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Overlanders Unlimited This is a forum to discuss expedition vehicles and trailer options, a place to talk about builds, modifications, and designs, as well as past and future adventure trips.

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  #1  
Old 02-15-2008, 12:42 AM
BlueGerbil BlueGerbil is offline
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Paris / New York - Transcontinental 2009

Paris / New York ? Transcontinental 2009

After driving the whole Panamericana in less than 16 days back in 2006 and setting a new world height record for vehicles (21.804 feet at the Ojos de Salado in Chile) in 2007 the german adventurer Matthias Jeschke reaches for another goal:

An international team of success-oriented extreme drivers will set out on a round-the-world tour over land exclusively by car for the first time ever, following the footsteps of early human migration. They will use bio fuel for combustion and only bio oil as the lubricant for engines, axles and transmissions.

The car of choice will again be the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon.

Accompanied by a technological exhibition on the topic "Renewable Energies", the historic tour will lead them across Europe, Russia, Mongolia, Alaska, Canada and the USA, crossing 21 countries in total.

An extreme project for drivers ? both historical and historic

The expedition team from Europe, Russia and America will start in Paris on 1 October 2008, and is estimated to reach New York by the end of April 2009. They will venture east through Russia up to the outermost edge of Eurasia. Then, around February 2009, the Bering Straight will be crossed on frozen ice, alternatively, by means of modified, floatable vehicles. This will then take them to Alaska and from there, after crossing Canada and the USA from West to East, they will reach the East Coast.

It is the goal of the expedition to drive around the world using only one single means of transport, and to promote the use of biological fuel and oil and at the same time achieve a CO2-neutral project balance.

Political Support

The project is backed by the German Foreign Office, the German embassies and the German Energy-Agency. In order to successfully communicate the project statements of this historic tour, there will be close co-operation with, for instance, all the countries involved and the foreign Chambers of Commerce both prior to and - in particular - during the expedition.

Without a trace and CO2-neutral

In order to make history without leaving any traces behind, the expedition ?Paris / New York ? Transcontinental 2009? will take place in winter and will be completely CO2-neutral.

Leaving the environment intact on this stretch of almost 40,000 kilometres will be achieved by taking the following actions:
  • Timing: In order not to leave any tire tracks, the tour will take place in winter. The vehicles will only cross meter deep snow and ice as well as deep-frozen soil, known as permafrost.
  • Low-emission bio fuel and exclusively bio oil based on readily biodegradable and renewable or sustainable energy sources will be used for motors, axles and transmissions.
  • The entire project will take place closely monitoring CO2. To be able to complete this project in a CO2-neutral way, after their round-the-world tour, the expedition team and their partners will plant an equivalent number of trees in close collaboration with the state authorities. This will ensure that the tour actually contributes to reducing CO2.
  • The expedition will only use state-of-the-art vehicles and equipment.

I will post photos and news of the whole tour, so stay tuned!
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  #2  
Old 02-17-2008, 04:31 AM
Jim M Jim M is offline
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Any chance you will be posting information ab out the buildout and setup of the JK that will be used for this adventure?
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00 TJ. 6Cyl/Auto. Nth long arms. Some skids. Some lockers. Some Vanco binders. Some low gears. Some other fancy bits.
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  #3  
Old 03-17-2008, 02:56 PM
BlueGerbil BlueGerbil is offline
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The first of three Jeep Wrangler Unlimited has received it?s wheels, tires, axles and suspension. More to come...

All three JKs of the Paris / New York project will be shown to the public on the biggest offroad fair in Europe, held in Bad Kissingen in Germany from May, 22nd to 25th 2008.

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Old 03-17-2008, 04:07 PM
speaceman speaceman is offline
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Where can I order my bio fuel (diesel I presume?) powered 4-door wrangler unlimited from?
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  #5  
Old 03-17-2008, 05:14 PM
ukjeeper ukjeeper is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueGerbil View Post
the biggest offroad fair in Europe, held in Bad Kissingen in Germany from May, 22nd to 25th 2008.
Have you any more details about this Expo? I have several at Spang AFB who would go if they knew about it.
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  #6  
Old 03-17-2008, 10:20 PM
BlueGerbil BlueGerbil is offline
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Originally Posted by ukjeeper View Post
Have you any more details about this Expo? I have several at Spang AFB who would go if they knew about it.
They?ve got a homepage, but only in german language:

http://www.abenteuerallrad.de/

It?s located about 370 kilometres east of Spangdahlem AFB.

