After a cold night in the Himalayan Hotel, it was something as simple as Heinz Baked Beans for breakfast that sent our crews out with a smile on their faces this morning. Today was the longest in terms of distance of the whole of the Trans-Himalayan Adventure, and was billed as a transit day compared to the wonders we have seen over the past 17 days.
Maybe we have become blasé about having Mount Kailash and the Nemo Nanyi snow peak in the rear-view mirror while driving away. It certainly seems that way when it comes to high altitude passes, with the crews driving the Mayum La Pass of 5211m without the blink of an eye.
Yet the landscape once again captivated crews who left Darchen to snow-capped mountains and shards of ice on the roadsides only to be in what looked like the desert with sand dunes a couple of hours later.
The Camel Range Rover of Tim Wilkinson and Steph Duckworth set off at a sprightly pace after its shock absorber ‘bush fix’ and an intense load lightening exercise. As did Car 10, the Rolls Royce of Mark Robinson and Yvonne Fuller after yesterday’s shenanigans.
Our crews journeyed to the small town of Baryang where some found lunch while David and Julia Little in the Bentley Super Sports found a local workshop after one of their shock absorber mounts broke. With its counterpart looking worse for wear, David had both drilled and machined to make sure they would make it to the finish line. With all the sweeps watching over them, the Little’s were soon back on their way.
Car 16, the Jaguar Mk2 of Dominic and Rosie Collins had quite a day. First its throttle linkage came off, which was fixed by sweeps Richard Last and Simon Clooney in a sand storm. Then Richard noticed the advance and retard had fallen off the distributor, and finally they needed the fuel filter replacing again. But they kept on rolling and made good time to tonight’s hotel.
Phillip and Yvonne Haslam’s Jaguar XK120, car 15, needed a new air filter after the sand storm but Rudi Friedrichs and sweep Karim De Mynn were on hand to sort that out in no time. Sweeps Richard and Simon had also been helping the Haslam’s with their on-board fuel bladders.
Car 11, James Hall-Smith and Ed Talbot’s Rolls Royce suffered some overheating towards the end of the day but hopefully tomorrow’s descent will help to stop that happening.
Towards the end of the day, some crews took the opportunity to visit a small temple called Traduntse, one of the border taming temples founded by Songtsen Gampo in the seventh century. The temple was established to suppress the mythical supine demoness that represents the Tibetan landscape. The walls inside the temple still bear some of the newspaper from the dates of the Cultural Revolution (1966) to cover up the religious murals along with some of the Red Army’s slogans in graffiti as well.
This is one of the few temple that has not started renovations to become more tourist friendly and crews were given a guided tour by one of the monks who lives at the Temple.
Tonight, we have moved to the Mu Lin Sen Hotel in Saga, which is still a little ‘rustic’ but has a great atmosphere and the restaurant has a glass floor so while we ate dinner and celebrated the birthday of Michael Wilkinson, the cars were visible below us.
It’s an early start tomorrow for the penultimate day of the event for those finishing at Kathmandu and the journey to Ji Long with one final high pass, the Jakhyung La at 5236m to tackle.