Day 9: Telman lake to Chjargas lake

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Day 9

Cold last night, about 2 degrees. It woke me and I didn't sleep much past 4:30am. The sun is up by 5 am. But yikes it's cold. The sun is brilliant so it won't stay cold long. Today we go from Telmen Lake to Chjargas Lake. We have remained in 6th place but we were faster than the other two unfortunately we have a bit to catch up. 

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The car is definitely taking a beating and so are we. Although each morning there are fewer at the start we all cheer each other on and wish each other a successful and fun day. The scenery is spectacular again and the roads appear at first to be a little tamer.

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 We travel 118km to the first time trial. We leave on time but unexpectedly take a wrong track, well that is all relative, we took a wrong track and immediately the GPS points right. How to turn on a two track trail.

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 Dust flying we decide to head across the open field towards the rest of the pack. We see 4 cars go by before we rejoin the track. Back onto the track the car handles well and the trail at first is surprisingly free of the usual jostling. We still need to slow at each river bed, I read the tulip diagram and the new notes that have been given at the start they speak of a sand bank and that we need extra caution. When we arrive we see a truck turned on its side. ENDURO rally in anticipation of issues has some tow trucks on hand.

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We head off into the sand and it is quickly at the running boards. We start to squirm and the car slows but Tony keeps applying pressure on the gas till there isn't anymore to go. We slide side ways but slowly make or way through the sand to the other side. We were early across I can't imagine once the sand gets spread how crossing the river bed filled with sand will be.

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We hit the first Time Trial Control and all goes well. The race is about 27 km we pass two cars. It is fast. The route was not too brutal on the car. We head off two time trial 2 about 30km away over really uneven and bad roads but we make reasonably good time right behind our competition. Number 25.


example of a bridge … we crossed in mongolia

Last night we noticed our slates or radiator shutters were completely off their hinges. We need them to open to regulate the temperature and they were all unhinged. Tony reset them and applied tons of oil, today they are sand soaked. 

Locals arrive within minutes when you stop

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The sand gets into everything, it is hard to fathom just how much we carry.

The two time trials went well and we finally head over the last horrible terrain to camp on lake Chjargas. Arriving about 7:00pm

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We are more than exhausted from the jostling and as our generator light was on for the last 60 km we head directly to the repair station. The guys there try to trouble shot. Giving Tony many suggestions and coming by in between other repairs to add some advice. We hope it is just sand or grit but Tony notices the voltage regulator is shot. Thank heavens we have another. He switches it out. CLeans all the fuses and presto, one hour afterwards we are ready to go, tomorrow. 

Now shower, then dinner, then line up for fuel as the sun sets.

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Setting up the tent was quite an experience as the wind roars by at about 40 km things are blowing everywhere. Then we see on the horizon a huge sand storm brewing. I have never seen anything like it. We all run for cover as the sun is enveloped and the sky darkens. I run for the tent I am afraid it will blow away. I figure with my weight in it it will stay grounded. Barely, Tony takes cover in the car and we wait for it to blow over. 

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Then rain hits but in the desert it is just a few large drops that hit the tent and are quickly swallowed up by the sand. Ten minutes later all is clear but within 20 minutes a second storm arrives and the wind blows even stronger so many tents are turned over, it is a bit frightening. Ours holds thank goodness. Tony learned his lesson and had helped me with extra pegs.

One woman got caught in the shower when the sand storm hit. Everyone was trying to help her. She was quite shaken by the experience.

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Tony finally continues to work on the car and then the sun shines brilliantly but the wind continues to howl. This is the desert and it is an amazing experience which I realize I may never experience again. It has had a profound affect on me.

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 Although filthy and wind swept, courting a Rastafarian hair style.( I can't get a comb through it) there is a amazing feeling of serenity  here and the beauty and nature just overwhelm you alitlle.

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Coming into camp tonight we were greeted by a herd of real two humped Camels. We see Yaks, hawks, and huge birds, Mongolians in costume riding bare back across the desert with their herds.  Tiny foals, and lambs of every colour, goats, cows in huge numbers. 

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Sitting in line right now waiting for fuel before we head off to bed. Winds howl most of the night.

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Lee-Ann 🏁

Live long and prosper

© Anthony Strelzow 2013