Back in action! …almost. Part 2

We made multiple phone calls to Marcelo, and he gave us tips on what to check. We tried multiple angles, all with no luck–the battery didn’t seem to be charging, and thus the car had no juice to run off of. I was testing both batteries with a voltimeter when I heard a loud bang right in front of me, and a small fireball shot up in the passenger side of Lefty, where BKK was sitting. I ran over to see what happened, along with Emily, and saw BKK in a state of shock. Apparently a rechargeable GoPro battery exploded next to him while we was in the car, burning his hand and leg, and blasting a small hole through the floorboards. There was a strong smell of smoke and burnt hair, but it looked like luckily he wasn’t hurt too badly. I could only laugh–of course this kind of thing would happen when it did, adding to our growing list of issues.

Once we got BKK and the inside of the car cleaned up we re-focused on getting Righty back in action. The battery was still a potential culprit, so after trying everything else we set about replacing it, at Marcelo’s request. We got the car to start, but it looked like it still wasn’t charging while the motor was on. Nevertheless, it gave us approximately five hours or so to make it somewhere where we could get the issues looked at, and hopefully fixed. Time was running out–we had a ferry to catch the next evening, and if we missed that we’d be out of a lot of money, and our schedule would be more messed up than it already was.

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Back in action! …almost. Part 1

We had been in Munich for nearly a week and were taking full advantage of all the beer and pretzels the city had to offer. Work was accomplished (thanks in part to our amazing host Dennis and his equally amazing internet connection,) sightseeing was done, and we were able to meet with our friends from InterNations three times during our stay. We still had to make it to South Africa at some point though, so it was finally time to part ways and head south.

Our cars were ready thanks to our mechanic friend Marcelo and the friendly staff over at Radlmaier Autohaus, Munchen. Marcelo had been able to diagnose and fix the major issues with both of the cars during that week while making full use of technology. Thanks to a handy program on a few of our phones (WhatsApp) we were able to forward timely images of the faulty engine components from Marcelo in Germany to our mechanic friends in the US throughout the repairs. This meant Marcelo was able to finish all the repairs in time for us to make our ferry (which we had rescheduled to a later time and different location to adjust for extra repairs), despite the rest of the mechanics being on holiday during that time period. The work and parts required was quite extensive, and so was the bill. Regardless, we were happy to have Lefty and Righty back in our possession and be on the road again.

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Evacuations, Arrests, and Hospitals–Oh My! Part 2

So, I was driving Ann to a hospital in Munich as quickly as possible (without speeding!) so that she could get her ankle looked at in a somewhat timely manner, and receive some much-needed pain medication. Then I got pulled over by the Zweisel Police.

An officer stood on each side of the car and asked to see our papers. We have all of the necessary documents for each vehicle in a folder located in the center console, so I leafed through it to grab the registration, import, and license docs, which we handed over along with our passports and my drivers license. Then they asked for the insurance paperwork…the insurance paperwork I knew that we didn’t have with us.

You see, the only one of us that has insurance to drive the cars is Emily, and that is exactly who had it at that time. Yes, the same Emily that was back at the Czech-Out camp, sleeping. I tried to “explain” my way out of it (both cops spoke reasonably good English), but they insisted on seeing the papers. So, I had no choice but to call her and explain the situation. She confirmed that she was in possession of the single original copy of the insurance paperwork, which left us in a bit of a bind. I told her we’d call back. The cops told us to follow them back to the station. Damn.

We followed them for about ten minutes to a relatively small station in the middle of town. It was obvious that Ann would have trouble making it up the steps to the station, and we definitely played this up a bit, but they wouldn’t have any of it. We were put in the holding area of the main office while they supposedly checked our documents. This took hours. In the meantime, we tried our best to make everyone present feel as bad as possible for our incarceration, complete with crying, cast-cutting (the Czechs wrapped it too tight), and lots of pacing back and forth with a mix of worry and concern on my face.

