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Mongol Rally, Day 8: Trouble takes a break -- maybe

July 21, 2012|By Leon Logothetis
  • The mechanic wasn't convinced that the car had a problem, but after a test drive, he heard the noise fixed it.
The mechanic wasn't convinced that the car had a problem, but after… (Leon Logothetis )

You can't run away from trouble. There ain't no place that far.

-- Uncle Remus

Some say I began my traveling as a way of running from my problems. I certainly had some of them. These chaps have a point. I can't, however, seem to run away from trouble. It follows me as I meander my way through the vastness of two continents on this 10,000-mile road rally from Britain to Ulan Bator, Mongolia. The Mongol Rally, which began a week ago, has a way of bringing trouble to your doorstep.

Today I tried to save the life of my car: my beloved Daihatsu Terrios, whose only job is to get my co-driver, Steve Priovolos, and me to Mongolia. It is a heavy burden, I know. But a burden that I am convinced the little car that could will achieve.

I was not quite as certain this afternoon.

I found my way to a Ukrainian mechanic and realized the first problem: No one spoke English. I resolved this by walking through the streets asking people if they spoke the Queen's English. Most didn’t. One did. His name is Eugeny, and he was my angel on this sun-drenched day.

With Eugeny in tow I went back to the mechanics and the translation began. Then the waiting started. Then my blood pressure soared as mechanic Anatoly couldn’t find the problem. I assured Eugeny there was a problem. Eugeny relayed the message.

Anatoly looked unconvinced. If he couldn’t find the problem, then there wasn’t one. But there was a problem and I could prove it.

I took my two new Ukrainian chums on a test drive so that Anatoly could hear for himself what I had been hearing the past 1,400 miles. Two sounds. One worse than the other, both coming from the right side of the car. Fortunately he heard them and said, “Problem, yes.”

I took this as confirmation that he was now on board with Operation Save Leon’s Car. We arrived back at the mechanic's, and he set off to work. Within two hours he had fixed it. It seems that the brake pads were missing some important screws. We took the car for another spin. No noises. Success.

With this good news, it was time to prepare for Sunday's trip to Chernobyl. I can always find trouble somewhere along this crazy journey.

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