On the road

Day flies when you’re looking for petrol in Uzbekistan

Day flies when you’re looking for petrol in Uzbekistan

Oh boy, these last two weeks has been so intense.

So many new things, experiences & people. It’s hard to believe that we’re actually doing this, and that we’re only half way through.

Uzbekistan, Samaraqand & Bukhara has been amazing, despite the total lack of good petrol & internet.

We set out to do this and make one movie update/week, and blog posts every other, and boy was that wishful thinking.

With all things happening, you’re totally flabbergasted/exhausted when you finally get camp up, so updating or editing movies is the last thing on your mind.

But, soon, you will be seeing things popping up.

We’ve been teamed up and caravaning with two other teams these last few days, and today one team left us for Tajikistan, but the rest of us will try and reach the Kyrgyzstan border from Samaraqand tomorrow. It’ll be a hell drive (roads here, suck), but if we make it, we’re looking forward to some camping in super amazing environments.

If you ever get the chance to do the Mongol rally, do it. This shit is ballz.

Much love to all our sponsors for helping us make this adventure happen. Your gear has helped us out in so many tight spots, and you’ve given us memories that will last 3 life times … and we’re only half way though.

Day 4, lets make that 4 AND 5 – Not hungover, just a little tired.

Day 4, lets make that 4 AND 5 – Not hungover, just a little tired.

We had arrived in Sibiu the night before, wanting to just have 1 beer, and crash. Well, that didn’t happen. The awesome people from team HIEHFEKBC had organized a little party at the Ursus Cotton Pub (Ursus, currently my beer of choice), with all you can muster into your puny body beer. We stayed way too long, and all tho it was super awesome meeting all the other teams, it meant that we got a terribly late start, which would mean stay in hotel in Bucuresti in order to be able to pick up the router from DHL there.

We creeped towards Trans-gargamel-transen after checking out from the hotel, and smooth ride was had.

Transfagararsen, damn. How does one start to explain how powerful and beautiful that ride was? I’m not a guy who can write stuff that pulls you in, especially not in English, so I don’t know how.

Images will probably help a lot.

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It’s now day 6, when I’m writing this post about day 4, since we’ve had our asses filled. And when not, we’ve slept. I thought that I would be able to edit film, write blog posts and edit images while Jompe was driving, but since one guy in our car (me, or sometimes Jompe, if he lets me drive) has to navigate, it is impossible to do anything other than navigate, and then try to sleep before it’s your turn to drive again.

These last days has been so awesome, but so stressful on both mind and body.

We all have different moods, and different ways of tackling challenges, something we have yet to get in sync. I feel more bad for Jompe and Matt tho, since me and Christian have a very ‘Straight forward’ way of tackling issues with each other, an art form years in the making, which must be tedious to listen to.

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We arrived in Bucuresti pretty late since we had an awesome lunch at a cool little place somewhere in the transfagararasen, checked in to a swank hotel (hotels are CHEAP here), had a swank dinner, and then continued to lock ourselves out from the UNO’s trunk. An hour or so later, me and Jompe had devised a mechanism, with strings, to open the trunk “remotely”. This made me feel awesome and invincible. Sadly, this meant we had no time to do the blogging and cutting, again.

Day 5 was all about mission “Get the package, and get the fsck out of dodge”. We wanted to get going early, and make good time, since we were already two days behind schedule. So a quick pick up at DHL, and off we went. One way to make up time is to get in your car, and just DRIVE. Another way to do it, is to NOT drive though the Romanian/Moldova border, and then after 45 second drive (Yes, something like that), do the Moldova/Ukraine border.

The Romania / Moldova border crossing was awful.

People cutting in, like, systematically cutting in line. Making their kids go up and signal when they should try and cut in order to get “stuck”, leaving the border guards with nothing else to do than letting them pass. 200C° added that nice little twist we all needed whilst waiting around for about 5 hours from start to end.

.. “The Ukraine borders will be the easiest during the rally”. Fsck me, we’re doomed.

We managed to meet up with our old friend Mr.Minza (Thanks for the Campagne!!!) somewhere in nowhere-land after finally making it past the tedious border, followed by a looooooooong drive via Odessa and a scetchy underpass, to a magical cliff by the sea outside Morske around 3.30 AM, where we put up camp, and managed to get at least 3 hours sleep before the sun made the tents pour hot lava out of your eyes.

