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Discussion Starter #61
February 16, 2009: New short message from the expedition team

Team reached Bilibino after difficult and exaustive track / intense troubles en route / one PNY-Jeep with trailer in snow flurry in the ditch / trailer tumbled down / nevertheless nothing crucial destroyed / no injuries / team in good health / very friendly welcome of all in Bilibino / report follows
 

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Discussion Starter #62
February 19, 2009: (1)

It was a tough section to Bilibino with many obstacles. But finally, we made it.

The team is in Bilibino, just like the vehicles and trailer.
Crazy things happened to us on our way behind Shishmaref. F1 had and has no engine power; we had to deal with frozen brakes in Tscherski; we received the news that we were not allowed to enter Tschukotka; Trailer2 lost a complete wheel including brake drum, etc.; wheels on both trailers were blocked by ice and the entire F1 along with its trailer skidded into a ditch.

One step after another:
The tension was huge when we continuously became slower and finally – due to the performance problems of F1 and the resulting additional consumption – had to refuel just 5 kilometers before the city. I was about to explode when I also received the news from Jürgen Graf that we have to stop in Tscherski and will not be allowed to enter Tschukotka - We did not receive the special permission. I was totally mad – what happened? Hastily I called Jürgen and got the information that the authorities did not receive the necessary insurance forms and thus correctly denied our permit. Unfortunately, this had to happen just 40 kilometers before the territory border. We owe the same night's receipt of the permit to people, authorities and institutions that trusted us. Many thanks to all involved people and authorities at this point (when – according to our GPS – reaching the “border to Tschukotka” the next evening, we celebrated and cherished the crossing).

With only 1000 1/min of F1 in gear reduction, we reached Tscherski where the police was already waiting for us. They were expecting us for a long time and were happy to welcome us in sound condition. After the obligatory control and after reporting our expedition to the ones in charge, we were led to a warm garage. There, the team checked and repaired for quite some time, before exhaustedly falling asleep on the seats in the garage. The plan was to sleep for about 2 hours only and get up at 4 a.m. to drive towards Bilibino. However, we were woken up by the first workers at around 10 a.m.

We were hoping that the performance problems of F1 were due to frozen water from the auxiliary tanks. Unfortunately this was not the case. Thus I decided to continue our slow driving without performance on our upcoming – 380 kilometers long – section towards Tschukotka. Just when we were about to leave Tscherski and attached the trailer, we noticed that my brakes at Trailer 1 were frozen. Therefore we had to unfreeze them with Russian burner lamps*. What a nice work at -50° C. At that time, we did not know that we would have to do it again on this section.

Just out of Tscherski, in the middle of the Kolymar, we found the truck in an accident. It broke into the ice only 10 days ago, even though it was driving on the main lane. Crazy. Fortunately there was another truck that took care of the two wet drivers, who were able to save themselves out of the driver’s cab in the last second. Otherwise they would have frozen to death within minutes.

*) Burner lamps are irreplacable for all acrtic truckers. They burn fuel - in our case also ethanol - in adjustable fire beam which are pointed at the frozen parts. This way it is possible to unfreeze e.g. the oil pan, the gearbox, the axles, the brakes.




February 19, 2009: (2)

Then, the course of the road led us north-east on the Kolymar River and one of its channels for many kilometers. The temperatures were below -50°C when during a pee stop at some point during the night we noticed that a wheel including rim, tire, brake drum and spacer was missing on Kaspar’s trailer (T2).

The route has become a narrow trail about 100 kilometers ago and is difficult to drive. Taking into consideration that the wheel could have been lost anywhere and because there would be no chance to find it at night, we decided to continue our drive on three wheels (that’s what we will do on our upcoming 380 kilometers long section from Bilibino to Pevek as well. In Pevek we expect to receive the necessary spare parts).

It would be better not to stop in this cold atmosphere and the additional occuring wind. The reason why we had to stay for about another 3 hours at this place was due to the fact that when Kaspar was ready to go I noticed two blocked wheels at T2. The breaks were frozen. In order to continue driving without the risk that this would happen again (this was probably also the reason for the loss of the other wheel), without further ado we disabled the brake function of T2 by disassembling the break leverage and removing the brake shoe from the blocked wheels in a tough repair action (key word: burner lamps) on the winter road (later on in Bilibino we removed
each and every part that somehow was a part of the break from T1 and T2).

During the following drive was dedicated to the mistake-diagnosis of F1. We used the diagnosis computer to check all parameters, perform tests and compare data of both vehicles in drive operation. I was just sitting in F2 and evaluated information with Kaspar, when the next obstacle on this rocky way to Bilibino was announced via radio: "Matthias, Sh**, I got stuck." In heavy snow flurry, F1 and its trailer went astray and skidded into a ditch. Thereby, the trailer tipped over and turned on its side. Now it was time to stop thinking and sort things out. We had to retrieve both vehicles as soon as possible. First we detached the trailer from the vehicle and put it back on its wheels by using our winches. Then we pulled it on the street with our Warn winches and idler pulleys. It was a little bit more difficult to retrieve F1 because it was stuck deep in snow and because of the strong inclined position that caused the engine to turn off. We had to recover it first. Then we also pulled this vehicle from the ditch with our Warn winches and idler pulley. It was a great performance of our winches, the team had to admit.

After another 20 kilometers we finally reached Bilibino. Once again we were surprised by the things waiting for us there.



February 19, 2009: (3)

We did not know what to expect in Bilibino. Will we have an accommodation, perhaps a small hotel, a garage? How will the authorities react when we arrive? What will we manage to complete?

We were slowly approaching the city. It is located in a wind still area surrounded by high mountains. Arriving from a snowy pass and after entering the main street we have directly been checked by the traffic police. The officers were very friendly and gave us some additional information. Konstantin already informed his contacts without giving me notice. As the success was not sure he did not tell anything and therefore he and we have all been very happy. Everything was perfectly organized.

We have been expected by friends of Konstantin and the mining company Kupogold. We were welcomed and accommodated in clean, perfectly equipped apartments with shower, toilette, washing machine, etc., which are normally used for company employees who make a stopover on their way to the goldmine which is about 200 km away. Moreover, we were integrated in the daily operation and got breakfast, lunch and dinner. They even did our laundry. It is really great. Many thanks to the management of Kupolgold at this point. Also the garage was organized by Konstantin's contacts. There was enough space for us to store the vehicles and trailers in the warmth - a seldom situation. The highlight was an arriving team of mechanics who worked with us.

