On the move again.
Trip Start Mar 12, 2011
109Trip End Dec 15, 2011
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The working title of my contribution today,if there was one,was going to be Popenbangenfarten to Ashgabad and indeed the day started out just like that.The car started badly and just got worse and worse.So much so that I had alerted our guide to try to arrange for a garage to attend to the car should we make it to Ashgabad.The detonation and banging was such that I honestly could not see us getting there.But at least one of you must have been praying very hard.At the point when I thought it could get no worse it suddenly cleared.Must be the mechanical equivalent of passing a gallstone.From then we sailed on as best as the road would allow to the point that we did our maximum day's mileage.So from a deep gloom we have regained a quiet optimism.Other things went our way.We check the wheel nuts every 100K and they seem to have withstood a fairly tough journey OK.Do not want to tempt fate but I am hopeful.The oil leak from back of gauge seems to have stopped.I start thinking about the things that maybe we got right with the car.Outside temperature was 30 according to our gauge and radiator crept up to just below 80.So recoring the rad and pressurising the system obviously helped.Tyres seem to be holding up and the bump stops I made up for the rear axle have been working overtime.Rear axle - thats a thing -need to make sure we keep oil level up.We had a good day today.Also had lunch in roadside cafe with Alec and Batyre -delicious dumplings with meatballs and a glass of yoghurt.Felt quite native.So we arrive in Ashgabat which Roger will no doubt expand upon.To me its like a Ray Bradbury novel.Met some students during our evening meal and learned that residents of A
Roger:Well, as Martin said, I managed to crash the computer without saving all the pearls of wisdom I had managed to extract from my befuddled brain earlier, so now he has had first stab at the missive. I'll fill in the gaps he omitted
Early start in order to cover the miles, and there are 587 km between where we were and where we are now. Set off in high expectation as the work yesterday afternoon indicated we may have solved the problem. But no, it spluttered along like an uncomfortable thing.Got stopped by the police right at the start, I guess they see something out of the ordinary, and have to pull rank to get a close look. By the end of the day we had resorted to taking the lane next to our guide, so that we are shielded from the police for just that bit longer, so maybe we can get by before they wave their red stick at us. By the way, on the plice boxes, there is a big sign Pygg, so now we know where the rude expression comes from. These guys.Road was very varied, sometimes a lovely tar surface, then it deteriorates a bit, improves and then falls apart. Faced with a pothole 5 foot by 3 foot and 6 inces deep, with no warning, theres no option but to swerve wildly or hit it. No onder people say that in this part of the world, they drive on any side of the road. We do as well, theres not enough traffic to make you keep to one side when there's bad surface. The trouble is, when you do it with a blind rise (there probably isnt anyone coming) there might be.Drove into Ashgabat at about 6ish. Impressive city, tall buildings, and fountains. Apparently more fountains than Las Vegas, and I can well believe it. They are everywhere, even in the islands between lanes in the roads.Went to a local shop to buy 2 beers (18 Manat, about Ј6 for the 2) and we had to cross 14 lanes of traffic in one road. But very little traffic. Not sure whether there is more in the day time, but such space! And between the buildings, too.As last night, no internet, altho yesterday we managed an internet cafe, but spent an hour without success trying to read any e-mails at all. So will post this probably when we're in Uzbekistan, if they are a bit more open.Good night