Rattling sound coming from under my feet? Front end of the bus bouncing up and down like a ship on a the high seas? Can only mean one thing: The front offside shock mount snapped again. We’re on the way of Irkutsk, picking up speed and so we make a U-turn and go in search of a welder.

Now this had already happened just as we were arriving into Irkutsk but, in our haste, we stopped at the first place we saw by the side of the road. At the time I could see it wasn’t a very good job – the welder didn’t even remove the bracket and it couldn’t have been a clean weld. Sure enough it broke and this time I wanted a good clean weld and extra piece of metal stuck over the crack.

So we find ourselves at the gate to a massive collection of workshops and, after negotiating the formidible security protocols, we drove in gingerly over the rough ground with piles of scrap and sharp bits of metal everywhere. We found our man and his collegue and immediately they got to work  – once I’d pointed out how to dissassemble the suspension, of course. It’s an easy thing to work on, the Dodge 50, but if you’ve never ever seen one before…

Repairing Jigsaw's fron shock mountThere were afew jobs to be done before they could get round to sorting our problem out so we spent some time making friends with a bunch of puppies who had come out to sniff the foreigners..

Vaga with Irkutsk puppiesThese guys were good – the weld looks neat and tidy, the patch they used to strengthen the piece has been put on where it won’t foul any movement in the leaves that are clamped just above. If anyone needs a bit of welding done in Irkutsk – go the place on the map below – the second guy was studying engineering at university but I think Andrei in the far south corner will be around…

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