Altogether we were eleven people starting with the next big modification mission of the Jeeps and trailers. As the trailers have carried important equipment over the rough track until Bilibino and we now only need less of it, the trailers have been rigorously alleviated and additionally protected against the cold. Additionally we removed the 1000 l tank, removed now unnecessary crates and panels. We already modified the Jeeps with adding the construction for the emergency swimming system (hydraulic adaptors at front and back) and pre-mounted the swimming tires on the trailer tires. That was hand work which means an immense issue of strength and that in total 8 times. Of course there was no balancing. Parallel Marco started to work on the next video clip at his especially equipped cutting place.

Originally planned was to leave for Pevek on Thursday. Unfortunately that was not possible. We received a warning from the Russian disaster control via the German Embassy not to start. They expect a hurricane/snow storm in that region which will be very intense with a speed of about 37 m/s. Accordingly the temperature will drop to -60°C. Luckily we received that message in Bilibino and not en-route. Therefore everything was fine again and our problems had a protection effect, as we would already have been on track and met the storm otherwise. The negative aspect it that all winter ways to Pevek will be gone after the hurricane.

New scheduled starting time will be Saturday.
 

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Discussion Starter #63
February 22, 2009: 1st short message
Task force started from Bilibino towards Pevek.

February 22, 2009: 2nd short message
We have direct contact to the roadmaker - Due to heavy snowdrift at two passes, the track to Pevek is not usable - even not for the heavy 8x8 trucks. There are already trucks waiting on the side opposite to Bilibino. According to today's news, the roadmaker will start on Sunday to clean the passes. We try to manage to drive in convoy with the bulldozers. Therefore start is postponed to Sunday morning.

February 22, 2009: 3rd short message
We just reached the timber line. The last Asian trees on our way to America. There will be nothing but busches til Alaska.

February 22, 2009: 4th short message
We arrived at the bulldozer clearance team. Due to the fact that it has to clear the winter road for the trucks and often has to move a lot of snow, we passed it as agreed with the driver. There are two Kamaz trucks following the dozer. F1 reduced air pressure to 0.6 bar. Are driving on snow and with 6 mp/h. F2 follows in our tracks.
GPS-coordinates: N 68 17`03" / E 167 17`12"

February 22, 2009: 5th short message
Just arrived at first pass. Many snow drifts. Not too long before us a GAZ truck broke through, therefore deep tracks and stirred up snow. Reached the top after many attempts. Partially steap and inclined.
GPS-coordinates: N 68 15`34" / E 167 36`12"

February 22, 2009: 6th short message
We are between the first and second pass. Snowfall is getting heavier. Take a break for about 4 hours at GPS-coordinates: N 68 36`49" / E 168 26`16" Team and vehicles are doing well.

February 23, 2009: 7th short message (02:23 a.m. MEZ)
No horizon, no shrub, no more outlines visible, everything white, moderate snowfall, only a wooden bar or an old barrel every couple hundred meters to indicate the direction, always passing on the right side, that's what I expected from this area. We covered appr. 185 km in 20 hours since Bilibino.
GPS cords.: N 68 35`55" E 168 58`17"

February 23, 2009: 8th short message (03:10 a.m. MEZ)
Progress slowing down. Intense snowfall, moderate wind, visibility 0-15 m.
GPS-coordinates: N 68 37`24" E 169 14`09"

February 23, 2009: Lucky charms and the start towards Pevek (05:09 a.m. MEZ)

So many people wished us good luck. Either with words, in writing or presented us with lucky charms. Actually, up to now we have not suffered of anything crucial. Perhaps that is due to all the good blessings we received with all those talismans. We have them all on board: Two roses which we received in Berlin from our partner Pacwolf (meanwhile there are only the sticks left), amulets, horseshoes, icons, special bank notes, money coins, personal ball pens, lucky slogans written on the cars, pennants, buttons, badges, stickers and and and.

In Bilibino we received the biggest lucky charm so far: dear horns. With the horns in my hand I was searching for the best place on Jeep or trailer until it came to my mind that the best place for it to be is on top of the trailer. I held the horns in one hand and climbed on it. Laying it on the hydraulic extension in order to search for the best place to attach them, I realized that the main safety belts of the heavy iron parts are in correct position, but cut by a metal cant. We could possibly have lost those heavy parts in an inclined position. Unimaginable what amount of work that would have been to put them back on the trailer. So much for working lucky charms.

The hospitality in Bilibino was really immense. We were invited to food and beverage, we were introduced to people who have been important for us, and we received special equipment as well as many tips about the region and the streets. The day before our departure, we have been invited to a celebration of the military offspring by Major Garvasin. It was a special act of trustfulness from this man and we were happy to be his guest. We have been introduced as guests of honor and I was allowed to hold a short speech. Many thanks at this point for the trustfulness.

We left until the city border in a convoy after saying good-bye to our friendly mechanics Konstantin, Maxim, Alexey, Ingor, Ignat, Slava and his son as well as the major Garvasin and Vadim, the boss of the ministry of catastrophe protection (MCS). Many cars joined us for accompany, passing waving children and greeting grown-ups, all the time behind the bulldozers.
Bilibino and its people have been really friendly.

After even the last supporting car turned-over we were all alone again and optimally prepared for the most difficult winter track due to weather conditions so far: 380 km from Bilibino to Pevek.

February 23, 2009: 9th short message (06:04 a.m. MEZ)
We crossed the second pass and left the emergency accommodation behind us. After an eating break we are now on the "road" again with heavy storm and snow flurry. Speed appr. 5-10 km/h.
GPS cords: N 68 40`19" / E 169 22`37

February 23, 2009: 10th short message (07:15 a.m. MEZ)
Just now we reached the arctic ocean (outstanding!!) after struggling with the snow and heavy snow drifts with a visibility of 5-10 m.
GPS cords: N 68 45`32" / E 169 41`53"

February 23, 2009: 11th short message (10:55 a.m. MEZ)
We arrived at base camp kupol gold. This partner promised to rescue us in case of an emergency or breakdown on the last 160 km to Pevek. We just started for the last kilometers to Pevek.
GPS cords.: N 68 46`45" / E 170 07`33"

