Driving a 1954 Austin-Healey 100/4 from Peking to Paris in the June 2019 ERA Rally.

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

0089 In Ulaan Bataar

Tues 6 th June
Made it to Ulaan Bataar !
Day 6

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 waning 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 or 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 !!

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

0088 Getting closer and closer ,

29th May
Still in Beijing

3 DAYS TO GO !

At the Great Wall
Ashton arrived safely on Monday night, and was out and exploring the streets of Beijing before I had even got up and had breakfast !  Still nice warm weather here, and looking to remain fine while we make our final preparations for departure, which is great.  There would be nothing worse than a wet and soggy departure - And that would grow our plans of trying to do the entire trip without putting the roof on into disarray, too.  

(Edit.  I can’t scroll down on my iPad to insert other pics so here is the link to them here.  https://photos.app.goo.gl/GqntgVsgDynyLLKq5
When you get into the pics, go to “info” in that little < kind thing at the top, and it will give you more info on the pic.    At the bottom of this page I also say go to the ERA website, but I now can’t get back to the bottom to insert the link, so it is here  :  https://www.endurorally.com  )

Sunday, 26 May 2019

0087 In China ,

Sunday 26th May 2019
Sitting in Beijing

Well, after 10 days of being unable to access my blog (or much else) due to internet access problems around the country, I suddenly find I am able to get in and let your all know what is happening.

I have been on a 10 day tour of China while waiting for the start of he P2P.   Shanghai, then a 4 day cruise on the Yangtze through the 3 Gorges dam area which is amazing,   Then to Chengdu to see the Pandas, Xi’an to see he Terracotta Army, and finally up to Beijing where we have been seeing the sights and climbing the Great Wall for the past couple of days.  We even did 431 km/hr on a Maglev train in Shanghai - now THAT was fast !    Now we have 3 days of R&R (these tours are exhausting !) before Ashton arrives tomorrow night, and then we pick up the cars from the port on Friday.

In the meantime I am trying to find a store that sells WD-40 etc !   Trouble is that the traffic here really is atrocious - The sheer volume of it means that it can take hours just to travel a very short distance, so finding the right store first time is kind of important ,

Anyway, all is good and on schedule, and I am just glad to find I can get on here, so hopefully I will be able to get back to post up our progress over the coming days !  Now to see if I can get photos up as well.

Saturday, 25 May 2019

0086 Outta here....

Giles has been gallivanting around China for the last couple of weeks (actually he’s been scoping for us and having a well derserved break before the chaos starts!) and finally I have handed everything over at work (BIG thanks to my team for picking up everything!) and now I’m running around doing all those last minute things:
- haircut
- printing off insurance docs that finally came through last night
- double checking the packing list
- printing off the instructions for the Go Pro camera (many thanks to Simply Sports Cars for the loan of these two cameras that’ll allow us to create a video blog)
- restart the Garmin InReach subscription
- load the TravelSIM into a burner phone and check it works (try to find network code - whassat?)
- load VPN onto burner 😀
- test and charge the satellite phone
- buy essentials - coffee and whisky mainly
- test pack
- find it won’t all go in; unpack and try again
- final check
- drive to the airport on Monday (27th May) morning and arrive in Beijing on Monday evening

That’ll all be simple then!

See you on the other side - probably in Ulan Batar in Mongolia as neither Blogger nor Faceplant are allowed in China 😀 Unless that VPN works better than expected!

Just a few reminders:
1/. The daily reports from Syd Stelio, photographs by Gerard Brown and the Spot tracker (we are car #77)  will all be on the Endurance Rally Association website at www.endurorally.com
2/. We continue to raise funds for Beyond Blue and the Cancer Council through the giving links at the bottom of the page - every dollar is very gratefully received, towards our target of $1 per kilometre we’ll drive (so about 15,000!) thank you! and
3/. We will also try to keep Gidget's Facebook page up to date as much as we can here: https://www.facebook.com/austin.healey.73113