Ulgii to Ulan Bator

After an ill-fated attempt at the planned Northern Route, our mud-splattered cars were turned back by a full-fledged river that cut across the road. As we retraced back to Ulgii, Mongolia's westernmost town of any significance, we smelled gas and soon found a cracked fuel line that had already drained a quarter tank. Thanks only to mechanic Steve, a rubber tube and some gorilla glue, did we overcome the most daunting mechanical issue of the entire trip, making it back to town that night.

When the car finally came out of the shop in Ulgii, our team leader decided there'd be no time to waste on the road to the capital. It was a race from Budapest, but it would be a frantic rally from here on out.

Zipping through breathtaking terrain, the transit was just that. Massive peaks, glaciers and dunes were hidden just beyond the hills and just behind the clouds to either side of the road as we drove the long, desolate Southern Route to Ulan Bator in just three days.