It was a long drive, but driving through Germany was quite the scenic experience. Tons of small towns, perfectly arranged, with old churches and castles everywhere. We had plans to meet up with some friends of mine whom I met a couple years earlier in Austin. Jarrett had just finished his PhD in Astrophysics and had moved with his new wife, Kristi, to do a post-doctorate in Munich. They had gladly offered us a place to stay for the night, and in return we offered them a drive to the Czech-Out party the next day, to be held in a castle south of Prague, Czech Republic.
We ended up in Munich a bit behind schedule as our vehicle couldn’t keep up with the 130KPH speed limit on the freeways. At around 10:00PM we met up with my friends and had a bite to eat at a local Italian Restaurant while catching up with each other.
We arrived in Dunkirk, France approximately two hours later and decided to get moving towards our destination for the night: Brussels, Belgium. It wasn’t very far away, but we had a slight problem: we were supposed to travel with Rubiks Cube to their friend’s place in Brussels to stay the night. Rubiks Cube had no phone, so we couldn’t contact them. As I had the address and directions printed out, we decided to head out and hopefully meet up in Brussels.
The next morning we got up around 9:00AM, grabbed a bite to eat, and headed off to the Goodwood Motor Speedway. There we joined all of the other teams for a bit of pre-launch comradery, Mongolian music and wrestling performances, and assorted speeches. We met the Rally organizer, Tom, and also had a chat with some of the representatives of Mercy Corps, which we are raising donations for. We had a slight snafu when the organizers said that they hadn’t received our vehicle deposit yet–apparently the bank transfer two weeks earlier hadn’t gone through. I promised to check into it and re-send the money whenever possible and they kindly let us receive our entry packet.
Collin arrived in the UK on the morning of July 15th without much incident (other than him losing his directions to a cleaning lady on the subway and having to find a library in London where he could check his e-mail and print them out again). He was pretty jet-lagged and ended up sleeping most of the day. We went out in the evening for a few rounds with a friend, Fran, from Ireland, that lives in Australia and I met because of Japan and was now in London on a one day stopover before flying to China.
Contrary to certain reports, we are indeed still alive!
In Prague right now. We hit the pre-launch campground at about 10PM to see dozens of other teams out drinking and BBQ throughout the nite. One team, Jersey Boys, had already gotten into an accident and had to be towed to a garage the next morning. Got a few hours of sleep and then got up to attend the launch at Goodwood Motor Circuit.
The Adventurists, organizers of the Mongol Rally, have posted an overview of the Festival of Slow, at the Goodwood Race Track, that we just took part in as a part of the official UK launch. We didn’t have the best weather, but it could have been worse. Most of the time we were trying to finish up paperwork, deck our vehicle out with rally stickers, and formulate some sort of plan to cross the English Channel. I watched the entire thing and it looks like we weren’t captured on film at all…oh well!
Adventure is a path. Real adventure—self-determined, self-motivated, often risky—forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind—and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both.
This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.
I’ve had a great few weeks in the UK, and have been to London, Birmingham, and a few other towns along the way. As this is the official first (non-U.S.) leg of the journey, I have uploaded some pictures of my recent travels (including a few from the Rotary International 100th Annual Convention that I attended).
It’s not the most amazing thing you’ll see on here, but they are technically part of the journey! View them in our gallery.
We were recently interviewed on WJR 760 Radio’s Warren Pierce Show. Warren, born and raised in Detroit, hosts a morning talk show every Saturday from 6:00AM to 9:00AM. Thanks to both Warren and producer Rachel Nevada for having us on the show.
Believe it or not, there are actually two Mongol Rallies: the proper one, and a copycat one unimaginatively named the Mongolia Charity Rally. It’s a long story, but this additional rally was formed by former Mongol Rally affiliates that were unhappy with the way the original rally was being handled. The Mongolia Charity Rally‘s entry fee is less than half of the official Mongol Rally, and there are no age or engine restrictions for the vehicles involved (which leads to some teams going all-out in custom Land Rovers…a bit too prudent for my taste!).
Thanks to all of you that came out nd attended our Euchre Fundraising Tournament last Saturday. Everyone had a good time and we managed to raise a fair amount of money for our charities.
Only a few more days to go… Scott still doesn’t have his passport as it seems to be taking longer than usual to get through the Uzbek Embassy. The car has been picked up and ready to go, but the check engine light came back on for some unknown reason. Also, the original title seems to be stuck in US customs…we need to it take the car past the European Union. It’s always something!
We are very close to our fundraising goal of $9000. If there’s anyone out there that wants to donate and hasn’t done it yet please go ahead and do so! We will be accepting donations through the end of the rally (and maybe a bit past that, into September).
In the summer of 2009, two guys from Metro Detroit traveled 10,000 miles from London to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia in an effort to raise money to assist underprivileged Mongolian families in becoming self-sufficient.