Ashgabat (TKM)- Door to Hell at Derweze (TKM)- Somewhere btw Ashgabat and Merv (TKM) + Mission Completed!
August 15, 2014
Scorching Heat at Karakum Desert
Today was one of the hottest drives we encountered in Mongol Rally. We checked out from the Hotel Nissa in Ashgabat around 11am and headed towards one of the biggest tourist attractions of Turkmenistan- The Door to Hell at Darvaza. From Ashgabat it was a long 5 hours drive, passing through Karakum Desert, with only one gas station in between.
It was a super hot drive, because we didn’t have AC, inside our car it was 110 degrees Fahrenheit. When we arrived it was already 4pm. En route we met a Austrian team Silkroadster going to the same direction.
“Chaikana” Tea House
There was no marked signs of Door to Hell. We found a local fixer and he took us to a “Chaikana” tea house to wait until the dusk.
We ordered some wonderful local food from the family host. Inside their kitchen they had several different pots of simmering goodness, we simply chose by pointing at the pots.
The fixer picked us up at 6pm. We followed his car and parked at a random spot in the middle of nowhere.
Then we hopped on his Nissan Pathfinder. This guy was fun he liked to drive super fast on the off-road terrain blasting Gangnam Style and American teenage music. After a good 20 minutes roller coaster ride we arrived at the Door to Hell. From Wikipedia:
The Door to Hell is a natural gas field in Derweze (also spelled Darvaze, meaning “gate”), Ahal Province,Turkmenistan. The Door to Hell is noted for its natural gas fire which has been burning continuously since it was lit by Soviet petroleum engineers in 1971. The fire is fed by the rich natural gas deposits in the area. The pungent smell of burning sulfur pervades the area for some distance.
The “road” to Door to Hell was all very fine soft sand.
MISSION COMPLETED: “HUMAN PYRAMID AT DOOR TO HELL”
Not long after our newly met Austrian friends Silkroadster and our awesome fellow Mongol Rally team Ulaan On Your Feet arrived.
They agreed to help us out forming a Human Pyramid! A HUGE THANK YOU to Tien, Jo, Andrew and Hamish of Ulaan On Your Feet and Stephan, Pavel and Nikolaus of Silkroaster for making a super awesome human pyramid with us! Great team work!
THANK YOU for your donations! Together we raised $300 for our charity Cool Earth! It was such a wonderful experience!
Andrew! We can’t wait to see the drone footage ;-)
After that we hugged each other and say goodbye. We were seriously lacked behind our schedule. We decided to drive overnight to catch up. Our goal was to reach the Uzbekistan border.
Young took the first shift and she was such a champion, she drove straight for 8 hours until the road gone really bad. We ended up sleeping inside our car for a few hours next to the highway somewhere between Ashgabat and Merv.
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