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Mongol Rally, Day 33: Where will it all end? In Ulan Bator or…?

Posted by on August 17, 2012
 

Not quite there

The Mongol Rally team nicknamed the Flying Dutchmen won't be arriving in Ulan Bator, Mongolia, in their own vehicles, says Leon Logothetis, second from right. (Leon Logothetis)

“Never drive faster than your guardian angel can fly.” –Author unknown

I am within spitting distance of the end of the Mongol Rally, this 10,000-mile road trip adventure that began July 14 in Britain and, with luck, will end in Ulan Bator, Mongolia. After five weeks of grueling driving I can taste the glory.

But before I start celebrating–even though we may be as close as 60 miles from the endpoint–I remind myself that many teams have not made it. Car troubles. Visa troubles. Lots of troubles. Today I bumped into a team of Dutch fellows I had met during the 47-hour Mongolia border debacle. The four friends have been nicknamed the “Flying Dutchmen” by the rest of the ralliers because of their need for speed. They are stuff of legend.

Their story did not end well. They will be reaching Ulan Bator. Their cars will not. The Mongolian roads did them in. They had two cars. The first one broke down yesterday, so they piled into the second. Then the second broke down.

They found themselves stranded in the middle of nowhere and were saved by a Mongolian nomad. I met up with them at the city of Baganuur. Their dream was  in tatters. They had hired a minivan to drive them to the capital. Their cars would be spending the rest of their days in the Mongol Rally graveyard.

You really never know what is going to happen next on this crazy adventure. Even though I am closer than I was last year (when my dream ended on Day 8, broadsided by a 4X4 in Romania) I have seen what happened to the Flying Dutchmen and others. Only when I arrive in Ulan Bator will I even contemplate that this journey may end successfully.

Heading back into the harshness of the Gobi desert, I know it takes only one pesky rock to end the dream.

To be continued. I hope.

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