If you need any help or plan to attend the fair let me know and I?ll see if I can get any free tickets for your buddies.
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Old 03-18-2008, 03:19 PM
ukjeeper ukjeeper is offline
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Originally Posted by BlueGerbil View Post
If you need any help or plan to attend the fair let me know and I´ll see if I can get any free tickets for your buddies.
Thanks for that. There are some servicemen who are planning on going:

http://www.createphpbb.com/mildenhal...ildenhalloffro
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Old 11-02-2008, 04:14 AM
BlueGerbil BlueGerbil is offline
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October 17-18, 2008: Italy

Unfortunately our journey to Vidigulfo did not go as smoothly as the last 6,500 kilometers. In a narrow highway construction site our third Wrangler (F3) grazed a water-filled barrier, started lurching, reached an extremely inclined position, tore down about 40 meters of the barrier with thousands of liters of water and could only be prevented from toppling over by a very lucky pull on the steering-wheel. Slithering, the vehicle came to a stop diagonally to the driving direction. Nobody and no further vehicles have been involved in this accident. We notified the highway police immediately and they secured the scene of the accident. After a first ascertainment the police escorted our convoy to the next exit.

The contact with the police was very obliging and correct to an extremely high degree. Still at the highway service area we started with the necessary emergency repairs (which had to be continued later on in Milano) because F3 had quite some damages. After carrying out the emergency repairs we were able to continue on our way and arrived in Vidigulfo in the evening and after 33 hours. For the next day we had plans for driving tests at one of the biggest vehicle testing grounds of Italy. The operating company ? Quattroruote ? will open its off-road testing ground soon and we were ? arranged by Chrysler Italy ? invited as the guests of honour to pre-test the area.

In addition to four TV-teams and three photographer-teams, the highest-ranking representatives of Goodyear Italy ? including the CEO ? were also present. It was fun and it was a nice event. The supervision by Quattroruote was exemplary. It was also very nice to see the gradeability of our vehicles. 80% grade uphill forwards, 100% grade downhill forwards and 100% grade uphill backwards (including equipment) are amazing results for every off-roader. Now we continue towards Slovenia and Croatia.







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Old 11-09-2008, 05:43 AM
BlueGerbil BlueGerbil is offline
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October 27, 2008: From Milano to Zagreb

Already at Euro Camp Jeep 2008 we have noticed that our expedition-Jeeps cause quite a stir. It is not even out of the ordinary that camera phones are being pulled out. But what we experienced in Milano seemed to take on a whole different dimension: Our vehicle-convoy was parked beside the road, an Italian driver saw our Jeeps, stopped in the middle of the road, pulled out his camera phone and started taking pictures ? in that moment it already crashed ? all in all three cars drove into the vehicle of the photographer. Fortunately no damage to persons has occurred and there was only little damage done to the car?s bodies.

The following drive to Slovenia went by smoothly ? the country itself was a very pleasant experience for me. This was my first travel to Slovenia and I have to admit that I was very surprised about the neat-looking villages and cities, the nice and hospitable people and the excellently developed streets. Travelling definitely broadens one?s horizon!

The members of the Planet Earth Organization ? whose guests we were ? were expecting us in the building of the EU in Ljubljana. The EU commission provided the necessary space and service. Along with a delegation of the German Embassy we held a professionally organized press conference which was visited by journalists and photographers. The exhibition which deals with the topic ?renewable energies? was set up ? in agreement with the commission and Planet Earth ? in the foyer and received positive feedback.

As exception we symbolically handed over a certificate for the planting of a tree to Planet Earth ? quasi as official start of the PNY2009-CO2-neutralization.

After a radio-interview with "Radio Europa 93" we received a very informative guided tour through the city by an employee of Planet Earth ? thank you very much.

Thereafter we continued towards Zagreb ? once again the drive went by smoothly and thanks to the great organization and pre-information by the German Embassy as well as our office team, the border officials knew about our arrival and made sure that our extraordinary convoy was able to negotiate without a problem and despite our Russian team member (who had no visa!). Arriving late at night, we peacefully fell asleep in a humongous hotel with seemingly never-ending hallways. :-)





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Old 11-09-2008, 06:16 AM
BlueGerbil BlueGerbil is offline
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28.10.2008: Croatia

We would like to condole about the death of the German Ambassador in Croatia, his Excellency Mr. Hans Jochen Peters who recently passed away.

On the recommendation of the German Embassy, the University of Zagreb took over the supervision and organization of the PNY-presentation.

In Zagreb we were surprised about what young prospective engineers can accomplish even in the event business. Arriving there, we were already expected by many people at Croatia?s largest university. After parking our vehicles right in front of the entrance, the student association heartily welcomed us. A special crew- and press-room was arranged for the preparation of our presentation and the big lecture hall was prepared with a gigantic silver screen. The presentation took place in front of 100 invited guests as well as attending leading professors. Afterwards there was a roundtable-discussion with students and professors of the field Mechanical Engineering who were particularly interested in the emergency swimming system and its hydraulics. In return they explained us a self-developedrocket engine.

After re-energizing by eating lunch in the cafeteria and enjoying a chill-out zone which was set up for this purpose only, we headed out to Zagreb?s most beautiful places for the photo and video shoots. Late in the afternoon we set out in the direction of Hungary.





