Would love to say that we are off to a running start. But really it is more like those slow motion movies where drag race vehicles are spinning their wheels quickly as they try to find purchase before rocketing down the quarter-mile at over 200 mph. There is so much happening, but very little forward progress has actually been made. Let's catch you up!
1. We are official! We received our access to the double-super-secret FB page for Mongol Rally racers! It has been great to get to know some of the other teams and discuss routes, vehicle dilemmas, and our general excitement for the rally!
2. We are raising money! We received our first donation for the Michael J. Fox Foundation! The purpose of the rally is to raise money for charity (while having a fun adventure along the way). We have selected the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research as well as the Cool Earth Foundation. We hope to raise over $2000 for these charities. If you are interested in helping out, please visit our website and make a donation. Every bit helps!
3. We have a route! It looks like we are going to be traveling through former Soviet block countries, crossing the Caspian Sea via ferry, heading along the ancient Silk Road, and then crossing thousands of miles of questionable "roads". As of 2014 only 10% of the roads in Mongolia are paved. The VAST majority of those are in the capital (i.e. at the very end of the route). Improved shocks and plenty of spare wheels are definitely in our future!
4. We have selected a vehicle...sort of. We have decided to go with a Bedford Rascal,
Now we have to figure out how to negotiate the trans-Atlantic rigamarole of trying to buy a vehicle off Craig's List. Nothing suspicious about someone calling from a foreign country asking to buy your vehicle sight-unseen!
And now for all of the to-do's:
1. Visas. We are going to need a huge number of visas and carnet de passages for the trip. We'll start that process in January to make sure we have everything in place long before we head out.
2. Supplies. While the Adventurists suggest that we make as few preparations as possible before embarking on this trip, I think that having spare parts is going to be a must. Plus sleeping bags, flashlights, tools, satellite phone, tow cables, and all the other things we are going to need on a 10,000 mile journey across two continents.
3. The return trip. Once we make it to the finish line there are two options: Turn back or keep going. To turn back would mean to ship the vehicle back to Lithuania, get on a plane, and fly home. To keep going means to drive the vehicle an additional 2000 miles to Vladivostok, place the vehicle in a container, and ship it home across the Pacific, following the vehicle by flying home via Seoul. In short, traveling around the world in a single summer. I'll have to make this decision before we set out on the trip.
4. Sponsorship. We would love to have some sponsors to help defer the costs. While Red Bull politely declined our request for sponsorship, I am sure that there are people and companies out there who would love to have their name and logo splashed across a vehicle as it treks across Europe and Asia. Are you that person or company? Do you know someone? Hit us up!
That's about it for now. The rally begins on July 16th. So much to do. Keep checking back to see our progress!