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Unread 01-06-2010, 12:54 PM   #91
BlueGerbil
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Unread 01-08-2010, 04:29 AM   #92
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Join Date: May 2002
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Quote:
January 06, 2010: 70th short message (10:54 p.m. CET)

10 a.m. Very tough night. Tried emergency repair several times. Were able to start the engine again. Heater is working. Slept for five hours. We take off again.

Current position: N 65 39‘540“ / W 177 23‘128“
Quote:
January 07, 2010: 71st short message (04:10 a.m. CET)

2 p.m. Arrived at a fishing hut at our current position N 65 35‘309 / W 177 06‘790“, made a fire, drank some warm tea. Pressure line lasted; not completely perfect, but it worked good. Vehicles are checked; will set off again in an hour and make use of the good weather (without any snowfall). Team spirit is great; we are all pulling together.

Will try to get further towards Enmelem (the next village in a distance of about 140km).
Quote:
January 07, 2010: 72nd short message (02:00 p.m. CET)

8 p.m. Difficult navigation. Partially, visibility less than 15 meters. Coped with three tough sections since leaving the fishing hut: crossed one scarp as well as two rivers with deep steps and strong drifts.
Quote:
January 07, 2010: 73rd short message (02:12 p.m. CET)

Very strong, icy winds. Continue to move forwards. Were able to cross two long land bridges in the gulf of Anadyr. Partially, 80 cm thick ice plates wildly thrown on shore. Also snow flurries and sometimes hardly any visibility. We are often only driving by looking at the GPS and move forwards meter after meter along scarps. Unbelievable how accurate this area has been mapped. We navigate up to 10-20 meters through complete wilderness, thanks to the Russian surveyors.
Quote:
January 07, 2010: 74th short message (03:08 p.m. CET)

Are standing at current position N 65 28'942" / W 176 76'613" - In front of us is a steep hillside shelving all the way down to the sea. We have to go down there but will wait for daylight to minimize the risk. Team is doing good, cars are working.
Quote:
January 08, 2010: 75th short message (01:01 a.m. CET)

12 p.m. Scarp is done. Afterwards we managed a difficult river crossing. F1 broke into Nalid Ice but got through it. Are standing on shoreline ice and drive further towards Enmelem.
Quote:
January 07, 2010: 76. Short message (06:16 a.m. CET)

Very difficult mission. Had to pass a long slant from the shoreline, which was deeply blown over. For 300 meters we had to shovel, winch, pull and detach the vehicles from the trailers. This took us 3,5 hours. Very very cold with stormy wind (8-9). Jefgeny has a light frostbite on his cheek, but he is okay. There will be no harm left behind.

We are driving again. Difficult kilomerters are ahead of us. Wind is still increasing, snowfall started.
.....................
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Unread 01-13-2010, 11:12 AM   #93
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Quote:
January 08, 2010: 77th short message (11:52 a.m. CET)

It has been a crazy day. Into the bargain, we also got in a heavy blizzard. At no visibility, we fought our way from the shoreline through a delta near Neran.
Overall accomplishment for the day: 23km in 15 hours. What a number. We are now standing safely on a hill and wait for the end of the snow storm. Team and vehicles okay.

Current position: N 65 28‘378“ / W 175 58‘037“
Quote:
January 08, 2010: 78th short message (10:26 p.m. CET)

9 a.m. Blizzard is over. 1,5 m snow drifts all around the cars. It’s amazing to see where we maneuvered last night without any visibility. The gods of nature to whom we sacrificed cigarettes and vodka in a traditional ceremony with our tschukot friends last night, were with us and protected us.

Last night also a nice act of friendship. Wow, a Tschukot, gave me his knife as a present. This is a very grand gesture. It’s a self-made knife made from the horn of reindeers. The blade is a self-forged saw blade; the shaft is made of reindeer leather and fur. In return, I gave him my knife as a thank you and felt honored.
Quote:
January 09, 2010: 79th short message (05:21 a.m. CET)

10 a.m. Our two tschukot friends have turned and drive back to Konergina. We just left the delta. We are trying to find our way to a Vestichot track towards Enmelem over a high plateau. Three lakes in front of us which have to be crossed. The ice of the first one is too thin. When I walked over it to test the ice, it already cracked. We have to find a way around the lake.

2 p.m. Pressure line broke again.

4 p.m. Fixed pressure line as good as possible. Will take off again in 30 min. In the meantime, Jefgeny scouted the way around the first lake.
Quote:
January 09, 2010: 80th short message (11:33 a.m. CET)

10:30 p.m. Found our way around the lake. Afterwards, difficult crossing of a river. Had to test the ice for a long time in order to find a good way to go. Both cars are tied together to secure them. Everything worked out well. We are about 40km away from Enmelem. Now we are diving across fields of heavy bumps. Due to the fact that we sway back and forth on the sea, we can only drive very slowly, which costs us a lot of nerves.

Current position: N 65 18‘139“ / W 175 48‘489“
Everything okay.
Quote:
January 09, 2010: 81st short message (01:03 p.m. CET)

11:45 p.m. We are standing in front of a very broad delta with three main arms. Tried to cross. F1 broke into the ice. We were able to get back by our own power. Decided to stop for today and spend the night at N 65 16‘891“ / W 175 48‘000“. We will try again tomorrow morning.

Everything alright.

Quote:
January 10, 2010: 82nd short message (01:05 a.m. CET)

12 p.m. Had a bad night. Nasty storm that made us fear that one of the trailers or a car would be blown over. That’s how strong the winds were. Decided to change places again and chose a safer one outside of the delta.
Then, this morning, there was beautiful weather with lots of sun. Regarding the weather, this is one of the most beautiful days of our journey. Then we found our way across the broad delta. Ice wasn’t frozen completely everywhere, but it lasted underneath the vehicles. Very good feeling. Right now we are still heading towards Enmelem. About 30km left.
Quote:
January 10, 2010: 83rd short message (03:06 a.m. CET)

2 p.m. We just finished our first refueling without having to be completely covered from head to toe, without headlights, without thick mittens and without frozen fingers. We have beautiful weather.
It would even be possible to climb on the trailers without having to secure ourselves. Usually that’s not possible because there’s always the danger of falling because of the strong winds.
Quote:
January 10, 2010: 84th short message (05:08 a.m. CET)

4 p.m. We just crossed the last broad delta before Enmelem!!!!!! We were expected. A delegate from Enmelem expected us at the side of the river that is oriented towards Enmelem. It was a hearty welcome. He said that everybody is happy to see us. We are the first ones who managed the crossing of the river – which we failed to do last night but managed this morning – this year!! Very awesome. A shot of vodka was obligatory.
Just one more pass and 10km, then we reach Enmelem. The team is very proud. So am I. A great team. Excellent team spirit and mutual respect and support. Great!
Quote:
January 10, 2010: 85th short message (05:37 a.m. CET)

We wouldn’t stand a chance without spikes. They helped us a lot so far – amazing. Besides rivers and lakes, which can hardly be crossed by foot, the spikes once again proved their worth today. After the crossing of the last delta and before the pass, we just had to drive on an inclined and ice-covered track which has been carved into the hillside. Without spikes, no chance! This is how one jigsaw piece joins the others.

