Kublai Kooks - Mongol Rally 2017
Day 23 - August 7, 2017
Tbilisi, Georgia to Azerbaijan
Countries: 22 KMs/Miles: 9822/6103
Breakdowns: 8 Time @ Borders: 26h 31m
Ahhh, the heat again! The Kooks were cooked. The lack of airflow combined with the sweat of eleven hungry hippos plus the lack of adult supervision made the Air BnB seem more like a college frat house. Complete with clothes strewn about, empty liquor bottles everywhere, the bathroom a virtual flood zone, and dirty curry dishes from two days ago starting to attract flies. Only a couple days in civilization and they couldn't handle it. Maybe they all needed mom to step in a crack the whip. Somebody had to, today was the day to get shit done!
John and Mikey spearheaded the car repair brigade. The others shared duties of adminning, cleaning the house, printing visas, changing money, and repacking the car. They would need to too, Team Kooks and Team Stumped But Never Walking were going to help out a fellow rallier who was in need of a lift. Jake the Aussie's team had split and he was left carless. The convoy stepped in and would split duties giving him a lift to Baku at the very least. Gotta help a fellow rallier out! But first Mackers. The fellas had forgotten to eat last night and their liquid dinner was starting to churn.
As per usual, their ability to get things done was thwarted by their ability to get things done. Not with a lack of effort though as John's and Mikey's two hour search for mechanic that can help them ended in defeat. Not all changed money or understood they had to for Iran. On a positive note, Jake had extra gear from his car that he could barter with a ride with. A badly needed roof rack for the U.K. team and a spare off-road tire for the Kooks plus various extra parts and some food. On the way out of town, the convoy stopped at a tire shop of re-rim Millie's flat spare with a replacement tire where the teams all enjoyed ice cream. The temperature had climbed to 42C and the heat wave continued. The seemingly lack of urgency only got them out of town at 4:30pm with a border crossing and a lot of driving still ahead of them.
Dusty roads and the dry country side brought them an hour to the Georgian/Azerbaijani border. No problems on the Georgian side as per usual. The Azerbaijan side would be a bit of a wait. Trying to stay in the shade they inched every closer playing the logo game and eating candles. Once at the gate, a game of bumper cars ensued as John plowed into Mikey from behind, as he does at every border, giving the guards there a good laugh and much to the chagrin of the lead car. Though maybe it will help getting the teams through borders, making the guards laugh.
Once up to passport control, the first thing that was asked was, "Drone?" Andy's ears sprung to attention. He was a little jumpy as he was pulled into another booth to register it. The lack of English made the process scattered with Andy being pulled in different directions. Its illegal for locals to have drones but tourists can transport them in transit if they are registered and placed in a locked bag until they exit the country. The "locked" bag turned out to be a half closed potato sack ridden with holes and tied with a wire. Not exactly secure.
The other boarder guard was very nice and could communicate in English. He loved the cars and wanted a KK sticker which Joshy still couldn't find. What ever happened to them? He helped us out and even signed our car in the end. Over all, everyone was happy not to lose the drone though the team knows this situation will happen again in the future. Talk of finding a hiding spot under to dash has come up. Smugglers. Bad Ass. They were through but not before the last gate when the whole U.K. team drove into Mikey's rear and followed by John who took quite delight in being the caboose in this train pile up.. All the boarder guards were laughing again.
A wonky road-side money changing scenario, followed but a wonky salmonela chicken dish and into the night they drove. Extra bags in the red Kook kar and Jake in the silver. The next water stop was a shop owners dream. Eleven sweaty thirsty guys walk into your shop and you have 33 cold beers. Easy sale. Scrambling to have enough local currency, they managed to pool their money and buy out the store. Barely remembering to buy water. This would change the mood of the crew as they went on a search for some wild camping.
Using offline maps, the teams found some "green spaces" by a reservoir. Knowing that the last time they searched like this, they found themselves in cow pie territory, they did a little recon. This took them across a guarded bridge lined with razor wire. "Hmmm, should we be here?" The drove on until they found a suitable area to set up their tents. With chairs out, music playing, and some cards on hand, the campsite had become a jovial party atmosphere. Hungry, the teams joined forces to make a feast by mixing rice with a wide array of canned items. Hotdogs in a tin? Throw it in!
The U.K.'s culinary skills were not on par as they lacked the the necessary common sense to understand that balancing a giant pot of sludge on a tall burner on the top of an unstable camping table won't last long. All the tell tale signs were there. Advanced warnings were given but the chef is the boss and makes the decisions. Even when he's wrong. T minus two minutes to destruction. Aaaaaaaaaand........ TIIIIIIIIIIIMBEEEEEER! On the the dirt it went. "Don't worry, the top layer is okay. Scrape it off and open more cans."
The meal turned out delicious enough and a little game of geographical trivia was played. Loser laps up a bowl full of vodka an rice like a pooch. John vs Geej. Young blood vs the veteran. Grease Monkey vs the Lizard King. Who says you can't teach an old dawg new tricks. Roof. End transmission.