Mongolian Road Mishaps
Trip Start Mar 13, 2007
92Trip End Aug 10, 2007
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The road conditions seriously slowed our progress with some road-related disaster befalling us on an almost daily basis. Tonka repeatedly got bogged down in the mud, stuck in the sand, and on one occasion crashed through the permafrost, a variation on the theme of getting stuck in the mud but one with potentially far more dire consequences
These breakdowns, though, did have some advantages. For example, the broken spring Tonka suffered in Arkhangai Province happened at a particulartly scenic spot below a high pass and took about three hours to fix, a great opportunity for the type of short hike most of us had been itching for while trapped on the truck. This led me to think about ways to sabotage the truck when passing through other pretty places.
Getting bogged down in the mud was our most recurring problem, and we got quite skilled at digging underneath the wheels, laying sand mats, and collecting stones. Collecting stones when the truck gets stuck in the mud is one of things like boiling water when a baby is born, something everybody does but nobody quite knows why. You end up throwing the stones in the holes the wheels made in the mud for better traction, but I'm convinced it's just a busywork activity to make passengers feel like their contributing while the drivers are fixing the situation. So, when a spring breaks and everyone asks, "Charlie, is there something we can do to help?", the usual answer is, "Ummm, yeah, go collect some stones".