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Old 11-22-2008, 07:10 AM
BlueGerbil BlueGerbil is offline
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October 29, 2008: Budapest

?Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you get?. We planned a seven-hour drive for today?s 400 kilometers. Due to the excellently developed highway towards Budapest we reached our goal already after half of the estimated time.

The booked hotel was right in the middle of a red-light-district and furthermore the parking possibilities haven?t been suitable. Therefore we started looking for an alternative, followed by a three-hour long odyssey through the city. All hotels were either sold out or did not have any secured parking space for our 3 Jeeps. It was already 2 a.m. when we finally found a convenient hotel.

The night was accordingly short and the following day featured a full agenda: An excellently well-organized press conference in the German Embassy, film and photo shootings in the historic district ?Burgviertel? (in English ?Castle district?) as well as meetings with journalists let the time fly by. Late in the afternoon we already continued towards Slovakia.





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Old 11-22-2008, 07:40 AM
BlueGerbil BlueGerbil is offline
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November 05-08, 2008: Berlin

The expedition quintet moved into a small but lovely summer residence at the Spandauer area in Berlin. Since we arrived late there was only one last task, to arrange a ?wake up call? from the colleagues in Limburg and to go to bed for a good night?s sleep.

But there were six other Extreme Event employees who did not get any sleep tonight, because they were on their way to Berlin with the Roka-trailers, the emergency float system for the Bering Strait together with additional materials. At 6 a.m. sharp the team got the ordered wake-up-call and got out of bed. This day the Meilenwerk in the heart of Berlin was supposed to welcome the project within its classy ambience. The ? in former times ? biggest tramline depot has today ? as forum for driving culture ? more than 450,000 people per year. Our partner Chrysler booked the atrium for us where a real expedition feeling was generated with requisites of the Babelsberger Filmstudios, a bottom plate and objects of our project. A field kitchen offered goulash for everybody.

This afternoon we were accompanied by Dr. L?hrs, who especially came from R?gen with his Jeep Grand Cherokee to the ?Pariser Platz?, to take photos and film shoots with us. But: We should come back. Just this evening the German Press Agency called to invite us to make some film shoots at the ?Brandenburger Tor? which was broadly distributed and published by e.g. the German magazine ?Stern?.

The second home of the team became the Chrysler garage in the ?Seeburger Stra?e? where our vehicles got a last check. Cooling fluid for the coldness in Siberia was filled in and break pads exchanged. The most tricky work was it though to optimise the undercarriage. Since it turned out on our way through Europe the shock absorber and spring system - which got mounted instead of the original - were not sufficient. The too weak spring system caused a strong bouncing, even without loading. Already in Bratislava we were, together with Chrysler, looking for a solution while our Team in Limburg organised all the necessary materials. The Rubicon Express undercarriage is now additionally supported by six ?Eibach-Springs? per vehicle to stabilise the vehicle when it is loaded. The worklight in the garage was visible till late at night and the technicians were working till the last drop of sweat dropped ? finally it was done. Friday evening, the vehicles were back on the street, together with their trailers.

On Saturday noon we headed from Berlim via Frankfurt/Oder towards Poland, where we once more refuelled bio-ethanol from our partner Alcosuisse. The approximately 2,652 litres were delivered just a few days ago to the company ?die Werkstatt? where they unloaded the 16 barrels with manual work. Great thanks for the enthusiasm and helpfulness to the men from ?die Werkstatt?. Also waiting for the expedition at ?die Werkstatt?: 160 litres of ISO HEET, an additive for the bio-ethanol which extracts water from the bio-ethanol and therefore lowers the freezing point. Fully loaded and full of pioneering spirit we turn towards east and the next station in Warsaw.





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  #13  
Old 01-08-2010, 03:51 AM
BlueGerbil BlueGerbil is offline
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...
Quote:
January 06, 2010: 70th short message (10:54 p.m. CET)

10 a.m. Very tough night. Tried emergency repair several times. Were able to start the engine again. Heater is working. Slept for five hours. We take off again.

Current position: N 65 39?540? / W 177 23?128?
Quote:
January 07, 2010: 71st short message (04:10 a.m. CET)

2 p.m. Arrived at a fishing hut at our current position N 65 35?309 / W 177 06?790?, made a fire, drank some warm tea. Pressure line lasted; not completely perfect, but it worked good. Vehicles are checked; will set off again in an hour and make use of the good weather (without any snowfall). Team spirit is great; we are all pulling together.

