Our Story (so far):
We’re two adventurers who heard about “The Great Mongol Rally” and thought, “Why not?”. Driving across two continents with no support, set route, or plan, all on a whim, why wouldn’t we immediately say, “Yes!”? Enter: the rally.
Our cravings for this adventure caused a buzz among our friends and relatives who promptly named us Exhibit A and Exhibit B. They started being loudly and overtly concerned that we were off our rockers, while secretly marveling at the idea. (yes, we know your secrets!)
Realizing this was an opportunity socking us squarely between the eyes, we decided to add one more wrinkle: use the buzz to raise awareness and funds for charities we love! We want to help save some rainforests and help educate some kids.
We start on July 16 at Goodwood (Southern England close to Portsmouth). Then ferry across the Channel to Calais, France, and on through Belgium, Germany, Czech, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkey. We’re planning on driving straight through Europe and not stopping anywhere until we cross Turkey (well, except at hostels to sleep at night). Then on to Azerbaijan via Georgia. In Azerbaijan, we expect to camp in the capital city of Baku until we find a ferry that can be bribed to take us across to Turkmenbashi (Turkmenistan). From Turkmenistan to Uzbekistan via the Gates of Hell. In Uzbekistan we hope to visit Bukhara, Samarkhand, (and maybe Tashkent if the car is holding up,) before driving into Dushanbe, Tajikistan and heading up the Pamir Highway (M41 highway through Pamir Mountains – part of the historic Silk route) then off to Kazakhstan via Kyrgyzstan. After 1300kms through Western Steppes, we will enter Mongolia through Russia. Then 2400kms through Mongolia to UlaanBaatar. Since we can’t junk the car in Ulaanbaatar, we will drive 400miles north to Ulan Ude in Siberia for the official end of the trip. We are aiming for a 40 day finish, but may be delayed.
The car we’re driving is beat up/old and tiny (996cc 58BHP 100k miles Nissan Micra). The tiny old car will be fully loaded & driven over Autobahn, the Steppes, and 2 mountain ranges, part of the silk route over M41/Pamir Highway (dirt road at 4600m altitude) in Tajikistan. The car has a 6″ clearance from the ground, and there are no roads in most places. There are only about 10 people per sq mile for about 20 days of our journey, so when car breaks down we might be waiting a while to flag down someone.
We are also 2 women driving by ourselves, pulling off the road and camping when dusk falls. No worries, we’re armed with enough crazy to scare away marauding strangers.
We will inevitably be negotiating bribes using sign language (we hear the ferry drivers across the caspian sea are especially hard to bargain with), needlessly be stuck at many border crossings, building relationships with local women, exchange gifts of kids toys for local stories, try to make friends with gun toting guards with cigarettes, using an umbrella as our loo door at avoid mooning unsuspecting motorists in the desert, convoying with other cars if we run into any, eating pasta all 40 days…..
Duct Tape, WD40, and hardcopy of Haynes Service and Repair manual (Thanks Michael Brown @ Sweptworks for the super thoughtful gift!) for the car
Zip ties, pepper spray, duct tape for safety
Jerrycans for water, gasoline, matches, bungee cords, duct tape for survival
And a few other things we don’t want to think about. We’ll figure it out along the way, we think.
The Mongol Rally & The Adventurists
And in case you’re interested in doing this next year, here’s info lifted straight from The Adventurists’ page
“The Mongol Rally: the greatest motoring adventure on the planet.
The Mongol Rally thunders 10,000 miles across the mountains, desert and steppe of Europe and Asia each summer. There’s no backup, no support and no set route; just you, your fellow adventurists and a tiny car you bought from a scrapyard for £11.50.
If nothing goes wrong, everything has gone wrong.
Bollocks to tarmac, ABS and gadgets that help you find your navel. The Mongol Rally is about getting lost, using your long neglected wits, raising shedloads of cash for charity and scraping into the finish line with your vehicle in tatters and a wild grin smeared across your grubby face.
Neither your car, nor your life, will ever be the same again.
The rules of the Rally are gloriously simple…
1. You can only take a farcically small vehicle
2. You’re completely on your own
3. You’ve got to raise £1000 for charity”
They throw a party at the starting point (somewhere in UK), another one at the ending point (somewhere in Ulaanbaatar), help you to junk your car in Ulan-Ude (Siberia) (due to some complicated import/export laws involved, junking is the cheapest option which will still cost us ~$800), and threaten to kidnap your unborn child if you don’t put their stickers on your car.
A couple of hundred cars and motorbikes pay them an entry fee every Summer to be a part of this madness.