Day 2 – A 4 star raw uncooked meat thingie? Don’t mind if I do.

Day 2 – A 4 star raw uncooked meat thingie? Don’t mind if I do.

Day of the launch. Day of the miscalculation of time needed to get to Sibiu. Day of the first real camping.

Started the morning with … well, waking up. Not feeling rejuvenated at all.

After a ceremony with the Czech’s strongest man, doing some stuff, with his teeth. Yup, teeth, we drove. And drove. And drove.

Well, not entirely true. we stopped to repack, since both our back seats where absolutely filthy, and filled with stuff. We must have done a good job, since when we were done, it was 1 hour later, and we could finally start driving … towards Mongolia (?!).

After two ours of intense driving, the first pit stop was had, at a 4 star restaurant. You have to start somewhere. I had a beef tartar, and that was all I ate, until lunch the day after. See, that’s how you get your tummy in order. By starving it into submission.

Right before we exited Czech, we stopped off at IKEA, to get some pillows. Turns out they have a “No Shoe, No Service” policy. Even after I explained that I was swedish and IKEA is practically my home, and I, unlike him, could actually pronounce the names of the furniture, I was still denied access to the premises. Haters gonna hate.

This was the most excitement of the day pretty much, since we wanted to get as far as possible. The end goal was Sibiu. But after a slow start (that opening ceremony was way too long Buddy), and getting lost in Budapest for a while, we were not making it to Sibiu. So, around 1-2 AM, we turned off the highway somewhere southeast of Budapest, and the we turned off the road that followed, and the we turned off the off road that followed after that, and then we where in a field. Good. Camp!

All the stuff we got from friluftsvaror.se was really handy here, especially the headlamps, since in nowhereville, it’s pretty dark during the night.

Snoring and pope’ing was had, and it had been a good first day, even tho we only made it half way to that days goal.

Day 1 – Does the Pope shit in the woods?

Day 1 – Does the Pope shit in the woods?

Sunday morning, didn’t feel anything special, as we talked about in a blog post further down. I was not supposed to be picked up until around 8 PM (which then turned into 9.30 PM) left me with some spare time to just re-pack a few 200 times, and make sure I had everything, which I probably don’t. Also get luck wished upon by friends from north to south by phone, and slowly it started to sink in, this thing, we’re doing it.

Christian and the guys were late (as calculated of course ;)), and around 10 PM, we were off. First stop, the ferry in Rødby, via øresundsbroen, and somewhat Copenhagen.

Painless. Easy.

After the ferry, and the shopping for Mintuu, we headed towards Berlin, and then it started to get a bit blurry. Not because alcohol (don’t drink and drive kids), but because we arrived in Germany after 1 AM, and we’ve all been up since 7-8 AM the day before. But, due to a deadline of when we needed to be in Klenova (Klenova Castle), we trucked on as they say. Big up to Jompe who more or less drove for 11 hours straight, to get us there in time (Yeah, my face was so sleep deprived, that I couldn’t see straight, so he filled my shifts).

There’s not much to say about the drive down to Czech and Klenova other than the thing above. Well, that, and “holy shit what Germany is ‘grey’ ”. Kind of like, god created earth, and on the seventh day, he tried out the cool feature in photoshop that he just found, called “Desaturate”.

Czech had an amazing countryside. We entered in through Chemnitz, and over that little hill-range located after the border. Amazing scenery, and amazing roads.

A few hours of driving and asking for directions commenced, which made us end up at the Castle in Klenova, for the Adventurist’s Mongol Rally Launch Party.

This was around 2.30 PM, almost the time we wanted to be there … ish.

So, tents where put up, beers was had, and instead of power-naps, we socialized with the other teams who had arrived. A lot new and old faces, and even people whom had family that some of us knew in real life. Good times.

Next we knew, it was 7 PM. This is where we should have gone to bed.

