Ottawa trio revved up for Mongol Rally

Three Ottawa residents are on their way to take part in the infamous Mongol Rally, a wild, four-week road trip from Prague to Siberia.

Kari Hanes, Geoff Best and Kevin Orange, all employees of the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board, made the decision to embark on the international trek during a lunch break when they were complaining about the lack of adventure in their lives. 

The three — they call themselves Team Khanucks — will pass through several countries including Czech Republic, Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Georgia, Russia, Kazakhstan and Mongolia, and they'll do it in a tiny 2002 Toyota Yaris.

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"They call it 'the unplanned route' — that's our attitude anyway," Hanes said Wednesday as they prepared to fly out the next day. "It's gonna be a lot of fun. It's a big challenge and you know, life's short." 

Every summer, the Mongol Rally thunders 16,093 kilometres across landscape including desert and mountains. The teams are given no set route, they must travel without support in an old vehicle, and they're expected to raise funds for a charity of their choice. 

Challenges along the way 

Hanes wrote on the group's website that her greatest fear is having her team members fall asleep while she's driving and ending up at the "remote and inhospitable border of an unknown country. 

Orange said he'll be expecting some challenges along the way. 

"We're going to go through at least three tires I'm assuming, maybe a suspension is going to break on us," he said. "Hopefully we don't get stuck to badly that we can't pull ourselves out. It's going to be an adventure for sure."

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The group is planning to raise money for the Education Foundation of Ottawa, which supports local students.  

There's no room for sentimentality: At the end of the adventure, the car will be scrapped, they said.

"I'm looking forward to trying the food. I'm really looking forward to meeting people," Best said. "I think it's gonna be a great way to be on the ground and meet local people ... you know  getting off the beaten track."