5 p.m. We arrived in Enmelem!!!
Quote:
January 12, 2010:

In the morning of the 11th, after being able to sleep outstretched in the school, we were surprised by about 60 children who wanted to see us. They even quickly organized a special concert and a dance show for us. Great. The principal, the teachers, the children, the administration, the border guard, the mechanics, the helpers, etc. Just a great village.
Once again I have to emphasize that, in my mind and regarding my experiences, there is no other country in the world which I have been to, where there exist as many thoughts of friendship, helpfulness and hospitality as in Russia. I will not get tired of praising and give others an understanding of this.

The rest of the day, the entire night until 4 a.m. and today, the 12th, we dedicated ourselves exclusively to the repair of the vehicles. Finally F1 works again with a special constructed “Ural” (a Russian truck) servo line. The construction is about 4x bigger than the original and we need a higher engine revolution to steer, but this was the only chance we had, after this thing blew up several times for various reasons. Everything that we tried without welding equipment failed or just lasted for a short period of time. Now, after Alexey, the super welder, welded the Jeep for hours to the size of an Ural with painstaking attention to detail, hopefully it works. A feat, considering the 1 mm thick walls of the Jeep lines.

Tonight we will rest and start again tomorrow morning towards Providenia. Difficult river stages are awaiting us.






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Unread 01-17-2010, 01:04 AM   #94
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Quote:
January 12, 2010: 86th short message (10:16 p.m. CET)

9 a.m. We took off. We are accompanied by two Skidoo drivers from Providenia, our friends Vladimir and Konstantin and a driver from Enmelem, who joined us (together with two others who sit on his sleigh – I believe they do this in order to minimize the risk of driving alone to Nulingran – our next goal). There is also our welder on his Russian motor vehicle (he wants to make sure that his welding lasts and also wants to see how far he gets).

Some information on the side: For the last decade, we were the first who reached Enmelem with wheeled vehicles, coming from Konergina.
Quote:
January 13, 2010: 87th short message (02:11 a.m. CET)

1 p.m. We are fighting our way through a delta. We already managed 30 km. Again and again we have to winch, detach the trailer from the vehicles, cross small/medium/big river arms. Sometimes we break into the ice, but only for about 30 cm.

5 p.m. Managed difficult snow pass. Right now we are at the next river. Another 20 km to Nuligran.

6:45 p.m. Arrived in Nuligran. Team is in good shape.

Current Position: N 64 48‘259“ / W 175 22‘537“
Quote:
January 13, 2010: 88th short message (09:51 p.m. CET)

8:30 a.m. We took off. There are 220 km of nothing ahead of us on our way to Providenia – including one of the most difficult tracks through the mountains with difficult passes, etc. Let’s hope that we can do it. A couple of days ago, a Vestichot sunk in the lake which we should reach by tomorrow. Now the ice is supposed to be strong enough. There is no other path anyway, so we have to try it.
Quote:
January 14, 2010: 89th short message (03:16 a.m. CET)

1 p.m. We reached a fisher camp at N 64 48‘254“ / W 174 53‘804“ We made a fire for an hour, warmed up, drank some tea and coffee. Just started again at 2 p.m. Very difficult track – called Bermuda – ahead of us. First, we have o drive 13 km over a sea, then a difficult delta and then mountains. We are trying to arrive at a camp which is 70 kilometers away.

By the way: A wonder-, wonderful landscape with unbelievable ice-formations here – amazing!
Quote:
January 14, 2010: 90th short message (05:20 a.m. CET)

4:30 p.m. Current position is N 64 46’783” / W 174 30’395”. Steering bars on F2 broke. No steering possible. The entire block that has been welded in Konergina, fell off. We are trying to fix it with belts. Team is alright.
Quote:
January 14, 2010: 91st short message (07:59 a.m. CET)

6:30 p.m. Finished repair attempts. Three belts should keep together on F2 – which is manned by Wolfgang and Rudi, and thus completely northern Bavarian – what usually welds do. F1 is manned by Jefgeny, Viktor, Matthias at the moment. Great team work at -30°C and wind. Let’s see how far we can go with this. The next welding equipment is 140 km away. But, at least nature is nice to us. Right now, there is no snowfall. A couple of clouds, which gave the impression of an upcoming blizzard, have disappeared as well. Best weather – Thank God!
Quote:
January 14, 2010:

8 p.m. Right now we are in the Bermuda area. Pre mysticism / stories that are written by the expedition.

Lead text:
Durng the crossing of the lake, there has been a crackling intense tension. Everybody was nervous and wanted to know if the ice was going to last – and especially since we had to drive in the middle of the lake, instead of on the side, due to too thin ice. The ice on the sides was not thick enough because of currents by feeder rivers. Furthermore, the ice wasn’t 1 meter thick as we all hoped, but only 30-40 cm and littered with big cracks. Suddenly there was no more steering support on F1. We thought that a line broke again. But it was the v-belt that was torn to pieces. I have no idea why. As quickly as possible we tried to assemble a new v-belt and belt pulley. This – on ice and in icy wind – was not easy and a big challenge. You need five people for this: one holds on to the hood so that it won’t fall down, one hold on to the insulating mat for the engine and the flashlight, one has the tools and spare parts, two remove the remains, hold the clamp and apply the belt.

~~~
Leap in time:
It is around 7 p.m. when we drive into the dreaded “Bermuda” area.
It is called like that due to difficult navigation and unexplainable events that have happened here in the past.

We continue slowly towards a narrow pass. We navigate only by computer and GPS; carefully we move along the hillsides - which we can’t see anyway because of the darkness - via coordinates and lines on a map that describe us the nature. Even our strong headlights allow us no more than an impression of the landscape few meters ahead of us. Driving around and finding our way by ligh is not possible because of the weather and trailers. The rising valley continues to get narrower until it is only 50-60 m wide. Then there is a wall of snow in front of us. To our left and to our right steep rock faces. There is only one chance: Going left and trying to use a hillside to get around the wall of snow. Regarding that F2 is handicapped because of its steering, we drive ahead in F1. The hillside gets steeper. The rock faces seem threatening. Wind shakes the vehicle. Then a whistling, a scraping from the engine compartment. Immediately I shut off the engine. We are in the midst of the inclination. We leave the car, open the hood: the v-belt is no longer on the belt pulley. It is damaged. Viktor starts to scream at the bad spirits in Russian, argues with them. He starts a shaman’s dance to fight them and get them away from the cars. At the same time, Jefgeny and I are trying to apply the v-belt. Actually eight hands would be needed for that, but F2 is far behind us.
Viktor shouts, screams, fights with gestures and noise against the invisible of the night.
~~~

The engine is working again – we go back in the vehicle and continue our journey. We make it, manage to get out of this undefined, threatening situation and to the top of the hill. F2 is following. Then, a couple hundred meters later: a scarp that has deep snow areas at its bottom. With lots of awareness and maneuvering, we get up to ten meters to the upper edge. At the steepest position, the v-belt falls off once again. Viktor is screaming again, fights. Jefgeny is sitting in the car and uses the brake. The hillside is so steep that there is no other possibility to secure F1. I curse, quarrel and apply the v-belt – which is now only 1 cm wide – again with lots of anger in my stomach. I am thinking: “It’s enough now” while maneuvering F1 against wind, spirits, snow and steepness onto the plateau. Done. F2 follows without problems.