February 23, 2009: 12th short message (02:36 p.m. MEZ)
Difficult and extreme track. We have to bash into snow drifts in full speed from time to time in order to come through them. In between deep snow and old snow blurred tracks vom Urals or Kamaz trucks in which we suddenly broke into. All of that at night with snow flurries. Since leaving the base camp we approx. covered 95 km.
GPS cords: N 69 25`22" / E 170 47`03"

February 23, 2009: 13th short message (05:00 p.m. MEZ)
Team is in good health but tired approx. 50 km before Pevek. Time for rest.
GPS Cords: N 69 28`29" E 170 46`47"

February 24, 2009: 14th short message (05:26 a.m. MEZ)
We slept at the high plateau, and just started again. Behind us, two trucks got stuck at an inclination. In front us a convoy of 6 trucks got stuck in the deep snow of the high plateau. We reduced the air pressure of the tires once more. We reduced the air pressure several times. We crossed the truck onto the snow with 0.3 and 0.5 bar. Leaving the trucks behind we reached the road service at the GPS cords: N 69 30`32" / E 170 46`22". They are currently cleaning the track after the blizzard









 

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February 26, 2009: 16th short message (08:53 a.m. MEZ)
Fantastic weather due to ridge of high pressure. Amazingly beautiful landscape. An impressive arctic desert. 2 hours ago we arrived at the gold minig city Komsomolsk. About 200 very friendly people of a mining company are still living there. Anton Iwanowitsch Jukna, the manager, invited us for a meal, organized fuel 500 km away for us to produce the next fuel/bio-ethanol mixture and informed us about the road conditions on the upcoming 500 km. Thank you very much.
Due to corresponding reports and statements, we expect another low-pressure system with lots of snow during the next days, that we have to pass. We are curious to find out when we will be able to start.
GPS-cords: N 69 05´47“ / E 172 49´18“

February 26, 2009: 17th short message (02:58 p.m. MEZ)
Had to stop. Extremely tough section, huge snowdrifts, snowfall and strong wind. We were able to get through some of them. Others were just too high. It took us 5 hours to manage 14 km. Within minutes our own traces disappeared. It’s crazy to see that sometimes within 5 minutes, 30-40 cm high drifts are back again. For safety reasons we returned to a nearby mine and will try to get through again tomorrow. Team alright but tired.
GPS-cords: N 68 58´25“ / E 173 41‘47“


February 27, 2009: 18th short message (02:14 a.m. MEZ)
Even more snow and strong wind. In more detail: I drive in the lead with F1, Kaspar is appr. 15m behind me (the length of one of our jeeps with trailer). He can hardly see my tracks which I left in the snow 30s before. We move forward with 0-5 km/h and air pressure of 0.4 bar. Even now we met three water trucks of the mine. They got stuck and were not able to reach the standpipe of the mine at that day - probably the very place where we have been yesterday.
GPS cords: N 68 51´56" / E 173 43´40"

February 27, 2009: 19th short message (11:19 a.m. MEZ)
A really hard fight. We started today at 10 a.m. after a coordination about the way together with the mining company. Afterwards it took us 9 hours, whereas 7 hours at one point (uphill, inclination to the right and gradient to the right for a rollover). We pulled out all the stops at this inclination where we additionally faced 3 huge snowdrifts (2-3m high and 40 to 100m long). We dismounted the trailers, put on fourfold tires and everyone helped to get rid of the snow, but then we decided for a 1-2 day long break and to wait for the road service in order to safe our equipment for parts where nobody will help us. As the snow drifts are built within shortest time periods, there was also the danger that a vehicle and trailer could get stuck in between two of them. There would be no more chance. We just set up an emergency camp on a little ledge above an flank of the hill (trailer as wind protection, cloth on top of the cars as tent) when the road service arrived, accompanied by the three water trucks. As the mine necessarily needs water, they had to drive once more. In lightning speed we cancelled everything and followed them. They are appr. 15 min in front of us.
GPS cords: N 68 44`13" / E 173 50`17"


February 27, 2009: 20th short message (01:16 p.m. MEZ)
Difficult hill incident with continuous winching action directly followed after the formerly mentioned circumstances at the inclination. From time to time we have to pull the trailers, the cars, or even both out of deep snow. If we would not be so well equipped (Warn winches at front and rear), the expedition would have to be cancelled at several points so far. After great efforts we reached a small weather station. We are safe, team is well and happy to manage the way so far. We are currently 250km behind Pevek. Vehicles suffered, Several fenders ragged or damaged, safety belts cracked.
GPS Cords: N 68 31`27" / E 174 08`38"


February 27, 2009: 21st short message (03:35 p.m MEZ)
We just saw the aurora borealis for the first time on the expedition. It looks like god made the sky burn in green flames. Amazing to see.


February 28, 2009: 22nd short message (03:16 a.m. MEZ)
We are already driving since 700 km with 0.4 - 0.6 bar with the Wrangler MT/R. Average speed 5-25 km/h. Vehicle weight appr. 3.5 t plus trailer. No damage or weakening at all. Current position in a narrow valley after the weather station. Advancement is good.


February 28, 2009: 23rd short message (08:00 a.m. MEZ)
I lost my chassis snow protection while breaking through a big snow drift. We just finished a 5 hour repairing period. Naff. We continue at starting snowfall. Team strained. Vehicles ready for use.
GPS cords: N 68 22´51" / E 174 58`12"


February 28, 2009: 24th short message (04:01 p.m. MEZ)
We struggeld through most dense snow flurry, kilometer after kilometer. So far, we were not able to stop, otherwise we would be totally covered in snow by tomorrow morning. We tried to reach the emergency shelter appr. 200km away from the weather station, without success. The snow drifts are too intense. We just shoveled ourselves through an inclination which took us two hours. Now the team is sleeping and I try to break through snow flurries with F1 without trailer in order not get totally covered in snow. Air pressure 0.2 bar. fuel reserve ok, food ok, team/vehicles ok.
GPS cords: N 67 52´45" / E 176 05´46"


March 01, 2009: 25th short message (02:19 a.m. MEZ)
After four hours of sleep, we had a lot of drudgery at the next difficult inclinations. We are currently appr. 500m away from the pass summit, shoveling and winching for hours. The only possible way: trying to bring F1 backwards on top, if successful trace breaking, then T1 upwards, then F1 back to protext F2 + trailer or upward winching...
News obsolete before sending: together with both cars and trailers we just reached the first pass summit! The Pacific Ocean watershed!
GPS cords: N 67 52´23" / E 176 05´51"


