Day Nine 20 June 2016 Uliastai to Chjargas Lake

Woke this morning with the electrics dead in the tent and quite heavy rain. Everyone tells you, repeatedly, that Mongolia has 320 days of sunshine. We’ve certainly seen plenty of their off days. Fingers crossed the car will start…

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This is Mugi holding the compression strut he welded last night. We first met him and his colleagues in Ulan Bataar where he works for Nomads, the camp organiser.  He helped us weld and repair our suspension there, in camp two nights ago and again last night. He has been a godsend, we got welding done in camp by Nomads welder while everyone else had to wait (the sweep mechanics run a car clinic every night and it is very busy).

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Brought to you in smellaround, latrine dug in the soil with a box seat and tent on top. Ripe doesn’t quite cover it. As Werner the Austrian photographer says, “Is this the best holiday you could find?”

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Lunch stop, desert on the hills behind.

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Chargas Lake campsite, drove over my first sand dunes … and broke the front suspension.
Apparently the driver of the mini arrived at the same dunes and found four other cars bogged on the ascent, he said they looked like flies on fly paper.

Hell of a day. Trying to nurse a winged car in to the final control in time to keep our gold medal status. Got stuck briefly towing out another competitor. No idea where we are in the competition, I think maybe two hours behind now, depressing as a steady drive would have given us the top ten finish we had hoped for.

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How the camp showers work.

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Huge skies.

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Big lake.

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Lots of cars and tents, for the first time on the event there was some trouble with the local Mongolians. A group of drunks were bothering  the fuel queue. Until a group of Nomads mechanics set about them, three teeth were lost in the ensuing battle if the rumour-mongers are to be believed.

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The campsite is littered with damaged cars, as I write this a pre-war Chevy came in with the front caved in and a huge Mongolian truck radiator attached to the front. The mechanics are working late into the night again. Camp rumours of fifteen retirements already.

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Note the ornamental garden I lovingly pitched Jonathan’s tent next to. Jonathan not as grateful as I thought he should have been…

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