10 p.m. Just finished difficult pass and are at position N 64 44‘469“ / W 274 23‘357“.
Team is doing well.

We are in the middle of “Bermuda” and fight.
Quote:
January 15, 2010: 92nd short message (00:00 a.m. CET)

8 a.m. Are driving again.

9 a.m. Reached broad delta. There is a huge deep snow area in front of us with the dimensions of at probably 1 by 2 kilometers. We will try to drive around it. When we left the fisher camp at around 2 p.m yesterday, our two Skidoo drivers stayed behind. They wanted to try and catch up to us today during daylight.
Currently the three belts on F2 maintain the steering and the v-belt on F1 lasts. In case that there is anybody who wonders why we don’t change the v-belt: Altogether we have six spare belts. One is already in use; we want/have to make maximum use of all material.

10 a.m. We drove successfully around the snow area and also crossed a river. Are staying on course.
Quote:
January 15, 2010: 93rd short message (03:35 a.m. CET)

1:30 p.m. We arrived at a fisher base 70 km away from Providenia. Current position is N 64 39’047” / W 174 02’183”.

Are driving at most with 2000 rotations per minute in all gear reductions, to ensure that the 1 cm v-belt will remain functioning as long as possible. We want to do the real repair no earlier than Providenia – if possible. There will be another 2-3 days of good weather – we have to make it.
Quote:
January 16, 2010: 94th short message (00:15 a.m. CET)

Are currently at N 64 35‘866“ / W 173 37‘777“.

The team is alright but very tired. We are fighting to move forward step after step. Technical problems hinder our progressing significantly. At the moment we are 32 km away from Providenia.
We have to get over a difficult pass.
Without Spikes, no chance to get to get this far.
Without Webasto it would be even harder, because F1 currently doesn’t have any other heater.
Withour the sleeping bags from Mammut it wouldn’t be bearable.
Without the team’s mental strength, no chance.

We will report again.

Quote:
January 16, 2010: 95th short message (08:37 a.m. CET)

Bermuda!!!

We are located somewhere between steep hills on a river. Meters of snow. No end of technical challenges. No time to relax. Hardly any sleep. It cannot get any harder. 600 meters in 24 hours: In the cold, we spent 5 hours rasping and remodeling the servo pump bearing of F1.
Mental strength of the team is at its highest level. Right now – after six hours of recovering the two trailers and a vehicle – we are trying to drive onto the ridge. There is no possibility to accomplish the canyon, which is covered in 4-5 meters of snow, before the pass. We tried everything today. Ridge is virtually our way around it. But it is very difficult to get to the top – very steep. We try our best. In my mind it cannot get any harder.

I will report let you know about what happened to the team since leaving the fisher camp, about what we had to go through and about any details, some other time. Right now there is no possibility to write more due to the circumstances that affect us/me.



























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Unread 01-23-2010, 02:57 AM   #95
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Quote:
January 17, 2010: 96th short message (05:32 a.m. CET)

5 p.m. ARE STILL MORE OR LESS AT THE SAME SPOT LIKE YESTERDAY. THE DISTANCE TO THE PASS IS STILL AROUND 5 KM, BUT NOW WE ARE ON THE RIDGE.
Last night it took us eight hours to winch the two cars and trailers up the hill. This morning I took two small-shot cartridges and constructed a new bearing for the servo pump, because it broke again. Yesterday six people from Providenia – were the people are waiting for our arrival – came to visit us and to see how we are doing. We were sincerely greeted by the leader of the administration, the leader of border control of the Russian troops, representatives of MCS and others.
Unbelievable, really. I will write more in the main report. Team spirit great. Team is feeling good.
.

Quote:
January 17, 2010: 97th short message (09:42 p.m. CET)

Today, we accomplished 2.1 km. It was very tough work. We had to look for paths and get through snow fields for what seemed like forever. But driving around worked out. F1 is still running without any problems. The team is okay.

Quote:
January 18, 2010: 98th short message (08:06 a.m. CET)

Today, we accomplished 1.6 km. The pass is now 1.9 km away. Endless powder snow. We winch and shovel – toughest strains for each and everyone. Cold, endeavor, shortness of sleep, but everyone does their utmost. Just great this team. No controversy, nothing. I am very enthusiastic about each and everyone. Just like settlers at that time – bit by bit in an unknown country.
Quote:
January 18, 2010: 99th short message (12:49 p.m. CET)

Are literally walking on our last legs. This godawful pass.
It’s enough. Gosh. A little while ago, I was so angry. Oh well, after that, the snow had a realization. It froze a little more and we could move 800 m in two hours. Now we are standing on a hillside – on a little plateau – about 1.2 km away from the pass, with both vehicles and trailers. Tonight we will try to make a track with F1 and use sticks, that I placed today during the daylight, as orientation (if we can find them at night ). The snow here makes you go crazy. The surface is hard as concrete, but underneath is nothing but powder. If the surface breaks, the wheel breaks in and then there is no more traction. This form of snow is very different from the snow e.g. in Jakutsk. There, we didn’t reach the passes easily, but we did get to cross them. Here, everybody has their hands full of weals from shoveling and everybody has enough from the “pass”.
Quote:
January 19, 2010: 100th short message (00:16 a.m. CET)

Have to get out of here. Yesterday we received a bad weather report – on January 21/22, there is expected to be a storm with snow, snow drifts and wind speed 9-10 as well as hurricane blasts. We only have two days left. We have to make it. We worked the whole night, shoveled like crazy and winched. We accomplished another 200 meters along the steep hillside – we mastered an absolute challenge. Another 1.7 km to the pass.
Quote:
January 19, 2010: 101st short message (05:04 a.m. CET)

800 m before the pass, after what seemed like endless days, nights and efforts: problems with the axles on F1 and F2. Right now we are organizing support and a rescue vehicle. Team is great. Have to retain our composure. We gave everything, really everything until now. Retain composure / retain composure – it is very difficult.
.........
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Unread 01-25-2010, 01:25 PM   #96
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Unread 02-02-2010, 06:44 AM   #97
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Quote:
January 20, 2010: 102nd short message (11:05 am CET)

Spent the night and today well. The weather is still stable. Today or tomorrow, we will winch and pull ourselves over the pass with our Russian helpers and then try to drive over the ice of the Providenia Bay to Providenia. If the ice shouldn’t bear our weight, we would have to driver over a second pass to get around the bay. In Providenia we will be able to properly diagnose the damages and make repairs. F2 could be repaired at short notice. F1 will be more difficult, it might take a couple days longer. We will try to get back on the road as fast as possible. Right now we expect to remain in Providenia for about two weeks.
If anybody wants to come and join the team is welcomed. Juergen Graf, Astrid Wallner and Jan Liska can give further information.
Quote:
January 20, 2010: 103rd short message (03:22 p.m. CET)

3 a.m. After a difficult final stage, we arrived in Providenia.
The brake pipe on F2 fell off, there has been a tire failure on F2, the trailer of F1 has a deformed axle, we broke into Nalid Ice. All team members are exhausted but doing well – apart from dark shadows under the eyes, beards, black hands, body odor, wet shoes, cracked fingers, chipped fingernails and so on.

