Day 29 Fri 8th Oct – Erzurum to Kozakli (Turkey) – 725 km

Day 29   Fri 8th Oct – Erzurum to Yozgat   (Turkey)  – 669 km

Update from Tim via voicemail 03.30 09/10/10: Even having taken option B of not staying with the rally (going completely off the course and staying in a different hotel) it was still a really tough day. They had to drive 669 km yesterday which is a really long way to drive in pissing rain.

Rain is very difficult in Benson as the windscreen wipers are somewhat lame so you’re driving without really being able to see where you’re going. Both driver and passenger also get very wet and very cold. Arrived at Yozgat at about 6.30pm so it was about 12 hours on the road with two very brief stops to refuel. Completely exhausted so had an early night. There are about twelve cars in the rebel splinter group.

Update from Julie via email 09.16 UK time: 2 accidents already today

Bad weather. No one badly hurt but someone in an ambulance with what we think is a broken arm. All a bit shaken.

From Julie via email 08.28 UK time: Off-piste

Last night was the first time we have had access to good food, wine and a decent bar in a month – vodka and tonic with ice and lemon in a glass, a hot bath – bliss!

Spirits were high despite further accounts of the level of stone throwing. Charlie was hit in the face, Rudi had a near miss by a rock thrown at his head – so close he heard it. They start young here with four year olds throwing pebbles randomly up to the teenagers with rocks and a better aim. It’s such a shame – one moment you’re waving, shouting hello to the groups of smiling children on the road and the next – whack!

Talking of waving, we’ve done a lot of that over the past few weeks given that most passing cars hoot and pedestrians wave. The enthusiasm is dwindling after four weeks but the usual rule of thumb in car 24 is a two handed wave for children and lots of tooting and a one handed wave for adults. The occasions when we just raise a finger we’ll let interpret how you like.

Today is supposed to be 728 km. Say supposed to be because about 10 cars have decided to take a detour to cut down the mileage. Doing over 700kms in our slow old cars on winding roads would mean many hours of night driving and that is not what is needed. In addition Benson would not move this morning and Tim discovered that the parts of the handbrake lining had broken off and jammed between the lining and the drum. This required removing the wheel yet again to fix.

Our adventure takes us to Yozgat. I will write more as the day goes on. Only 7:45 am and not eating and a bottle of red last night has meant that I am not on good form.  On top of that I have  another bout of something or other – at least my not being well has had variety!