Our worst nightmare. We headed off yesterday (29 August 2007) at 2 o'clock from Almaty heading north for Semey, then Russia, the Altai and Mongolia. Unfortunately after about 4 1/2 hours of driving we stopped to take a photograph, and when we tried to start the Earthroamer it wouldn't start. The battery turns over the engine beautifully but nothing else.
We have done everything we can. We have been in touch with the Earthroamer people in the United States (Bill Swails). We have checked every connection but we just can't work out why it won't start.
The reason I say it is our worst nightmare is that I have often said to people that modern vehicles are fantastic and reliable, but if you get a problem, how do you get it fixed? This is the problem we are in. If you want to look at Google Earth, we are presently parked on the road at N 44 41.049 E 078 02.725. In fact it is about 600 metres from where we could not start. A friendly truck driver towed us at night around about half a kilometre up onto a hill and into a place where we are off the road.
We are now trying to work out what to do. Fortunately we are travelling with Alexey, who can translate for us and is very good mechanically. He may go into Taldyqorghan and see if he can get some type of a tow for us. The difficulty is that with 7 tonnes, and with our height of 3.3 metres, we have already come under some low bridges and we don't know how we can get the vehicle back to Almaty.
Anyway, interesting times. It will start to become incredibly hot but we will just wait and see what happens.
If anyone has any good contacts with Ford, please contact Marilyn in my office on +61 2 9450 0600. It looks as if we may have to get someone from the United States out to look at the vehicle. The difficulty is that they will have to get a visa so it will all take time.
|Kazakh herder passing our stranded vehicle|
|Dick and Pip beside the stranded vehicle N44.41.049 E078.02.725|
It is now 11.16am and the sun is high in the sky and it is sure getting hot here - fortunately there is a slight breeze coming from the mountain tops.
Friendly Kazakhs are stopping to offer us help but unfortunately we do not understand what their offers are. Alexey hitch hiked to the north at 8.30am and he is hoping to get us a tow vehicle however it is a national holiday here today in Kazakhstan so that will be difficult. Our friend Viv Baddeley who works with Ford in Australia is assisting us so we now know that something will work out eventually. Dick climbed a nearby mountain top and could see a small village in a valley with a river about a kilometer away.
We will keep you posted
The Battery Saga The Ongoing Story