We will get in touch again.
Quote:
January 21, 2010: 104th short message (03:34 a.m. CET)

We are still on the street in Providenia. We are talking, negotiating, looking for a parking space for the trailers and a place to repair the vehicles. Many people have come outside. They welcomed us, considered how they could help us, signed the cars, gave us coffee, tea and a place in the office of a small garage. After a long time, we ate some fresh bread instead of frozen cross. A part of the team slept in a Russian tracked vehicle – finally sprawled out again as I heard – for a couple of hours.
I believe we will find solutions within the next hours, eventually days. Just now we have been offered a Russian sauna to heat up and clean up again.
We’ll see. Definitely very friendly here. A couple minutes ago I received the news that we at least found two places for the trailers.
Quote:
January 21, 2010: 105th short message (09:43 a.m. CET)

Trailers are safely stored inside / in front of a hall. On the part of the very friendly mayors, we found an accommodation that we can use for the entire duration of our stay. It is empty but warm, has a bathroom with shower and carpeted floors. They just brought us a small table. We sleep on the floor in or on our sleeping bags and are very happy about this place to live. The vehicles are still on the street. Tomorrow they will decide where we go for our repairs.
“Warm boxes” in which there are at least 0°C, are seldom. And if they exist, they are most of the time already taken. We will see. First of all we will make some food and enjoy a Russian beer. We deserve it.

Providenia is located right next to a bay. In front and behind the city mountains rise as if they were painted. If you stay at the bay, look towards the sea and the sun goes down blood-red like today, a painter couldn’t capture it any more beautiful. And temperatures around -10°C make you forget how hard life must be for the people living here. Forces of nature can be pretty tough. The hurricane that is expected to come, will show prove this to us quite plainly.
Quote:
January 22, 2010: 106th short message (11:50 a.m. CET)

This morning we were shown once again how welcomed we are here, how hospitable the people in Tschuotka are. We received a call from the mayor, that a “warm box” has been found on the part of the first minister. We were asked to come to the technical school, where we received more information. Right away we left for the school. There, we were welcomed by the principal. He explained to us that they were willing to help and that they wanted to rearrange a box for us, so that our cars could stay there as long as we needed for our repairs. The box also has an undercut and a hoisting crane! In our situation this felt like Christmas. Grateful, we brought the vehicles from their place on the street of the outskirts to the box in the city. Afterwards a meeting with the highest ranking representatives of the regional government and city administration took place. In the main building we had some interesting conversations as well as coffee and tea. We discussed the further proceedings. During our conversation we were offered again all necessary support. In return we offered to be available for lectures, discussions, conversations, cultural exchange for the kindergarden, the school, the technical school and anyone who is interested for as long as we are here. Honestly, where can you find that in our culture? Go to the outskirts of any city in the world and ask for accommodation for your team, a parking space for big trailers and a work place to repair two vehicles. This is a geniality and friendship of the Russian population.

I think that Tschukotka offers a great variety of regional distinctions and could make a difference in the area of tourism. There are bizarre images of nature, silence, and amazing beauty of the tundra that every traveler can see. Seldom have I seen a clearer sky, more stars, wilder valleys, have I experiences the calmness better than here. I wish that more people would make the move and get to know this wonderful area of the world. I can only recommend this to everybody – he/she will be thrilled!

While I am writing these lines, the storm starts to exert its forces. The wind becomes stronger, snow started falling and flurries are blowing through the streets.
Quote:
January 29, 2010: 107th short message (01:12 a.m. CET)

We’ve got our hands full and try desperately to find a solution for the transport of the damaged axle parts. Please excuse that I didn’t write that much.
Whoever wants to help us and has according contacts or wants to write, could talk to the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission.

Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission
PO Box 570
Barrow, AK 99723-0570
Phone 907-852-2392
Fax 907-852-2303

On behalf of this commission, there will be a flight from Nome, Alaska to Providenia, Russia on February 08, 2010. If our parts cannot be on this flight, they will arrive no earlier than the end of February and our chance to reach the Bering Strait in time will diminish.
Unfortunately the commission categorically refuses to take our two travel bags with the spare parts along on the almost empty flight. We don’t know the reasons. All other involved parties are willing to make it possible. But the final decision has the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission.
Quote:
February 30, 2010: 108th short message (03:09 a.m. CET)

By now, a lot of different parties are asking the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission to take our two travel bags along on their empty (!!!!) flight from Nome to Providenia – of course we will pay for it. They categorically refuse. We don’t know why. We never did anything bad against the people or the commission. Nobody understands this stance. They suggested to us that we pay the entire flight and then we can send our two bags along.
This would have never happened in Russia, never, never. If anybody needs help, you help them. And we are by no means cadgers who ask for help for free. We only ask for an approval to put our two bags against payment on this empty flight. Unbelievable, really unbelievable.
Quote:
February 01, 2010: 109th short message (11:23 a.m. CET)

Great, our friend Dimitri sent his acquaintance “Oleg” to our apartment today. He’s a man with best connections in satellite lines. :-)
Via TV he made us an internet connection at its best and now we can – finally with a prospect of success – try to send a couple of pictures. We are trying to do so for a couple of days now but the satellite system in F1 doesn’t work as long as it is in the shielded hall. On our agenda for today was also the official visit in the kindergarden and a heartily welcome.
Meanwhile works Jefgeny with our friend Valerie, the welder, on the reconstruction of the steering parts. They also weld a big part of the special constructions on F2.
Due to the better internet connection we got a bunch of photos from the expedition team - check all of (200+) out at:

Part 1: Paris / New York - Transcontinental 2009's Photos - February 2010 expedition photos - Part 1 | Facebook
Part 2: Paris / New York - Transcontinental 2009's Photos - February 2010 expedition photos - Part 2 | Facebook

Some of them for you to enjoy:















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Unread 02-07-2010, 06:16 AM   #98
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Quote:
February 04, 2010: 110th short message (02:26 p.m. CET)

The past two days cost me a lot of nerves (are there any left in the first place?). A tough pass with snow is easy compared to the last days. Oh well. At the moment we don’t make any progress with the flight, also regress with one of our suppliers in a way that my head explodes. I have to get angry about so many things that I think hellhounds are marching.

The good news: the team is great and sticks together even though the days of waiting aren’t easy. There’s discipline, we brace ourselves, we won’t let things slide. Every day we repair another piece. Rudi was already jokingly talking about training in auto mechanics as his continuation education. I believe he will open a garage when he’s back. Today we started with the first trailer. Right after the pass, when we broke into really deep Nalid Ice with F2 and its trailer, the trailer’s front axle broke. Therefore we decided to modify the trailers so that they are operated by one axle only. We also shorten them to their minimum and try to reduce the weight as much as possible. For stabilization we mount a pivoting ski onto the drawbar. At least that’s the plan – let’s see how it will turn out.