Will try to get further towards Enmelem (the next village in a distance of about 140km).
Quote:
January 07, 2010: 72nd short message (02:00 p.m. CET)

8 p.m. Difficult navigation. Partially, visibility less than 15 meters. Coped with three tough sections since leaving the fishing hut: crossed one scarp as well as two rivers with deep steps and strong drifts.
Quote:
January 07, 2010: 73rd short message (02:12 p.m. CET)

Very strong, icy winds. Continue to move forwards. Were able to cross two long land bridges in the gulf of Anadyr. Partially, 80 cm thick ice plates wildly thrown on shore. Also snow flurries and sometimes hardly any visibility. We are often only driving by looking at the GPS and move forwards meter after meter along scarps. Unbelievable how accurate this area has been mapped. We navigate up to 10-20 meters through complete wilderness, thanks to the Russian surveyors.
Quote:
January 07, 2010: 74th short message (03:08 p.m. CET)

Are standing at current position N 65 28'942" / W 176 76'613" - In front of us is a steep hillside shelving all the way down to the sea. We have to go down there but will wait for daylight to minimize the risk. Team is doing good, cars are working.
Quote:
January 08, 2010: 75th short message (01:01 a.m. CET)

12 p.m. Scarp is done. Afterwards we managed a difficult river crossing. F1 broke into Nalid Ice but got through it. Are standing on shoreline ice and drive further towards Enmelem.
Quote:
January 07, 2010: 76. Short message (06:16 a.m. CET)

Very difficult mission. Had to pass a long slant from the shoreline, which was deeply blown over. For 300 meters we had to shovel, winch, pull and detach the vehicles from the trailers. This took us 3,5 hours. Very very cold with stormy wind (8-9). Jefgeny has a light frostbite on his cheek, but he is okay. There will be no harm left behind.

We are driving again. Difficult kilomerters are ahead of us. Wind is still increasing, snowfall started.
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Old 01-17-2010, 12:13 AM
BlueGerbil BlueGerbil is offline
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January 12, 2010: 86th short message (10:16 p.m. CET)

9 a.m. We took off. We are accompanied by two Skidoo drivers from Providenia, our friends Vladimir and Konstantin and a driver from Enmelem, who joined us (together with two others who sit on his sleigh ? I believe they do this in order to minimize the risk of driving alone to Nulingran ? our next goal). There is also our welder on his Russian motor vehicle (he wants to make sure that his welding lasts and also wants to see how far he gets).

Some information on the side: For the last decade, we were the first who reached Enmelem with wheeled vehicles, coming from Konergina.
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January 13, 2010: 87th short message (02:11 a.m. CET)

1 p.m. We are fighting our way through a delta. We already managed 30 km. Again and again we have to winch, detach the trailer from the vehicles, cross small/medium/big river arms. Sometimes we break into the ice, but only for about 30 cm.

5 p.m. Managed difficult snow pass. Right now we are at the next river. Another 20 km to Nuligran.

6:45 p.m. Arrived in Nuligran. Team is in good shape.

Current Position: N 64 48?259? / W 175 22?537?
Quote:
January 13, 2010: 88th short message (09:51 p.m. CET)

8:30 a.m. We took off. There are 220 km of nothing ahead of us on our way to Providenia ? including one of the most difficult tracks through the mountains with difficult passes, etc. Let?s hope that we can do it. A couple of days ago, a Vestichot sunk in the lake which we should reach by tomorrow. Now the ice is supposed to be strong enough. There is no other path anyway, so we have to try it.
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January 14, 2010: 89th short message (03:16 a.m. CET)

1 p.m. We reached a fisher camp at N 64 48?254? / W 174 53?804? We made a fire for an hour, warmed up, drank some tea and coffee. Just started again at 2 p.m. Very difficult track ? called Bermuda ? ahead of us. First, we have o drive 13 km over a sea, then a difficult delta and then mountains. We are trying to arrive at a camp which is 70 kilometers away.

By the way: A wonder-, wonderful landscape with unbelievable ice-formations here ? amazing!
Quote:
January 14, 2010: 90th short message (05:20 a.m. CET)

4:30 p.m. Current position is N 64 46?783? / W 174 30?395?. Steering bars on F2 broke. No steering possible. The entire block that has been welded in Konergina, fell off. We are trying to fix it with belts. Team is alright.
Quote:
January 14, 2010: 91st short message (07:59 a.m. CET)

6:30 p.m. Finished repair attempts. Three belts should keep together on F2 ? which is manned by Wolfgang and Rudi, and thus completely northern Bavarian ? what usually welds do. F1 is manned by Jefgeny, Viktor, Matthias at the moment. Great team work at -30?C and wind. Let?s see how far we can go with this. The next welding equipment is 140 km away. But, at least nature is nice to us. Right now, there is no snowfall. A couple of clouds, which gave the impression of an upcoming blizzard, have disappeared as well. Best weather ? Thank God!
Quote:
January 14, 2010:

8 p.m. Right now we are in the Bermuda area. Pre mysticism / stories that are written by the expedition.

