Day 15. There’s a Snake in my Tent
We awoke to find ourselves camped in the middle of a vast wilderness, cattle roamed free on the horizon, but apart from the main road we’d turned off there was no sign of civilisation for miles around.
We trundled on towards Astrakhan and the Kazak border, we’d decided not to pass through Volgograd as Google maps indicated there was a more direct route not shown on the SatNav, this has shaved a good 400km off our route, but still kept us a safe distance from the disputed regions closer to Georgia.
Berties been having a rough time today, after the mud incident of yesterday he’s looking a bit battered, his engine fan is still wobbling around, we’ve not been able to fix the windscreen chips. We’ve been treating him to non-Euro diesel now though, full of yummy sulphur. Probably not doing emissions any good, but it’s cheaper and he seems to run better on it.
When we got to Astrakhan we decided to take him to a garage and get the fan fixed properly, our bodges haven’t worked and the noise is only getting worse. Whilst he’s not overheating (impressive given its been over 36 degrees here today) it’s not worth the risk of it getting worse in the even more barren Kazakhstan. We found a suitable garage, and after much pointing, clucking of tongues, laughing and head-scratching we left them trying to find a replacement fan.
After some nervous waiting, and lots of banging and crashing the Russian mechanic declared that he had done a quick fix, but he needed a part which wouldn’t arrive until Monday morning to finish the job. We decided to stick around and get it done properly, abused some free city-wide wifi, booked ourselves into a last minute super cheap hotel deal for the weekend and bedded down for the night with some tasty(?!?) fish jerky.