I thought driving a Micra with four blokes in it, towing a trailer was going to be slow. However, driving it over a mountain range takes slow to a new level. It’s not just the gradient, but because the of the height, the air has got much thinner and there isn’t enough oxygen in it for the cars.
By the time we hit 8,500ft we were down to first gear. Thankfully, most of Mongolia is above 6,000 ft. which means we should be able to make it to second gear which will be lovely.
Then, after two weeks of driving we have finally made it to Mongolia. The border crossing lucky only took eight hours. As soon as you then drive into Mongolia you are on to dirt track roads. They have a ‘washboard’ effect on them like corrugated steel. Which makes the car feel as though you have swapped its wheels for pneumatic road drills.
If you drive across the washboard fast enough the car flies across the ridges rather than bouncing on every one. Pity we cannot get to that speed in second gear.
With this amount of impact on the car things were going to go wrong and they certainly did. And more drastically than we imagined. Every single one of our IKEA cut crystal glasses have been smashed.
However it does give us more time to admire the views. The Russian landscape was rather flat and boring forest. However when we hit the Urals mountains it was more like the Alps. Now in Mongolia its turned very desert like, but with mountains – it’s absolutely stunning, like a moon scape. Definitely worth the two week drive to get here.
While asking for directions from a Mongolian guy on the street, who, it turned out speaks perfect English and runs an adventure company in Mongolia. We have arranged with him to have a play with AK-47’s and rocket launchers in a weeks’ time. He even said he would let us shoot the cars with them. What could possibly go wrong…?