Team "Driven Mad" Blog

Click here see our journey with blog entries on a map.

This is the blog we wrote and posted by mobile phone while on the road. It's a mixture of Mongolia Charity Rally blog posting and Twitter posts. It's had only minimal editing and is now static and in date order. The times are GMT. Tweets start with a #.

# Jul 9th Well we're finally on the road! Just about to get on the ferry to Liverpool. The van has 114182 miles and counting. 9:37 AM via txt

Fri, 09 Jul 2010 18:48:27
First night on the road trip of a lifetime.:)

# Jul 9th Cool.. Thanks to the paramedic who flagged us down in the street in Liverpool and gave us some bandages etc for our first aid kit! 11:37 PM via txt

13 Jul 2010 at 14:18
London calling.. 600 miles done 9400 to go..

15 Jul 2010 at 04:33
After staying with London on tuesday and a night in dover we are now waiting to board the ferry to france

# Jul 15th Arrived dover for the slightly gale-delayed 10am ferry.. France, Belgium and Germany beckon.. 10:46 AM via txt

15 Jul 2010 at 16:03
5 countries in 1 day.. UK France Belgium Netherlands and now sitting outside a pub in Dusseldorf Germany.

# Jul 16th In dusseldorf. eastbound in the morning.. 12:37 AM via txt

# Jul 16th Motoring on.. E40 eastbound Germany 1:25 PM via txt

17 Jul 2010 at 02:03
600 miles yesterday and slept in the van / luxury motorhome near Wroclaw Poland. Off to Krakov this morning. Easier drive and time for a bit of routine maintenance when we get there.

17 Jul 2010 at 15:33
Short drive to Krakow today only 180 miles but 39 degrees kept us and the van hot. Tomorrow we've a long day ahead - 550+ miles and our first non eu border crossing. I reckon 13 hours on the road..

# Jul 17th just arrived krakow - it's gotta be 35 degrees already.. 12:44 PM via mobile web

# Jul 18th Eastbound a4 at rzeszow loads of 50k limit roadworks all the way from krakow.. 11:38 AM via txt

# Jul 18th We are now on the road to ukraine 550 miles to kiev. Should take up to 12 hours 10:05 AM via txt

# Jul 18th Waiting at ukraine border. 1:53 PM via txt

# Jul 18th We are now in ukraine took about an hour after we jumped the que 3:07 PM via txt

18 Jul 2010 at 12:48
On the road from Krakow to Kiev... 9 hours on the road and another 6 to go. Passed the 2000 mile mark for the trip. Roads vary from very good to badly potholed. Good practice for Kazakhstan!

# Jul 18th Great lightning in ukraine on road to lviv 3:41 PM via txt

19 Jul 2010 at 02:48
Arrived Kiev 2.30 this morning after 15 hours driving on mostly poor roads. This morning we're letting someone else do the driving and are off to Chernobyl for the day.

# Jul 19th Main street Chernobyl! 11:01 AM via txt

# Jul 20th Took up an hour to get out of kiev. Police stopped us no fine wanted pressy 10:24 AM via txt

# Jul 20th River sounds cool. But where is it? We just met a Team I Meant To Do That from the mongolian charity rally in a 51 plaate subaru outlander. 1:15 PM via txt

# Jul 20th Just arrived in Dnepropetrovsk is hotel in centre? we are a wee bit lost 6:29 PM via txt

20 Jul 2010 at 06:03
On the road from Kiev to Dnipropetrovsk. 41 degrees in the van. Stopped by police for the first time, cop asked for present but no money changed hands.

# Jul 21st Lots of police on the way out of Dnipropetrovsk 8:59 AM via txt

# Jul 21st Anybody know if there is a ring road around donetsk 10:29 AM via txt

# Jul 21st Do these people not believe in signposts? Just been lost for 2 hours. Thank feck for a map and compass.. 3:22 PM via txt

20 Jul 2010 at 17:33
In eastern Ukraine after a nice day's drive through the countryside. Got stopped by police once no fine. Got lost for 2 hours. All part of the fun!

21 Jul 2010 at 09:48
On our way to the russian border. Looking forward to getting across..

# Jul 21st At the border.. Not sure what one! 5:06 PM via txt

# Jul 21st Finaly into RUSSIA 8pm NO payments made 7:05 PM via txt

21 Jul 2010 at 17:18
Rostov on Don, Russia. Finally made it across the border after loads of paperwork and attempts to get money from us. None chaged hands. Tomorrow Volgograd! Will make an early start if we can. We crossed another time zone today so it's like the clocks going forward only every other day!
22 Jul 2010 at 07:48
On the road to Volgograd. 37 degrees in the van. Roads good in Russia.

