On to Ulaanbaatar!

Casey Peterson ’12 is on the final leg of a 10,000-mile journey across Europe and Asia in a short yellow school bus to raise money for underprivileged children and women of central Asia.

Not a race, the Mongol Rally from London, U.K., to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, is an all-out effort by 306 teams from around the globe to provide humanitarian support to low-income populations, create practical and productive solutions to problems, and help underprivileged children maximize their life’s potential. It has also been a wild adventure as Casey’s posts on middmag.com and her team’s blog can attest.

Casey’s latest report (below) arrived via e-mail on Tuesday, Aug. 23, just as the six members of her 2Big2Fail team prepared to cross from Kazakhstan through southern Russia and on into Mongolia.

Team 2Big2Fail is on the eve of entering Mongolia (hopefully). That is, if the Mongolian border police allow us to import our absurd vehicle, if our suspension doesn’t break into pieces (it’s been mumbling quite a bit recently), if our front brakes hold up (we had to remove the rear brakes last week in Uzbekistan when a mechanic revealed to us the smashed and melted pieces that used to be our rear braking system), and many other variables play in our favor. And once we get into Mongolia, that’s when the real fun begins. We’ve heard rumors of boulder-infested roads, unnamed roads, and nonexistent roads. We were also recently notified that due to political issues with Russia, Mongolia no longer has diesel gas available (we’re driving a diesel bus). But we’re of course up for the challenge and look forward not only to bribing diesel off of truckers as well as to riding across vast Mongolian plains sitting on lawn chairs on our fully extended handicap ramp.

As we sit in a cafe in Semey, Kazakhstan, the city that suffered massive nuclear fallout at the whim on Stalin, enjoying what will most likely be our last good meal and chance at finding internet, we ponder our possible fate on the rest this journey that a third of the participants typically don’t finish. Until Ulaanbaatar!

Casey Peterson, 4th from right, with members of her team and various mechanics and new friends in Kazakhstan. Click on the photo to enlarge.

Update: On Thursday, Aug. 25, middmag.com received word that Casey and her 2Big2Fail team had successfully crossed the border into Mongolia, and on Aug. 30 they finished the rally at Ulaanbaatar. Watch for Casey’s final post coming soon. 

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