Lead text:
Durng the crossing of the lake, there has been a crackling intense tension. Everybody was nervous and wanted to know if the ice was going to last ? and especially since we had to drive in the middle of the lake, instead of on the side, due to too thin ice. The ice on the sides was not thick enough because of currents by feeder rivers. Furthermore, the ice wasn?t 1 meter thick as we all hoped, but only 30-40 cm and littered with big cracks. Suddenly there was no more steering support on F1. We thought that a line broke again. But it was the v-belt that was torn to pieces. I have no idea why. As quickly as possible we tried to assemble a new v-belt and belt pulley. This ? on ice and in icy wind ? was not easy and a big challenge. You need five people for this: one holds on to the hood so that it won?t fall down, one hold on to the insulating mat for the engine and the flashlight, one has the tools and spare parts, two remove the remains, hold the clamp and apply the belt.

~~~
Leap in time:
It is around 7 p.m. when we drive into the dreaded ?Bermuda? area.
It is called like that due to difficult navigation and unexplainable events that have happened here in the past.

We continue slowly towards a narrow pass. We navigate only by computer and GPS; carefully we move along the hillsides - which we can?t see anyway because of the darkness - via coordinates and lines on a map that describe us the nature. Even our strong headlights allow us no more than an impression of the landscape few meters ahead of us. Driving around and finding our way by ligh is not possible because of the weather and trailers. The rising valley continues to get narrower until it is only 50-60 m wide. Then there is a wall of snow in front of us. To our left and to our right steep rock faces. There is only one chance: Going left and trying to use a hillside to get around the wall of snow. Regarding that F2 is handicapped because of its steering, we drive ahead in F1. The hillside gets steeper. The rock faces seem threatening. Wind shakes the vehicle. Then a whistling, a scraping from the engine compartment. Immediately I shut off the engine. We are in the midst of the inclination. We leave the car, open the hood: the v-belt is no longer on the belt pulley. It is damaged. Viktor starts to scream at the bad spirits in Russian, argues with them. He starts a shaman?s dance to fight them and get them away from the cars. At the same time, Jefgeny and I are trying to apply the v-belt. Actually eight hands would be needed for that, but F2 is far behind us.
Viktor shouts, screams, fights with gestures and noise against the invisible of the night.
~~~

The engine is working again ? we go back in the vehicle and continue our journey. We make it, manage to get out of this undefined, threatening situation and to the top of the hill. F2 is following. Then, a couple hundred meters later: a scarp that has deep snow areas at its bottom. With lots of awareness and maneuvering, we get up to ten meters to the upper edge. At the steepest position, the v-belt falls off once again. Viktor is screaming again, fights. Jefgeny is sitting in the car and uses the brake. The hillside is so steep that there is no other possibility to secure F1. I curse, quarrel and apply the v-belt ? which is now only 1 cm wide ? again with lots of anger in my stomach. I am thinking: ?It?s enough now? while maneuvering F1 against wind, spirits, snow and steepness onto the plateau. Done. F2 follows without problems.

10 p.m. Just finished difficult pass and are at position N 64 44?469? / W 274 23?357?.
Team is doing well.

We are in the middle of ?Bermuda? and fight.
Quote:
January 15, 2010: 92nd short message (00:00 a.m. CET)

8 a.m. Are driving again.

9 a.m. Reached broad delta. There is a huge deep snow area in front of us with the dimensions of at probably 1 by 2 kilometers. We will try to drive around it. When we left the fisher camp at around 2 p.m yesterday, our two Skidoo drivers stayed behind. They wanted to try and catch up to us today during daylight.
Currently the three belts on F2 maintain the steering and the v-belt on F1 lasts. In case that there is anybody who wonders why we don?t change the v-belt: Altogether we have six spare belts. One is already in use; we want/have to make maximum use of all material.

10 a.m. We drove successfully around the snow area and also crossed a river. Are staying on course.
Quote:
January 15, 2010: 93rd short message (03:35 a.m. CET)

1:30 p.m. We arrived at a fisher base 70 km away from Providenia. Current position is N 64 39?047? / W 174 02?183?.

Are driving at most with 2000 rotations per minute in all gear reductions, to ensure that the 1 cm v-belt will remain functioning as long as possible. We want to do the real repair no earlier than Providenia ? if possible. There will be another 2-3 days of good weather ? we have to make it.
Quote:
January 16, 2010: 94th short message (00:15 a.m. CET)

Are currently at N 64 35?866? / W 173 37?777?.

The team is alright but very tired. We are fighting to move forward step after step. Technical problems hinder our progressing significantly. At the moment we are 32 km away from Providenia.
We have to get over a difficult pass.
Without Spikes, no chance to get to get this far.
Without Webasto it would be even harder, because F1 currently doesn?t have any other heater.
Withour the sleeping bags from Mammut it wouldn?t be bearable.
Without the team?s mental strength, no chance.

We will report again.

Quote:
January 16, 2010: 95th short message (08:37 a.m. CET)

Bermuda!!!

