Day 8 Fri 17th Sept – Tariat to Uliastay (Mongolia) – 370 km
Another “really really really tough day” driving on crazy roads and for the first time both Tim and Julie are seriously beginning to question whether they had really got how difficult this challege was going to be … and in reality if they had … would they have….
Julie kept laughing during today’s call so either they’re completely losing the plot or Tim was being particularly amusing in the background. Either way it must feel a bit sureal talking for 2 minutes each day to an automated voicemail as you drive though the serious middle of nowhere in a vintage car.
Maybe I was right about the cold affecting their morale and it must be especially hard if they are both feeling daunted at the same time.
It’s not just the freezing temparatures it’s the roads too – the rain and the winter have left surfaces really difficult (where they exisit) and cavenous pot holes are a never ending hazard. To quote the offical rally blog for today: “a day of grinding over back-jarring pot-holes, deep ruts, and washaways, this has been the hardest day so far”.
So Tim and Julie are not alone in finding this stage of Peking to Paris tough and let’s hope they’ll look back on this stage once they leave Mongolia and just feel incredibly proud of themselves for getting through it and staying up beat enough to enjoy the experience and the sensational landscapes that they are driving through.
These are early starts, in the dark and cold, what seems to be averaging 12 hours of harsh driving conditions each day with a tent at the other end and an equally early start the next day when you get up to do it all again.
Today they were on the road by 7.30am and didn’t reach Uliastay until after 7pm by which time it was dark and freezing. This makes getting the tent pitched and finding a chance to enjoy the available hot shower (let alone look after Benson) all pretty difficult. Anticipating this, towards the end of the day, there was some fairly manic swerves to avoid the dreaded pot holes in a somewhat reckless dash for food and a bed.
Julie says that they are cold, dirty and smelly. However, as I have never known Julie to look anything other than gorgeous I bet she’s still looking pretty great just a little less refined!
While they are looking forward to Monday which is a rest day Julie is not over the moon that they will be spending it camping. I think Tim will be relieved to get some proper time looking after Benson who has done himself proud thus far.