Friday, 1 June 2007
I have had a lovely day.
Last night I checked the car over. Oil, water, suspension nuts and bolts. Air filter.
Tyre pressures, wheel bearing and streering movement. All ok.
So this morning I downloaded some photos for Steve from Enersol for their website on our progress.
Washed my really dusty clothes. Last washing day until Day 12 Bijsk in Russia. Pamela wrote emails to steve.
I then serviced the Halda, chatted to different people about their cars and ours.
I have found that the rear axle is hitting the exhaust pipe where it loops over and moved the brake pipe to the back side of the axle, rather than it being near the top. I will keep an eye on this.
Sorted munchy food so its more easy to get to. Mum your fruit cake is just fantastic.
Liz and I went cashmere shopping and then supermarket shopping all within a very short walk from the hotel.
Just came back from a reception held by the Mongolian government for us.
I spoke with Robin & Caroline, in a Bentley, Thanks for your best wishes Andrew.
There was not much I could eat, but I enjoyed chatting to different people and how their day was going.
The next time I write will be in Russia, hopefully on day 12.
So speak to you soon.
We have to be in the Square for 7.15am. with speeches at 7.30.
Just one time trail tomorrow of 10 mins.
Continue to look at the official website www.pekingparis.com and our Sponsor's www.enersolcorp.com
It looks like you have to have problems to get a mention on the offical website, so I'm very glad we are not.
Love to you all.
Love Nicola xxxx
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Driving from Saidshand camp site to Ulan Baatar. Non competitive run, instead of 2 timed sections. I drove 12kms from our camp site to the Main Time Control of the day. I achieved my goal of driving in the Gobi Desert today.
It was a great challenge for me. I found it tough going but as Pamela said she would not have got in the passenger seat if she didnt think I could do it.
Every bump and knock you think there will be something wrong with the car.
I was very slow, but I had driven a little and I didnt get stuck in the soft sand.
We started at 9.55am and nothing today would be timed.
We saw some amazing views. and as we came near to Ulaan Baatar the grass got greener and we saw trees for the first time in ages.
Today was a test for the fuel tank... We have a 20 Gallon tank in our boot which was made by Concept Racing in Hereford.
He has done a very good job, as lots of people are having problems. The really test was did we have enough fuel to get to the designated re fuelling station, yes. We stopped to ask if car 11 was ok. He needed more Gasoline. Unfortunately I hadn't filled the 10 litre can, so couldn't help.
We are very conscious of our weight and will only fill this when we have our longest day driving without a fuel station for 375 miles.
So after 300km of gravel tracks, which were better than Day 4, we had 100 kms of Tarmmac driving and the route book read something like .... Level crossing 46 kms, level croosing 121 kms
In Ulann Baatar they drive slightly better than in Beijing, but still dont really know how to use roundabouts.
We washed our hands and faces and went straight for dinner. Again lovely, a little more english and my smoach is liking that.
I've recovered, but I hear others have not, so quickly.
Sat down to dinner with Liz & Simon from Devon, Car 113, 1965 - Citroen 2CV6 and Mick and Andrew from Brisbane, OZ in Car 115, 1958 - Holden FC.
Hotel for Day 5 & Day 6 nights.
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Well what can I say about day 4. It has to be our toughest yet.
We crossed the chinese border into Mongolia.
We spent 2 hours going through Chinese customs and about 30 mins or less at Mongolian...
After this there was about 2 kms of tarmac then... the Gobi desert ahead of us... This is what I came for. This is what I wanted to experence. Was it what I had expected? Not sure.
Pamela drove and I navigated. I'm getting the hang of using the GPS system.
We were told this is your life line in Mongolia, trust it. So we did.
I didn't let Pamela follow anyone else if I thought they were going off route.
We had some really bumpy terrain, lots of soft sand & hard sandy tracks that seemed like your teeth would rattle out.
We pushed different cars we came across, stuck in sand (although we didn't get majorly stuck this day, our time would come).
We had out first Time Trial. The target time was 96 mins, we did it in 66 mins.
We had our dust masks on, but windows down, so the car is filled with sand and grit.
Em your goggles are coming in very handy. Thanks.
I dont think I've eaten quite so much sand.
Our final time control (MTC) of the day we were supposed to be there at 16.33 we got there at 19.41. over 3 hours late.
Since we have found out they have not included the MTC of the day into the results and we are 4th in class 5 and 5th overall in the Classic category. Its along way to Russia let alone Paris.
After this time control the weather was changing - here began the biggest sand storm in the world, well thats what you feel like when your in a car trying to navigate your way through on tracks that are hardly there in the first place.
I didn't even consider what a sand storm would be like when your in a car driving by the compass on your GPS.
We got to the fuel station in Sainshand, still blowing and hence forth started waiting in a Perking to Paris Rally car queue for fuel. I think its was around 3 hours until we left for the Campsite.
We arrived safe and sound. Ate a lovely meal prepare by Nomads Travel company. soup of potatoes and carrots. a piece of beef. a whole carton of apple juice between Pamela & I, bottle of water.
Nicky Banister told us it would be an easy day's driving tomorrow to Ulaan Baatar, as they didnt have any marshals or ambulance. At this stage we didn't know the ambulance had rolled. They are both ok, but the van is not.
Put up tent and slept very well, but to be woken up by the rain at 6am.
I decided it would be good to take the tent down before it rained to much, so we got up earlier than we wanted.
Sorry to those of you who saw the official website that 30 crews spent the night in the desert, and worried, we were lucky.
