left Britain and probably before. Bottom line is we should have checked. What a stupid reason to have to leave the rally.

So we have had a day of deep discussion and despondency but hopefully we are now back in the game. Another team have offered to give us a lift, and whilst we still have issues with the Turkmen visas we could fly over Turkmenistan and get away with it, which we couldn't do with Hyacinth.

On the upside Istanbul is amazing. We had a breakneck raxi ride last night, and are staying by the blue mosque. If the car hadn't broken down we were planning to push on past Istanbul without even stopping to try and make it to Turkmenbashi on time, so there are some positives.

Monday, 23 July 2007

Hungover in Prague

All going to plan so far, with incidents kept to minimum. Spent a night in a layby on Saturday, I picked up my necessary 8 hours, while Oli got 2 hours fitful sleep being disturbed by hookers and lorry drivers, he finally left at 5am when someone came and took a photo of him through the drivers window.

Ben has certainly screwed us over with the green headbands, we now have to wear them the whole time just so people recognise us. Turned up to the party without last night and spent hours reintroducing ourselves. Needless to say they are back on, and looking hot, this morning.

Realistically, there's little chance of updating this blog as we go, but we are going to regularly text in to the site. Visit Mongolia in a Micra on the Mongol Rally site where you can see our texts. Either go to then to the on the road section and find our team name and then click on it, or use the address below. Would put a link in but everything is in Czech and I'm confused (for a change).

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Bananas with honey and greek yoghurt, happy days!

Yes Oli, just like the Tour de France, why didn't I think of that analogy? I've spent the majority of the last four weeks drinking to excess and eating shit.

Indeed the Rally needs so little preparation by comparison that we've left everything to the last week to sort out. My driving license arrived today, I found my travel insurance details, I was told the brakes would cost me £238 to fix and I'm still looking for a stove to cook our baked beans on.

Either way, we're now 36 hours from departure, I'm still homeless, still drinking. I've got a car and a rucksack, and two mix tapes (lovingly prepared by fans) to help us on our way.

Just debating whether or not to have my hair shaved. And if I do, should I go grade nought or three. Tough call...

Turns out that it wasn't such a decision after all. My thanks to Mr Ravenscroft for an expertly driven grade three.

Departure now 35 hours away, I think I'll go and have some cheese.

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

It's just like the Tour de France

3 weeks facing unmentionable hardship, covering vast distances and powered only by caffeine and medically perscribed ventolin inhalers. Coops is clearly the Puncheur, the guy who makes long solo breaks, travelling by himself and taking on the rest of the field. I guess I'm the time trialler, good under pressure but it's all or nothing, success or failure. Thankfully in Hyacinth we have the trusty Domestique, putting in the hard yards day after day and letting the other two of us do our stuff. So there you go, will there be a day of glory on the Mongolian equivalent of the Champs Elysee? We'll have to wait and see. Can we get le Tour on our in car radio, doubtful...

We're progressing well for Saturday. We pick up T-shirts tomorrow, money is ordered, we're all packed. Good stuff.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

4 days to go

I finally made Hyacinth's acquaintance on Saturday and what a fine car she is. She smells faintly of dog, but hell so does Coops. Final arrangements are taking shape, we may not have rebuilt the engine like some teams have, we have on the other hand made some fetching decals out of sticky back plastic, very tasteful they are too.

So arrangements for Saturday are as follows:

Saturday 21st July
North Carriage Drive, Hyde Park
Start: Teams in place by 11am
Speeches: 12 Noon
Mass departure: 13:00 – 13:30

It would be great to see as many people there as possible, so try and make it. It's likely that a few beers may be consumed on friday so get in touch with Coops or I if you're available.