All Cheer for our Donated Gear!

Thanks to E’Lisha Yi and Home Depot for some very necessary car items:

-Roof rack locks
-A tow rope

Now we are onto camping gear. We are in major need of a 4-5 man dome or hybrid tent (yes, yes, this would be the same size of our car when set up- laugh it up, people!), a light-weight camping stove, a compass, and some collapsible 5 gallon water containers.

Hopefully our luck will continue with the generosity of businesses around Rochester, NY and Los Angeles, CA!

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Improv Benefit Show Raises over $500

This weekend’s Broken Couch’s Improv Benefit Show for Rubber Duckies raised $531!

Special thanks to BJ Scanlon, Aquinas High School’s Improv Troupe: Catawampus, Disco Pants and Haircuts Improv Group, Alexander Pena, Samantha Rodriguez, Natasha Drake, Law Tarello, John Thompson and the rest of the board of The Space who volunteered their talents and time to make this show possible! Also- big thanks for those who added another duckie to our luggage at the show!

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Our Chariot Awaits: a Fiat Seicento

We officially have our Mongol Rally car!

This morning, we put a down payment on a tiny blue Fiat Seicento in Bielefeld, Germany.

As is the spirit of the Mongol Rally, we are driving a pathetic little car that is completely unsuited for crossing 3 mountain ranges and 5 deserts. This car has a 1.1 liter engine, and is just 54 horsepower! How it’s going to haul three full-grown guys, all of our gear, and dozens of rubber duckies from London to Mongolia, we don’t know. (We expect things to get especially hairy when we have to offroad in the Gobi Desert for the last 1000 miles of the trip.)

Many thanks to Pete’s parents for helping to find the car and negotiating with the German auto dealer in Bielefeld. We’d also like to thank our German friend Uli Weigel, the father of Paul Weigel who was an exchange student and stayed with Pete’s family for a year in 2002-2003. Uli went and checked out the car in person, and says that it appears in good working order (though he did remark “you’re going to Mongolia in THAT little thing?”)

Here are the specs for the car:

Make: Fiat
Model: Seicento 1.1 Active
Year: 2004
Body type: Small Sedan Hatchback, 2 doors
Engine size: 1108 cm3
Power: 40 kW / 54 horsepower
Fuel type: Gas
Color: Blue
Mileage: 175.446 km
Location: Bielefeld, Germany

And here are some photos of it from the dealer’s website:

In just under three weeks, Pete will be flying into to Switzerland, then he’ll head over to Germany to pick up the Fiat and get it ready to go for the rally. We’re planning to build a roof rack, reinforce the bottom of the car and the suspension, maybe install some bigger wheels for more clearance / traction, and do anything else we can think of to give the little car a fighting chance to make it to Mongolia.

Seven more weeks to go!

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The Greece Post: “Risking it all, for Charity”

We got our first real media coverage this morning, from Jeff’s local newspaper, The Greece Post. Jeff is a teacher in the Greece, N.Y. school district.

We pasted the full article below, but you can also find it on the The Greece Post website if you want to read it through the “official” channel. It’s a great little article.

Way to go, Jeff!

Risking it all, for Charity

Jeff Andrews, left, is seen here with improv partner BJ Scanlon. The pair will put on a benefit show June 10 to support Andrews' upcoming charity venture.

Jun 3rd, 2011
By Alysa Stryker, staff writer
Messenger Post

GREECE, N.Y. — They will leave with nothing but one vehicle, seven visas, a small amount of cash and the intention of trekking 10,000 miles through 17 countries.

They will together face an unforgiving environment–corrupt police, remote locations and no help or guidance, travelling from England, Belgium and Germany, through the Czech Republic, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and finally through to Mongolia–all in the name of raising money for the betterment of children’s lives at home and around the world.

And of course, for the sheer adrenaline of it all.

On July 23, Jeff Andrews, a third-year teacher at Greece Olympia High School and a local comedian/actor, will set out on a journey with two other locals from upstate New York through a program called The Mongol Rally in support of the S.O.S. Children’s Villages and The Christina Noble Children’s Foundation.

The program, a “charity car rally” where teams travel to raise money in an underpowered car, will take them through a vast and most often treacherous landscape.

Andrews and his team were given just a few simple rules—do not use a GPS or any electronic navigational devices, travel in a car with a 1200cc engine or less, and raise money for a cause.

The rest is up to them, from the route they take, the food they find, and the shelter they choose.

“There is no AAA in these countries, “ Andrews joked. “I’m really terrified if the car breaks down.”

Andrews says they aim to raise $5,000, or as much as possible, to donate to the charities, and in addition, the vehicle will be donated and auctioned off in support of Adventures for Development Mongolia when the trip comes to a close.

