Week Eight in Status Updates: The Final Stretch to Ulaanbaatar – We made it!

September 12th – Gobi Aimag, Mongolia

Heading out of Altai for another tough 400km stretch of offroading…they say we’ve made it through the worst section, but that doesn’t mean the “roads” are good. Not at all. Especially if you’re driving our car.

September 13th – Bayankhongor, Mongolia

We’ve made it 2/3rds of the way across Mongolia! Stalled out in the middle of two rivers, became furniture movers, chased down wild horses, turned down five would-be girlfriends in a ger village, drank way too much milk tea, car burst into flames (not ours, somehow) and stopped some tire thieves. 600km left to UB…slow and steady and crossing our fingers that the Fiat doesn’t ‘splode.

September 14th – Bayankhongor, Mongolia

SNOW DAY! (Photo)

Snow! Woke up to see Bayankhongor transformed into a winter wonderland. We’re spending another day here as we wait for our buddy’s Ghostbusters van to get patched up. People kept asking us why we brought skis with us on the rally (they were part of the roofrack)…well now, you know why.

September 15th – Bayankhongor, Mongolia

Still snowed in in Bayankhongor. There’s 6″ on the ground and it’s still coming down. We attempted to make the drive to Ulaanbaatar this morning and got 18km before we were forced to turn back due to slippery roads. Now we’re searching the town for tire chains. We’ve got 200km more offroading ahead of us before we reach asphalt roads.

‎”If you’ve been in Bayankhongor long enough to know how to spell it, you’ve been there too long.” ~ Srdjan Kovacevic (fellow Mongol rallier, giving us advice via email)

After running around the snow-filled blackmarket of Bayankhongor, getting into a snowball fight with locals, and running through slush a foot deep, we didn’t find any snow chains. But the weather’s warmed up a bit and the snow’s melting. Time to give it another shot.

ASPHALT!! Made it through the last offroading section of the rally, one of the worst sections we’ve driven thanks to 10cm deep snow followed by 10cm deep mud. From here on out, it’s paved roads. We’re expecting to putter into Ulaanbaatar tomorrow if our barely alive Fiat has anything left in her.

September 16th – Arvaikheer, Mongolia

WE ARE NOW IN ARVAIKHEER. Final stretch. 400km left to UB. Chris gets the first 200km, Pete gets the 2nd 200km. Here we go.

WE MADE IT TO ULAANBAATAR!! 12,000 miles. 56 days. 18 countries. 16 mechanic shops. 3000km on 3 pistons. And 250 rubber duckies. We finished the Mongol Rally! (Photo)

We ran out of gas right before the city, didn’t have any money for the toll booth, and white smoke was pouring out from under the hood as we drove across the finish line. We did it!

September 17th – Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Said goodbye to our Fiat Seicento today…a bittersweet farewell after she took us so far. Terrible, terrible car, don’t get me wrong, but I’ll still miss that tiny, puttering piece of junk. We donated it to a charity that helps children in Mongolia, so it will go to help a good cause (assuming they can actually find a buyer!)

That is Jeff with us there! (Cardboard Cutout Jeff.) (Photo)

I think for a while, the car hated us. It didn’t want to move, start, or carry us anywhere. It cried gas, oil, and coolant, always causing a big mess. But in the end, after we stopped threatening to burn the car and push it off a cliff, we somehow drove the car across through the Altai Mnts, across the off-roading of Mongolia and into Ulaanbaatar. Today, it was the prized vehicle, as all the other Mongol Rally cars were missing bumpers, windows, side panels, etc… That car will find a good home, and then die. Whoever buys it is a moron.

September 18th – Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Decompressing in Ulaanbaatar, after 8 weeks on the road. Switching from Mongol Rallying to real life overnight is quite the change!

We took 13,000 photos on the Mongol Rally and a full 24hrs of video. Not too shabby.

Gave away all 250 of our rubber duckies to children and friends we met along the way – thanks again to all our donors! We will be updating our website soon with photos and a map of where all our duckies ended up. Stay tuned. :)

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One Response to Week Eight in Status Updates: The Final Stretch to Ulaanbaatar – We made it!

  1. Howard Waters says:

    Congratulations on a fantastic achievement!!

    Your website brought back some memories – my son and I completed the Rally in 2009. See:
    http://mongolrally09.theadventurists.com/index.php?mode=teamwebsites&name=unchartedwaters

    I hope you enjoyed the whole trip as much as we did.

    Howard Waters

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