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Published: October 8th 2014
Sun 18 and Mon 19 aug 2013
From the hotel car park, I set the SatNav to my next destination Oktyabrsk. After a comfortable night, showered, fed, and a clean supply of clothing, I felt good and ready to move on closer to China. I know now that I am only a few days away from reaching the last country on my long journey.
The SatNav took me towards the Northeast direction along the A27. I thought, it will be fine, just another day of driving. Trouble came a few hours later when the tarmac road turned into a dirt track. I thought, there was no need to turn back, the car can handle this sort of off-road driving. Adding to my trouble, it must have rained heavily recently because all the dirt has turned into mud. Potholes and craters returned to the road surface and progress was painfully slow. At one point I thought I had lost the 2 front wheels because I drove too quickly over a crater, but miraculously the car kept on going. The danger is quite real, because breaking down in the middle of nowhere could mean sudden death or an end to the
Only bit of shelter for miles. Good place to camp for the night.
trip. I had to slow down a lot, even a german tank cannot take this kind of abuse for long.
Could not have seem more than a half a dozen vehicles the whole day. Came across the occasional village along the way but mainly uninhabited. There was no turning back now, I had to keep moving along this dirt track. There was so much mud caked up on the wheel arches, I had to use a big screwdriver to scrape the mud from the arches.
The road then turned from bad to worse. Part of the road turned into a thick mud bath. Most cars would have been stuck in the mud, but not the G wagon. I learned the ‘technique to drive in the mud using a 4x4’ from a Youtube video. I engaged the 4 wheel drive system, selected the low gear ratio, then engaged the front and rear differential locks and drove slowly along the mud bath for many miles untilI was back on terra firma. There seemed to be no end to this horrible road.
On the upside, I have seen many Kazakh eagles along
the road. The kazakhs’ bred these eagles for hunting. These eagles can even be found on the Kazakh national flag.
As dusk approached, I was still in the middle of nowhere, so I decided to find a relatively sheltered area to camp for the night. In this semi-arid desert, it was hard to find shelter, but I got lucky, I found a few trees beside the road that would make a good camp site for the night. There was no street light, no city lights visible in the dark, it was just silence. Was I scared? No is the answer. Too tired to be scared, I was asleep as soon as I put my head down.
Next morning I washed and changed before packing up the tent. I did saw 1 or 2 vehicles assign by that morning, that was very encouraging. More of the same for today. Beginning to think there was no end to this terrible road. The lack of food and tea did not help either. So with very low morale and an empty stomach I soldiered on. The rainclouds threatened me all day long, but luckily it did not rain that day.
Stuck in this muddy dirt track for 2 days.
was very impressed by the german engineering of this 30 year old vehicle. Most new cars would have fallen apart on this leg of the journey, but not the G wagon.
At around 4pm a miracle happened. The road turned from dirt back into tarmac. After 2 days on the dirt track, I emerged back into civilisation. With the tarmac road came other road users and with road users came fuel stations for both me and the car. My ordeal has ended. I ate at a local cafe and drank plenty of tea. Conveniently, there was even a ГОСТИНИЦА across the road from the cafe, and it cost around £3 a night to sleep in my tent. The only facility was a outside toilet, but I was happy because it was safe, cheap and I was back in civilisation again.
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