We are located somewhere between steep hills on a river. Meters of snow. No end of technical challenges. No time to relax. Hardly any sleep. It cannot get any harder. 600 meters in 24 hours: In the cold, we spent 5 hours rasping and remodeling the servo pump bearing of F1.
Mental strength of the team is at its highest level. Right now ? after six hours of recovering the two trailers and a vehicle ? we are trying to drive onto the ridge. There is no possibility to accomplish the canyon, which is covered in 4-5 meters of snow, before the pass. We tried everything today. Ridge is virtually our way around it. But it is very difficult to get to the top ? very steep. We try our best. In my mind it cannot get any harder.

I will report let you know about what happened to the team since leaving the fisher camp, about what we had to go through and about any details, some other time. Right now there is no possibility to write more due to the circumstances that affect us/me.



























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Old 01-25-2010, 12:32 PM
BlueGerbil BlueGerbil is offline
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Old 02-02-2010, 05:45 AM
BlueGerbil BlueGerbil is offline
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January 20, 2010: 102nd short message (11:05 am CET)

Spent the night and today well. The weather is still stable. Today or tomorrow, we will winch and pull ourselves over the pass with our Russian helpers and then try to drive over the ice of the Providenia Bay to Providenia. If the ice shouldn?t bear our weight, we would have to driver over a second pass to get around the bay. In Providenia we will be able to properly diagnose the damages and make repairs. F2 could be repaired at short notice. F1 will be more difficult, it might take a couple days longer. We will try to get back on the road as fast as possible. Right now we expect to remain in Providenia for about two weeks.
If anybody wants to come and join the team is welcomed. Juergen Graf, Astrid Wallner and Jan Liska can give further information.
Quote:
January 20, 2010: 103rd short message (03:22 p.m. CET)

3 a.m. After a difficult final stage, we arrived in Providenia.
The brake pipe on F2 fell off, there has been a tire failure on F2, the trailer of F1 has a deformed axle, we broke into Nalid Ice. All team members are exhausted but doing well ? apart from dark shadows under the eyes, beards, black hands, body odor, wet shoes, cracked fingers, chipped fingernails and so on.

We will get in touch again.
Quote:
January 21, 2010: 104th short message (03:34 a.m. CET)

We are still on the street in Providenia. We are talking, negotiating, looking for a parking space for the trailers and a place to repair the vehicles. Many people have come outside. They welcomed us, considered how they could help us, signed the cars, gave us coffee, tea and a place in the office of a small garage. After a long time, we ate some fresh bread instead of frozen cross. A part of the team slept in a Russian tracked vehicle ? finally sprawled out again as I heard ? for a couple of hours.
I believe we will find solutions within the next hours, eventually days. Just now we have been offered a Russian sauna to heat up and clean up again.
We?ll see. Definitely very friendly here. A couple minutes ago I received the news that we at least found two places for the trailers.
Quote:
January 21, 2010: 105th short message (09:43 a.m. CET)

Trailers are safely stored inside / in front of a hall. On the part of the very friendly mayors, we found an accommodation that we can use for the entire duration of our stay. It is empty but warm, has a bathroom with shower and carpeted floors. They just brought us a small table. We sleep on the floor in or on our sleeping bags and are very happy about this place to live. The vehicles are still on the street. Tomorrow they will decide where we go for our repairs.
?Warm boxes? in which there are at least 0?C, are seldom. And if they exist, they are most of the time already taken. We will see. First of all we will make some food and enjoy a Russian beer. We deserve it.

Providenia is located right next to a bay. In front and behind the city mountains rise as if they were painted. If you stay at the bay, look towards the sea and the sun goes down blood-red like today, a painter couldn?t capture it any more beautiful. And temperatures around -10?C make you forget how hard life must be for the people living here. Forces of nature can be pretty tough. The hurricane that is expected to come, will show prove this to us quite plainly.
Quote:
January 22, 2010: 106th short message (11:50 a.m. CET)

This morning we were shown once again how welcomed we are here, how hospitable the people in Tschuotka are. We received a call from the mayor, that a ?warm box? has been found on the part of the first minister. We were asked to come to the technical school, where we received more information. Right away we left for the school. There, we were welcomed by the principal. He explained to us that they were willing to help and that they wanted to rearrange a box for us, so that our cars could stay there as long as we needed for our repairs. The box also has an undercut and a hoisting crane! In our situation this felt like Christmas. Grateful, we brought the vehicles from their place on the street of the outskirts to the box in the city. Afterwards a meeting with the highest ranking representatives of the regional government and city administration took place. In the main building we had some interesting conversations as well as coffee and tea. We discussed the further proceedings. During our conversation we were offered again all necessary support. In return we offered to be available for lectures, discussions, conversations, cultural exchange for the kindergarden, the school, the technical school and anyone who is interested for as long as we are here. Honestly, where can you find that in our culture? Go to the outskirts of any city in the world and ask for accommodation for your team, a parking space for big trailers and a work place to repair two vehicles. This is a geniality and friendship of the Russian population.