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Unread 02-09-2010, 11:46 AM   #99
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Quote:
February 07, 2010: 111th short message (02:27 a.m. CET)

Today, a story about Victor which he allowed me to tell. As a former helicopter pilot, Victor knows many people in Tschukotka and just as many know him. He often gets recognized; even when his last flight to that place was ten or more years ago. People who live in the small villages don’t need time. They have plenty of it. Victor once asked a tschukot man who hailed him: “Do you even know when we saw each other the last time?” The man answered: “Well, a couple of winters ago.” But it has been 14 years.

There’s also a nice story about Victors tooth. He either didn’t have enough time or enough money, so he made a tooth from fossilized mammoth bone. Of course this has to be renewed as well, therefore he occasionally rasps at mammoth pieces that he always carries with him. Surely he is the only man who has a 10.000 or more year old tooth. By now it is also a lucky charm, he says. We definitely laughed a lot about his jokes concerning this issue. Victor is a very funny man in general. Sometimes he looks like Sean Connery, sometimes like a very strict officer and sometimes like a clown. A strong, versatile mimic, combined with his charming humor, his guitar playing and his singing, he made us laugh many times. Due to his speaking ability, I think he should become a radio reporter or due to his certainly strong acting talents, become a TV actor. Maybe a producer will read this.

Quote:
February 07, 2010: 112th short message (02:40 am CET)

On Friday we were invited to visit Providenia’s court. We learned a little bit about the Russian law and saw what a court room looks like. Afterwards we had a very interesting conversation with the judges which proved the trust in us once again. Yesterday we had our last – appointed with the administration – official visit of a school. It was the school of sports. It is located in the ski base. More than 50 children have been there; it was lots of fun. As always, we brought chocolates (altogether we gave out hundreds of chocolates to the children of Tschukotka. The little store where we always buy them, e.g. in Providenia, has high season for chocolates.) and did our little questions/ answers game.

By the way, here in Providenia is Russia’s easternmost ski slope and the second westernmost slope of the world. How can that be?
The easternmost part of Russia is in the westernmost part of the world and the westernmost part of the world is in the easternmost part of Russia.

Explanation: The 180th longitude is right between Belibino and Egvekinot. About 40 km before Egvekinot. Therefore, every part of Russia that’s north from there, is in the West of the world. That means that the westernmost part of the world is in easternmost Russia. Hence, Egvekinot is one of the westernmost settlements, has the westernmost ski slope of the world (Providenia has the second westernmost ski slope), Providenia only has the easternmost ski slope of Russia (after Providenia there is nothing else).

Today we have been invited to try the slope by ourselves. It’s an adventure and at the same time it is remarkable how joy is given to someone. Of course everything is a little bit more basic but ingenious in its function. It was like a holiday for the team. The following dinner with Ludmilla and her daughter topped two good days off.
Quote:
February 08, 2010: 113th short message (12:41 p.m. CET)

Concerning the delivery of the spare parts I have decided that I will not ask the people from AEWC for help any longer. We found another possibility to bring the parts to Providenia. I hope that they will arrive on Thursday, even though we are expecting bad weather with a storm and lots of snow. Let’s see how this will turn out. Anyway, everything is ready in Nome.

We now know something very interesting:
We were told that we are the first expedition ever that came to Providenia from Europe with wheeled vehicles. And Rudi and I are the first Germans that went skiing here on Russia’s easternmost ski slope. Not bad




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Unread 02-15-2010, 02:14 PM   #100
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Quote:
february 14, 2010:

thursday has been a great day. So far we kept ourselves afloat with lots of discipline and “hang-in-slogans”, but on thursday afternoon we finally received good news.

First we received an official invitation for a conversation by the leader of the regional government “providenia region”. During the meeting which lasted almost one hour, we received a special book about chukotka as a thank you for our school visits and speeches. The entire team felt much honored about this special gesture. In return we thanked everybody for their trust. For us, all the visits have been a great pleasure. Afterwards, when i received good news from the capital moscow, and rudi exclaimed a crow because he found strawberry ice in a store, the sun arose again on the night sky. When i also found tea-cakes – my absolute favorites – (the first ones since mid-december), it was as if fireworks started. Alright, alright, i know i am exaggerating. But if you try to put yourself in our position, you understand how great this was for us.

Then it was friday – it was a wonderful morning at around 8 a.m., sunlight was shining through scattered clouds that were floating across the sky, there was a light wind, it is cold, the mountains were glowing in the light of the rising sun, the bay was calm and frozen, it was a feeling of peace, everything is blue/light blue/white. It was the best weather for pictures and for an airplane to start. Yes, finally our spare parts can arrive today!!!
I walk fleet-footedly and elated to my blackberry, awaited the flight information, open the e-mail from bering air and: Arrrrrrrggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhh!
They cannot come because the landing strip in providenia cannot be cleared from the last two days’ of snow of the blizzard. They say that the next possibility will be monday if not another snow storm comes first. Phuuuh. Breathe, breathe.
So we spent the friday with dinner preparations, cooked for our guests, continued the work on our cars. In the evening we had a very successful dinner with our guests and had “one for the road” in the only bar of the village. Saturday we worked and worked and worked (on the cars of course). Then we went to the banja with our friends as every saturday. Sunday we worked and worked and worked. Then i received a call. The mayor of the city invites us to visit the newly-opened public sauna. We are very happy, also because he picks us up personally and because he prepared everything for our arrival. It is a successful visit. Where else but here takes anybody as much care for their guests as here? We were welcomed by about 30 men in the banja. During this visit, rudi receives his “slap baptism”* and wiping each other off in the snow afterwards is also bearable.

*they call it a russian massage: After three, four minutes in the “oven” and about ten douses, you lay down on the upper level of the banja. Twigs are bound into a bunch. Then you sweep, waggle, press and hit them over your whole body. Some do it themselves, some let themselves be “hit” by others. Most of the time it is done with the side where the leaves are; sometimes with the sticks. It’s nice once you got used to it; but it hurts if you are struggling on the inside. It is hot, almost so that you pass out, when you gasp for breath; it is bearable if you try breathing normally. It renews if you like to do some good to your body in the cold; it is tiring if you don’t. Therefore “very good”.

Because nobody is really any closer to the future as we are (we are kind of in the future), we can tell the americans what is expecting them tomorrow, the world behind us expects the day that we already lived and are looking into the promising soon, i hope, that the americans will fly tomorrow, on sunday, so that we will have received our parts today on monday.
.
Quote:
february 14, 2010: 115th short message (10:11 p.m. Cet)

bering air just let us know that they will not come. They have to do other flights first. Great. Our flight has been delayed since last wednesday. I intervened. Let’s see if the bering air management comes around.
.........
Quote:
february 15, 2010: 116th short message (11:44 a.m. Cet)

definitely no flights today. Bering air declined – and again we hope that it will work tomorrow. I think this is generally the main problem for this special part of the world. Any kind of transport either depends on weather, extremely complex, is life-threatening or spectacular. Right now our plan is to start driving on friday, latest saturday. Continued our repairs and preparations today.
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Unread 02-17-2010, 10:46 AM   #101
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Quote:
February 16, 2010: 117th short message (00:13 a.m. CET)

It’s hard to believe. Just now we received the news that the airplane with our spare parts left Nome and that it will be here in about an hour. Victor is on its way to the airport. He will take care of everything. Jefgeny will help him. Rudi and I continue our work here.
............
Quote:
February 16, 2010: 118th short message (05:20 a.m. CET)

The airplane landed!!! Phuuuuu.