March 01, 2009: 26th short message (06:08 a.m. MEZ)
We crossed the second mountain pass. We are currently in front of the third pass. Weather cleared off and exactly as predicted by the German Weather Service, we had a short influence of a high pressure area on our driving route today. More precisely, that means sunshine again after a long time. We still have not reached the emergency shelter.
GPS cords: N 67 40´11" / E 176 39´53"


March 01, 2009: 27th short message (10:18 a.m. MEZ)
We reached the emergency shelter 30 km before the third mountain pass, where a bulldozer is positioned. We had to debate how to go on. The pass is totally covered in snow. "No chance to come through" said the dozer driver. He cleaned the pass this morning with a snow height of more than 5m, but directly after him, due to a strong wind, everything was covered in snow again. The remaining fuel is just enough to keep the dozer running, but no chance to clean the pass again. Next fuel delivery is arriving in appr. 5 days time. Shi***.
The two men living here in loneliness were really friendly. We received warm food and exchanged information. Two trucks, who left some days before us, containing 20 people in total, have still not reached Valonisti (mine appr. 170km in direction of Egvekinot from this emergency shelter). They try to find out where they are. A commision who started from Egvekinot in direction of Pevek also got stuck appr. 250km away from here with no possibility to move on. We will stay the night here and try to reach the mountain pass tomorrow. Then we will see what is possible or not. Worst case would be, that we have to wait here due to the storms.
This area is really amazing. Gigantic widths, partially snow drifts in a height of houses.
Otherwise: Team exhausted but in good health, fuel reserve 500 liters plus two half-full main tanks, food reserve ok, vehicles also ok although I had a hard impact on F1 today when I slipped into a rift in a snow drift.
GPS cords: N 67 29´57" / E 176 41´49"
 

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Discussion Starter #66
March 02, 2009: 28th short message (00:09 a.m. MEZ)
The team of the emergency shelter had radio contact to Valonisti this morning. Yesterday evening the contact permanently broke off. We heard that a rescue team is on the way to the two trucks which got stuck in the snow ahead of us. The rescue team left at 4 a.m. this morning and managed 30 km in 5 hours.
We leave now to take the chance. There is a rescue team nearby if we do not succeed. There are 170km ahead of us until we reach Valonisti. During the radio contact we were requested to contact the rescue team via satellite phone when we reach the people in the snow earlier in order to get an impression of their condition.


March 02, 2009: 29th short message (06:37 a.m. MEZ)
After 6.5 hours of shoveling and winching, we just reached the pass summit (19km away from the emergency shelter) of the so-called third pass to Pevek. Awesome!
An unbelievable beautiful panorama up here! The tracks of the dozer were covered in snow. Only the deep tunnels (app. 3-4m meters) that it dug were visible. Air pressure F1 rear and front was 0.2 bar. Temperature appr. -35°C. We still have a fuel reserve of 500l plus half a tank left due to our last decanting action. With an inclined F1 we got nearly everything out of both roof tanks and my rear tank.
GPS Cords: N 67 21´07'' / E 176 49´0''


March 02, 2009: 30th short message (03:57 p.m. MEZ)
We just passed the thousandth kilometer of most difficult offrad track, snow, and ice with temperatures never above -20° and minimum -56°C with 0.5 bar air pressure or less with 8 MT/R tires on each vehicle - without any damage!!!! Thanks Goodyear!
We made it to the point, where the trucks must have been covered in snow. The tracks indicate that a Russian chain-driven transportation vehicle reached them first. Appr. 10km further we met the biggest CAT chain-driven vehicle of the world, a D10. Unimaginable dimensions. Even the driver cabin is located 4m above the ground. Pragmatically it pulled a sledge behind, which is a house, a big tank farm, and a snow plow at the same time.
As the D10 has already driven on that track we decided to overtake him like the rescued trucks. We now got stuck in an extremely strong snow storm appr. 25km in front of Valonisti. Not single 1-2m visibility. We just struggled in the "Whiteout" up a last inclination in order to reach a safe position and not to get totally covered in snow masses. There is no way to go further, as the Ural trucks got stuck in front of us, blocking the track. We have to wait for the dozers, which will free the trucks. We have a safe position on the ridge, fuel reserve 320l and 2 half-full tanks, food reserve ok, the storm is blowing that one can hardly stand. One is blown down or tumbling immediately. Unbelievable. Team is exhausted and stiff but we considerably increased our safety. The decision to decamp today turned out to be absolutely correct. In my opinion we took the only chance to reach Valonisti. No chance before and after it.
The storm is raging in such a strong way, that snow is coming through closed doors. We have -24°C, but together with a wind speed of appr. 35-38 km/h it feels like -60°C. Gloves, jackets, caps frozen to stiff in minutes and covered in a thick ice crust. We are standing at that location for about 15 minutes. On my left there is already a snow drift of 50cm height and 3m length.
GPS Cords: N 66 30´33" / E 177 16´45"
 

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This is the coolest adventure. I am jealouse. I want to be there freezing my arse off with you guys!

Thanks for sharing your story with us!
 

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Discussion Starter #68
March 03, 2009: 31st short message (00:49 a.m. MEZ)

The expedition got stuck in an intense snow flurry together with other people. The driver of the D10 tried the whole night to break through the snow masses and gave up at 7 a.m. Even these experienced drivers have seen such a storm only once in their lives. It was and still is unbelievable strong. Now it seems that the wind is only blowing fallen snow around rather than new snow. They came from a mine which is located 20km away and informed us that they cannot tell us how long we have to wait until they try to continue. There is no visibility at all. Everything really everything is white. "White out" is the name of this frightening situation.
There were some unbelievable situations yesterday night. One of them was that the truck bus, in which we assumed 20 people, was left behind. We do not know if there were people in it. It was not able to rescue it out of the snow masses. Another 8x8 truck was pushed out of the snow. In order to cross the huge snow crater which it left with this action, the D10 drove a loop through the deep snow. There, he also towed his sledge and behind of it a Ural truck 6x6, which fell onto its left side. I was running, falling, and crawling forward through the channel in order to literally feel by touching if we could manage to come through. Luckily the broad sledge of the snow clean dozer made so much space on the right side, that our vehicles were falling in the channel, which was the fatality for the Ural truck. As we totally strained tried to follow the cat - which was only possible in gear reduction and in first or second gear, our engines suddenly became hot. During the storm we opened the bonnet and realized that the engine compartment - although especially isolated from all sides - was totally covered in ice. As through our doors, the storm pushed into the engine compartment. The accumulated ice was responsible for our frozen electronic fans. We continued in order not to lose contact to the Cat, always on the edge to the red area. Currently my fan is working again, in contrast to the one from F2. That's just about the limit.
Current position: estimated 4-6 km behind the last position in direction towards Valonisti. Total amount of people locked in at this point: 10 in 5 vehicles, no injured ones or similar, fuel reserve of the Jeeps in total 320 l, food reserve of Extrem Events team for 7-8 days, existing communication with the mine which is 20km away through the Cat driver, existing satellite communication to head office through own system.