I think that Tschukotka offers a great variety of regional distinctions and could make a difference in the area of tourism. There are bizarre images of nature, silence, and amazing beauty of the tundra that every traveler can see. Seldom have I seen a clearer sky, more stars, wilder valleys, have I experiences the calmness better than here. I wish that more people would make the move and get to know this wonderful area of the world. I can only recommend this to everybody ? he/she will be thrilled!

While I am writing these lines, the storm starts to exert its forces. The wind becomes stronger, snow started falling and flurries are blowing through the streets.
Quote:
January 29, 2010: 107th short message (01:12 a.m. CET)

We?ve got our hands full and try desperately to find a solution for the transport of the damaged axle parts. Please excuse that I didn?t write that much.
Whoever wants to help us and has according contacts or wants to write, could talk to the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission.

Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission
PO Box 570
Barrow, AK 99723-0570
Phone 907-852-2392
Fax 907-852-2303

On behalf of this commission, there will be a flight from Nome, Alaska to Providenia, Russia on February 08, 2010. If our parts cannot be on this flight, they will arrive no earlier than the end of February and our chance to reach the Bering Strait in time will diminish.
Unfortunately the commission categorically refuses to take our two travel bags with the spare parts along on the almost empty flight. We don?t know the reasons. All other involved parties are willing to make it possible. But the final decision has the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission.
Quote:
February 30, 2010: 108th short message (03:09 a.m. CET)

By now, a lot of different parties are asking the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission to take our two travel bags along on their empty (!!!!) flight from Nome to Providenia ? of course we will pay for it. They categorically refuse. We don?t know why. We never did anything bad against the people or the commission. Nobody understands this stance. They suggested to us that we pay the entire flight and then we can send our two bags along.
This would have never happened in Russia, never, never. If anybody needs help, you help them. And we are by no means cadgers who ask for help for free. We only ask for an approval to put our two bags against payment on this empty flight. Unbelievable, really unbelievable.
Quote:
February 01, 2010: 109th short message (11:23 a.m. CET)

Great, our friend Dimitri sent his acquaintance ?Oleg? to our apartment today. He?s a man with best connections in satellite lines. :-)
Via TV he made us an internet connection at its best and now we can ? finally with a prospect of success ? try to send a couple of pictures. We are trying to do so for a couple of days now but the satellite system in F1 doesn?t work as long as it is in the shielded hall. On our agenda for today was also the official visit in the kindergarden and a heartily welcome.
Meanwhile works Jefgeny with our friend Valerie, the welder, on the reconstruction of the steering parts. They also weld a big part of the special constructions on F2.
Due to the better internet connection we got a bunch of photos from the expedition team - check all of (200+) out at:

Part 1: http://bit.ly/bpGskP
Part 2: http://bit.ly/9DlAkK

Some of them for you to enjoy:















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  #17  
Old 02-07-2010, 05:21 AM
BlueGerbil BlueGerbil is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Germany
Posts: 89
New photos of the expedition are online: http://bit.ly/aw90cD

Quote:
February 04, 2010: 110th short message (02:26 p.m. CET)

The past two days cost me a lot of nerves (are there any left in the first place?). A tough pass with snow is easy compared to the last days. Oh well. At the moment we don?t make any progress with the flight, also regress with one of our suppliers in a way that my head explodes. I have to get angry about so many things that I think hellhounds are marching.

The good news: the team is great and sticks together even though the days of waiting aren?t easy. There?s discipline, we brace ourselves, we won?t let things slide. Every day we repair another piece. Rudi was already jokingly talking about training in auto mechanics as his continuation education. I believe he will open a garage when he?s back. Today we started with the first trailer. Right after the pass, when we broke into really deep Nalid Ice with F2 and its trailer, the trailer?s front axle broke. Therefore we decided to modify the trailers so that they are operated by one axle only. We also shorten them to their minimum and try to reduce the weight as much as possible. For stabilization we mount a pivoting ski onto the drawbar. At least that?s the plan ? let?s see how it will turn out.



[/quote]
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  #18  
Old 02-15-2010, 01:22 PM
BlueGerbil BlueGerbil is offline
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Posts: 89
Quote:
february 14, 2010:

thursday has been a great day. So far we kept ourselves afloat with lots of discipline and ?hang-in-slogans?, but on thursday afternoon we finally received good news.

First we received an official invitation for a conversation by the leader of the regional government ?providenia region?. During the meeting which lasted almost one hour, we received a special book about chukotka as a thank you for our school visits and speeches. The entire team felt much honored about this special gesture. In return we thanked everybody for their trust. For us, all the visits have been a great pleasure. Afterwards, when i received good news from the capital moscow, and rudi exclaimed a crow because he found strawberry ice in a store, the sun arose again on the night sky. When i also found tea-cakes ? my absolute favorites ? (the first ones since mid-december), it was as if fireworks started. Alright, alright, i know i am exaggerating. But if you try to put yourself in our position, you understand how great this was for us.

