Posts Tagged ‘town’

Wild West and the Pony Express

27th January 2011 by Helen
a quick and easy breakfast at our frosty campsite just past the town of Gold Hill

a quick and easy breakfast at our frosty campsite just past the town of Gold Hill

We spent much of the day following a part of the Pony Express trail that runs through the desert plains of Utah, below Bonneville and Salt Lakes.  If ever there was a part of the country that would remind us of the Westerns we watched as kids, this was it.  It was not hard to imagine the white settlers holed up in their flimsy houses out on the prairie, fearful of attacks from the native Indians.  The scenes were of hills and plains, barren and desolate.  We passed old abandoned hoppers where some kind of mining had presumably been carried out in the past and rocky hills eroded by the wind and weather.  Small stunted bushes were everywhere with only the occasional small stunted trees.

Landy pulls up at the Boyd Pony Express Station

Landy pulls up at the Boyd Pony Express Station

We stopped at some of the old Pony Express staging posts, including Canyon Station and Boyd Station, where they changed horses in the race to get the mail from east to west.  It’s hard to believe that the Pony Express which was such an important part of this time in American history, only lasted a couple of years, put out of business by the development of the telegraph.

in the mouth of Hot Springs Cave

in the mouth of Hot Springs Cave

We passed an old cave in a hill, called Hot Springs Cave, where we climbed to see the view and take some photos, before heading on through Fish Springs National Wildlife Reserve and the Fish Springs Staging Post.  This was where we left the Pony Express Trail to pick up the road to Delta on our way to Moab.

Town map

Town map

After passing through the farming town of Callao we stopped to look at some amazing eroded sandstone hills.  It seemed a good place to camp and we had a warming evening beside a campfire, good old Western style, at the foot of these ancient rock formations.  We could see the area had recently been visited by a herd of Pronghorn Deer – whose tracks were all over the place.  Apart from that there were no birds, no insects, no noise, just us, the desert, the juniper trees and a myriad of stars hanging in the night sky.

campsite at the foot of the eroded sandstone cliffs

campsite at the foot of the eroded sandstone cliffs

Campsite – at the foot of the sandstone cliffs, close to the Thomas Range Mountains – camped at 5361 feet

Distance travelled – 67 miles

Updates Coming Soon !!!! (UPDATE – UPDATES DONE – PLEASE READ BELOW)

28th September 2010 by Helen

We’ve made it to Southern Siberia and a city called Chita.  We’ve had some adventures along the way, including exploring a hunter’s lodge in the Siberian forest, getting lost in the Siberian forest, breaking down in the Siberian forest, getting going again in the Siberian forest.  Did I mention we’ve been to the Siberian forest?

Having extricated ourselves from the Siberian forest and had a fascinating stay (really) in a small coal mining town with a huge power station we were on our way again when we had a close encounter with one of a small herd of horses who played chicken between us and a Toyota.  We were absolutely fine, Landy got badly hurt and the horse is dead.  The police were fantastic (really) and we stayed a week in another small industrial town, this time in the railway industry.

Anyway, now we’re here in Chita we will be uploading a veritable cascade of blogs for those of you who want to read the details of the above incidents, including photos.

For now though, I will only be uploading some photos as the blogs are typed in Windows 7 on a USB stick and the system here in the post office cannot cope with anything more recent that Windows 3 so I have to go away and work out how to get round that one!!

(Got round the Windows 3 problem by finding an hotel with a free Wi-Fi cafe – here’s to that uploading!!)

UPDATE – UPDATES DONE – PLEASE READ DOWN THE BLOGS AS THEY ARE IN DATE ORDER OF EVENTS

Work to be done in Khilok

26th September 2010 by Helen

 

Paul contemplates the task ahead

Paul contemplates the task ahead

Wednesday (22nd September)

After yesterday’s below freezing temperatures we were pleased to find today a little warmer, and even more pleased when we got to Dzhenya’s garage to find he’d put the heating on for us.  Paul spent all day first dismantling the broken and bents bits from Landy’s front and then starting to hammer back into shape the various pieces of bodywork.  I had to virtually twist his arm to get him back to the hotel for some dinner and some sleep.  But it was a good day’s work and quite a bit got done.  He’s not too impressed with the quality of his apprentice, who he describes as being like teaching a chimpanzee, among other things.  My general lack of mechanical competence has not improved since we left the UK, even though Paul was confident of his ability to teach me, and he is now rather more resigned to being forever working with a first week on the job apprentice.  To our friend Stuart, I’ll just say, ‘levers’!!

Anyway, we now have a picture of what the damage is:  busted power steering reservoir, busted windscreen washer reservoir*, shattered cooling fan with nearly half the blades missing, cooling fan shroud broken with parts missing, smashed headlight unit, indicator and side lights units smashed, crumpled lamp guard, punctured radiator (full extent still to be confirmed), disintegrated lamp surround on front passenger side, severe impact damage to wing top, wing lamp panel, inner wing, inner panel, and bonnet.

