And here you have it, the last and final post about the Mongol Rally
Despite everything, we made it. We found the road! I was super untrusting. I think Mongolia gave me trust issues. Despite over 10 miles of nice road, I still didn’t trust it and kept waiting for it to all go away. To my delight, it didn’t! I drove for a while, Kristina taking over for a bit before I took over again. I drove until it got dark and a bit hard to see. As a team we decided to call it a night, and once more we camped out in a ger. It was so nice, we all cooked a meal (FINALLY) and chatted a bit before we let our exhaustion take us to dream land.
At last we made it to Ulaan Baatar, the capital of Mongolia. And if this was last years rally, we would have been finished! But it wasn’t. We spent a whole day there, splitting up to just check the city out. Kristina and I went to see dinosaurs and send out some postcards while Maartje and Scott did some photography and sightseeing.
We got word that crossing the border into Russia was going to take anywhere from 12hrs to 24, and because we had a flight and paperwork to do, we got up at the ungodly hour of 3am, piled into Eddy and drove for the border. Our last border!
It took 12 hrs. And most of that was spent just sitting around doing absolutely nothing. We began to sell off some of our things, the tents and sleeping bags. It was like an open market and we had to work with the people to not get totally ripped off. Some of the stuff we sold very cheap becase it was used and some of it was damaged. They were happy to take almost anything however, someone even wanted to buy the battery!
There were a number of other rally teams there waiting to get in, some having been there since 3am. We got there at 8am, which was a fairly good time. There was this weird system in place however, locals would get in-line, then sell their prime spot off to other people. There was also lots of cutting. How can someone cut when they’re driving a car? Well you just wait for a small opening and just go for it. A man did this, he just cut right in and it made a bunch of local women who were also in the queue go absolutely crazy. One woman got right up in his face and shoved him back, smacking his chest and shoving him over and over as she yelled. It was intense and a bit intimidating, but in the end the man won the spot. We stupidly sat by and watched it happen over and over, then we finally all had enough. The ralliers all joined forces, got some rope and basically said fuck you to anyone who tried to cut us. This worked out great, not only did we keep people out and ruin a little scheme going on, but we pissed off people and almost got ran over.
This woman came in and tried to cut, when Scott and another rallier tried to stop her, she nearly ran Scott over. This resulted in her car being kicked and that got her angry enough to jump out and start screaming at everyone. It was all just a cluster fuck, so finally the police came over. The guy listened to the stories and glory be, he made the two people who cut get out of the line. Order was restored!
After hours more of waiting we got on the road again, by this point it was getting dark and we were all rather tired. But onwards we went and I drove! There were so many pot holes but after the crazy stupid roads from before, this was nothing.
And at last, dear readers, The Nerdventurists made it to Ulan Ude.
Unfortunately the finish line was closed soooooooo yeah, no glorious moment of roaring into the finish point, instead we parked, found a hostel, did a 15 minute make over, and got our butts over to the pub where we all proceeded to join the others in getting shit faced on vodka.
The best moment of this was when one of The Adventurists came over and greeted us, shook our tired hands and said “Congratulations, you’re now a veteran of the Mongol Rally” Then it kinda hit. We did it. We finished this crazy rally. We made it to the finish line and now we were going to drown in vodka and celebrate the fact that we just drove from London all the way through to Mongolia (then took the extra step of driving up into Russia again)
So we partied the night away, and in the morning I had to go do something rather difficult. I had to go start the paperwork for Eddy, our faithful and loyal car, to be destroyed. It was bitter sweet as we doned our Mario costumes and drove Eddy (roaring and everything) up the ramp to take our photo. When the hour came, Kristina and I got in and went for Eddy’s last drive.
Funny thing is, I was the very first of the team to drive Eddy. It was me, the one who had never driven a manual in her life, anxious and nervous, sitting in that chair hoping I wouldn’t break him as I took a tentative drive. And now at the end of his time with us, I once more sat in the chair. Only this time I wasn’t anxious or nervous, I was profoundly sad.
Eddy is a car, but for the last month, he was also our home. He was a car who hated going into 2nd gear, who screamed each time we started him up, he was small but held us all comfortably, he stood out in the crowd with his glorious decals and vibrant red roof box, he was reliable and steadfast and he was one hell of a car. He was as much a member of The Nerdventurists as I am. I thought it fitting then that I be the first to drive him and also the last. I kept a little piece of him and it’s going to sit in a special place, a little spot of honor. I will miss him and all of the memories he held.
So I conclude this little portion here with this: Goodbye Eddy. Thank you for getting us safely to the finish line. Thank you for getting me through what has truly been the grandest adventure of my life thus far. You will be missed my little Corsa.
And so dear readers. We did it. Kristina, Scott, Maartje and I are now veterans of the coolest adventure rally out there. We have great memories to look back on. I don’t think any of us will ever forget what it’s like to go days without real food, eating what ever we find at the local gas station. We won’t forget that swealtering heat that smothers you as you wait around to get through the next border. We won’t forget the breathtaking sights of endless green hills, desolate desert, majestic moutains and eternal roads. None of us will forget the people who became something like a family to us, even though we only just met them. We will remember everything, the good, the bad and the truly strange.
What I will always remember and perhaps the greatest thing I took from this rally is: Kindness. There are people out there who help others with out a second thought and never want anything in return. They helped and gave aid merely because they wanted to and that was amazing to experience.
So everyone, this is it. I’ll be turning over the blogging reigns to Kristina now. Thank you all for reading and for all of your comments of encouragement and support.
Until the next adventure!