Week six sees our ardent, disenfranchised adventurers in the middle of the arse end of nowhere. Some relishing their new lives as nomads, others longing for home like shipwrecked sailors of olde. Most have resigned themselves to rations of crisps and biscuits found under the floor mats. The more seasoned adventurists have concocted exquisite meals of pot noodles, foraged berries and shame.
Garnished of course with a dressing of spilled blood, tears and sweat.
At some point all these hearty souls grew disillusioned with the doldrums of their safe, sane, modern lives and decided, fuck it. Let’s do the Mongol Rally. Which is the automotive equivalent of shaking hands with your doctor right after he’s examined your prostate. But now we’re 6 weeks in and some are struggling while others take time to sniff the daffodils.
As our pot hole sodomized travelers push ever onward towards the elusive Ulan-Ude, their noble steeds suffer continuing mechanical mishaps. Proving perhaps the scrapage scheme does make sense and some of these vehicles should never have left the parking lot of Lidl.
Team Woozy Doozy piloted by Joseph Terrance drove solo from Bratislava, taking the mantra of being prepared to be under prepared, to heart. He suffered 8 punctures and with no tool kit, had to re bend his rims into a vaguely round shape again, twice. Packing only duct tape and hope, he inevitably found himself lost and in a military only zone.
So after finding out we had fried our piston rings and losing our entire exhaust in the Mongolian steppe the Mongolian mechanics set about fitting a new "exhaust" AKA a scaffold pipe using one of the more unusual methods of lifting the car that we had seen. (The "exhaust" fell off again 5 mins later) #mongolrally #mongolrally2017 #mr2017 #vdubsurfwagon
Rubber gloves all round please.
Those at the finish line and survivor guilt
The point of the Mongol Rally is not to finish in the fastest time, the winners are, like in life, the ones who finish with the most interesting stories. Having said that, some of the teams finishing this week embodied the spirit and bombast of the rally, with among others, the first all female team and the first bikers arriving disheveled and unhygienic.
Team Betty Maddox came roaring into the finish, their Volkswagen sounding like an ex soviet helicopter. Their suspension had shat itself onto the road en route.
The first saddle sore bikers, suffering from isolation shock and having more than a month of solitude inside a helmet to contemplate their last words, remained mute.
Team Diagon Rally, arrived to warm hugs and hearty handshakes. To joyfully infect everyone with various tropical diseases as they informed everyone they had spent the whole unwashed day shitting themselves.
In the spirit of Hemingway and the great adventurers of the past, adventure can be an addictive substance. Reaching the end of your race can be touch and go, mixed feelings of joy at survival. Followed by crushing survivor guilt.
For the teams that finally make it, shaking and sore into Ulan-Ude, questions now haunt them. Purposeless teams that find themselves now devoid of meaning and direction, soaked in beer and dust. What now? Where do we go from here? Will real food ever taste the same? Do I really want to sleep in an actual bed again? When will the swelling go down?
The sights, experiences and thrills of the Mongol Rally can make even the most nonchalant turn peculiar. From the vast mentally challenging steppes to the mind fucking boredom of border crossings. The adventurers of this rally have seen it all, basked in the unbroken starry skies of the wilderness, got wankered in the back alleys of Georgia.
Some of the "Oh Bugger"
Of all the teams that make it, the achievement is made greater by those that succumb to the trails of the road. Or their own stupidity. Broken cars, broken dreams, shattered friendships and infected bellies. It takes considerable force to stop those who have come this far.
Kraken Molotov's buggy needed to undergo major surgery after the Pamir highway, one of the more lightly trodden paths on the way to the finish line.
Sometimes you make freinds for life, sometimes you inadvertantly get adopted. Life is what you make of it
Team Nowhere Fast, took themselves out of the race violently, while also providing several local families with meat for the winter. While half the team jumped on the next flight home. Dom, undaunted and in the true spirit of the adventure, plucked the remaining shards of windscreen from his skull, ready to tow the wreckage to Ulan Ude in the hopes of free beer at the finish line.
Briony; Holy shit!! Guys what happened!?
Gavin: They came into contact with a horse.
Briony: Fuck. So glad they're okay...
... How's the horse?
Gavin: When we stopped to see what happened the locals were gutting it and cutting up the meat.
Those still in the wilderness continue to soldier on, fucking about resolutely, enjoying the scenery and shitty roads. Basking in the great unknown and reveling in the sure knowledge that they are somewhere in Eurasia and not caring quite where.
We try to adapt to the local nomad lifestyle. #Mongolia #mongolrallyphotocomp #mongolrally #mongolrally2017 #medicalpirates #dunes #wildcamping #camping #panda4x4 #panda #fiatpanda #fiat #traveler #travel #travelphotography #globetrotter #desert #blue #sky #sand #samghey #stica #tent #sunrise #nomad #nomadslife #nomadstyle
Panda and Italians in their natural habitat
Tune in next week for another exciting episode of Where the fuck am I? hosted by whoever owns the yurt our foolish adventurers break down at next.