After a much appreciated lie-in we set off to Novo-Altaysk to fix Adventure’s alternator. The journey to Barnaul was made more interesting by the multimeter now permanently wired to Adventure, giving us live dashboard information on the current state of the battery. Braking, indicating and lights all caused the voltage to drop, so we were careful to use lights sparingly on all three, which sometimes created some interesting city driving!
We managed to find a car parts shop to find a new alternator. Although they didn’t have any spares, the owner spoke pretty good English, and with the help of an iPad, directed us to a street of car mechanics. We arrived at the street to find ourselves spoiled for choice, with around 20 garages all competing for a look in at some of our Rubles. The first garage we tried turned out to be a specialist alternator/starter motor repair centre and quickly had our alternator in bits. 2 hours later with our wallets a little lighter, we were back with two alternators. It was just a shame that the Azerbaijani mechanics neglected to give all the parts back from our starter motor during our abortive attempt to fix it there.
We also met some lovely Russian ladies who took a liking to Berry and Greg who were guarding our ambulances, informing them that they “did not like Russian boys” and provided them with gifts of tea and ice cream. The rest of the team didn’t hear them complaining about the attention!
Bump-starting one ambulance seemed like a holiday in comparison, and we decided to make some headway towards the Mongolian border. After a few hours of driving we came across a secluded spot to camp and, surrounded by forest, we had our first camp fire of the trip. This was very welcome in the colder weather that has greeted us in Russia.