Day 49 - Russia to Mongolia

Kublai Kooks - Mongol Rally 2017
Day 49 – September 2, 2017
Ulgii, Mongolia
Countries: 29 KMs/Miles: 18296/11435
Breakdowns: 15 Time @ Borders: 53h 15m

She was an early getup in order to make the Mongolian border. The Kooks had a shower to wash the smell of brothel off them and hit the road. The roads were smooth and they were making good time when they called into a small café a hundred kilometres down the road to grab some breakfast and Wifi. As they pulled away they began to do the math in order to get to the border in time, which closed at 6pm. They still had at least 400km to tick off and were going to be pushing it to make it to the border before 4pm in order to have time to cross. They were going to be cutting it fine. Toilet breaks were going to have to be infrequent and petrol stops were going to have to be fast. No time for anything else.

The roads began to get windy and weaved them through beautiful pine forests and rivers. It then changed to rolling hills and marsh lands, then mountains with snowcapped peaks. Some of the leaves had begun to turn brown creating picturesque views as the land began to flatten and small lakes begun to appear. There were horses, goats, and cows crossing the road frequently which provided a fair bit of comic relief and a big road hazard. The road had provided great fun for the drivers and the scenery was by far the most beautiful they had seen on their trip. They had spoken to a dreaded local earlier in the day who said this was one of the best drives in the world and the Kooks would concur.

As they approached the Russian-Mongolian border the land flattened out. They could tell that they were high up as there was little vegetation floating about. Pulling into the border things looked promising. It was about 4pm, there was no one else around and they were let through the gates. The wind was cutting through the place like a knife as the Kooks waited for almost 30 minutes before someone came to serve them. With only two border crossings to go on the trip the Kooks couldn’t wait for this to be done.

Going through the motions it was realized that John hadn’t given them the piece of paper that registered the car in Russia, which they’d got in Kazakhstan. Nervous, nervous times for the Kooks. They handed over the one for Yacks to see if that one would work. If they were denied here the border was closed tomorrow and that would mean they would need to drive around Mongolia in order to make the finish party. The border guard scanned the documents thoroughly and picked up on the mistake. Bugger! He didn’t speak any English but that didn’t stop Mike from trying to talk his way out of it. Clearly they don’t care as much about paperwork at this Russian border as he eventually gave up and was happy to let them pass.

As they were about to head to the next part of the crossing who should turn up…. Aquaduck!!! Shit yeah. The boys were stoked to see one of the crews they had spent a lot of time with at the opening party. It was only a matter of time before they started bumping into a lot of teams as they neared the finish.

A lot of war stories were exchanged as the two teams headed to the Mongolian customs area which was 20km down the road. The Kooks managed to get through fine as it neared 6pm. Aquaduck on the other hand had their passports stamped but needed a small piece of paper stamped to be able to drive their car out. At 6pm on the dot as they handed their paper to the lady she got up and left. Home time apparently. Speaking with the other people there Aquaduck were going to have to stay there, at the border, with no food or water, for two days until the border re-opened. You’ve got to be joking! After some swift chat with the border security guy they managed to get let through.

The Kooks were in Mongolia and with Aquaduck in tow!!! After all of this time and effort they had finally made it. This is what they had driven 20,000km in 7 weeks for. All the blood sweat and tears had finally got them to the prize of the rally – Mongolia! Leaving the border the roads were sealed. Screw this. The two cars took it off road with people hanging out of cars, photos being taken, and bottles of vodka being passed between the cars. The Kooks seriously couldn’t have been happier. About 30km down the road a van was pulled over with a bunch of people standing around it. Did they need some help? Nope it was all of the border control guards having a party in the middle of nowhere. We danced with them and shared some vodka and carried on.

Pulling into Ulgii they spotted the Aussie boys on the side of the road who had caught up with the rest of their convoy. Time to have a few drinks and meet some new people. The Kooks had a blast talking rally stories with everyone and the drinks were flowing. It was decided that everyone needed to find a club so the 20+ people strolled down the road and found a near empty club except for a few locals. The locals seemed impressed with the Kooks dance moves and joined in showing off their breakdancing skills. Unfortunately it was more like your drunk uncle at a wedding than anything impressive. What a day and what a night. Mongolia baby!! End transmission.