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Why knowing a good plumber can help you through the Mongol Rally

Posted by: Adam Casey

Date: 17-Oct-2014 09:22:00

Close up of a steering wheel and windscreen with overlaying text that reads 'Turn Left At Tesco'.

In the final installment of our Mongol Rally series Harry and Alec share more stories about life on the road with us and explain how the Crystal Ball's mobile tracking app really came into its own.

What made you choose Crystal Ball?

Alec’s dad has a plant hire business which uses Crystal Ball’s FleetTracker to manage his 14  vehicles.  So when we announced that we wanted to do the Mongol Rally, it seemed like a natural choice to install Crystal Ball. But after consulting with the development team at Crystal Ball they advised the best option would be to use their MobileTrack Pro app on a smart phone.  That way, when we left europe we could easily swap out the sim card with a local data sim card to help us reduce any loss in visibility. Which was reassuring for our parents, as they wanted to make sure that we weren’t getting into trouble during the rally.

How did you use the MobileTrack Pro app?

Birds eye view of a city via Crystal Balls Mobile Tracking Software tracking the Mongol Rally.Both sets of parents logged in every day, several times a day, to get updates on our progress.  Harry’s grandparent’s logged in every morning too.  It was good to get positive messages of encouragement from everyone, friends and family.  Although my Dad sent one message when we were on the autobahn in Germany saying “slow down, you’re doing more than 90”.

Did you find it useful too?

The time it came in most useful for us was probably one of the funniest occasions too.  Our Crystal Ball came to the rescue when we were trying to get out of Prague.  My parents were having some plumbing work done at their home and had Crystal Ball on the computer to view our progress. When the plumber stopped for lunch, he decided to have a look how we were getting on and see our progress in real-time.  He noticed that we were going round and round in circles and realised we must be lost.  We were trying to navigate with a really poor paper map that didn’t seem to bear any resemblance to the actual road system and there were loads of roadworks and closed roads, so we were really struggling. 

The plumber called us up and asked “Are you lost?” and then he gave us directions from the  map online down the phone, so we managed to make it out of there.  It was really funny; he was like: “Turn left at Tescos!”


What was the best thing about having Crystal Ball?

A map showing the majority of Europe and the route that Alec & Harry took on the Mongol Rally.

It’s really good to be able to chart our journey – we’ve got a .pdf of all the points on the map, which is a good souvenir of the trip. 

It was also pretty good going home.  We made back through Russia in six days, doing 600 miles per day.  Then Poland, Germany, France.  When we got to France my Mum texted to ask “Do I need to lay two extra places at tea?” which was pretty cool.  All our family friends were watching our progress up the A1 and we arrived home to a champagne reception. That was good.

What advice would you give anyone considering an adventure like this?

Alec & Harry's Mongol Rally Car in a desert with the Crystal Ball logo on the back window. Crystal Ball was a good bit of kit.  It was great for our families more than anything, but it helped us out at times too, even just simple things like knowing how many miles we had to drive that day to remain on schedule.




Inspired by Harry and Alec?  Fancy your own Crystal Ball Adventure?  Please tell us about your plans!  Or do you know anyone putting their Crystal Ball app to an unusual use?  We’d love to hear out-of-the-ordinary stories about how you are using your Crystal Ball MobileTrack Pro app!


 P.S. if you haven't taken the mongol rally quiz yet, check it out below:

Take the Mongol Rally Quiz

P.P.S Check out the first blog to see our interactive infographic and our second post for a detailed interview with the team

Adam Casey

Written by Adam Casey

Adam is part of the Digital Marketing Team at Crystal Ball. He frequently blogs about the latest news and tips for running a productive and efficient mobile workforce.

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