GPS Cords: N 66 29´20" / E 177 23´13"


March 03, 2009: 32nd short message (08:23 a.m. MEZ)

Still no progess. No movement for the last 12 hours. Force of storm has increased once more. We needed to refuel. Therefore we have 2 full main tanks appr. 200 l reserve at the moment, which means one additional refueling of the main tanks + rest for driving. Enough fuel for 96 hours, food reserve ok, beverage is getting scarce. We are melting snow. We just built an emergency tent out of Russian canvas, which we brought with us for worst cases. We mounted it over the vehicle bonnets as there is more and more snow getting into the engine compartment and passenger cabin.


March 03, 2009: 33rd short message (12:01 p.m. MEZ)

The fuel reserve of the bulldozer is getting scarce. The dozer team decided to decamp. After 20 hours of stagnation we started again. F2 is permanently getting hot due to the damaged fan. We removed the isolation at the radiator grill, but it will be difficult to manage the pass like that.


March 03, 2009: 34th short message (05:45 p.m. MEZ)

We made it. We reached the mine of Valonisti. The small community, built due to the situation of being stuck in the snow just started to prepare for difficult days (food was gathered und divided, we provided the pot/the men of the other team melted snow, we cooked together, and so on) as it was already disbanded again. We respectfully bid farewell keeping in mind that everyone managed this situation very good. We covered the last 18 km which separated us from civilization in 9 hours. Meter after meter. 2m forwards = clearing of 1-2m snow height... sometimes the CAT crawls that deep into the snow that his roof was totally covered. I pulled Kaspars Jeep and trailer with F1 and trailer over appr. Half the distance. The rest of the track he tried to manage it on his own somehow, every time marginal below the red area. He is a really good and reasonable driver. Luckily, the weather has meanwhile also improved a little bit. It is still windy, but comparably weak with moderate snowfall. We are looking forward to a shower now after 6 exhausting days and nights in the car.

GPS cords: N 66 24´55" / E 177 34´59"


March 05, 2009: 35th short message (00:54 a.m. MEZ)

We are currently trying to fix Kaspar's fan. No continuation without fan. I am not able to tow F2 and trailer for hundreds of kms. We fixed everything on the vehicles so far. Due to the damages of the storm (removed all the ice out of the engine compartments, fans, induction pipes and so on) we hope to start over again today.


 

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Discussion Starter #69
March 05, 2009: 36th short message (11:57 a.m. MEZ)

Trapped between mountains

It is really stressful. On the one hand we are trying hard to find and modify a 12v fan engine, one the other hand the weather conditions appr. 30km outside of the mine are such extreme, that we are not able to continue. A convoy consisting out of 2 D10 bulldozer, one chain-driven vehicle in front and 7 trucks, which is on its way to the mine of Ewekinot, is trapped in snow masses since several days. Nobody knows where they are. They assume them to be appr. 32km away from Valonisti in valley in front of the dreaded pass. There is no radio contact with the trapped people and no dozers are starting due to safety reasons. It is simply not possible. Even a scout car which intented to start today came back. Sh**.



March 06, 2009: 37th short message (05:05 a.m. MEZ)

Engine fan is working. We built one by our own out of several Jeep and non-Jeep parts as well as Russian wrapping technique. It is spinning in the wrong direction but that doesn't matter. Main point is a non overheating vehicle and that we can continue our journey with F2. We will see if it provides the same performance with full load and trailer.

Furthermore, more or less catastrophic circumstances. Snowfall and winds are hardly weakening. We are not able to leave. Got stuck. A second convoy from the direction of Pevek also got stuck somewhere between 50 to 150km away from here. That means there are 12 trucks, 3 crawlers and 1 chain-driven scout vehicle with 30 people in total have to wait for improvement in the weather somewhere in the wilderness.

In terms of the situation, we currently have double risk. Insufficient fuel and too extreme track. We currently have 600l prepared fuel mixture. Normally that would perfectly be enough for the 300km to Egvekinot. But as we assume to be trapped in snow again, that could become scarce. Therefore we decided to wait for one of the convoys. If the one from Pevek is arriving first, we will refuel another 400l and start on our way. Then there would still be the risk of being trapped in the snow, but we are able to wait in warmth. If the convoy from Egvekinot is arriving first, we will start with the fuel reserve we have right now. As crossing of the pass must be possible, that reserve should be sufficient. Either way, we have to leave here. It is really blatant. The men told us, that last year was hardly any snow in whole Tschukotka. This year there are really huge amounts of snow masses - even for experienced ones.



March 07, 2009: 38th short message (10:32 a.m. MEZ)

We started and try to reach Egvekinot.

We already wanted to decamp yesterday, but after a scouting at the first mountain with a chain-driven vehicle we realized that there was no chance. Today morning at 10 a.m., we noticed the first D10 bulldozer arriving at the mine. We were told, that 2 out of 3 bulldozer left the convoy appr. 35km away in front of Valonisti, due to insufficient fuel for another night. We started immediately in order to use the brand-new cleaned track. Now after 10 hours of driving we are appr. 45km away from the mine. The snow masses are unbelievable stirred. The trucks broke more than 1.5m deep into the snow surface. Extraordinary hard work for us to come through.

Team in good health, vehicles ok, fuel reserve low - only 350l left. We turn down the engines at every stop, heating with the Webasto Air-Tops as they only need a maximum of 0.5l per hour. Outside temperature appr. -30°. Food reserve for appr. 6 days. We have to escape here. It is really a fight against time and a decreasing fuel reserve.

GPS Cords: N 66 39`22" / E 178 19`16"


March 08, 2009: 39th short message (07:14 a.m. MEZ)


We thank all Russian friends who we were able to meet in the mine and who helped us wherever possible. Starting with the possibility to sleep in the rooms of the workers, further the donation of the last available 300l fuel in the mine (it was from the vehicle of the director!), further the ladies who stitched our tattered clothes and so on and so on...
Nevertheless it was time to continue. We had to leave this white mountain area as fast as possible, which kept us in a gilded cage in this gorgeous region in the snow.