Right now everything gets checked, then it has to be sent through customs and then they will bring it here.
I’m curious to see if we can fix the cars with these parts.
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Unread 02-20-2010, 06:34 AM   #102
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..........
Quote:
February 18, 2010: 119th short message (12:53 p.m. CET)

We are working on the vehicles at full blast. Could it be any different? Right now our plan is to leave again on Saturday or Sunday. First we want to reach Novoe Chaplino and then – after a short stop – go about the longest ice test on sea ice (about 60 km along the coast) aiming towards Janrakinnot.

For this purpose we will pull the trailers, which are now modified to be single axle operating, on 25-meter-ropes behind the vehicles to avoid too much pressure on the ice and thus a break in.

Wild stories are being told about this overall 80km long section (sunken vehicles, Nalid Ice wherever you look, etc.).
Special perils of this section are the water fields. They form on special areas on top of the ice and are covered by snow. The wind and temperature conditions cause the surface of the snow to freeze (whilst keeping its snowy appearance). The snow and water underneath do not freeze though. A very malicious, visually plain surface forms which breaks when you drive over it. We hope not to get caught in such a trap.
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Unread 02-27-2010, 03:06 AM   #103
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Quote:
February 22, 2010:

The repairs take a lot longer than what we had originally planned. Again and again the tools are a perfidy. Instead of using special tools, we have to find new ideas over and over again to replace the missing special tools. But these ideas need to be thought trough first and implemented. Improvising takes a lot of time. But generally we progress. There are only few more tasks left, amongst others the rear axle of F1.
Hopefully we will be able to make a test drive tomorrow. Then we would leave early Wednesday morning.

Here a rough list of the tasks that we have done/are doing for whoever might be interested in what we had to repair, produce, newly invent and modify:


F1 with trailer1:

- Main plug electric bar fixed and sealed
- Axle-box clearance adjusted in the front (left and right) and in the back (left and right) and free-wheeling hub fixed in the front
(left) with the lid of a can
- Mounted lever shears onto the vehicles
- Stabi bearing fastened in the front (left and right)
- Steering gear mounting and track bar counter bearing constructed and welded in/frame retainer aligned and welded
- Welded broken frame in the front (left and right)
- Retightened and affixed all screws
- Remodeled twin-tire system and changed over to rim operation
- Welded exhaust bracket
- Affixed exhaust pipe left and right
- Servo pump and servo pipes affixed
- V-belt, hose clamp and pulley renewed
- Power supply and antenna cable for emergency radio units fixed
- Track bar bearing renewed
- Oil pan enforced because axles banged against it
- Welded reinforcement to back upper steering link (left and right) and built new rubber bearings from isolators
- Repaired back axle/renewed differential
- Aligned 2 twin-tire cages
- Renewed 3 Beadlocks
- Renewed 2 tire-valves
- Adjusted size of swimming tires
- Front upper axle bearing abraded and reduced
- Batteries charged

- Completely unloaded and loaded trailer, remodeled to one-axle operation, dislocated pontoons and brackets, welded frame,
reconstructed and exchanged tongue


F2 with trailer2:

- Aligned track bar bearing and radius rod bearing and spring stop bearing in the back (right)
- Demolished brake pipe in the front renewed (right)
- Half of right front axle renewed
- Axle-box clearance adjusted in the front (left and right) and in the back (left and right)
- Mounted lever shears onto the vehicles
- Stabi bearing fastened in the front (left and right)
- Steering gear mounting and track bar counter bearing constructed and welded in/frame retainer aligned and welded
- Front lower spring seats aligned and welded
- Welded broken frame in the front (left and right)
- Retightened and affixed all screws
- Remodeled twin-tire system and changed over to rim operation
- Affixed exhaust pipe left and right
- Servo pump and servo pipes affixed
- V-belt, hose clamp and pulley renewed
- Track bar bearing renewed
- Oil pan enforced because axles banged against it
- Welded reinforcement to back upper steering link (left and right) and built new rubber bearings from isolators
- Aligned 1 twin-tire cage
- Renewed 1 Beadlock
- Renewed 3 tire-valves
- Adjusted size of swimming tires
- Front upper axle bearing abraded and reduced
- Batteries charged

- Completely unloaded and loaded trailer, remodeled to one-axle operation, dislocated pontoons and brackets, welded frame,
reconstructed and exchanged tongue

In between we propped the cars several times up above the pit with air-hook-rope-bridge-hanging-techniques and reckless constructions after we sewed about 30 pieces of wood from a thick bar with a hand saw.

..........
Quote:
February 22, 2010: 120th short message (11:39 a.m. CET)

Both test drives were successful!!!
Test with trailers were successful as well!!!

Now we start loading the vehicles.

This will be a long night again. Tomorrow we will fill up the tanks, clean up the apartment, go grocery shopping, load the last few things, have final meetings with people from public live and helpers, then sleep.
If the weather remains okay, we will start again early Wednesday morning.
Unfortunately a large crack has already formed at the entrance to the 60 km long bay. The crack is filled with water. Furthermore there is a lot of snow expected as we heard today.
Let’s see.
Quote:
February 24, 2010: 121st short message (09:03 a.m. CET)

We just finished with the cars and trailers. Unexpectedly and severely we have to pass another, very difficult test at the moment. The team is struggling. Tomorrow will bring a decision, I believe. Difficult times.

Quote:
February 25, 2010: 122. short message (12:53 p.m. CET)

The test is over. The team has struggled, it has struggled very hard. A crack in the relationship between two people could – despite all friendship that connected and still connects our team – not be fixed. After such a long time of struggling, holding on, waiting and working hard, ther will now be a change in team members. Jefgeny Konstantinov will go back to Moscow, Konstantin Savva will join the team again. What exactly happened will remain within the team, but Jefgeny had a hard time making this decision. He was struggling for a long time. At the end though, there was only the flight back.

My good friend, I thank you for the time we spent together, for the great navigation you did even during complete blind flights, your calmness, you reliability, the partnerschip. Jefgeny, you were a great partner. I regret that you cannot continue with us.

The team will leave tomorrow morning.
Quote:
February 26, 2010: 123rd short message (05:43 a.m. CET)

12 p.m. After saying goodbye to the administration, to many many people and friends, we left.

1 p.m. Another damage on the axle on the F2 trailer. It took us 4 hours. Are ready to start again. The wheel bearing including drum broke off and a complete wheel has been lost. With Alexander’s help we got a spare part from Aletr Axles in Providenia. In the meantime we checked all other axle bearings and readjusted them. The most difficult part of it was to lift one side from the trailer which was completely sunken in snow.

