Second day of Time Trials and we now have a much better idea of what to expect both from the course and the car. Unfortunately, by missing the finish point of the second trial yesterday, we eliminated the possibility of a gold medal but we didn’t come here to win trophies (or did we- oh well). Lloyd’s driving in these timed stages had been excellent and it will be interesting to see how they compare to other competitors. As for the car’s handling capabilities, they are nothing short of incredible when considering that it is a ’49 Cadillac weighing something in excess of 2.5 tons – great job Charlie Beck and Chuck and thanks again. If we don’t run into some bad luck we should be fine.
Tried to get a picture of the campsite but it just didn’t come out – light at dawn is tricky. Suffice to say that 100 cars, 200 tents plus the Nomads support tents and vehicles made for quite a site. There will be other opportunities to get another try at that one in the upcoming days.
Speaking of Nomads (the expedition support company), they do a very impressive job of feeding and fiscal requirements (showers, toilets, etc.) for a group of this size and under the existing conditions – a special thanks to them as we will be totally dependent upon them for the next week of camping.
Just to dispel any notions that there are no roads in Mongolia, immediately following the last time trial for the day, the route took us on a wonderful, straight, well paved road which ran for the next 200+ kms. Not much else out here but the road.
Along the way we passed some other competitors at speed …
And others just at rest. The little white sign says “OK” to indicate they have just stopped for a break or minor repairs. The other side of the sign reads “SOS” which requires no explanation. Apparently there have more mechanical problems encountered this time than in prior years which further complicates things as arrangements have to be made to transport the vehicles and the people and provides the mechanics with an endless supply of work. This trip is not for the feint of heart.
And of course there is always the bio break. The natives do this just as well for all manner of bodily functions. I guess with the lowest population to land area ratio in the world (2.45 million people which results in 1.4 persons per square km.), not much damage will be done in the foreseeable future. By the way, the horse to person ratio is 13 to 1. Mongolia is so far inland that no sea moderates its climate. Only in summer does cloud cover shield the sky. With over 260 sunny fays per year it is justifiably known as the “Land of Blue Sky”.
And speaking of challenges, this little Alpha Romeo jeep has a top speed of 50 kms. per hour (about 30 MPH) – great in the dessert but it will take a long time to get to Paris I’m afraid. Perhaps it’s faster going down hill.
Then there is the American LaFrance (remember them from yesterday) – seems we always get pictures of them stopped – will try to get an action photo later. The good news is they always seem to be making pretty good time. These vehicles are chain driven – pretty impressive under these conditions. Sorry about the blurred picture, we were moving along at a pretty good clip – on the “highway”, our car ride great – just like a Cadillac.
And finally a little roadside safety reminder – people here, like everywhere else, just drive off the road for no apparent reason. Fortunately, there are no trees or poles to hit to complicate matters.
I’m not sure just what message Lloyd is trying to convey here, the good news is that the sign reads “Sanitized” not “Sterilized”.
Tomorrow is a day off so we will attempt to do a bit of maintenance on the car. More to come.