Day 2: Daihai – Sizziwanqi – Erenhot (510 km)

Today we had a more pleasant start time of 08:46. The cars were staggered in 1 minute intervals, however it was not long before we were able to overtake some of the cars in front of us and likewise were also being overtaken. Today we had two stages of about 250 km each. It was remarkable just how much the terrain changed from the morning to the evening. Daihai, which is known for its hot springs, is flat but also very green with lots of farmland. From here we headed into the hills, reaching a maximum elevation of 1800m above sea level before entering the vast and empty planes that led to Erenhot.
The fact that China is ruled by a communist government is particularly evident when moving further away from Beijing. The villages are extremely poor, with the houses looking as though they are about to fall apart and appearing to lack basic infrastructure. We also passed through a number of new towns that must have been developed in recent years and are reminiscent of those built during the Soviet era. They are filled with large, concrete blocks that make them look sterile and characterless. The only hint of creativity appears to be exercised in the snazzy designs of the street lighting.
Today was the first time that both of us drove rather than keep to our usual roles of Mario driving and Noele navigating. Apart from almost hitting a cow that decided to cross the motorway and having a bit of trouble with reverse parking in front of the crowd at the hotel, it went surprisingly well!
Over the course of the past 2 days we had realized that there were a lot of exhaust fumes in the car. We had thought that these were just being blown in because of the strong winds, however it turns out the exhaust’s silencer was cracked right below the door seal. After we had arrived at the hotel we were luckily able to find a local fabricator who welded the crack and as a result was able to fix the leak.
At dinner we also heard about some of the horror stories from the last Peking-Paris rally including navigators quitting and leaving for the nearest airport, competitors getting stuck in customs and cars completely burning to the ground! Looks like we have a lot ahead of us…20130530-000736.jpg20130530-000800.jpg






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5 thoughts on “Day 2: Daihai – Sizziwanqi – Erenhot (510 km)

  1. Alex

    Hallo Team Illien schoene Bilder vom Tag 2 und Ihr habt Glueck mit der Auspuffpanne gehabt.
    Mario ist schon an der Sache gegangen,auf dem Bild sieht man der Spezi mit Werkzeuge an der Hand!!!
    Also nochmal alles Gute fuer den Tag 3

  2. I really do not know how you manage to keep us updated of your progress in such heavy conditions + your blog entries with photos are really compelling and entertaining at the same time. Thank you !

    Keep it up.

  3. Ted

    Your photos took me right back to my time in China. What a fantastic adventure you’re in for. I wish you all the best.

  4. Lorainne Lopez

    So which one of you almost hit the cow? Lol. Noele you sound like such a car expert now! It must be so rewarding to actually see and drive through parts of China that usually only the locals see!

  5. Jen

    Good Luck and thank you for sharing the highlights of your incredible journey!

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