5 p.m. Let’s continue!
Quote:
February 26, 2010: 124th short message (07:51 a.m. CET)

We just arrived in New Chaplena. But we will not stop and continue our drive right away to make use of the night light (very good view due to moonlight) and the icy temperatures of up to -35°C. We hope that the deep snow that now goes 20 km to the bay will freeze during the night and carry us.
Quote:
February 26, 2010: 125th short message (10:58 a.m. CET)

Got stuck for about 1.5 hours. We had to take the twin-tires off because the rims were breaking. Right now we are in the deep snow between New Chaplena and Sinavinslkie bay. We are accompanied by our two Skidoo drivers Vladimir and Konstantin who turn around and go back to Providenia now to sleep. They will join us again in the morning. Until Lavrentia, the new team member and substitute for Jefgeny is Valerie Borisovitsch, our friend from Providenia. He is driving in Rudi’s car and Victor is with me.

Quote:
February 27, 2010: 126th short message (00:32 a.m. CET)

08.30 a.m. Yesterday we made it up to 2.5 km in front of the bay. Since everybody was exhausted, we stopped to go to sleep. Weather is okay, winds with drifts at the ground (we are located in a valley, so downslope winds would be worse), the sky is clear. From our location we can already see the bay (or better: where it should be if there was water). We hope to manage the last two kilometers without complications. Then we will see how we get onto the ice.
Quote:
February 27, 2010: 127th short message (04:30 a.m. CET)

3 p.m. We arrived at the bay. After a short stop to put on our security clothing we continued. Let’s see if the ice will last. The entry was alright. By now, the crack froze again. Very good.




Quote:
February 27, 2010: 128th short message (06:23 a.m. CET)

04.30 p.m. F2 subsided. The water pushed into the right trail. We had to react fast. We managed it with a very long rope on the trailer of F1 and lots of winching. Now we are driving again.

05.30 p.m. A Skidoo driver is going back to Providenia due to hypothermia. We winch and crawl our way forward on deep snow on ice. First gear at creep rate.

Another 34 km to Jandrekinot.
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Unread 03-02-2010, 01:59 PM   #104
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Quote:
February 27, 2010: 129th short message (10:14 a.m. CET)

F1 broke really badly into the snow. It sunk more than one meter into the snow. Underneath is water. It took us three hours to get it out again.

We are still at that place, trying to get over the crack that seems to be underneath. We move forwards half a meter and another half a meter with the help of sand sheets. It wouldn’t be possible without the sand sheets. We shovel, winch, pull, etc. It’s drudgery with no end.

Just now there was a little bit Russian romantic when we made a fire, made some tee (as well as coffee), cut some bread, ate some onions and sausage. We heard that Russian soldiers are doing it just like that.
Now we are trying to continue. It’s best if you just forget that you are in the middle of a bay on ice with 16 tons of weight. Then it’s fine. But if you think about it, you get queasy, even though the ice is about 80 cm thick.
Just now the wind slowed down, which caused the snowflakes to remain on the ground and not get swirled back in the air. For a couple of minutes we were able to see the lights of Jandrekinot in the far distance.
Quote:
February 27, 2010: 130th short message (11:24 a.m. CET)

How does it work, what we are doing here right now?
Tires 0.1 in the front and 0.2 in the rear.
First we try to get F1 through the deep snowfields by shoveling and with sand sheets. Then we winch the F! trailer with the rear winch on F1 from about 80 meters away to about 40 meters away. Then we use the F1 trailer to winch F2 and trailer and also help with sand sheets because otherwise F2 would also break in. Drudgery, but that’s the only way to do it.
Without the awesome winch system with pluggable winches in the front and rear: zero point zero chance. This is the only way to get the modified trailers with skid and one-axle-operation through it. The modifications were worth it. The material by Roka and BPW is great.
..........

Quote:
February 28, 2010: 131st short message (00:22 a.m. CET)

Have been on the ice of the bay for 24 hours now. It is an unbelievable drudgery. F1 and F2 broke completely into water traps. 200 m in 13 hours. What a bummer!
We were able to free ourselves from the worst water trap. We didn’t sleep since 10 a.m. yesterday morning. The team is doing well and mentally strong.
On it goes.
Quote:
February 28, 2010: 132nd short message (07:13 p.m. CET)

By now we have worked for 36 hours non-stop. As described, we got right into the water traps that we have been warned of and had to free ourselves from them. But there’s no other way than the bay. Therefore we have to get through it.
Especially the winching, next to the continuous shoveling and carrying of sand sheets is exhausting In order to winch F1 we need ice anchors. They consist of an about 80 cm long, round piece of wood around whose middle is tied a winch rope. Then we sink the piece of wood at right angle to the traction direction inside a snow hole which we have dug all the way to the ice. We add three additional ice stakes into this 80-100 cm deep hole and thus secure the piece of wood. Then we knock it as deep as possible into the ice on which the wooden piece lies. Due to the fact that there is water on the ice, this is a wet issue. The gloves freeze within seconds.
Quote:
February 28, 2010: 133rd short message (10:29 p.m. CET)

6 a.m. After having slept at least for a couple of hours, we take off again. Right now the temperature is -35°C. Therefore we hope that the water froze a little bit more so that we will be able to drive and not winch.
Quote:
March 01, 2010: 134th short message (07:22 a.m. CET)

We are currently at N 64°51.821’ / W 172°43.365’.

Yesterday evening we managed to place both cars and both trailers together on a secure section of “watersnow”. Then we fell into a deep sleep. Later that evening, when two Skidoo drivers and Vladimir and Jefgeny came from Providenia to visit us, at least I only noticed that while being half asleep.
Today everything worked out better. The low temperatures of the night caused the aspic-mixture to freeze. The new Wrangler MTR can prove their strengths once again and let us progress.

This watersnow is due to three huge cracks which form every year in the bay. Two of them are diagonally to the bay, one is parallel. On the photos that we will send, the third crack will be visible. The cracks are about 40-60 cm wide. The third crack, for example, had only about 10 cm of ice at one spot.

What caused us to slow down today were seal holes. Seals need air to breathe. But considering that everything is frozen, nature came up with an amazing instrument and gave the seals “super breath”. With their super breath the seals aspirate holes into the ice in order to get to the fresh air. More or less circular holes form, which fill up with water. If it snows for a longer period of time, the holes blow over and a delusive layer forms.
We got caught in many of them today. Once we hit it with a front wheel, once with a rear wheel, once with a wheel of the trailer. There have to be many of those colleagues here.
If you drive over the holes with enough speed and break in, it will pull out you axle. This is because the holes with water and snow on top will cause an about 1.5 x 1.5 meters wide hole to arise. Therefore we have to go very slowly. This way we might still break in, but nothing will be damaged.
And it’s better not to try and close the holes by shoveling snow into them so that we can put sand sheets over them, because then it might be that you find the next hole with the next shovel and break in with your feet. And then you are wondering why you are suddenly 60 cm lower (this happened just like that).
Quote:
March 01, 2010: 135th short message (07:30 a.m. CET)

5 p.m. We just arrived at the mainland and thus in Jandrekinot. Awesome!
We are all happy to have made it through the bay. Great team!
Right away we were welcomed by a Skidoo. A father with two boys. Immediately after the police arrived. We were welcomed very friendly, they checked our paperwork. Everything alright.

