If you haven't heard of the Mongol Rally, we suggest you acquaint yourself. The charity event starts in Europe and ends in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Unlike most rallies, there is no defined route or support staff. Participants must simply survive long enough to make it to the finish line in one piece. That would be challenging enough in a well-equipped off roader like a Nissan Patrol or Toyota Hilux, but those who take up the challenge must do so in either a vehicle with an engine displacing no more than 1.2 liters or an emergency services vehicle like an ambulance or fire truck.
At the end of the rally, the surviving vehicles are either auctioned or donated to cash-strapped local organizations. This year, New Yorkers Ota Ulc and Nick Jarret have partnered with Prague local Karel Vancura in an attempt to trace the 10,000 miles from Prague to Mongolia in a Renault Kangoo. The "Last Rat to Mongolia" team bought their car sight-unseen and have outfitted the quirky little van for the trek with the help of a local mechanic. Skid plates, rally lights, a roof rack and a gaggle of jerry cans are all part of the plan.
A total of 300 teams will attempt the continental crossing, each supporting their own charities along the way. The Last Rats are raising funds for UNICEF and Lotus Children's Centre Charitable Trust. You can follow their progress on Facebook or at the Mongol Rally site, and can kick them a couple of bucks via the team's JustGiving site. What else are you going to use the money for? Another coffee?