Sunday, 5 October 2014

Our Land Rover, Red, arrives back in the UK

Red has arrived in the UK! We collected Red on the port in Southampton on Wednesday 1st October.

Adam and Alex with Red at Southampton

The collection of Red was somewhat eventful. After spending sometime wandering around the port at Southampton trying to figure out where Red is, we eventually found it. The staff at the collection point spent 10 minutes trying to start-up Red, eventually we got involved, but the batteries were completely flat and the starter motor was doing the usual thing where it starts smoking as we turn it over, a problem that developed in the later stages of our rally.

The staff at the terminal helped us out and pulled Red with their van until it eventually started.

Video of Red being pulled along to get started

Eventually Red started, but we soon realised we didn't have much petrol left, which meant we had some more fun getting it restarted at the petrol station. The petrol and temperature gauges had also failed and needed a roadside repair before setting off.

We're happy to be reunited with Red again and now the post-rally repairs can begin.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Beijing Rally 2014 GPS Tracked Route

We've finished processing our Beijing Rally 2014 route. The route depicted is our actual route from London, England to Beijing, China. The route distance is 8,100 miles. The route was extracted from thousands of GPS waypoints that were continuously being captured whilst we were driving.

Beijing Rally 2014 GPS Tracked Interactive Route Map

Monday, 28 July 2014

Beijing Rally 2014, a legendary adventure and success

We arrived at the Great Wall of China on Thursday 17th July 2014 marking the successful completion of the Beijing Rally 2014. This was our 5th rally and as with every rally, it was incredibly unique. 8,100 miles (~ 13,000 KM) across 10 different countries spanning two continents that required us to cross deserts, rivers and the vast wilderness in Kazakhstan and Mongolia. With your help and support, we've raised over £2,000 for Mercy Corps!

Our adventure showed us once again the incredible kindness of strangers that exists throughout the world across all diverse cultures. There are too many stories to share but from the strangers in Poland who got in touch to share their enthusiasm for our adventure, the Belarusian military officer who showed us the way to Russia, the Russian taxi drivers who went completely out of their way to lead us to Kazakhstan in the middle of the night, the mechanic who refused to charge us for car repairs in Kazakhstan, the Mongolian who donated a car tool to us and the incredibly warm welcome offered to us by so many Chinese people at the Great Wall, all these acts of kindness continue to inspire us and leave us in awe.

These examples are just a few of so many other acts of equal significance to us and are at the heart of what makes it possible for us to drive so far in a 51 year old car in a relatively short space of time.

The rally was certainly an adventure from start to finish. We averaged 300 miles per day but spent over 5 days standing still at borders that were closed. On a number of occasions we got lost but we learnt again that getting lost only adds to the adventure, whether it is the adrenaline rush of having to track back in the dark off road routes of Mongolia after the sun has set or because we are led to an awesome new place or bump into new people, it all provides for a thrilling journey.

On the road in Kazakhstan

Red, our 1963 Land Rover, served us incredibly well once again. We did have our fair share of car issues, we experienced a high speed tyre blow-out in Russia and not so long after, we lost a second tyre. Our suspension suffered, especially in Kazakhstan and parts of Mongolia, we had some fairly stubborn sand and dirt accumulate in some of our filters which affected our car performance and on occasion brought us to a complete halt. We also had a huge crack in a our rear axle. However, even on arrival at the Great Wall of China, Red was still screaming for more action and adventure!

Camping in the wild

Our thank you list is huge, we've had so much support from friends, family and even people in other parts of the world who we have never met. Support has come in many forms, from advice, donations to Mercy Corps and help whilst we are on the road. We have to thank the Desert Bunnies at Rusty Rhinos HQ in the UK for providing continued support with Red and providing advice whilst we are on the road. Thanks also to Chris and Kai at PebbleTrack for providing and supporting our GPS tracking system.

We are also incredibly grateful to all of our friends, family and so many other donors who have made such generous donations to Mercy Corps.

Thanks to all those who have offered us a helping hand in times of need on our way to China as well as those who just wanted to welcome us to their country.

Last and by no means least, we thank Elizabeth (UK), Jennifer (UK), Jumagul (Mongolia), Jennifer (Mongolia) and Doreen (China) from Mercy Corps for making our Beijing Rally so special. The completion of the rally at the Great Wall of China was amazing. Thanks also for making it possible for us to meet the Mercy Corps teams and hear more about the incredible work that Mercy Corps undertake.

Doreen from Mercy Corps with Rusty Rhinos at the Great Wall of China

Photos from our adventure have been uploaded and can be found on our photographs page.

Friday, 20 June 2014

We're ready for the Beijing Rally!

It has been a long final evening in the UK before our departure. In less than 5 hours we'll be setting off on the Beijing Rally 2014. We packed up Red and carried out some last minute maintenance as well as some shopping. All our updates from this point on will be via the Twitter feed that is published on our website and Facebook. Thanks to all who have supported us in the preparations and have made donations to Mercy Corps.

Our finish line will be at the Badaling point on the Great Wall of China

Mercy Corps have been helping us co-ordinate a rather special finish for the Beijing Rally 2014. After some discussions and planning, the final spot where we hope to arrive on Friday 18th July 2014 will be at the Badaling point at the Great Wall of China.

Badaling Great Wall

We are thrilled at the opportunity of finishing our rally at this spot and are very grateful to have Mercy Corps make the finish line so special. Now we've got to figure out how to get from London to Beijing in 28 days!

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Our Land Rover, Red, is ready for action!

To describe the last few days as colossal in terms of effort that has gone into Red would be an understatement. It would be impossible to go through everything in detail.

One of the big wins for us is the replacement of the front leaf springs. It took two days of effort in the end to replace them for a variety of reasons. We also finally replaced our two front tyres. Replacing front tyres is normally a fairly straightforward affair, but when you end up with a tyre supplier delivering the wrong tyres and then running out of stock the week before a rally, it becomes a bit of an issue, but one that we managed to overcome.

Some electrical rewiring has also been carried out as well as replacing one of our oil hoses. Whilst working on the car we also discovered an oil leak, but this was easily resolved.

The 'Beijing Rally 2014' stickers were also applied to Red. This is a rather time consuming task that Alex had to work through over a few evenings. We also got our inside/outside temperature sensors working again.

Our useful temperature display

So here is Red with new tyres and stickers looking all ready for the rally! :)

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Red undergoes further repairs

Having inspected the chassis and welded it up previously, the plan this weekend was to replace all of our leaf spring with some new ones we bought sometime ago.

The process of removing the leaf springs can be incredibly time consuming and involves hours on end of bashing. After around 7 hours or so of bashing, the rear springs were successfully replaced.

Another chassis inspection was carried out, and rather unfortunately, a new hole was found measuring around 11 inches. Ouch!

More than just a crack in the chassis!

Moss, of the Desert Bunnies, had been helping with the leaf spring replacement and in no time at all was in action welding up Red, again!

Although more time consuming that we'd have hoped, we've got new leaf springs at the rear and we've welded up a section of Red that really needed it. A number of other repairs were carried out including replacing the alternator, sorting out the electrics with our roof lights and internal gauges.

For those of you following our news, will know that we had a fire in Red not that long ago and had to use our fire extinguisher, so we have also mounted a new, larger, fire extinguisher in an easily accessible location for both driver and passenger.

We still have more to do on Red but the progress made over this weekend is huge and with less than a week till our departure, things are starting to get in shape.