Hi all from Iran,
Hope you are all well as we are, it’s great to hear that some of you are getting better after some serious illness.
If you can remember the last big email we managed to overcome our moat in the desert. Yes the water had managed to drain away by the following day and it left large lakes but we could pick our way through. It has become obvious to us that the conditions are taking their toll on us and the buggy. Things such as zips are not working and the dust is getting into everything the alternator light comes on sometimes and oil is dripping out of our clutch shaft! The rear suspension rubbers have failed and we put the spare shocks on with new rod ends. The front suspension has dropped and the back has sagged too. The most serious (other than the oil dripping from the clutch shaft) has been the front end as the c clip holding the stub axle has failed on the top side allowing the stub axle to ride up onto the top bolt and is grinding it away!
We have to travel west along the bottom of Mongolia and the road is appalling but the view and backdrop are just fantastic. The Mongolians are a strange bunch every time we stop at a yurt we have them kicking and pushing the car up and down and spiting very close to it?! We assume it is like some space ship as they have not seen a car like this before and they would like to have one of their own… It’s always a strange feeling leaving these new friends as they give so much to us. You sit in their homes made of sticks and felt and they insist you have a meal with them but sometimes the hygiene is a bit far for Elayne and I am left eating double, hope my stomach will survive! Yes we could not believe it, in the middle of the small Gobi we bump into 4 of the original group! We had a long chat and we made plans to catch up about 700kms to the west as we all wanted to visit the far north west corner of Mongolia at the Chinese boarder.
We had to get permission from the army to visit this part so we made plans to meet in a weeks’ time which we did. It is great when you meet at some strange location you feel a great satisfaction when your map reading has gone to plan! We arrived to find they were suffering from a bad stomach infection with Gillian on antibiotics and high fever. We decided to keep going with them as a group and it was not long after we set off when Antony’s rear uni failed so he was on his front axle only as he had not packed a spare. Our visit to the far north corner of Mongolia had some of the best the fishing. It was great and the most unspoilt area we have been too. Antony had more problems as his clutch failed and we are at least 1500kms from a place with spare parts. I have to say he did a great job driving over the worst roads in the NW. We left Mongolia and most of the cars have suffered damage and just as we hoped to find better roads, and after looking after my tyres so well, I managed to collect a large arrow head stone which punched a large hole in the rear tyre!! Oh well…
Border crossing are a travellers nightmare the pushing and paperwork drains you and it takes a full day with customs and searching our car, which they have never seen before, and they insist we show them the engine in the front under the bonnet!! I must go now the keyboardIi am trying to type on has no letters you can see and it sticks down on the space bar so please except it as it is. (Note: Adam has fixed most of the errors!)
PS: After 3 weeks of oil dripping from the clutch shaft it has stopped I cannot understand what has taken place but fingers crossed.
All the very best love to you all,
Chris and Elayne XXXXXXXX