26th July 2016

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So, yesterday was another 12 hours of driving east across Russia, just for a change. The afternoon was punctuated by my screaming and swearing. I was attempting to improve my ‘overtaking lorries very slowly on a single carriageway manovere’, whilst even bigger lorries came the other way. As James Waggott asked, rather rhetorically, “Dave, you aren’t actually a very good driver, are you?”’

The road alternates from very good to appalling – where you have to zig zag across both lanes to avoid potholes and lumps in the road. One of the lumps I nearly missed avoiding broke the bit that holds the exhaust on. Also, the heatshield for the catalytic convertor fell off, but apparently that isn’t very important. Ashley Scott’s silver Micra was constantly bottoming out as he still needs new springs, springs that the Nissan dealers here don’t seem to have.

Following the screaming, we had a team meeting about how fast we should be driving. Not only for the sake of the cars but also to mitigate the potential of dying. Obviously, minor crashes are to be expected and embraced. However, it was decided to try and limit claims on our travel insurance to the ‘hospital benefits’ section rather than ‘funeral expenses’ section.

Therefore it was agreed that we should definitely think about not overtaking so many lorries on single carriageways. Or not with me driving anyway.

Quite intelligently, this morning we also installed the rear seatbelts we took out when the rear seat was a ‘flying seat’ on the roof. On the silver Micra, Ash cut up some rubber car mats and stuffed them inside his springs to stop the car bottoming out. Which so far is working out rather well. Still not actually put any oil in the blue Micra since we left. All in all the cars are in good shape, which is more than can be said of some of the drivers, after sampling far too much of the Russian holy water last night.

Felt a bit like Dr Who in his Tardis today as we actually crossed through our fifth time zone. Very weird as everyone’s phones started jumping an hour ahead. On the downside, an hours less sleep tonight.

Conversation in the boy’s car, whilst often deep and meaningful, shifted significantly today with John’s cheerfully asked yet ominous question, “Have you guys ever driven anything naked?” Unfortunately sowing a seed that I am rather concerned may germinate in Mongolia.