Day -1, Budapest: Last Preparations

Hi all,

Finally, our team has now assembled in Budapest, Hungary. We are all here now and have two days left for some last preparations before we head off to Prague. Here’s our first ever team photo:

I arrived in Budapest today, coming from Canada. It turned out that, while I was blogging and hanging out in Canada, over here in Budapest Eslie was busy doing some actual work! The car has brand new tyres, a new fan belt, a lot of welding work was done on the very rusty bottom (the welding guy says it should last until Mongolia…), and a brand new self-made rack is mounted to the roof, hosting a giant fog light (from a truck), two extra spare tyres, and a lockable, bear-safe box for all the food and kitchen gear! Just look at this beauty:

As far as I am concerned, this is the coolest car since the DeLorean from Back to the Future.

This is the list of all the other car stuff we have so far:

  • Three spare tyres
  • Two metal 20L jerry cans and funnel for fuel
  • Tools: screwdrivers, various spanners, hammer, axe
  • First aid kit
  • Warning triangle
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Three high-visibility vests
  • Spare bulbs and fuses
  • Towing rope
  • Regular rope
  • Jumper cables
  • Car jack
  • Duct tape
  • Ratchet straps
  • Bungee chords

Today the only things left to buy are some extra air filters and extra suspension springs (used – the new ones are too expensive), and then we’ll have all the car stuff. As a former astronomer, I can’t help but be strongly reminded of NASA’s Lost on the moon survival test 🙂

Since the car is so small, we decided to take only one bag each. The bags will be in the boot, so we don’t have any luggage in the passenger room, and all the other stuff goes on the roof. I also bought detailed road maps of all the regions we’re going through, and found my trusty compass from the good old hiking trip days with the scouts – I don’t trust smartphones!

We then went to the outdoor shop and had some fun there. Here’s Eslie, trying on some snorkeling gear (this will be very useful when we check out the mountain lakes in the Pamirs).

In addition, we double-checked all the documents we need. Apart from the passports and visas, this involves health insurance papers, the green European car insurance card (should cover us until we get to Kazakhstan), the car registration/ownership papers, and our driving licences and International Driving Permits. Since we still don’t know whether Zsolt can make it until the end (due to his unfortunate Russian visa situation), this gives rise to another problem, as Zsolt is the registered car owner. So tomorrow morning we will also have to head to a Hungarian notary and Zsolt will have to sign a piece of paper there that will serve as official authorisation for me to use the car. That should (hopefully) allow me and Eslie to take the car across international borders in Zsolt’s absence if this becomes necessary. We’ll probably need to get this paper officially translated into Russian at some point. I think we can do this somewhere in Volgograd.

The other really good news is that literally just now we also finally received our Turkmenistan LOIs! It’s this weird looking scan with a long list of all the 627 Mongol Rallyers who applied for it, and all names but ours blacked out. They say this piece of paper will get us into Turkmenistan:

So now everything is finally coming together. The day after tomorrow we are launching really early (6 am or so). We aim to be in Prague at the Czechout party by midday, and to finally meet all the other Mongol Rallyers!

Stay tuned, and please support our Cool Earth campaign. The donation stream has somewhat stopped the last couple of days. We absolutely need to reach the fundraising goal before we finish the Mongol Rally!! People, please, help us! Just click here.

Thanks to everyone!

Cheers, Timur