Day 31

31. May 2000, Turfan to Hami

When the Rally Office informed us yesterday that we would get 15 hours time assigned for the drive tomorrow as there were "diversions due to construction" we first thought it was a bit of an exaggeration but it turned out to be a justified warning. For one reason or another, when the Chinese "road works ministry" decided to repair the road between Turfan and Hami, they closed off the whole road (about 400km of it) and constructed a diversion for the whole route. The diversion was just a trail in the Gobi, occassionally channels have been dug through elevations and the ground was varying between sand, dust and gravel (whatever the Gobi just consisted of). Additionally the diversion was sometimes winding around obstacles so that we calculated an additional 60 km of route. But getting up early for an assigned 6:31 start, we still managed to arrive in the early afternoon, seven hours before our time-check, even though we were driving carefully to reduce any wear and tear. Fortunately the weather was cloudy so the tempeartures did not get too hot.
The drive from Turfan to Hami can be described as off-road and therefore our "Gobi Test" in the morning pales in comparison: This was also off-road, but was only 4.5 km. The time assigned was 3 minutes (average speed 90 km/h required, probably the fastest section so far), we got two minutes penalty which does not affect our current ranking.
Over the day, we managed to lose another screw on our sump guard but we repaired the problem until late afternoon. Yesterday, we also checked whether all screws were tight and greased different points on the car, the day before yesterday we had a change of oil. Other then that we have not had much work with the car and we are happy the way it has been driving until now, but still another 49 days to go...

TC 91: Turfan OUT
TC 92: Gobi Test Start
05 25.85 km
TC 93: Gobi Test Finish
10 4.5 km
TC 94: Hami IN
10 380.4 km

Overall 1 hour 10 minutes penalty

The official results can be looked up on this website

Early in the morning: Before the Gobi Test

But not as rough as the route to Hami

The majority of the route is off-road varying from gravel to sand dunes.

different variations on the theme of public transport can be seen every day in China.

Arriving in Hami: More green and more Chinese than the cities before.


The Gobi Test: quite rough

A few kilometres out of Turfan, the roads are still good but the situation soon changes. Oil pumps working in the background.

It took us nearly half an hour to help dig this vintage Bentley out of the powder fine Gobi sand. We have some nice video footage of this and others trying to get through, so look out for a video update on this day (probably only once we get to America as Internet upload times in China are too slow for videos)

Our sump guard is rattling again and we try to find a temporary solution.
The route Turfan-Hami would have been better if there had been less of these trucks going each direction.