*This might not be as missed as some of the other damaged parts – shortly after we left the UK Paul caught the bit that sends the water whizzing up the windscreen with his foot as he jumped off the roof, resulting in the water spraying forwards over the front of the bonnet instead of onto the windscreen.   We have overcome this obstacle to windscreen washing by two methods.  Firstly, by driving fast enough through the forward cascading spray to catch the water back on to the windscreen.  More often though, by driving through cleanish water puddles enough to cause them to splash all over the windscreen.

During the beating out of the some of the body parts, some of which are split and need patching, Paul suggested the patching might be achieved by using a couple of empty tin cans.  This idea led to one of those bizarre conversations in a foreign language that could never happen in fiction.  As I started cooking our dinner a couple of ladies also staying at the hotel were just sitting down to eat theirs.  We’d had a brief conversation and I’d found out they were from Chita and staying here a couple of days on business – they sell American cosmetics.  As they finished their meal I noticed they were about to chuck a tin can in the waste bin.  I asked if I could have their tin can.  They were puzzled (can’t imagine why!!).  I think I managed to explain, in a combination of mime and simple Russian that we had had an accident and my husband wanted their tin can to help repair the bodywork of our vehicle.  I have no idea what they thought of the madness of the English but I got Paul an empty tin can.  Tomorrow we will have baked beans for breakfast, which will provide us with the second tin he needs for the same purpose.

Thursday (23rd September) – Paul continued honing his panel beating skills, knocking Landy’s corners back into shape.  He reminisces about having learned these skills as a dockyard apprentice 35 years ago, and never having worked with aluminium even then.  Dzhenya, who we have now learned is an ex-police officer and set up his own security company a year ago, took us to a couple of car parts shops and helped us get some new front lights and other bits.

Friday (24th September) – Dzhenya turned up with some soldering kit (based on yesterday’s conversations) so Paul can fix the radiator himself.  It’s proved impossible to find a new part, certainly not a Land Rover original but neither something that can be utilised instead, so next best option is to tackle the hole with the soldering kit.  First tests indicate Paul’s work has been successful.  Dzhenya also arranged for our fan to be ‘fixed’ and we await the result tomorrow.  In the meantime Paul has pretty much finished the panel beating part of what he was doing and is now fitting the wing parts back together again.

The girls in the shop across the road from the garage are getting used to the strange English woman who buys lots of eggs, chocolate and 200 watt light bulbs (the ones in the work lamp in the garage tend to ‘go’ every so often) in amongst other more normal type of shopping.  The day is lovely and warm.  If it wasn’t for the russet of the leaves on the trees it would pass for a warm spring day.

Back at the hotel we have more people giving us food – this time two day’s supply of really nice fresh potatoes.

Paul proudly bearing his 7lb lump hammer next to his handiwork

Paul proudly bearing his 7lb lump hammer next to his handiwork

Saturday (25th September)

– After yesterday’s warm weather we wake to see snow falling.  The roads and pavements are slush but snow has laid on the grass and verges.  We wonder if the town has underground heating here as there is in Ulaanbaatar and as we saw in Gusinoozersk.  It would make sense as in the winter temperatures here will also drop to around minus 40 degrees come January or February.  Oddly enough our hotel room is actually feeling warmer than when we first arrived.  After our strange meat mixture the other night I opt for buying the frozen meat balls that have been a part of the staple diet since we arrived in Kazakhstan.

By the end of the day Paul’s work on Landy is drawing to a close.  All the wing panels, headlight surround and bonnet have been beaten, knocked and bent back into shape, and bolted and riveted back together again.  Landy’s bonnet now fits and works better than when we left England!!  We need some filler and some white and black paint just to finish off (to reduce the likelihood of drawing unwanted attention from the police – shame we left behind in UB the remains of white paint Paul had used to create our new number plate back in Kazakhstan).  More importantly though, before we can get going we need some new side light bulbs and at least 4-5 litres of power steering fluid.

 

Sunday (26th September)

Dzenya, Paul, Helen, Lucy - us with our kind helpers in Khilok

Dzenya, Paul, Helen, Lucy - us with our kind helpers in Khilok

Yesterday’s snow has melted but today the temperature is hovering around freezing and the little rain that falls as the day wears on turns to a light snow.  It’s nice and warm tucked up in the garage apart from a little foray to the car parts shop for some final purchases to help in finishing making Landy all better again: power steering fluid (they don’t actually sell this in Russia, had to buy transmission fluid instead), white and black spray paint (but they don’t sell primer either), and light bulbs.  Then, finally, just as England was finishing off breakfast and we were looking forward to our evening meal, Paul flung wide the double doors and reversed Landy back out of the garage.  It was quite an emotional moment.  After all those days on the ‘operating table’ Landy was back out in the open again, bright and shiny as a new pin, if with a few scars to show for his ordeal.

We decided that it is too late to leave tonight.  By the time we have loaded up our stuff out of the hotel room, topped up our water and fuel tanks etc etc we will be lucky to get an hour’s driving in before we need to stop and get something to eat and camp.  We decide to be a bit more sensible than we were in Ulaanbaatar and stay put another night.  Landy is close by, right outside the front door of the hotel, ready and waiting to be off in the morning.

Campsite – hotel in Khilok