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Mongolversary

A nostalgic post, it being a year since I flew to Kiev to join my Mongol Rally team-mates for the adventure of a lifetime.

Indulge me.

A year ago today (Jul 29). Spotless ambulance in Ukraine.

Morning after the night before. Southern Russia. Having talked our way our of a speeding fine a couple of hours earlier, we run out of fuel and have to hitchhike and haggle a Dollar/Rouble exchange rate in a Soviet housing estate to get more.

Kazakhstan. First of several suspension "problems". Helped by some Muscovite truckers who share Russian Cornettos with us in the searing desert heat. Surreal.

What passes for a road in Turkmenistan. 22 hours to cover 200km.

Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. The morning after I was propositioned by a Ukrainian hooker in a hotel Karaoke bar.

The ancient city of Merv, en route to the Uzbekistan border.

On the Silk Road. Samarqand, Uzbekistan.

Tajikistan. On the road to Dushanbe.

Afghanistan seen from the Tajikistan side of the Panj River.

Over 4,600m above sea level on the majestic Pamir Highway in Tajikistan. It was actually cold for a few days. But a welcome variation on the theme of 45 degree desert heat.

The rains that caused the terrible flooding in Pakistan also washed out road and bridges in Tajikistan. We wouldn't have made it if we hadn't been in convoy by this stage. We also stopped to help dig, push and tow out some locals. A task made more difficult by the goat and the huge drum of fuel in the back.

The landlord and landlady of our guest house in Sari Tash, Kyrgyzstan.

More suspension issues. Front shock absorber blown by a pothole outside the arrmy town of Ayagoz in the heart of what used to be Soviet nuclear testing territory in North Eastern Kazakhstan.

Beautiful "alpine" scenery near the Russian border with Mongolia.

Mongol Rally teams stage a "friendly" blockade of the Russian border with Mongolia in protest at how slow the Russians had been in processing vehicles. Tempers ran high that evening, but things were much quicker the following day. Still, at 36 hours in total, it was the longest border crossing of them all.

The day Kelsey and Chala's cop car died in Mongolia. We allowed ourselves to think we'd made it when we crossed into Mongolia but we still had 1,000 miles to go and the northern Gobi Desert wreaked havoc on tired vehicles. Somehow the ambulance limped on.

Mongolia.

Made it! Men with beards (aka The Ambeciles) at the finish line in Ulaan Baatar. This was taken before it all got very messy.

Great memories. Great friends. Great event.

If you ever get the chance, jump at it.

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