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See us Live! The Rickshaw Run

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The local chapter of the Porsche Club is hosting Smiles and Miles on                           Wednesday, December 2.

We’ll be sharing a video and slide show of our 4,000 km drive across India in an Auto Rickshaw. All are welcome!

Calgary Elks Lodge & Golf Club

2501 – 6th Street N.E.

Calgary, Alberta CANADA

6:00 pm  Porsche Club Mingle & Indian Buffet

7:00 pm  Porsche Annual  General Meeting & Elections

7:45 pm  Smiles and Miles:  The Rickshaw Run

8:45 pm  End

Come on out if you want to learn more about the adventure or just for a laugh.

Dinner – Approximately $25

Presentation Only – No Cost

Please RSVP to Dina McDonald & let her know if you would like to join in for dinner or just the show.

dinamcdonald@shaw.ca

Porsche Club - Square

 

Today on The Rickshaw Run: Into the Himalayas

Lost Map

After about 5 days without phone or internet connectivity, we’ve re-surfaced, in Darjeeling.  Today’s climb of 8,000 feet was interesting.  Tracey and Richard needed to hop out and push up the steepest bits while Miles navigated the switchbacks like a pro.  When we reached the washed out road, a half dozen road workers picked up the entire rig and carried it safely to the other side. Now nestled in the middle of Nepal, Tibet, Butan & Bangladesh, it feels like we’ve left India entireley.  Tomorrow we start the descent and head to Assam.

Rickshaw Run: Follow The UnRoute

Lost Map

No, it’s not a race.  No, it’s not a rally.

Yes, there is a start line. Yes, there is a finish line.  But everything in between will be up to us.

There is no set route, no back up support, no pre-arranged accommodation and no hand-holding. It’s going to be just the three of us and all the magnificent chaos India chooses to throw at us. There is no way of knowing when or if we’ll get to the finish line. The only certainty is that we will break down, we will get stuck, we will get lost, we will be exhausted and we will have one heck of a lot of fun.

As we prepare for this adventure, planning a daily route is pointless. Trying to sort out where we’ll stay every night is pointless. Detailed planning of any kind is really quite pointless.

What we do know is that we’ll need to drive all the way across the widest part of India from  Jaisalmer in the Rajasthani desert in the far west to Shillong in the Meghalayan hills in the far east. The shortest possible distance is about 2,600 km and we’ll have less than 13 days to tackle it at an average speed likely to be below 30 km/h.

So we know we’ll need to start by pootling across the desert, but after that should we take a left turn into the Himalayas? Or will we head across the northern plains and into Nepal?  We’ll certainly need to traverse some tributaries of the Ganges, pass through some tiger reserves and jungle, before crossing more tea plantations than we ever knew existed. To get to the end we’ll need to squeeze in between Bhutan, Burma and Bangladesh to arrive in the ‘Scotland of the East’ where we’re almost certain to be deluged by rain.

It’s our favourite type of blind adventuring, with no guide book to follow. We much prefer to protect the sanctity of the unknown.

In less than four hours the real adventure begins as the Rickshaw Run launches.

Follow us through The Adventurists, from April 6 – 18, 2015

 Live Tracking Map

Image Source:  The League of Adventurists International Limited

Into India

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We leave our cats and home in good hands and head to India for the start of a grand adventure. Arriving in Delhi feels like stepping back in time as we disembark the ultra-modern Airbus 830 and head into the very early morning streets of the city filled with thousands of cows, goats, dogs and people…hundreds of people…wrapped in blankets and sleeping on the sidewalks.

At the train station, we have a brief opportunity to visit with our friend Abishek who has come from his home in Udaipur to meet up with us. He’s been a great help in getting us ready for this trip and we’re disappointed that we can’t manage more time together.

Before we know it, we’re stepping onto a crowded, dusty train for our 18-hour journey through the state of Rajasthan to Jaisalmer, near the Pakistani border. As the sun rises, we are immersed  in the sandy, scrubby scenery that we will face for several days once we begin our drive back across the country for the Rickshaw Run.

After a good night’s rest in our abode for the first six days of the trip, the Nashna Haveli, we’re off to explore the spectacular hill fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the only fort in India to still be inhabited.

In the sweltering heat of the afternoon, we return to the haveli, former home to several Maharajas, to be greeted by the Prince. He still lives here, along with his sister, brother and each of their spouses and children. We truly feel like guests in their home as we dine on their ancient family recipes sitting alongside them on the rooftop patio enjoying spectacular views of the fort and surrounding city.

The next morning has us up long before sunrise and heading into the middle of the Thar Desert for a camel safari, exploring an abandoned city and hiking through the Royal Cenotaphs.  After a fantastic thali for lunch, we are off to the Rickshaw Run headquarters and finally have an opportunity to be face-to-face with our auto rickshaw. We chat with the painter, Amrit, who patiently spent two days duplicating the fabulous rickshaw design created for us by Mark Cromwell back at home. He’s done a fantastic job and all that he will accept from us as a token of our gratitude is a Canadian coin to add to his collection.

rickshaw run

The next few days include lots of opportunity for vehicle modifications and test driving before the  Rickshaw Run kicks off on April 6. Beginning to get acquainted with our little motorized beast, I squeal with delight when I actually manage to muster the super human strength to get the engine going using it’s crazy pull lever starter. The rest of the operation is pretty much like a motor bike and Miles, Richard and I all pick it up quickly, receiving our official auto rickshaw/lawnmower permits without much effort.  It’s looking like we’re almost ready to roll off into the great Indian unknown.

Tracey