# Jul 22nd Just left ROSTOV. 3050 miles on clock since belfast. 8:52 AM via txt

# Jul 22nd Got to the Hotel Volgograd at 6. Splendid old fashioned grandeur! Now off to see the huge statue.. 4:48 PM via txt

23 Jul 2010 at 04:18
On the road to Kazakhstan after a good night in volgograd. The city was entirely destroyed in WW2 only 1 building remains from before then. Travelling with another car Team Nissan In Action - 3 scottish guys in a nissan serena.

# Jul 23rd Getting police escort out of Volgograd 7:45 AM via txt

23 Jul 2010 at 11:48
Made it to the Russian-Kazakhstan border in good time and now we're waiting.. and waiting.. and waiting to wait to exit Russia.

# Jul 23rd Waiting in queue at kazakhstan boreder.. 4:24 PM via txt

# Jul 24th About 50km from atiraw. Stopped by police for chat sent on our way.lots of camels and nothing. 5:15 AM via txt

# Jul 24th We have now arrived in Atiraw after 24 hours on the road. We could do with a cup of tea 5:44 AM via txt

# Jul 24th Well we made it as far as Kazakhstan at least! After 6 hours at the Russian border arguing with the guards. Off into the desert tomorrow ... 5:15 PM via txt

24 Jul 2010 at 14:03
Atyrau, Kazakhstan.. Here after long 6 hour border with the guards trying to extort money from us.. No money changed hands again. :) That meant a night time drive on our first kaz roads. Went for 3 hours til 4 am then slept in the van for 2 hours. Woke up with camels wandering round the vans. Tomorrow we're driving east (is there any other direction). Will sleep in the van for 2 nights. Prob no network coverage there.

# Jul 25th Taking the northern route via Uralsk 6:24 AM via txt

25 Jul 2010 at 05:03
On the road again. North to Aralsk then southeast to Aqtobe. 40C but the van holding up well thanks to some floor mat in the radiator cap.

# Jul 25th Dodging camels, cows, eagles and wee furry ratty meerkat things.. 11:13 AM via txt

# Jul 25th Van cool just driven 500km to ARAL north kazakstan. Very hot around 50c. 1:20 PM via txt

# Jul 25th Arrived at aqtobe. roads got bad 100km to end Lots of russian lorrys being escorted by russian & kaz police 8:44 PM via txt

# Jul 26th in Aktobe. Looks like we may be in a convoy of 1 if NIA can't get their car fixed. Anyone we can join up with? 8:29 AM via txt

26 Jul 2010 at 09:33
After getting the clutch cylinder fixed we've been sitting for 4 hours waiting to get our kaz visas stamped tedious paperwork as bad as the roads! :-)

# Jul 27th Heading south to the aral sea in convoy of 5 cars. Only 30c. van and crew happy . 7:45 AM via txt

# Jul 27th Just got a signal again. We're 30 miles from Aral. Planning to stay there tonight. 5:56 PM via txt

# Jul 27th Arrived in Aral in SE Kazakhstan. Made good use of the sump guard and the sand spade on the way. Sleeping in the van for an early start. 9:17 PM via txt

27 Jul 2010 at 15:03
Today we had 250 miles of excellent roads and 170 miles of the worst roads I've ever seen in fact some were just tracks in the sand dunes of the dried up Aral sea.

# Jul 28th Convoy of 6 in centre of Aral. In front of the bazaar. Where is nlc etc? 5:09 AM via txt

# Jul 28th Been on a jeep tour to Aral sea & ship's graveyard. Assuming our crazy drive doesn't roll it, we'll try to get a few hours up the road. 1:21 PM via txt

28 Jul 2010 at 15:03
Today was supposed to be a rest day from driving. So we took a tour of the dried up Aral Sea which meant spending 4 hours going over rough ground in an old russian 4x4. Was great though and at least we were passengers. Settling down to sleep in the van again tonight.

# Jul 28th We have all just been stopped by the police and had documents copied at the level crossing just out side of the town 3:28 PM via txt

# Jul 29th On the desert sand again. Cool but good night. 5000 more miles to go via turkistan. now 340km from kizilorda. 6:34 AM via txt

# Jul 29th Just passed the russian space port in kazakhstan. Oddly enough they wouldn't let us in for a look around. 9:41 AM via txt

29 Jul 2010 at 13:18
Just arrived in the old town of Turkestan in southern kaz.

# Jul 30th 1 number plate down 1 to go. Oh well they could have stolen something more important! Only 1000km to go to Almaty. 4:59 AM via txt

# Jul 30th Its 21.37 we've driven 5886 miles since belfast. I reckon we will go over the 6000 mark when we reach almaty at around 2am 8:42 AM via txt

# Jul 30th Well we made it to Almaty! Lost one car in our dwindling convoy only 200km from the end. Off to the orphanage later to leave off some of the donated items... 10:53 PM via txt

31 Jul 2010 at 02:48
Arrived Almaty at 5.00am this morning. We made it this far! This is the end of the London Tashkent part of the rally and where we drop off the most of the charity stuff to the orphanage. Looks like we're the only car going on to Mongolia from this group. 6050 miles under our belt so far.