Instead we went up to the castle, drank some more beers, ate some food, socialized for the better half of 2 hour. Then, the wall hit us all, hard. No sleep for over some odd 30 to 40 hours, mixed with alcohol and meat. For some, it hit in the form of just going to bed and passing out like a baby. Others stared blank into the darkness that was around us for a few hours. Some got food poisoning. Well, lets just go with food poisoning. Pretty cool nightmare, when there’s just one toilette (with a broken lock), and about 2-300 people, drunk. So, does the pope shit in the woods, well, this pope does. Quite a few times too during the night, but hey, practice makes perfect! I’m SO ready for Mongolia now!

… yeah, that happened.

Pretty ups and downs first day.

Team Venture Beta Camping

So, last weekend, me and Jonas took the two cars out for a spin, to try them out for longer distances, and then we ended it all with a camping out in the wilderness. We mad a little movie, enjoy!

Thanks to friluftsvaror.se for all the gear they sponsored us with!

Some pictures?

Pssssht-water.

Pssssht-water.

It’s no secret that this trip we’re embarking on will be filled with challenges, and being the avid use of the internet as I am, I have read up on some of the larger hurdles we will face when attempting to steer our two trusty steeds from Sweden to Mongolia.

Here’s some things that I at least found challenging.

Water
Yes, we need to drink a lot during the rally, we’re talking 6-7 liters/day, if we don’t want to get dehydrated, since the heat in some of the countries we’re passing by will be insanely hot.

Tho, this is not the biggest water related issue.

AH! The bottled water! I hope you newbies don’t mind carbonated water, as unless you can read cyrillic, you’ll be drinking a shitload of the stuff once that latin alphabet runs out the further east you get. Oh and asking “Niet pssssht?” at the till when paying doesn’t help.

Trust me, you might think “Big deal you idiot!” now. But just wait until it’s 40c+ in somewhere like Kaz, you’ve just stocked up on a few new bottles and you crack that first one to take a swig of that lovely still, chilled h2o and it goes “Pssssht!” at you as you twist the cap. If you’re not into Perrier, it’s the most demoralising fucking sound in the world.

Yes, personally, I started drinking pssssht-water a couple of weeks back, only to get used to it (if DOES taste different). Now the next step is to tyr drinking it hot™.

Corruption
There’s no doubt that we will see our fair amount of the friendly police corruption that is going on in all the countries after we hit up Ukraine, where it’s supposedly the worst. We’re not talking US congress corruption, but full on frontal in the wrong locker room corruption (yup, that made no sense). There are however a few good tips from earlier ralliers to be had.

Play dumb. Like, dropped as a kid dumb. Then start the who-can-last-the-longest game, a game which might last 2-3 hours if you’re unlucky.

Another very good plan of action is to pull up the map as soon as the cops flag you down, and before they even have the chance to open their moths and violate the english language, you start pointing at the map and ask for directions, butchering their language, no doubt.

Bring a blond chick in the car. I heard that can be pretty good too.

There’s also the option of just ignoring them when they try and flag you down, and ignore their sirens/light behind you. This method might prove good, but I have not heard of that many doing it … wonder why? $10 to the team that does this, and documents it on film.

Heat/Cold
Not only will it get super hot. Like, super awesome amazeballs hot. It will also get super amazingly fucked up cold. Yes. We’re traveling so far that we’ll get all the vacation weather out there, be it summer vacation at the beach, or the winter vacation in the mountains snowboarding. We will see it all. How the hell do you pack for that diverse weather? You don’t.

As long as we don’t get the fucked up british weather, I’ll be a fully happy and content camper.

Yep. Be prepared for snow and ice as well as 52 degree heat. One day we were literally melting into the drivers seat (you get used to driving in a pool of your co-drivers sweat when it’s your turn behind the wheel) and the next you’re freezing your behind off in a snow covered Mongolian border compound. Aaaahh happy days!

There’s tons of more things that will be challenging of course. Not knowing the language, not knowing the directions to drive, forgotten the oven on at home, get your hands on cold beers … where to do Yoga? But we’ll cover that at a later date.

You might be wondering why I didn’t mention the fact that we might se 5-6 days without a shower … well, obviously you have never been to the Roskilde Festival. We WELCOME the fact that we don’t have to shower. It’ll be better that way. No one really knows who it is that’s giving out that alluring smell.

Smell you later. Yes, you will.

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