Out of all the locations they will weave through, Andrews says he is frightened about one particularly dangerous portion of the trip.

“I’m terrified (for) once we hit the Caspian Sea, because Iran is underneath, and we’re going to be going around the border,” he said. “A lot of our friends and famiy are terrified for us, but our strong feeling is that if we don’t do this now, there might not be an opportunity in the future. This might be the only time to do it.”

And then there’s the sleeping arrangements, which Andrews says they will figure out as they go on the road.

“It depends on how smelly you want to be, and knowing us, we’re going to be very smelly,” said Andrews.

They will be bringing tents, and occasionally might sleep in the car, or try to hit major cities for a cheap hostel or motel.

“You just have to keep everything in the car and lock it,” said Andrews. “It’s a risk we’re willing to take.”

The three have dubbed their team “The Rubber Duckies” after a joke that dates back to early childhood.

“Pete (one of the other two members on the Mongol Rally Team) and I were members of Troop 38 in Owego, NY for our entire childhoods,” said Andrews, “and every single time we’d go on a scouting adventure, all of the vehicles in our caravan would use CB Radios to keep in touch on the road.”

Setting out on this trip reminded them of a song from the late 70s they used to hear often, called “Convoy” by C.W. McCall.

“The name of the trucker in Convoy is The Rubber Duck. Every time we went on a Boy Scout trip, Jeff’s dad would use “Rubber Duck” as the call sign for their blue minivan and blast Convoy. Now when I hear that song, I instantly think of our Boy Scout roadtrips and adventures.”

On June 10, a benefit show for the trip will be put on by Andrews’ improv comedy group, The Broken Couch. The show will run from 7-9:30 p.m. at the Hungerford building on 1115 East Main Street in Rochester. Tickets are $10.

To learn more about their adventures, or how you can help, check out the team’s website here.

Copyright 2011 Greece Post. Some rights reserved.

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Vehicle Search Update: Can you help us find a car?

So it turns out that buying a car a continent away, sight unseen, is kinda tough. Who’da thunk?

We’ve been feverishly searching all of the laughably small, cheap and underpowered cars we can find in the UK, the Netherlands and Germany…but so far, we’ve come up mostly empty-handed. We’ve gotten a few responses from online auction / car sales websites, and have contacted some of our friends in the EU to help us look, but so far, we have nothing concrete. No car.

We are coming up on our deadline to submit info about our car to The Adventurists, and the practical deadline to get all of our registration and insurance paperwork taken care of. (We don’t want to be dramatic, but we’re getting a tad bit stressed out.)

So now we’re reaching out to YOU, dear visitor. If you know anyone in Europe who is selling a car, or could give us any advice/leads on buying a vehicle, please send us an email!

And while we have you here, we should let you know that we have some limitations…

1.The vehicle should have an engine displacement of 1.2 litres or less. 1200 cc’s.
2.The vehicle must be registered during or after Jan! uary 2002. (The Mongolian government placed this rule recently, because they were tired of people abandoning old junkers in their country.)
3. The vehicle must be cheap. We are on a very limited budget, and we want to spend $2000 on it at the very most. (Preferably under $1500.)

Some of the types of cars that fit this description:
Perodua Kelisa, FIAT Panda, Citroen C1, Perodua Kenari, Suzuki Swift, Citroen Saxo, FIAT Seicento, Citroen C2, Volkswagen Fox, Daihatsu Matiz/ Chevrolet Matiz, Volkswagen Lupo, Hyundai Amica, Renault Twin! go, Vauxhall Agila/ Opel Agila/ Suzuki Wagon R, Daihatsu YRV, Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Corsa/ Opel Corsa, Volkswagen Polo, FIAT 500, FIAT Punto,&! nbsp;Peugeot 106, Nissan Micra, SEAT Ibiza, T! oyota Yaris, Skoda Fabia, Suzuki Ignis/ Subaru Justy, Renault Clio, Daihatsu Sirion/ Perodua MyVi, Suzuki Alto…

Remember, at the end of the Rally, our car will be donated to help a charity in Mongolia. 🙂 If you can help us in any way, please don’t hesitate to send an email!

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The Broken Couch’s benefit show on June 10th

Jeff’s improv comedy group, The Broken Couch will be performing a benefit show for our Mongol Rally team in Rochester, NY on June 10th! Jeff and his friend, BJ Scanlon have been performing improv together for over 6 years, and were nominated by Rochester City Newspaper as one of Rochester’s best improv troupes for 2010.

