Mongol Rally, Day 15: Buoyed by the kindness of strangers - Leon Logothetis

July 28, 2012

Mongol Rally, Day 15: Buoyed by the kindness of strangers

What this world needs is a new kind of army—the army of the kind. –Cleveland Amory

About 1,100 miles ago we were  on the outskirts of Volgograd, Russia. When we stopped for gas I noticed a shiny object protruding from my back right tire. On closer inspection, I realized a nail had punctured the tire.

After consulting with Steve Privolos, my co-driver on the 10,000-mile road trip from Britain to Ulan Bator, Mongolia,  known as the Mongol Rally, we decided we would keep the nail and keep driving. The tire seemed to be holding air.

We decided to risk it because we have a date with destiny in Mongolia, where we hoped we’d complete this adventure and enable us to donate 10,000 books to The fact that neither of us knows how to fix a tire may have played into our decision making.

When we reached the town of Aktau in Kazakhstan, 1,100 miles later, the tire was still functioning.

On Saturday, that changed.

As we were driving to the Turkmenistan border, the tire gave out. Fortunately it didn’t explode on the main road but went pear shaped in town. Our date with the inevitable came with a dose of good luck: All of this happened next to a tire repair shop.

We spent half the day in the dilapidated shop with two new friends, Artem and Bashad. They fed us and even introduced us to some of their friends. They replaced the spare tire and even fixed the old tire, and their kindness and friendship  warmed the heart. They wouldn’t let us pay for the repair. Kindness rocks.

With the tire fixed, the engines revved, Turkmenistan awaits.