11,300 miles driven and inevitable weight loss
From leaving Southampton on the 31st March to arriving at Vladivostok on 28th May I have driven a total of 11,300 miles. Now I need to prepare myself for another 7,000 miles for Stage 4 from Vancouver to Alaska, down through Canada and US to Newark on the east coast of the US arriving around the middle of September. It was supposed to be the middle of August, but with the poor Jimnys being left on the docks in Hong Kong, it's put us back nearly a month.
Having completed the first three stages of the journey, I took time to reflect the fact that very few people in the world have had an opportunity to experience what I have gone through over the past two and half years. Particularly April and May of this year.
I have tried to keep the information flowing to Maureen who has managed the Blog, Facebook, Twitter and PR and Keith who produces and updates the web site, and of course my lovely wife Vi, who has been my general contact at home, to these three people and every body who has helped in one way or another a big Thank you from me. The point I am trying to make is that when you visit the web site or read the blog, you only read about what has been happening from the information I have been able to send to Maureen and Keith in the very limited time available to type and send it. So over the next couple of weeks we will feature what really happened. Some good and some bad, but all worth reading about.
On the 5th of June I flew to Athens for a short break to try to get myself in a fit state to tackle stage 4 of the journey. During the first three stages, weight loss was always one of those issues that I needed to keep my eye on
Before we started I had done a reasonable job of keeping my weight where it should be for someone my height and age, so I started the journey with no fat reserves available. Generally it was the route, itinerary and the distance you had to travel that dictated when you can, and what time, you could eat. The journey from Southampton to Budapest wasn't too bad, mainly because we used hotel accommodation so we got in the main a good breakfast and a light lunch, but the time for the evening meal was always dictated by the time we arrived at our destination which was usually late at night. So we ate late and went to bed with the food undigested on a daily basis.
It took a turn for the worst throughout stage 2, Warsaw Poland and on to Novosibirsk in Russia. We had to be at Novosibirsk by the May 9th, so we were up against it. We didn't have time to erect the tents for camping so we had to find low cost accommodation where we could late at night. The food at the accommodation was generally not good so we didn't eat much, lunch was usually a bowl of soup if we could find it, but most days we didn't have time to stop. Night time was the same as before, arrive late eat later.
Stage 3 followed the same pattern, we had to be at Vladivostok by May 30th, only this time we were going to drive the length of Mongolia. Places to stay were few and far between and if we found any it was late at night, and no breakfast to start the day, other than what we had in the vehicles. The guys with me all suffered and it is a credit to them that they stuck it out to the end,
Mariuszs and Gary through Stage 2, and Graham and Mike through Stage 3.
I think Stage 3, driving through Mongolia really pushed us to the limit but we made it. We had all lost weight at that time, I had lost around half a stone and rattled a bit when I walked. My skin seemed that it would fit someone twice my size. I must admit, I did look a bit scrawny. To top it off I picked up food poisoning in Vladivostok and unfortunately it was after the cars had been containerised and guess what?? All the medication Vi had given me, including the Imodium, dehydration salts were in the Jimny. Luckily Mike has his supplies and he became Nurse – I'm really not sure about his Nurses uniform though!!
After the Jimnys were sorted, I made my way to meet my wife Vi at our place in Greece arriving two days her and felt totally knackered. I couldn't do much other than sleep for two days. When Vi finally saw me she thought I was a vagrant and was about to throw me out before she realised it was me. After she had examined the pile of skin and bones standing before her, the rehabilitation process began immediately. Full English breakfast was followed later with spaghetti bolognese
and topped off with Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding. All my favourites, and that's only the first day! I felt like a cuckoo - just sit still long enough and Vi comes up to me, holds my nose and shovels in more food! If it carries on like this I will look like Humpty Dumpty and have a problem getting into my Jimny by the time we start the journey through Canada and U.S.
Next blog …. Graham visits Suzuki at Yamamatsu.