This is exactly what I was trying to avoid…I was hungry and tired. A deadly combination for anyone that has to be near me. Unfortunately my Mongol Rally teammates were stuck in a car with me. My stomach was a big stress ball; it felt like a knot was tightening every hour in my stomach. It was 11PM, pitch dark, and we rolled into yet another small town, poorly lit, looking like a ghost town with a few illuminated signs in Cyrillic. I stared at the signs with my sore eyes trying to peer inside as we drove by to determine if these places were a motel, restaurant or most likely…a bar.
We had been driving since 10AM on construction filled roads, 2 lane highways, trying to do tag-team passing tactics and I was exhausted. On top of it the last time I ate anything was around 2PM – which was a coke and a piece of potato bread. And a few random half open bag of chips that were in the car.
After stopping at the one and only sign we could read in town that said Hotel, we found out they were booked up for the night. After drawing some diagrams and using my Google translate program on my phone the hotel desk keeper pointed us to a different hotel a bit out of town. We all rejoiced as I dreamed of laying vertical for a while and shutting my haggard eyes that had been intensely watching the road most of the day.
We drove up to the next hotel and talked to the man about rooms. He, like everyone in this small town, knew no English so I was left acting out charades again. While doing so I noticed he had a holster and a gun…interesting. I also started looking around more of the pictures of beautiful women on the wall – and started to wonder what type of ‘hotel’ we had actually wandered into! We passed on the high priced hotel from the man with the gun and decided that we could only had one option – to press on through the night.
As much as I wasn’t behind this decision, I was also physically exhausted enough to just finally give in and agree. The good news was that Dave and Deb were feeling good and felt eager to keep driving. Rick and I got in back and passed out and hoped for the best. The roads are not easy to drive in broad daylight…let alone at night in pitch darkness.
Next thing I knew I woke up in the back seat and Dave was pulling into a gas station lot and said that he wanted to sleep for an hour. I looked at my watch and it read 1:15AM. We had made good progress towards the border, but we had made no progress at finding a hotel or campsite. So we pulled over in a gas station lot to hopefully get a little rest.
The four of us covered up in sleeping bags in our little car seats and fell asleep not to awake until 6AM when the sun came up. As I slowly woke up I thought about how sleeping in the car was pretty much like sleeping on a red eye flight in economy seats. Cramped and uncomfortable, but better than nothing.
Onwards to the Russian border!
How to donate to our charity – the Christina Nobel Foundation – we are still collecting donations along the way!