Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Former North Shore classmates complete Mongol Rally for River House shelter

Two North Shore men recently traveled from London to the capital of Mongolia in a subcompact car, more than 7,000 miles on a good day.

“We didn’t really do any work on the car until two days before the rally,” George Seamans said.

Seamans, 28, grew up in Beverly but has lived in Norway for the past three years. He and high school math class friend Justin Gordon completed the Mongol Rally, a charity adventure event, in mid-August.

The rally has just three rules for trekking from London, England, to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia: The journey must be completed in a ridiculously small vehicle; participants receive no planned support; and they have to raise money for charity.

While the rally is more about the journey than the destination or any kind of “winning,” a number of cars don’t make it to Mongolia, Seamans said. The Nissan Micra he purchased proved a worthy companion, as Seamans and his traveling companions chose a route that passed south over some rugged terrain through Hungary, Bulgaria, Turkey, Georgia, Russia and Kazakhstan.

The teal car cost Seamans and company around $1,000 and managed to carry the team through water crossings and across desert for 27 days with only one real hiccup that happened early in the trip, the result of London mechanics putting windshield washer fluid in the coolant reserve.

“George noticed that shaving-cream-like foam was leaking out of the coolant reservoir, and we had no idea why,” Gordon said in an email.

The trip was not without other perils. The group deliberately chose a southern route to avoid passing through conflict-ridden Ukraine and later found themselves traveling 20 hours in the wrong direction, nearly stranded in the mountains of Georgia looking for a border crossing.

“We didn’t really plan on the way; we just kind of drove,” Seamans said.

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