Earlier this year, the Rusty Rhinos, aka Adam Ataar and Alex Collard, set out from London, UK to drive across land to Beijing, China in their old Landrover, ‘Red’.
The Rusty Rhinos have been undertaking rally challenges and fundraising for Mercy Corps since 2007 and, including their most recent 2014 Beijing rally, have raised over £7,000.
Over the course of their 2014 trip, Adam and Alex covered 8,100 miles, travelled through seven time zones and ten countries including France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and finally China. This was all achieved in 27 days, a remarkably good time seeing as they spent six days stuck at border crossings between Russia and Mongolia and Mongolia and China due to the Nadaam festivities in Mongolia. The Mongolian government had decided to extend the public holidays for Nadaam at very short notice, so the borders closed down meaning that the Rusty Rhinos as well as many other people were stuck for a few days!
During the challenge, the Rusty Rhinos were able to meet Mercy Corps teams in Mongolia (Bayan-Ulgii and Ulaan Baatar) and China.
Asked why they undertake these challenges year on year, Adam said:
“It is a combination of things. It is a wonderful way to see the world, interact with different people and cultures and it also restores belief that the world is nicer and safer than the headlines in the news often make out. The rallies are certainly a challenge, but we enjoy them and it is very satisfying to use them to raise funds for Mercy Corps’ work.”
Adam and Alex shared some of their stories from their trip with us, this is one of our favourites:
“In Kazakhstan, we had a problem with our car which meant that in ten hours, we had only covered 20 miles. Eventually, after a gruelling day of high temperatures and stops every 20 minutes due to car problems, we reached a village called Embi. Here a local mechanic repaired our car and refused to charge us. He just wanted to wish us well on our journey and have good memories of Kazakhstan. Throughout Kazakhstan people were incredibly hospitable and helpful in many ways. We’ve had strangers in Kazakhstan ask us to pull over just so they could buy us lunch and find out more about us.”
More information on the Rusty Rhinos’ blog - http://www.rustyrhinos.com/beijingrally2014