Mongolia Rally

A ten thousand mile trip across Europe and Asia by car.

The Mongolia Charity Rally is a non-race from London to Ulaan Baatar, the capital of Mongolia. Teams raise money for charities in Mongolia, drive vehicles that will be useful there, and donate them when the trip is over.

Our team (me, Chris, Jarek, and Moof) decided to go just days before the deadline. We registered on May 25th, and I was in England, picking up a car (a Subaru Outback) on July 2nd. Chris, Moof, and I set out ten days later, starting with a Chunnel trip to continental Europe.

We raced across Western Europe, spending one night in Luxembourg, and then pressing on to Prague, Budapest, and on into Romania. Our first real border checkpoint came in Moldova, where they didn't want to let us into the country because our paperwork was filled out by hand, rather than officially printed (there was no time between buying the car and leaving the UK to wait for the title transfer to be printed up).

We dropped Moof off in Kiev, picked Jarek up in Astrakhan, and set off into Asia. The silk road cities of Bukhara and Samarkand were fascinating, and the terrain opened up into steppe. After heading through Almaty in Kazakhstan, we took the northern route through Siberia, stopping on the shores of Lake Baikal, and entering Mongolia by the northern crossing.

We spent a few days on a ranch in Mongolia, visited a monastery, got stuck in the mud, blew out a tire (and had it changed by Mongolian Army personnel), and finally made our way into Ulaan Baatar after 40 days and 9976 miles. We couldn't resist rolling the trip meter, so we made one last trip out to see the largest equestrian statue in the world (Chinggis Khaan, naturally) before taking the car to a car wash and finishing the rally.

Chris and Jarek needed to be back in the US, so they flew back from Ulaan Baatar, but I spent a little more time in Mongolia before returning by way of China, Hong Kong, and Japan