It was a struggle against time and decreasing fuel reserve until we reached the roadcamp 20 hours after our start from Valonisti. Due to the fact that we received the warning from the German Weather Service, that a strong-wind-area (hurricane) will hit us (Sunday 12 p.m.), we had a time frame of 24 hours to escape there. That means continuous winching, driving, and shoveling from yesterday 12 p.m. until today morning at 8 a.m. Fast driving in order to reach the destination before the storm meant a higher fuel consumption, slower driving meant led to a decreasing time limit. Basically we had the rule: We have to escape, the show must go on.
And we succeeded. We reached the camp (app. 100km in front of Egvekinot) with the beginning of the increasing wind intensity. We should not have arrived any 2-3 hours later as there is such a storm right now again, that you cannot see your hand in front of your face. If we would not have managed it, all tracks of the convoy would have been gone and we would have been trapped to wait another week in the mountains.

We decided to wait here until the storm is over and to prepare the vehicles and trailers for the upcoming last 1000km on Russian ground. We were kindly offered two small rooms with bed in the camp and given the possibility to use the big garage of the cleaning dozers.

On our way towards Egvekinot, we also crossed the 180th degree of longitude! Now we are in the West and GPW-wise everything is the other way round.

GPS cords: N 67 01`21" / W 178 56`00"



March 11, 2009: 40th short message (09:25 p.m. MEZ)

After an unsuccessful try to reach Egvekinot starting from the roadcamp yesterday (we had to cancel due to the heavy snow storm), we managed it tonight. We just arrived.

GPS cords: N 66 21`10" / W 179 07`00"











 

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Discussion Starter #70
March 13, 2009: 41st short message (03:48 a.m. MEZ)

After some administrative tasks and the last refueling in Russia (enough for 2700l of bioethanol mixture) we returned to the road department yesterday. Just now we left this camp near Amguema and try to reach the village of Vacarem at the Arctic Ocean which is appr. 200km away


March 13, 2009: 42nd short message (10:06 a.m. MEZ)

Big setback / again heavy damage. Again a broken accessory differential. The manufacturer says they seem to be too weak for the expedition vehicles. Stronger ones should have been used. We were standing for hours somewhere in the deep snow and tried to get F2 ready. F2, the vehicle which was already modified with a totally new accessory differential out of F3. Currently we try to reach the road camp again with a rough-and-ready fixed vehicle. F1 is towing both trailers. That's really a damn bad situation. I am totally upset. The third rear-axle differential within 5000km. We will try to repair it as I brought spare differentials for a huge amount of money with me on my return flight to Russia - in wise foresight and with support of the differential manufacturer.
The worst thing is that we lost minimum two days of optimal weather conditions again. What a crap.


March 13, 2009: 43rd short message (01:14 p.m. MEZ)

Just now we drove the 1600th km with the Goodyear Wrangler MT/R on both vehicles with an air pressure not above 0.5 bar without any damage. Additionally there was no tire damage at any vehicle or trailer since Paris. That means 26123 harmless kilometers under toughest expedition conditions.


March 13, 2009: 44th short message (01:48 p.m. MEZ)

We reached the roadcamp after 6.5 hours of driving. The situation with the differential is really such annoying that the nerves of team were all on edge. To make matters worse, all drivers are on the winter ways and the house was locked. We are standing in front of the door, but ok. Outside temperature: -32°C. We are only running the good Webastos to save fuel which is already reduced due to the damage. We hope that there is anyone coming back tomorrow, that we can enter the garage. Otherwise we will change the differential in front of the door.


March 14, 2009: 45th short message (11:40 p.m. MEZ)

We changed the differential under most difficult conditions and just started over again - 42 hours after the breakdown. We kept on repairing and hardly slept. We hope to reach Vacarem at the Artic Ocean. Weather conditions perfect. Appr. -30°C and sunshine.

GPS cords: N 67 16`57" / W 178 39`22"


March 15, 2009: 46th short message (09:54 a.m. MEZ)

We are struggling for every further kilometer in direction of Vancarem. Currently we are appr. 55km in front of the village. So far, we needed 13 hours for 130km. Since the last mine, which was located appr. 90 km behind the roadcamp, there is nothing but a small slope, made by a chain-driven vehicle. The vehicles manage the situation very good, although we have to shovel and break the track over and over again. Weather is excellent. Nearly no wind and starlit. We are only running on air pressure of 0.1 (front) and 0.2 (rear) any more.

GPS cords: N 67 40`00" / W 176 50`59"


March 15, 2009: 47th short message (03:04 p.m. MEZ)


We did it. We reached Vacarem at the Arctic Ocean, which is inhabited by Chukchi people, after shoveling, track scouting, deflating, winching and so on. Temperature appr. -30°C, storm force 4, light snow fall. Team in good health, fuel reserve ok. Now we are resting. Together with local people we will tomorrow discuss the opportunity to reach Nuteplement from here. The countdown to the Bering Strait started: Appr. 400km left.

GPS cords: N 67 50`22" / W 175 52`15"





 

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Discussion Starter #71
March 21, 2009: 48th short message (11:18 p.m. MEZ)

The plan was to decamp at 5 a.m., but due to a delay with the welding repair at F1, it is now 10.30 a.m. Wind is starting to blow. The predicted next storm arriving. Visibility appr. 300m, we eventually have to stay here until the storm is over. The DWD forecasted bad weather until the end of the week.

March 22, 2009: 49th short message (01:59 a.m. MEZ)

Perhaps it is the right time for news I normally do not write, but it reflects our feelings.

Certainly the expedition is currently in a difficult situation. Due to the global economic crisis we have to bare big losses. Exhausted of many technical backlashes and the fight against snow masses (more intense than for a long time), we are mobilizing every possible motivation to stand up against the difficulties. We try to fight with all power and emotion for continuation and hope that history is on our side.

Thanks to all who currently work for us, believe in us and keep their fingers crossed. Thanks to my team in Limburg, explicitly to you, Jürgen for you tremendous amount of good work and invested time.

The upcoming storm is taking our breath. If we do not manage to escape before it arrives, we have to stay here in Vacarem for another week. We try it and decamp. We informed nuteplement, we have left a note to a driver who is on his way to Vacarem. If necessary both can come for help.