Then it was friday ? it was a wonderful morning at around 8 a.m., sunlight was shining through scattered clouds that were floating across the sky, there was a light wind, it is cold, the mountains were glowing in the light of the rising sun, the bay was calm and frozen, it was a feeling of peace, everything is blue/light blue/white. It was the best weather for pictures and for an airplane to start. Yes, finally our spare parts can arrive today!!!
I walk fleet-footedly and elated to my blackberry, awaited the flight information, open the e-mail from bering air and: Arrrrrrrggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhh!
They cannot come because the landing strip in providenia cannot be cleared from the last two days? of snow of the blizzard. They say that the next possibility will be monday if not another snow storm comes first. Phuuuh. Breathe, breathe.
So we spent the friday with dinner preparations, cooked for our guests, continued the work on our cars. In the evening we had a very successful dinner with our guests and had ?one for the road? in the only bar of the village. Saturday we worked and worked and worked (on the cars of course). Then we went to the banja with our friends as every saturday. Sunday we worked and worked and worked. Then i received a call. The mayor of the city invites us to visit the newly-opened public sauna. We are very happy, also because he picks us up personally and because he prepared everything for our arrival. It is a successful visit. Where else but here takes anybody as much care for their guests as here? We were welcomed by about 30 men in the banja. During this visit, rudi receives his ?slap baptism?* and wiping each other off in the snow afterwards is also bearable.

*they call it a russian massage: After three, four minutes in the ?oven? and about ten douses, you lay down on the upper level of the banja. Twigs are bound into a bunch. Then you sweep, waggle, press and hit them over your whole body. Some do it themselves, some let themselves be ?hit? by others. Most of the time it is done with the side where the leaves are; sometimes with the sticks. It?s nice once you got used to it; but it hurts if you are struggling on the inside. It is hot, almost so that you pass out, when you gasp for breath; it is bearable if you try breathing normally. It renews if you like to do some good to your body in the cold; it is tiring if you don?t. Therefore ?very good?.

Because nobody is really any closer to the future as we are (we are kind of in the future), we can tell the americans what is expecting them tomorrow, the world behind us expects the day that we already lived and are looking into the promising soon, i hope, that the americans will fly tomorrow, on sunday, so that we will have received our parts today on monday.
.
Quote:
february 14, 2010: 115th short message (10:11 p.m. Cet)

bering air just let us know that they will not come. They have to do other flights first. Great. Our flight has been delayed since last wednesday. I intervened. Let?s see if the bering air management comes around.
.........
Quote:
february 15, 2010: 116th short message (11:44 a.m. Cet)

definitely no flights today. Bering air declined ? and again we hope that it will work tomorrow. I think this is generally the main problem for this special part of the world. Any kind of transport either depends on weather, extremely complex, is life-threatening or spectacular. Right now our plan is to start driving on friday, latest saturday. Continued our repairs and preparations today.
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  #19  
Old 02-17-2010, 09:55 AM
BlueGerbil BlueGerbil is offline
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Quote:
February 16, 2010: 117th short message (00:13 a.m. CET)

It?s hard to believe. Just now we received the news that the airplane with our spare parts left Nome and that it will be here in about an hour. Victor is on its way to the airport. He will take care of everything. Jefgeny will help him. Rudi and I continue our work here.
............
Quote:
February 16, 2010: 118th short message (05:20 a.m. CET)

The airplane landed!!! Phuuuuu.

Right now everything gets checked, then it has to be sent through customs and then they will bring it here.
I?m curious to see if we can fix the cars with these parts.
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  #20  
Old 02-20-2010, 05:42 AM
BlueGerbil BlueGerbil is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2008
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Posts: 89
..........
Quote:
February 18, 2010: 119th short message (12:53 p.m. CET)

We are working on the vehicles at full blast. Could it be any different? Right now our plan is to leave again on Saturday or Sunday. First we want to reach Novoe Chaplino and then ? after a short stop ? go about the longest ice test on sea ice (about 60 km along the coast) aiming towards Janrakinnot.

For this purpose we will pull the trailers, which are now modified to be single axle operating, on 25-meter-ropes behind the vehicles to avoid too much pressure on the ice and thus a break in.

Wild stories are being told about this overall 80km long section (sunken vehicles, Nalid Ice wherever you look, etc.).
Special perils of this section are the water fields. They form on special areas on top of the ice and are covered by snow. The wind and temperature conditions cause the surface of the snow to freeze (whilst keeping its snowy appearance). The snow and water underneath do not freeze though. A very malicious, visually plain surface forms which breaks when you drive over it. We hope not to get caught in such a trap.
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