Day 24 Sun 3rd Oct – Turkmenabat to Ashgabad (Turkmenistan) – 600 km

Day 24   Sun 3rd Oct – Turkmenabat to Ashgabad   (Turkmenistan)  – 600 km

UPDATE 06/10/10 22.50: Email form Julie:

628 kms today with no escape from the heat – 37 degrees – it was hot. The landscape is very dull as – just endless plains. Hopefully tomorrow when we hit Iran the terrain becomes more mountainous and interesting

Tim and I had to beg for money from our colleagues this morning for fuel for the car. I decided last night it was better spent on fuel for me. A bottle of red that tasted like wine- we’re getting closer!

Leaving our wooden wheel in the hotel’s prime water fountain for the night did the trick of tightening the loose spokes. We were off at 6:55am and it’s now 14:50. 175 km left on bad roads with an estimated arrival time of 18:30. Current thought from me is NEVER AGAIN. Paying to sit in synthetic clothes in the boiling sun for hours on end bouncing around in a lump of metal with the occasional bone shattering pot hole……………  I know that my take will change over the next few days

Turkmenistan is not somewhere we would visit again, not helped by Tim being hit by a stone. Our faith was restored when we stopped to help the Manners who have a broken half shaft and in turn were helped by little Salem and Marad. Between cameras, sign language and chocolate I had a great time. I have some photos to show the appreciation of chocolate but not sure when they’ll appear on blog!

My little sister Caroline, or Piggy as I like to call her, has kindly booked me several hours of expert attention when we return in an attempt to make me feel/look vaguely feminine again – thank you Piggy.   As we shudder along yet another crap road I can dream of those blissful hours, of course with quite a lot of food porn thrown in there too – a steak still mooing with frites, béarnaise and green salad and a few bottles of a big red – bliss!

First time since Peking that we haven’t heard from Tim and Julie about how their daily run went. I could make up something really exciting  but it would be a bit embarrassing having to go back on it once I receive the real update! So I don’t know if a good soaking in the hotel fountain sorted out Benson’s wobbly spokes. However I do know from checking the classifications on the main rally web site that their class position and medal status indicates that they did indeed arrive in Ashgabad. I know that once they’re inside Iranian borders the SkyTag tracking will not be in service. Come back tomorrow and we might have some detail for you.