Day 15

This morning, there were many more cars starting than normal. Most of the those who had been towed across Mongolia, were fixed and able to rejoin us this morning.

Due to the problems with the torsion spring, we dropped back many positions and as a result also have a late start time. Today the first car left at 07:00 but we could only start at 08:51!

This means that we are always going to be one of the last cars, especially if and when we get lost, like we may have done this morning. At least we got to see a little more or Novosibirsk.

Today we have a 510km drive to the border with Kazakhstan and then another 120km drive to the hotel. That is a big distance to cover on any day, but even more so when a border crossing is involved as these tend to drag on and can be unpredictable.

The weather was pretty miserable and it started to rain soon after setting off. It was incredible to see how many Russians were still standing outside in the wind and rain, waving us on!

In the end, we were in and out of the border crossing in lightening speed. It took us a total of 20 mins and the locals would tell the rally participants to skip the queue and go ahead of them.

We all parked our cars on one of the main squares in Pavlodar and thousands of people came to have a look at our muddy machines. I was walking around with one of the other participants, when we were approached and asked if we wanted to meet the mayor.

We were ushered into a yurt and to a table which was laden with local delicacies. The mayor, accompanied by another politician, kept on giving us food to try. Some were really delicious but others, like the fermented horse milk, can best be described as interesting. I pretended to take a big gulp, but I couldn’t stomach much of the milky vinegary taste.