March 22, 2009: 50th short message (04:49 a.m. MEZ)

We got stuck in the ice and have to shovel a lot. Currently overheated engine. Fan out of order. Emergency reparation done. After 1 hour warmth again in the vehicle.

THREE kilometers in THREE hours.


March 22, 2009: 51st short message (12:57 p.m. MEZ)

How much effort did we invest and with us so many others, but ...

The "Paris / New York - Transcontinental 2009" - expedition currently came to a stop. Yesterday evening the journey was ended by a heavy hit at F1. We do not know the reason by now, but currently a continuation is impossible with that noise emission.

We are currently located at GPS cords N 67 48`03" / W 175 46`47" onto the Artic Ocean directly at the shore line.

Team is in good health, food reserve for 10 days, fuel reserve 1300l.


March 22, 2009: 52nd short message (09:00 p.m. MEZ)

Salvage operation finished. Team, vehicle and trailer safely reached Vakarem after 26 hours of driving, supported by a chain driven vehicle. Further progress currently in planning.



March 24, 2009: 53rd short message (01:30 a.m. MEZ)

We try to leave Vacarem as soon as possible before the storm starts over again. We fixed F1 rough-and-ready in 12 hours outside night work. Now it is at least movable. We literally try to punch through to Egvekinot by front drive only. Cross fingers for us. 300km of snow drifts without any other vehicle. The last trucks left Vacarem yesterday before the storm, but did not have F1 movable at that time. Food reserve for 10 days, fuel reserve appr. 530l. Team in good health but partly very tired.


March 24, 2009: 54th short message (05:30 a.m. MEZ)


With the storm behind us, we are shoveling towards Egvekinot. 60km in 12 hours with 2/1 rate. 2 meter forward, 1 meter backward in order to take a run-up... and so on...


March 25, 2009: 55th short message (02:07 a.m. MEZ)


What a drudgery. Team to some extent 46 hours awake - reaching personal limits. 24 hours and 100km with "two-step". 2m forward, 1m backward in order to take a run-up. Continuous shoveling due to snow drifts. We just slept some few hours because we necessarily had to leave the deep snow. We did not catch up with the trucks, so we have to struggle on our own. Food reserve 8 days. Fuel reserve 240l plus full main tank. Visibility worsens. Only minutes between sunhine and maximum 10 meters.


March 25, 2009: 56th short message (04:17 a.m. MEZ)


First one-third with front-drive done. We reached a mine after appr. 61 hours and 108 km behind Vacarem. Since hours we are waiting for a truck which tries to reach the mine of Egvekinot. We will decamp when it arrives in order to use the track. Probably today evening.


March 25, 2009: 57th short message (12:55 p.m. MEZ)

The storm is blowing like everything should be destroyed what has been built by humans here around. No chance of decamping. We will wait until the truck leaves the mine. This will probably happen tomorrow at midday.


March 26, 2009: 58th short message (06:39 a.m. MEZ)


Marco and Konstantin on their way to Egvekinot in the truck. Ulli and Matthias try to break through with the Jeep. Meanwhile lost tire and linchpin rear-left. We provisionally blocked and mounted the tire with belts. I am curious how a Wrangler MT/R manages to be pulled over snow, ice and stones in blocked mode. Will it manage 150km?

GPS cords.: N 67 24`47" / W 177 24`01"


March 26, 2009: 59th short message (06:39 a.m. MEZ)


The tire made it, but after 60km the whole thing broke apart again. We used a wooden piece as runner - 90km left.







 

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10/03/08: START OF EXPEDITION

Finally! Starting as a vision in the head of Matthias Jeschke some years ago and realized by an expanding and motivated team in approximately 15 months, the expedition has now become vivid and tangible. Today is the beginning of the 43,000 km long distance track from Paris to New York.

A successful kick-off was the press conference of the German Embassy in the French capital city. The resulting dpa-news communication led to huge press coverage in various kinds of media as for example the “Financial Times Deutschland”, the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” and the broadcasting company RTL.

Please have a look in our media coverage section.

Furthermore there are significant pictures in our gallery as a documentation of this historical event.

The atmosphere of departure is remarkably obvious within the team. Finally at the beginning of something unbelievable! The expedition has started!
This is by far the biggest, most unbelievable, piece of manipulation I've ever seen. Get whoever to mod your Jeep and pay for you to go on this "expedition" to raise awareness about this and that. All you have to do is drive. I love it, where do I sign up? Those Jeeps are sick lookin. That's one hell of a camping trip. They did have to camp right?
 

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Can't believe those rigs held up as long as they have with few/moderate breakages and the performance of the BFG's has been more than impressive. Good luck and best wishes to those involved and hope the current setbacks didnt hamper the spirits too much. We're all pullin for ya! I'd love to go meet them when they get to SF.
 

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Discussion Starter #74
March 26, 2009: 60th short message (11:50 p.m. MEZ)

In the last night, we reached Egvekinot with front drive and a missing back wheel. It was an amazing "strange handicap run".

We met two Ural truck drivers on the way, who stayed and helped us. One of them let me cut of his dirt trap of one the wheels in order to build a sledge surface under the wheel, the other gave me his fender and some wood to attach it. At another spot one organized a damaged wheel out of thin air in order to bond it below the axis. Many thanks to you two super truckers.

Now there is the task to quickly organize spare parts for both vehicles. Juergen Graf and his team is busy working on it and they try to make everything possible. I hope we will manage it in short time. Together with the team I am currently working on further solutions. We have still a maximum of 8 weeks left to reach Uelen. After that, snow and ice will melt and it would be impossible.




April 02, 2009: New video clip

Dear partners, friends, and fans,

The expedition is currently still in Egvekinot, and the expedition team as well as the employees from Limburg/Germany and all involved helpers are working with full pressure on necessary reparations and the development of strategies for the further progress of the expedition according to the current challenges.

In order to let you participate in the life of the team, we finalized and provide you a new video clip of the part from Jaktusk to Bilibino via the following link:

www.pny2009.com/cms/front_content.php?idcat=659&lang=4

Best regards,

your Extrem Events team
 

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Discussion Starter #75
April 14, 2009:

Dear partners, friends, participants, supporters and all we met or who excitingly follow us,

We were bound and determined to return to Russia still in April in order to continue and successfully finish the “Paris / New York – Transcontinental” - expedition in 2009. However, on Wednesday, April 8, 2009, after due consideration and the check of all possible scenarios, we had to take the difficult decision to suspend the expedition for app. 6 months. The decision is based on the project goals, whose compliance is top priority for us.