If you’re in the Rochester area, check them out. Details are on our show poster below:

The Broken Couch’s benefit show for The Rubber Duckies (Mongol Rally 2011 team)
Friday, June 10th
7:00 and 9:30pm (2 shows!) at “The Space”
Hungerford Building
1115 E. Main St.
Suite 248, Door 2, Floor 2
Rochester, NY

Tickets: $10 @ the door

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Visa Business

Sorting out all of our visa business a few months ago was a big pain, but I’m happy to say that all of our visa applications are now being processed!

The route we chose for the Mongol Rally has us going through seventeen countries — seven of which require visas for American passport holders. We knew going in that the European Union wouldn’t require any visas. We were surprised to find out that Georgia and Mongolia do not require visas for Americans either. Turkey sells visas on the border for about $20, so that’s an easy one as well.

For every other country on our route, we need visas in advance.

All of my visa paperwork before I mailed it in to The Adventurists Visa Machine a little over a month ago.

We had to apply for five visas directly (Russia, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan), and request special invites for three countries (Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Russia).

Luckily for us The Adventurists have put together something called The Visa Machine — a visa service based in London’s embassy row which can get Mongol Rally participants nearly every visa they require for a very reasonable fee! Trying to acquire all of these visas and invitations on our own would have been a nightmare (and nigh impossible), so we’re really glad we have the option to let the pros do it.

The Adventurists have also lined up folks in countries requiring an invitation to personally invite each and every rallier via a letter of invitation… This is especially important for certain countries. Turkmenistan, for example, is very selective about who is allowed to enter, and Mongol Ralliers have received special permission. (Turkmenistan is also probably the weirdest country we’ll be going through, so we’re glad that we’ll get the chance to go there.)

Even with the Visa Machine folks doing legwork of physically taking our passports to each embassy, we still had a whole ton of paperwork to fill out. Consulates are notoriously picky about visa applications and can reject you for any random reason. People have been rejected because their staples were the wrong direction or because they used the wrong kind of glue on their passport photo. Doing all of this paperwork exactly to the letter is very important. We had to do a lot of research on border crossings, the cities we would visit along the way, and even listing off specific hotels where we were “planning to stay” (so basically, we needed to list some random hotel that sounded legit, since nobody checks on it once you’re in the country).

Now that we have sent in our applications, it will take several months for all of the visas to go through. Even after they’re granted — if they’re granted — we will still have to get our Azerbaijan visa on our own, since the Visa Machine can’t get that one for us.

At the moment, our visas have been processing for a month. Below is current status of my visas from the Adventurists website. Only one of my visas has come through so far — Russia.

For now, it’s a waiting game.

We’ll keep you posted on when the rest of our visas go through.

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Why “The Rubber Duckies”?

Our team name is The Rubber Duckies…and you’re probably wondering why.

Mongol Rally teams tend to pick something Mongolia or rally-related like “Genghis Khan’t Touch This,” “Between a Yak and a Hard Place” or “For Baatar Or Worse”…but we found our inspiration elsewhere.

It all goes back to Boy Scouts. Jeff and I (Pete) were members of Troop 38 in Owego, NY for entire childhoods and every single time we’d go on a scouting adventure, all of the vehicles in our caravan would use CB Radios to keep in touch on the road. Driving in a big convoy with CB radios immediately made our scout leaders think of the classic 1976 #1 hit song “Convoy” by C.W. McCall.

Convoy is the ultimate driving song, about badass truckers driving cross-country and evading pesky “bears” (cops) and smashing through toll booths all across the U.S.A. It’s also full of awesome trucker lingo.

The name of the trucker in Convoy is The Rubber Duck. Every time we went on a Boy Scout trip, Jeff’s dad would use “Rubber Duck” as the call sign for their blue minivan and blast Convoy. Now when I hear that song, I instantly think of our Boy Scout roadtrips and adventures.

When we started brainstorming names for our Mongol Rally team, “The Rubber Duckies” was one of the first suggestions, and it just stuck. And once we came up with our “Sponsor a Duck” fundraising gimmick, we were basically married to the name. Not to mention that was available, and it gives us a pretty awesome mascot character for our team as well.

Anyway, time to listen to some Convoy:

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We Are Crazy.


In a few short months, we are driving from London to Mongolia in a car that most people wouldn’t want to drive around the block. We’ll be crossing deserts, climbing treacherous mountain passes, and venturing into some of the most remote places in the world. We’ll pass through seventeen countries. The last few thousand miles, there are no roads. In the end, if we make it, we’ll be in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

We’re doing the Mongol Rally.

Our team name is the Rubber Duckies (more about that later). This website is where you’ll be able to read about our journey.

We’re in the early planning stages still, even though the rally is under three months away. Honestly, we have no idea what we’re doing. But we are asking for your support. For now, check around our website. In the next few days, we’ll spruce things up a bit and start raising money for charity.

We are crazy.

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