The tenth day (1st of August) of our trip we were staying in hotel in northern Teheran, taking rest and making some preparations before our departure to the Mashhad city in the East of Iran. Next day we left our hotel early in the morning and drove up to the nearest gas station and ... got into a traffic jam! There were a lot of cars, waiting for refueling, so we had to wait too. After it we decided once again to drive through the city and make some pictures. At morning the traffic in Tehran is very similar to Moscow: at 05:30 - 06:00 a.m. it's easy to drive, and then start traffic jams.
When we made a small stop in one of the Teheran`s neighborhood to buy some food and water, we saw an old Mercedes bus, which was used as a normal public transport in the capital of Iran. Rainer said that he had seen such oldschool buses only in museums of transport long time ago. In general, Iranian roads really look as a huge automobile museum on wheels - the "oldtimers" are everywhere. We stayed for a long time near to Semnan so far, looking at the rarities on the wheels. First we were interested in pickups with milk, based on Paykan and Saipa Zamyad Z24 - the latter one is a descendant of the 1970-s Nissan Junior pickup. Then we saw interesting trucks - the Khawar 608 and the Khawar 1924. Both of them are Mercedes-Benz trucks, which were assembled in Iran: the first one is the LP 608 model, which was presented in 1965 year, and the second one is the famous heavy-duty L-series, which appeared in 1959 and was nicknamed as Kurzhauber for his "bulldog face" with a short hood. But the real "icon style" of Iranian roads is the American truck Mack R-series, which had been producing here from 1965 to 1978. Also i can say, that the drivers of these big trucks are also stylish - very colorful characters!
The further you move to the east of Iran, the more you go deeper into the Dasht-e Kavir desert. The green is going down, giving a place to sand and lifeless land. The only majestic mountains on the left side dilute this landscape, but all of them are also without any vegetation. The outside temperature creeps to a mark of 40 degrees, but fortunately, the climate control in the Volkswagen Tiguan makes a pleasant coolness in the cabin, even when it's windy outside, warm, as it blows from a hair dryer. And it was a real surprise for us to meet on the road in such conditions one more participants of Mongol Rally 2017. Two brave ladies from Canada decided to join this adventurous transcontinental journey on a small Nissan Micra without air conditioner! But the most amusing thing was that these freaky ladies tuned their Micra with snorkel to force rivers and other water obstacles! So now their baby-car is a serious off-roader or even boat!
After that meeting we continued our driving towards the Mashhad, taking pictures of anything, that was interesting to us and felt as a traditional and local flavor: bazaars along the roads, herds, cars, cafes and etc. But the real "highlight" of that day was our short offroad trip to Iranian mountains. We tested some Tiguan`s off-road systems during our «climbing» and the car capabilities were very good for a compact crossover. So we easily overcame the diagonal hanging and even managed to climb a very steep uphill. The reward for this offroad trip was a delightful sunset in the mountains and beautiful photos that we made – this day finished really wonderful!
Author: Peter Bakanov