So it begins...

Off to the Ace Cafe!  Whilst it's not the official start line it felt like a fun place to begin and other teams were stopping off there too.  A hearty breakfast before tomorrow's "Big Day".

Soon enough were at Goodwood Racing, Sussex.  Back then out to Halford's to pick up some "stuff" to stop the car leaking.

Soon enough it was late and with the tent up I retired to a cold night.

Camping... the morning after

I woke at 4am with a blinding heading (not I hasten to add through any sort of alcohol consumption as this was in great moderation). I sat up and snot just fell out of my face. I lay back down onto one of the many stones that we'd failed to move before we set the tent up. God it was bloody freezing. I lay there for a few more hours until dawn broke properly and took my hurting back, painful head and streaming nose out of the tent to go and make a mug of tea. Camping sucks.

We both sat in the car with the heaters on and wondered what the hell we were getting ourselves into. This was just one night in Bournemouth. How would we all manage when there was hundreds of miles of nothingness in every direction?

Grabbing our freshly baked break rolls from reception on the way out (yes, more slumming it) we headed back to Yucels.

Before heading back home we popped into town and dragged ourselves round a camping shops (Blacks) and ooed and ahhed and the exciting lightweight metal sporks and the dazzling number of types of compasses. Looked like it's about £100 for a sleeping bag in which I won't freeze to death in the middle of some desert.

A browse through a bookshop lead me to read an interesting fact about Mongolia. Apparently you get bubonic plague there between July and August. A shame really as that's when we'll be there.

Camping 101

I like the Great Outdoors but I like to admire if from the other side of a window. But this attitude isn't going to help when we're going to be taking six days to cross Mongolia which doesn't - if I understand the situation fully - have a huge number of supermarkets along the route.

A bullet had to be bitten and a first experience of camping had to be undertaken. Now I'm not for one minute saying that a nights camping in Bournemouth is going to compare but surely it all helps.

Worryingly we packed the whole boot with stuff. Bearing in mind this was just for two people, for one night I think we may have to re-think our strategy when we've added a third person and we're off for thirty nights.

I think it's fair to say that our complete lack of navigational ability was highlighted when we tried to find the campsite. Firstly it was about ten miles away from Yucels house. Secondly we were using GPS. Even with this two things in our favour we still had to phone through for directions. Really, this wasn't a good omen.

Having arrived we got the tent pitched with relative ease and set about getting some dinner. Having discounted the possibility of snaring a rabbit or eating a raw squirrel it was decided that the most sensible course of action was for Yucel to heat some water to boil pasta and then mix some Dolmio sauce with it.

The first casualty of camping is excitement and standing in the middle of field lost its novelty pretty much as soon as we'd eaten. It was getting dark and so grabbed the torch and wandered up the lane to see what was there.

Twenty minutes later we were sitting in a pub with a couple of pints in front of us, our hands smelling of lavendar and patchouli oil from the campite bathrooms and we were wondering whether we were really roughing it. It was obviously a close all.