In the morning we inspected our latest attempt at repairing our engine fan, its better, but still much more rattly than it should be. Unless it starts to cause us any real problem we’ll just leave it as is. Otherwise Bertie is still in great shape, a quick top up of screenwash and we’re ready to hit the road again. We also tried our solar shower this morning, as recommended and provided by Wicked Technical Services, even with only half hour in the morning sun it has got surprisingly warm, and made a nice change from washing with cold water from our tanks.
The price of Diesel is dropping nicely as we move away from the European border (under 70p per litre of euro diesel), and although petrol stations can be few and far between we’re not letting our tank run to much under half and not struggling, certainly no need for the jerry cans.
As we moved closer to the Kazak border the terrain changed from vast fields of crops (mainly sunflowers) to even more vast wastelands. Miles and miles of nothing either side of the road but an occasional lone tree or small ranch. Cattle roamed this scrubland freely, often close to or even in the main road. It was spectacularly desolate, but didn’t much help us find a good place to stop for the night.
We pulled into a small track that lead off into some bushes, it had been raining (only the second time we’ve seen rain so far), we sent Farmer Tom to investigate how suitable the track was for Bertie. He reported all good so we set off down the track. It quickly became clear all was not good, Bertie was chewing up the mud and after a hairy 500m or so of sliding down a mud track unable to stop or steer, Bertie decided he’d had enough and slid into a small ditch which we couldn’t get him out of.
After trying all the usual tricks we sent Tom back to the main road to try and flag down a tractor or suitable 4×4 to pull us out. Instead he came back with three friendly Russians in a Nissan Primera. Some more digging, a lot of pushing and a whole lot of mud later, we were back by the main road otherwise none the worse for wear.
Charlie had been cooking dinner whilst we tried to get Bertie out, so we ate then continued another 50km up the road before pulling into another dirt track (which Paul and Charlie scouted this time) and stopping for the night.