Snow masses, which are exceptional also for the Tschukotka-region, strong gale-force storms and blizzards as well as reparations at the vehicles led to a uncatchable time difference in contrast to the necessary schedule, despite absolutely most effort of the whole team.

The “driving over the Bering Strait on ice” and the “traceless managing of all parts (also the difficult app. 2500km at the Alaskan west coast) would not be possible, even not on a route much more in the north. Therefore we will continue the expedition in fall/winter 2009/2010 with the following unchanged goals:

- Accomplishment of a historical, spectacular journey with the use of renewable energies
- Traceless round the world with a CO2-neutral balance
- Driving across the Bering Strait
- On the track of the emigration of nations round the world on wheels for the first time ever

Among others, the upcoming time will be used to neutralize the so far produced amount of CO2 with tree plantings and the preparation for the continuation of the journey. All activities, news, and project steps will be published as usual on the project page www.pny2009.com as well as in the internet panels in all languages.

Matthias Jeschke and Jürgen Graf / project leadership
 

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Sorry to hear it ends for now. But as I've been following along in the comfort of my warm home, I'm glad to see you are all safe and healthy. An amazing journey to watch.:beer::beer::beer:
 

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Discussion Starter #77
In the last weeks it was quit calm about the expedition Paris / New York – Transcontinental – we had not been inactive but scheduled and checked many things what was related to the proceeding of the expedition. Within the next days we will public an important announcement to the expedition progress. Feel free to inform you also in twitter http://twitter.com/pny2009
 

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Discussion Starter #78

Click the logo to enter the Partner15000 site


Initiative Partner15000 – In joint strength!
Initiative Partner15000 – In joint success!


Dear partners, friends, companions, supporters, everybody who met us, who had been excited and all people who get connected to the project,

The expedition "Paris / New York - Transcontinental" is aimed to surround the world by car at a CO2 neutral basis. With 400 km (248 miles) the expedition stands on the verge of reaching the Bering Strait. It was a hard fight against forces of nature, technical difficulties and the time. With the support of local people, the expedition teams fought against hurricanes and snow bounds, struggled forward mile for mile till total exhaustion. Now the historical chance, to drive over the ice of the Bering Strait in winter 2009 / 2010 and to become the first team that surrounded the world only on wheels seems within reach. If this succeeded, it would be the absolutely first drive on and drive across the strait with wheel driven vehicles.

Since the required adjournment in April 2009 we work intensively on the continuation of the expedition. We had to discover that the constant deterioration of the global economical general conditions turned into a large problem for us. Due to additional budget cuts we cannot fight anymore against the financial burden of the necessary spare part procurement, the vehicle repairs, the logistic and the continuation costs.

However we want to proceed and we are doing anything to turn the vision of the historical Bering Strait crossing on wheels into reality. But we need the support of many people. Only, if we will jointly succeed to secure the missing budget, of 750.000 EURO (1 Mio US-$), excluding tax, within this difficult time by mid of August 2009 we will be able to finalize all substantial provisions and to proceed with the expedition.

With the initiative Partner15000 we would like to adjure and invite you to support this project, no matter whether on a large or small scale. Strengthen the expedition and become a part of the project. Benefit as an investment partner from the advantages.

The initiative Partner15000 will be the third main sponsor of the expedition "Paris / New York - Transcontinental". It is a campaign powered by Extrem Events to form a worldwide limited community of 15,000 members driven by enthusiasm and benevolence to financially support the project. Not only individuals but also companies, clubs or associations can become a member.


Because we are aware that solely the people of the Partner15000 will make it possible to continue,

* We will dedicate the homepage www.pny2009.com to all supporters;
* We will designate the names on the homepage;
* We will eternalize all names of those who support the expedition with 250 EURO onwards onto three exclusive bronze boards (prior to the continuation of the expedition, two of those 3x3m sized boards will be assembled on exposed locations in Paris / France and Egvekinot / Russia for 30 years. If we do reach New York, the third board will be assembled on an exposed location as well);
* To all supporters, irrespective of the donated sum, we will offer exclusive future Business-Event-Travels (BET) to selected destinations on this globe.
* Additionally we will invite partners who invest 10,000 EURO or more to a one week Business-Event-Travel to Russia, organised by Extrem Events on our own cost.


To achieve a quick worldwide spread of this information we would be happy if you could forward this information to all of your friends and company partners. You will find this text at our Download area in six different languages – German, Russian, English, Spanish, French and Italian.

Again we would like to invite you to support the initiative Partner15000 and thank you in advance for your dedication.
 

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Discussion Starter #80
December 11, 2009

It just happened, but it could have happened any other day as well: I wake up, it is 8 am. I am completely beat-up. Signs of illness. Since my arrival I have more or less worked 16-18 hours a day in the cold of the garage. I have been outside to get some fresh air 4-5 times at the most, then back inside, going to bed at 3 am and so on. I only have a little sense of time left, because it is dark again at 2 pm. Until then there's only dawn (the sun only comes out for 2-3 hours when there are no clouds in the sky. Also, I don't see daylight anyway due to the garage. As always I immediately check my mails; today almost just bad / very bad news. Then a telephone conversation with Juergen. A little improvement, because he had a good news and I had to laugh out of joy over the wheel spacers. :)

I dress in warm clothes, go to the sink, wash my face and hair quickly with yellow water which comes from the pipes - hopefully it's only rust from the pipes. Then I go to the dining room. Luba, the cook, throws her hands up, shakes her head and starts a fierce communication about me and most likely with me. I understand that I must be looking very bad today. She means to me to sit down you do what she says). Then explanations are following about what has to be done in which case of illness, etc. I don't understand a word, I just read her signs). When she is done explaining and workig, there are two slices of bread in front of me which have some kind of 5-8 cm thick layer of salad on them. I perceived that she pressed some garlic in front of me and I have a sense of what my palate might get to taste soon. Because you do what she says, I eat the medicine.

It is as if you take a garlic clove the size of a really big poignant onion, take a bite, suck it dry and savour it. Due to the taste, slapstick, aches in my mouth and no idea how I will ever be able to finish these two gigantig pieces of bread, I have to laugh. Luba is happy. She thinks I like it. I'm bursting from inner laughter.
 
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