The last couple of weeks have been an adventure of a small kind, but good preparation for big one later this year. A short trip around the UK covering about one tenth of the total distance to Mongolia came with a few salutary lessons. In a former life your correspondent sold medical equipment in England for a living. Long before carbon footprinting was even a concept he did his best to cover as much of the country each week as possible. Being a young buck with a Marks & Spencer suit, a Samsonite briefcase and little experience, the old-timers in the company gave him some good advice. “Always fill your car up the night before so you’re not faffing around in the morning when you run into a traffic delay,” they said. “Double check your appointments for the week and reschedule ahead of time. Make sure that you get enough sleep and pull over if you’re tired.” This last piece of advice saved my life on more than one occasion. Thrashing a Vauxhall Cavalier up and down the motorways became an almost pleasing routine back in 1984. In an era before cell phones a busy day was bookended by time for reflection as the miles whizzed by on my way home.
Today things have changed a bit. Speed cameras have taken the place of jam sandwiches (police cars with their distinctive horizontal stripe) as the primary means of controlling the 'ton-up boys.' Coffee is now drinkable at the rest stops and the web available 24x7, wherever you are. Yet, there’s nothing quite like that 20 minute power nap in the middle of the afternoon. It’s so much better than driving off the road at 70 miles an hour.