Love Nicola xxx
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Tuesday, 29 May 2007
Computer still working. time is 10.30pm on Tuesday 29th May.
Last night (monday 28th may) we slept in Yurts. round tents that were
about 10 feet round. had carpet, dercoarted wooden poles at the
centre. canvas sheeting.
I was nice and warm in our down sleeping bags, silk lininers and
thermo rests. It was a fasinating experence. Pamela didnt enjoy so
much, but doesnt do camping and wantwed a shower. I meet a lady who
was cold during the night because they felt to dirty to get into their
sleeping bags !!! just wash it whebn you get home.
Today we are at a hotel in Erenot.
Tomorrow we go over the chinese border to mongola. Camp in our own tents.
next 2 night after that we are in Ulan Baartor for 2 nights in hotel.
then camp for 5 nights.
Car is still well , although I'm not so, but ok. local food does not agree.
We have our 1st time test tomorrow.
I'm having the time of my life.
Love to you all.
Love Nic xxx
Day 2 was an interesting day with lots of detours.
1st was when police sent us right at fork instead of left. we did
this. yes road was lovely new tarmac until big ramp drop. Pamela saw
it, then inched over it in 1st gear. Lots didnt and some went air born
at 50 mph.
We had then noroute notes so had to navigate by the gps to waypoint
P19 which was eventunally on the road we were on.
We vowed not to follow police intruction again. Until we came to the
next Passage control. They said the other road was a lot worse and we
were right to follow police advice.
has been a fairly boring day.
Lots of moterway.
I limited Pamela to 70mph. Only thrash the car when you need too. We
dont plan to trash the sunbeam as we want to get to Paris.
We have been lucky so far with our car.
Lots of people have had probs with fuel and fuel filters.
People really nice, lots of poeple chatting to me.
Route has been lined with locals waving us by and fastinated by us.
especailly 2 ladies. the police women really wave wehen they see us.
Love Nic xxx
We are good.
Sunbeam is well. Daily checks good. toped up with oil (2mm on
dipstick, today tuesday 29th may, first time)
Day1 start was amazing at the Badeling Gate in the Great wall of China.
Lots of entertainment by the locals young and old.
1st car an Italia 1907. left with lots of drumming and clapping and
photos being taken.
I felt very emotoinal watchin it all.
Pamela drove most of the day untill the Hanging monastry (liturally
does hang off the mountain).
Then I drove the last 1hour 21mins to the hotel in Datong.
My first time driving in a Rally. I'm not so good at driving fast down
mountains that twist lots. We missed our clock time by 2 mins.
Pamela reassures me that my skills in classic car trails will come
into action when we drive throught Mongola and I shouldn't be so
I cant beleve Iam actually here. Some of you had more faith that I would be.
Pamela introduces me as the mechanic, which I'm supposed to be, but
most think its my day job. I correct them when they start saying your
the one to come and find.
I'll send this before the power goes again.
Love to you all
Thursday, 10 May 2007
Its now only 10 days until we fly to Beijing and 17 days until the Rally starts.
Have we remembered everything...?
No... I remembered that I still need some properly fitting leather gloves... I sent the last pair back as my fingers didnt reach the ends.
We recieved a Final tips newsletter, yesterday, from the Rally Office, which was interesting reading. Especailly the comments on accommodation at the pass between Tibet & Nepal on the 1997 Peking to Paris rally. The low concrete building had no doors, windows and one unusable outside toilet... 200 drivers & passengers had to stay the night. Most camped in their tents.
A very apt line in the newsletter says "S**t happens...so, expect things to go wrong, regularly, take it on the chin and you will come out of this smiling."
I am smiling already, I'm going half way around the world in a 1960 Sunbeam Rapier. Wow how excited am I.
This is not a fashion Parade. leave jewelery at home
Pack light. Feddie & Janet, the winners of the 80 days around the world Rally had just four pairs pants/knickers each.
Do you need a suitcase. The 2 blue offical Peking-Paris travel bags are so big... (er no I think small)
T-shirts are good - No, we don't dress for dinner!!
Grub up. Food will be dreadful sometimes, take sachets of tomato ketchup, mustard, salt, packet soup... etc
I am the light... Torches, matches are useful... Mongolia ...No country we have ever tried to plan a rally route through has been so hard... Our route books are not the Gospel, we never said they were accurate.
And Finally...leave the official website with loved ones so they can follow your progress.
The offical website for the rally is www.pekingparis.com
Each day we have a sheet of paper in the route book to write what's happened to us, tear it out and give it to the organisers, so you may read about us, but bear in mind there are 134 cars competting.
Our Sponsors: Enersol Corporation's website is www.enersolcorp.com
Click on the Team Enersol Peking to Paris icon for updated information, that we hope will be updated each time we can send an email to Franky or Steve at Enersol.
I hope to give short tip bits of what's happened to us, when I can, on this blog. You know the type... really silly things that you just can't believed happened. Expect some rambles and definatly spelling mistakes anyway, satalite phones are expensive.
We're told that mobile phones will work just about every day, so you can always send me a text more personally, if you have my number ending in 501. I'll try and respond that day.
Pamela & I are having some last minute navigational training on the Halda, average speeds & tulips tonight with Neil, the guy who supplied our Halda trip meter.
I'm dual driving with my Dad in his Beach Buggy on a Production Car Trial in Stroud, this Sunday, did I think this through properly, maybe not, but I enjoy them.
See you all, some sooner than others.