Mongol Rally, Day 4: The wheels on the car go round and round - Leon Logothetis

July 17, 2012

Mongol Rally, Day 4: The wheels on the car go round and round

I believe in getting into hot water; it keeps you clean. –G.K. Chesteron

The mishap with the car Monday — hitting the ginormous pothole in the Czech Republic — was not a welcome development. Good things, however, can occur even in life’s little mishaps, of which there are many on the Mongol Rally, the 10,000-mile road trip that about 800 of us have undertaken, all for a good cause. We left Saturday from Britain and think it will take about five weeks to get to Ulan Bator, Mongolia. For each mile we drive, we donate one book to, which helps underprivileged children.

As my co-driver, Steve Priovolos, and I were sitting by the road a fellow Mongol Rally team stopped and offered their assistance. Random acts of kindness rock. As a mechanic, I’m useless and so is Steve, and the lads who helped were not much better — but they were good enough to partly diagnose the problem.

It seems the car has an “issue” with the protection panel behind the disc brake on the front right tire. Joe, the lead pseudo-mechanic, and his chums tinkered with the wheel, and although it is not fully fixed, the horrible noises it was making are not quite as horrible.

Job done. For the moment anyway.

I have decided to throw caution to the wind and will be visiting a real mechanic in the Ukraine the day before I visit Chernobyl. Yes, that Chernobyl. This is more than 1,000 miles from where we are. We’ll soon see the wisdom of this decision.

Because we could now continue on, we headed toward Klenova Castle in the Czech Republic. The Festival of Slow as it is called is the final party (the Mongol rally chaps seem to love throwing a good party) before all teams head off to the east.

“Heading off to the east” sounds slightly ominous — maybe because it is.

The Czech Out party is a last chance to let off some steam before the real adventures begin. By letting off steam I mean eating vast amounts of meat and drinking copious amounts of beer. And who can forget the wacky costumes. It is craziness on an epic scale.