What's this all about then?

These crazy people, The Adventurists, came up with The Mongol Rally a few years ago. The gist is that, to make the world significantly less boring, you drive a low-power, micro-car from London to the capital of Mongolia (Ulaanbaatar), get people to give you money for doing it, and then when you arrive, you leave the car there to be auctioned off for charity. It's so simple!

Oh, and there's no set route, no support, no real road much of the way, it's not a race (although some people treat it as one), and we don't really know how we're getting back.

So, obviously, my complete lack of linguistic, mechanical, or international travel skills makes me a perfect candidate for such an endeavor. But I guess that's where the guys in the other car come in. Wait, they only know English and don't know squat about cars either? Hmmm.

Assuming the Russians grant my visa and get my passport back to me in a timely manner, I'll leave for London July 9th. Then, around Sept 3 (6 or 7 weeks later), I'll be back in Raleigh.

The Charities

CoolEarth

CoolEarth relentlessly fights deforestation.

Yes, I know: It seems a bit contrary to drive 8,500 miles to save forests and cut CO2 emissions, but I've been assured that with the magic of offsets, if I raise even the minimum (about $600), that'll help the world out. I'm good with that. Coolearth is the Official Charity of this year's Mongol Rally (and they'll get the proceeds from the sale of the car when I make it to Ulaanbaatar).

Mercy Corps

These Mercy Corps folks are quite nice (I helped one diagnose a web error the other night). They help *everywhere* (not just the web).

Since 1999, donations from Mongol Rally participants and their supporters have helped Mercy Corps Mongolia dig wells, create playgrounds, equip schools, conserve Mongolia's environment, and helped Mongolians get access to loans and business training as their country undergoes rapid (forced even) modernization.

Here's an interesting article from Bloomberg about Mongolia's nascent mining, and their struggle not to be co-opted.

FYI: Although I've specified that the money raised by my drive go to Mercy Corps Mongolia, I also told them that if they really needed it elsewhere, they were free to use it however they thought best.

Who am I?

My name is Chris. I grew up in Norman, Oklahoma. Now I live in Raleigh, North Carolina. I work at a big software company in Cary. I'm too tall for any car model named "Panda".

Who Are These Ben and Paul Guys?

Ben is a high school friend. We always have fun.
He recently made this fun presentation about the rally.

Paul? Never met him. I hear, though, that he'll eat anything, for a price.

They're both professional photographers, which means that any mistake I make will be fully and professionally documented.

Update: Unfortunately, Paul can no longer make the trip. So it's just Ben and me.

Who was Sir Walter Rally, er, Raleigh?

Even though I live in Raleigh, I don't really know much about him except that he has something to do with a giant acorn (joke for Raleigh residents).

Basically, around 1580, most everyone (including the queen) liked him a lot (he got knighted). He helped explore that new American place, wrote poetry, and lived like a boss. But then he screwed up, married without the queen's permission, and got sent to the Tower of London. Later, he got involved in a plot to overthrow the king. It failed (never good), and he got sent to the tower again (for 13 years).

After he got out, he headed to South America to find those darn cities of gold, only to screw up again... to the point that when he returned to England, he was executed.

Go look on the Wikipedia and you'll know as much as I do.

Oh, and people on TV too often pronounce "Raleigh" as "rally". I heard that twice in a day and the light went off: Team Name!

I plan on taking Thoreau's "Sir Walter Raleigh" and giving it a go. Seems appropriate.

The Car

2005 Fiat Panda. 1.2 liters. Blue. It's micro-small -- think Fiat 500. Purchased via a garage in Essex.

I went to a Fiat dealership and sat in a Fiat 500, barely. A salesman was on me immediately (very nicely though), and asked if I was going to buy one. I asked if he'd seen me get in the car.

If it's too cramped, maybe I can find a dremel near the starting line to perform a dashboardectomy to make room for my knees.

It's right-side drive, which should prove interesting. Especially as I'll be driving on the left side of the road, but only when I'm in England. The other 8,300 miles I'll be on the right (correct) side of the road, but in a right-side drive car. I think I'm going to need extra mirrors.

And I just noticed that I have the only 2005 car that has a freak'n cassette player?!?! WTF?!

Have Car, Need Title

The car, Sir Walter, was, obviously, knighted. I however, despite watching all the episodes of Monty Python, Faulty Towers, and most all of Doctor Who, have absolutely no chance of achieving what my French-born auto apparently takes for granted. I also doubt my 4 days in the UK prior to the start of The Rally will be enough to garner the requisite citizenship.

So, I need to come up with my own title (or 7). These sprang to mind:

  • Head Supper Locator
  • Grand Marquis of Maximum Milage
  • Grand Marshall of Good News
  • Duke of Dinner
  • Grand Vizier of Impending Chaos
  • Czar of Greater Appetite

From Liz (who also suggested this resource):

  • Viceroy of Digestive Geste
  • Perandor of the Panda

From Jeremy, Lee, Lizzie, and Charlotte:

  • Keeper of the Menu
  • Protector of Italian Fuel Economy
  • The Right-hand of Drive

If you have one to add to the list, let me know.

EMT Training

I will NOT need this.

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Got a question that I didn't answer?
Email me <SirWalterRally2013@gmail.com>

Time to donate!