# Aug 1st Good night's sleep in Almaty. Now on way into town by taxi. Staying in same hotel tonight before heading north in the morning. 12:15 AM via txt

# Aug 1st Heading north towards mongolia. Sorry to leave everybody behind. Thanks to everyone 4 making it such a great trip to almaty. Safe journey home... 11:08 PM via txt

02 Aug 2010 at 05:48
Left the London Tashkent Ralliests at their finish point in Almaty. 11 cars and their contents going to a good home. We're heading north, hope to be in Russia late tomorrow.

02 Aug 2010 at 11:18
Settled down to camp in the van as it's too dark to see the pot holes! Early start tomorrow to make it over the border to Barnaul in Russia.

# Aug 3rd On the road near Semey heading for the russian border. Had a remarkably good night's sleep in a layby. Roads rubbish craic good. 12:03 AM via txt

# Aug 3rd Waiting to get into the Kazakhstan / Russian border.. 4:16 AM via txt

03 Aug 2010 at 08:18
Ah don't ya just love borders! Been waiting to get into the Kazakh-Russian border between Semey and Barnaul for over an hour and that's before they start processing us and the vehicle. Looks like it'll be a late arrival in Barnaul. 350km tonight but at least it'll be on good Russian roads.

# Aug 3rd We are now in siberia after driving 7000 miles. Mongolia here we come. 8:45 AM via txt

# Aug 3rd Heading towards ALTAI region, siberia. Beautiful weather about 10c colder. we hope to make mongolian border tonight. 11:10 PM via txt

04 Aug 2010 at 09:33
travelling through the stunning altai mountains. Beautiful scenery. Mongoliam border is 300km away. Plan is to cross in the morning.

05 Aug 2010 at 07:48
On our way from Olgii to Hovd on some gravel tracks that are the main road. Scenery beautiful. A strange rattle turned out to be a leaf in one of the rear springs broken but van seems to be driving ok so we'll see how it looks when we get to hovd.

06 Aug 2010 at 02:18
Slept in the desert last night and drove 4 hours to Hovd this morning. Just had our first shower in 5 days in a public bath house. Met up with Tony and Justina from another team and heading off again now in the direction of Altay.

07 Aug 2010 at 01:33
Travelling thru the desert. We reckon about 4 days to UB. Van holding up well. Average speed on these tracks about 20 mph. Travelling and camping with team Steppe by Steppe.

08 Aug 2010 at 03:33
Finally made it to altay after giving a local and half his motorbike a lift there. Now for a bite to eat and a visit to the bathhouse before heading onwards.

# Aug 10th Sorry followers twitter updates didn't work from the mongolian gobi desert! Check out the map position blog page for blogs from then. 5:10 PM via txt

10 Aug 2010 at 01:18
There's this funny black stuff on the road. I think it's called tarmac but I can't remember since we haven't seen any for about a week :) We've finally crossed the Gobi Desert and are nearing a town called Arvayheer.

# Aug 10th We finally made it to Ulaan Baatar! After nearly a week without tarmac roads we got here late last night - drivers and van mostly in one ... 5:20 PM via txt

10 Aug 2010 at 12:03
Woohoo! We made it to Ulaan Baatar! Who'd have thought it! Tired but happy - it's been a fantastic trip. Can hardly believe it. Van and occupants survived!

# Aug 11th Thanks LT ppl for your congrats! We're sitting above a car wash watching while the van's cleaned before handing it over to the charity. 3:10 AM via txt

# Aug 11th Just handed over the van to the charity. We're sorry to see him go but he's gone to a good cause. 123705 miles on the clock and still going strong! 5:08 AM via txt

# Aug 12th Just been to see a street kid's drop in centre that Go Help have donated a past rally's minibus to. We gave them the rest of the donated

16 Aug 2010 at 07:18
UB: We're leaving UB today and it's all gone so quickly. A big thank you to Dulguun and the guys at Go Help here for their warm friendly welcome, answering our questions and taking us out to see a good cause they've supported. We even got to do some horse riding! Now comes 4 flights home thankfully with a couple of day's rest in the middle. The whole thing's been a great experience and we've been able to support some really good causes on the way.