It’s Sunday morning 16th June and our “day of rest” has come and gone. There’s no rest for the wicked, as the saying goes.
Our start times have been reset and we begin the rally at 8.25am.
There is an amendment sheet to the route book for updating the program for the day.
There are a few changes that need to be taken into account from when the course was set last year.
The exit from the city comes easily as traffic volume is low and we make good progress confident that we are on the correct course.
An interesting modern bridge just out of Novosibirsk and the general scenery going west to Kazakhstan
We did query an instruction that seemed ambiguous and felt confident we understood.
However,,,,, the instruction was ambiguous and the “navigator” took a turn wrongly.
He should have been following the waypoints on the GPS, which didn’t show up when we were some 50kms off course!!!
We were running comfortably on time but this put the kibosh on getting anywhere today. The drive was already 630kms plus another 100kms backtracking!
Once back on the correct track, and rain was added to the mix, there was an STC to partake of on a graveltravel road.
Well, when we got to this STC, the road, some 16kms in duration, was 200mm deep in mud. It was slush and the car was covered in mud, splattering over the windscreen so that all vision was lost. The wipers could not remove this slush mud so we slowed whilst one of us could squirt water onto the screen to clear it. It was dangerous yet like kids, it was enjoyable to drive through. Mud everywhere and it went on and on. We skidded, fishtailed and slid like you wouldn’t believe. The road was quite wide so there was room aplenty if there were no other cars on the road. We just couldn’t see. We also couldn’t stop as being stuck was not an option so kept going sometimes not knowing the direction of our heading. No time to take pictures. We used all of our precious water supply just to try and keep the windshield see throughable.
At the end a group of amused onlookers that had seen the other cars coming through covered in mud, had a chain gang going with buckets of water and a watering can to slosh clean our windscreen. Great consideration of some enthusiastic people just wanting to help.
Eventually back on some sort of tarmac we stopped at a service station and Steve cunningly saw an opportunity to wash the car under the station canopy that was leaking copious quantise of rainwater from its roof. It worked a treat. Parked transversely across the entry to two pumps slowly moving back and forward. Other customers saw the funny side and accepted another lane.
We were late at all the control positions this day because of the error made earlier in the day.
Part of the afternoon activity was crossing from Russia to Kazakhstan. We dreaded the delays in this process, but as it turned out the process was smooth and friendly.
On the Kazakhstan side of the border the sun came out. Very welcome.
It had been cold where it had rained so it was a welcome relief to get some sunshine.
The last part of the trek was to find our hotel which wasn’t too difficult as it turned out. The roads toward the city were long and straight and the surface was quite different from the roads in the Russian side.
The inside of Denise for those who haven’t seen inside the cabin in which we spend so much time everyday and the throngs of people at the arrival in the Irtysh hotel
At the official parking lot in the city there was a huge crowd to meet all the cars. These people just love cars where we’ve been so far and everywhere we go there are waves and “toots”. Even the police want to shake your hand when you arrive.
It was a good, looong day with the only blemish being the ambiguous course direction resulting in a poor performance day I’m afraid.