Kublai Kooks - Mongol Rally 2017
Day 40 - August 24, 2017
Countries: 26 KMs/Miles: 15186/9491
Breakdowns: 14 Time @ Borders: 44h 0m
After finally waking up next to a body of water following a night camping the Kooks decided that the lake just wasn’t clean enough to go for a wake up dip. Rubbish was washed up all along the shore and it didn’t look the cleanest. The lake had proved to be good from far but far from good. No point in hanging around so after breakfast and a cleanup it was back on the road. Bring on the Pamirs! Well at least the nice and sealed section given Yacks was not in a fit state to even drive down to the dairy to pick up some bread and milk.
The road followed the lake before heading upwards towards the hills. The landscape was generally mountainous but was still quite dry and barren. Extending up from the lake was a river that the road began to follow and the Kooks decided this would be where they got their daily shower. Running straight off the snowy mountains the water was ice cold and definitely gave them the shock they needed to jump start the day.
Back on the road they were clearly starting to gain some altitude as the air got thinner and the snow seemed to be getting closer. Joshy had never seen snow before so maybe today would be the day. The sides of the road began to widen out and grassy banks began to form next to the river. The paddocks had stock and horses grazing in them. There were gers (Mongolian style huts) placed on the side of the road with smoke coming out of them and young children waving at the passing cars. The Kooks were still a ways off Mongolia but this is exactly what they pictured it being like.
They pulled over to take some photos and a few rally cars drove past that had been parked next to them the night before but they hadn’t met. They had a quick chin wag before continuing the climb up the mountain. As they got towards the top the whole area opened up to reveal a wide plateau. Livestock were grazing the fields and there were more gers dotted along the road. They called in to get some gas and ditch their rubbish. Andy was trying to find the rubbish bin and was shown to the edge of the service station where the rubbish was thrown into a big pile and lit on fire shortly after. I know these guys carbon footprint must be small but surely there’s a better way. Andy was not impressed.
The road continued to wind up the mountain with switchback after switchback. The view was tumeke (meaning very good in Maori). It looked like we were going to hit the snow and Joshy’s eyes were lighting up, but as the Kooks neared the top they entered a tunnel and that was as high as they were going to get. On the other side they pulled over to take photos of the deep valley only to see that there was a massive mountainside with heaps of switchbacks. They’d hoped to do the Transfargalbargin (incorrectly nicknamed by the Kooks), considered one of the best driving roads, located in Romania, but had to miss it. Screw the Transfargalbargin this looked beast.
Andy ripped out the drone and the boys started driving with John and Mike on the roof – standard Kook behavior. A few turns down the mountain all of a sudden they hear a siren from a cop car and quickly stop and leap off. They expected the worst, except the cops just pointed at them and carried on. Classic. They did a photo shoot and Mike seemed to be a hit with the local ladies getting asked for a few extra snaps with them. Time to head on though and get to Bishkek. This small section of the Pamirs had been stunning and some of the best scenery of the trip. Pamirs, tick.
Coming into town Andy had a hell of a time driving the red car trying to make sure she didn’t stall while vehicles pulled out left right and centre. It had become a nightmare to drive with the stuffed engine. The town wasn’t anything special but did seem to have a couple of nice squares. They checked into the hostel, which was one of the cleaner ones in a while, and shot off to get some dinner in town. The restaurant seemed strangely western and had the most awkward waiter who seemed overly attentive and a little creepy. The Kooks seem to attract these sorts of people. Stardoms a bitch.
The cars were in need of some serious work and general admin had been neglected for some time so lists were made and tasks were assigned for the next day. Time to be productive boys! They had been messaging another team with a Skoda Fabia who seemed to have the same problem as them and were talking about scrapping their car. With any luck the Kooks could grab their spare parts and get Yacks back running. There was a small chance Yacks would be able to carry on. So how do you convince a team that they need to give you their car? Ply them with liquor of course!
Back at the hostel the other crew came around and war stories were exchanged over a few beers. It sounded like they had been having a hard time as well and were done with fixing their car. They weren’t making any decisions tonight though so Josh, John and Mike went with the other team to the bar down the road. The place was called Coyote Ugly and was very western. It was 12am and very quiet though. The shots were coming thick and fast and the shisha was ripped out. Finally at around 2am the place packed out with locals and it was time for the Kooks to show off their mad dance moves. Naturally, they killed it.
All of a sudden it was 5am and everyone was wasted. Patrick from the other team had lost his mates and could barely walk. Taking him under their wing the Kooks went on the hunt for food but came up with dick all. Time for bed. Taxi! Tomorrow was supposed to be a big day. End transmission.