Now we drive into the village and leave right after. The weather is great, but it will get really bad again. Due to the amazing and very accurate weather forecast of the German Weather Service, two hurricanes are expected. One will start on Friday. Until then, we are planning to have made a good part of the section towards Lavrentia.
Anyway, we are trying to reach a settlement before Lavrentia. If we can’t make it, we will have to stay in the cars during the hurricanes.

Let’s see how bad the section will be.
Quote:
March 01, 2010: 136th short message (07:06 p.m. CET)

3 a.m. We are progressing well. We just finished a little pass behind Jandrekinot and slept for three hours. We are already driving again because we have to make use of the weather. We are winding between two little mountain ranges and crazy snow drifts that are hard as concrete.

Current position: N 64°58.172‘ / W 172°25.621‘
The team is doing well.
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Unread 03-04-2010, 12:10 PM   #105
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Posts: 342
Quote:
March 02, 2010: 137th short message (09:45 p.m. CET)

Bad, bad.
Last night, after we heard a clicking noise from the left rear, we noticed that four of five stud bolts had fallen off. On closer inspection we realized that the stud bolts on the right side were also loose, just like the ones on F2. All bolts became loose in the track extensions, they swerved. But we need them, because the manufacturer, the original company who did the modifications, drilled the holes for the beadlock’s tube in the wrong place of the rim. All of that, having to take the tires down and putting them back on in the snow, exchanging the spare wheel, etc. caused us 12 hours of work under hardest terms. At around 7 p.m. a blizzard started. Bad, bad, bad.
Additionally, a stench arose in F2, which smelt like rotten eggs. We cleared out the whole car (you cannot imagine how tough this is under these terms). There was snow in/under/above/on the car, in the clothes, in the equipment, everything covered in snow. Finally we noticed that the battery in the back on the right side had a short-circuit, was very hot and threatened to explode. Therefore we removed it.
I cannot write anymore at the moment. We’re wiped out now. The storm is blowing again but we´re ready to depart. Outside it’s hard to bear. Some of us were developing frostbites on their face and hands. We took care that there were no unprotected places and we wore all protective clothing we have.

We hope to continue. Snowdrifts within minutes. Crazy.

Quote:
March 03, 2010: 138th short message (06:26 a.m. CET)

11 a.m. Are driving for quite a while at 5-10 meters sight. Only the GPS navigates.
But we have to continue. The blizzard now is just the foretaste of the two low-pressure systems which are expected to be here no later than two days from now. We try to stay on an old Vestichot track. At the moment we have 1,300 l gasoline and food for 14 days with us. In terms of figures we could endure the storms for 14 days in the tundra with the engine running non-stop. Additionally four days worth of food for an emergency, excluding an indoor heater by Webasto. After that it will be very hard to continue, because the lows will bring snow.
The team is doing well and strong. No permanent damage due to frostbites. Everybody warmed up again and has their feeling back in the places where frostbites have been.

4 p.m. No chance to do anything right now. We can’t see anything. Tough blizzard. There is no possibility to continue. We have parked the cars next to each other and placed a tent over the front of the cars to protect the engines.
We are going to eat something now and then lay down. Hopefully the storm will slow down at night, then we’ll continue.

Right now we are about 60 kilometres from Lorino at N 65°09.595 / W 172°12.403.
The iridium works. We can be reached via telephone, fax and e-mail. Everything is fine. Hopefully we won’t be stuck here forever.



















Quote:
March 03, 2010: 139th short message (07:16 p.m. CET)

4 a.m. It is still storming madly. By now, the snowdrifts around us are like a sandcastle. Without taking the wind into consideration, it’s a severe cold of about -30°C. With this wind this could easily be -40°C or lower. We can only take the gloves off for a few seconds. Just now we had to - among other things - refuel and wrap the air intake socket with cloth. We had to cover it with cloth because otherwise snow would get in, and that wouldn’t be good for the engine heating system. This entire procedure is crazy under these conditions. Within seconds you are covered in swirling snow, icicles form on you eyelashes as if they wanted to grow all the way to your chin.
Right when we stepped out of the cars I noticed a burnt smell. Immediately we started to look for its source. I remembered this situation in Jakutsk where we were also in the middle of a blizzard. Back then, ice blocked the fan engines and they burned through. When we opened the hood of F2 we noticed that this was the case here as well. Once again, F2 causes us work before we can continue.
For now we carved the cars in snow, covered the entire lower part with snow. This will not be any fun when we have to get back out of it. Boy, oh boy!
Apart from that, the vehicles work, even though they are not completely air tight (in a snow storm like that, snow gets inside through every little gap/seal – just like in the desert, the sand also gets everywhere).

Other than that, the team is doing well, all is okay.
Our position is still the same: N 65°09.549 / W 172°12.404
Quote:
March 04, 2010: 140th short message (08:31 a.m. CET)

Captured in the blizzard, we are sitting tight.
It’s not really that nice and takes a lot of nerves. The storm is pulling on the vehicles, the protection, the constructional systems. We hardly see anything, our clothes are wet, partly frosted, the feet are cold, the insides of the car where we change our heavy clothing is rather small. And whoever might think that we are lazily sitting in the car for 30 hours now, is badly mistaken.
First, the temperature of F2 rose. Currently F2 is without a fan because we were not able to repair it in this storm. Then, one after another, the indoor fans of both cars gave out. This was very aggravating because this was the last option to cool the engine of F2 down; and it was also starting to get damned cold in F1.
After removing the glove compartment, we noticed that the fans were completely covered with snow – despite the fact that we completely sealed the air intakes with cloths. Ice and snow got into the fans and threatened to block them. In my head I already started to dislocate my joints in order to acrobatically climb from my driver’s seat over Victor, the passenger’s seat, between the computers, etc. And dive head-first into the foot space. Just like this and while the blood started to flood into my brain, I wanted to remove the fan. But Victor had a better idea.
In the meantime it had gotten really cold in the car (because the cooler for the engine was off), we had turned on the Webasto heaters. It was releasing roaring heat and it is so genius that we used two curing tube extensions (which I had brough to Egvekinot just in case) and Victors idea to divert the air jet right onto the heater unit inside the dashboard. This way, the ice melted within minutes and the fan was working again, just like the heater. After using the same method on the second vehicle, the temperature of F2’s engine can be regulated again.
By now, we also use the hot-air jet of the Webasto heater to heat our water. It won’t boil this way, but it gets really hot. Amazing.
Besides that there is always the anxiety that the next component won’t last. The snowdrifts pile up. We have to dig out F2 from the snow every other hour, because otherwise we wouldn’t be able to open the doors again. We scrape the ice and the snow off the insides of the doors; dislocate our feet in order to get closer to the upper air jet. The one down below is too weak, the foot space has about zero degrees. This is not for the faint-hearted.
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