Tues 6 th June
Made it to Ulaan Bataar !
Just a quick post - will try to write more later. But so far all good. Car got very hot the first day after we left the Great Wall as we climbed to nearly 2000 metres in hot muggy temps and lots of slow traffic. Even blew the fan fuse once, but we fixed that with a bigger fuse !!
Lots of long drives to Erenhot on the Mongolian border, and everywhere we go we are greeted by crowds of people wanting selfies with us or the car ! But such smiling wonderful people everywhere. Long slow and VERY winding crossing into Mongolia, with a long drive on black top before we finally headed off road into the Gobi. Unfortunately due to localised flooding we had to drive in convoy instead of on competitive stages, but it gave us a chance to hone our navigating skills before we got to our camp site. Pitched our tents, had a cold beer, a great Mongolian bbq dinner in the mess tent, and there were hot showers and not bad toilets available. Lots of stories before everyone turned in exhausted.
Some interesting sights in the morning as people who were obviously not campers struggled to dismantle their tents. Best of all was one father and daughter couple who had a “self erecting” tent. It went up easily the night before, but it took half the camp and about an hour to get it folded back into its bag this morning !! Then it was off across the Gobi on our first truly competitive day - but not without drama. As we approached the start line our Garmin navigator thingy spat the dummy and went blank - apparently not charging !!! As this is our main navigation aid in the desert, this was a major issue for us. We finally ditched the Garmin and ran for the whole day using my phone and some offline maps I always use at home, and although difficult and stressful, we made it to the end. Very rocky, very, sandy, muddy, etc most of the day. We hit some big rocks with our under tray, one of which launched us into the air, to land with a heavy thud. A quick check underneath showed some damage but not too bad, so we carried on.
Time wise we were very late all day because this is the section where many cars suffer, so Ashton wisely took it easy (ish!) so we finished the day in one piece, although we were VERY dusty, much to the amusement of everyone else !! But we have made it to UB 😊. The next 8 days are the hardest, camping and bad roads all the way. But we are determined to reach Paris, so will drive accordingly. Already several cars have pulled out, either due to mechanical issues or accidents, while one has pulled out as they found it all a bit too stressful. But Gidget is still going, and we are ready for a tough week ahead.
More later. In the meantime, for photos and daily reports, as well as tracking our route, (we are car 77 in case anyone has forgotten 😂), go to the ERA website at endurorally.com.
I doubt we will get too much blog up on here as we are just a tad busy !!