After getting receiving our five day check-in for Kazakhstan we pushed on for our second entry into Russia. The Kazak roads proved to push our car to the limit and by before we knew it all of our rims were bent to shit and we had a serious leak in one of the back tires. We stopped to use an air compressor at a small tire shop along the way and the locals were once again very amused by our presence. We traded a few things snapped a few photos and kept on trucking. But before we knew it the tire was again very low, so we had a to find a permanent solution.
As we approached the small town of Aleysk, Russia we stopped at the first auto shop we saw. Man were these guys nice. We showed them the slow leak and the broken rim/tire that we blew in Kaz. This one big guy immediately took Wilson and I to a local welding shop where he grabbed the rim and proceeded to start hammering, welding, and grinding at the rim. 20 minutes later it was as good as new and we were back on our way to the auto shop. By the time we got back Alex and Nick were drinking beers and eating food with all the mechanics. Wilson and I quickly jumped in on the festivities with them. They had grilled a ton of meat for us over an open fire which was inside of a used rim, and damn was that meat tasty!
By the time we had to leave they had fixed the slow leak, put our tire back on the newly welded rim, and replaced a blown fuse which went to our cigarette outlet (AKA our power source for music and all things electronic for the trip).
Honestly our best experiences and people we have met on this trip have been at the places we have broken down. Every single time the people have been so friendly and helpful, and most of the time have barely even charged us for the work they did. I’d say in most instances breaking down is never something to look forward to, but they have made this trip that much more interesting.
After leaving Aleysk we pushed on to Barnaul, which is the last major city before hitting the Mongolian border. That day we drove for nearly 18 hours and covered over 800 miles. It was a haul, but by the time we got to the border in the early morning we finally had met up with some other teams. It was the first time that we really got to chill out and chat with some other teams about their travels and experiences thus far on the rally.