It was getting close to twelve hours post-incident, Ann still hadn’t gotten any medication, and it was getting more and more swollen and hurty, so the decision was made to call an ambulance to take her to the local hospital for the time being–even if it was just to get her out of there and in a more comfortable setting (complete with pain meds, hopefully). The ambulance came after about thirty minutes or so (busy day in Zweisel?), and carted her off, possessions and all–just in case I was stuck at the station indefinitely. Luckily that wasn’t the case, and I was released a half hour later. Turns out that the main cop that had been dealing with us really liked the U.S. (he had many friends there and had been to visit 27 times), and so he said he would “help me out”, which he indeed did!

He told me to get in the car and follow him to the hospital, where I was to reunite with Ann. She was feeling a bit better after receiving some first-world treatment (even if it was a small town in rural Germany, it was much better than what she had had the night before). They re-took the X-rays and determined that she did indeed need surgery, which left her to sort everything out with her insurance company for much of the rest of the day.

It would be tough to get to Munich in her present condition, so she was given a room where she could rest up a bit (neither of us had slept much the previous few days), and determine what to do next. The insurance company wouldn’t pay to do the operation there and wanted her to fly back to the U.K., but that posed some mobility issues as well. In the end it took two days of phone calls and back-and-forth to get her out of Zweisel, to the Munich Airport, and back to the U.K. (to the hospital she had just ended her contract with, ironically). Luckily, they had Internet available, so I kept her company while getting some work done at the same time–productive! The staff was very friendly the entire time we were there, and the food was quite good throughout (first time staying in a hospital though, so have nothing to compare it to).

When she got there they re-examined her ankle and determined she did not, in fact, need surgery (for the time being). Go figure.

FUN FACT: they sell beer and liquor at the gift shop on the ground floor of the hospital!

Evacuations, Arrests, and Hospitals–Oh My! Part 1

So, you’ve most likely already read the overview of what happened at the infamous Czech-Out party of 2012. Here are the details of it from my perspective, from about 1:00AM onward…

After hours of fraternizing, drinking, and masticating, I had lost track of just about everyone at the castle, so I decided to wander about to see what was going on in other locales. After about 20 minutes of meandering I happened to be walking by a bench when my name was called and an arm shot out, grabbing my hoodie. It appeared that Ann was just resting on the bench, leg sprawled out, but as we now know she had fractured her ankle. She sat there for a while trying to self-diagnose whether she could continue on or not, and eventually the decision was made to contact the staff and arrange for transport to the nearest hospital, as there was no way she could even walk the twenty minutes required to get back to the camp site.

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Breakin’ Legs on the Dance Floor!

Every year, the Adventurists host a fantastic party in a 13th century castle in the Czech Republic, not far from the German border.  Mongol Rally teams stop and enjoy this fiesta on their way across the continent and Team Shoebaru was invited to participate as well.  We of course said yes and enjoyed the great people, food, music, and venue.

There were several bands that played that night, fire dancers, a tea/shisha room, a club room, several bars, and loads of interesting people milling about, each with his/her own tale of why he/she was participating in such a ridiculous event.  However, beneath the surface of this seemingly benign mix, the ingredients for a perfect storm of ankle injury was brewing.  Alcohol, darkness, dancing, a hillside strewn with rocks.  Around 1AM, Ann tripped and fell while dancing with Nick Dodd (pictured at right) and ended up with a spiral fracture of her right fibula.

Of course, to reach the determination that it indeed was a break and not just a sprain, an X-ray was needed.  An ambulance was called and Ann was loaded up to be taken to the hospital in Klatovy.  “Ambulance” is a term used VERY loosely in this situation as it was nothing more than a van with the ability to have a cot in it.  No medical supplies were present and the van didn’t even have a light in the back.

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Goodwood to Czechout

On Saturday, July 14, 2012 we participated in the Festival of Slow at the Goodwood Raceway as guests of the The Adventurists.  For those that don’t know, the Festival of Slow is the annual event that is the send-off for all of the teams participating in the Mongol Rally.  With four of our team members having participated in Adventurists events in the past, we were invited to take part in the festivities.

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