ElRulio aka “One Hot Mess” Wrap’s it up!
In the beginning, it was an idea, a plan, a thought and it all began in Ulanbataar Mongolia a couple of years ago. The 3 of us were travelling around Mongolia and when we arrived at our hostel we spotted the banner that would eventually lead us to a decision to enter the Rickshaw Run in India 2013. At the time this banner was the Finish Line for the gruelling Mongol rally (16000 kms from the UK to Mongolia). The 3 of us thought WOW what a cool idea! Then after some serious thinking, we decided to try something a little less dangerous, less costly and lesstime. The Rickshaw Run…Little did we know about “less dangerous”.
My first response when I was asked to join the Offtrax team was “YEAH, but give me a week to think about it! “ During that week I told some close friends about the Rickshaw Run. A few thought I was INSANE and others said “Go for It!” My husband did some reading on the event and offered his support as long as HE didn’t have to enter it. A week later, Jess and Corker called me and asked for my decision. I said YES. I hung up the phone and then asked myself “Am I nuts?”
This decision was made in October 2012 and Team Offtrax embarked on a massive fundraising project to help out Frank Water in India. I had been to India in 2004 assisting in a water project with 100 schools north of Mumbai and I had realized how important fresh, pure water was to India. I was excited to be able to once again help out with a water project in a different part of India.
And then on April 7, 2013 the Rickshaw Run began. 70 pimped up rickshaws left Cochi and within 3 hours our rickshaw was run off the road by a massive bus! This nearly did me in. I was ready to hop on a plane back to Canada or put the rickshaw on a train, along with us and get to the finish line that way. And then the next day, after I was talked into continuing the adventure over numerous rums and superb Indian cuisine, we drove at night which was one of, if not the scariest things I have ever done in my life! The Indians either drive with full beams or no beams at all. I am pretty blind at night, but I still could make out numerous vehicles, bicycles and animals with no lights…Again I was a blubbery mess, which is not me.
Our adventure continued for another 14 days with a couple of scary night drives thrown in for fun. When we did our final climb to Shillong, it was magical and most beautiful as Shillong is known as the Scotland of India. The air was crisp and clean. And we did it – 4,130 kms in a Rickshaw that did 35 kms/hr average speed.
When I returned home, this journey seemed surreal. I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. I have never felt so vulnerable yet so safe and fulfilled.
I had survived this journey with my daughter Jess and her girlfriend Corker. Travelling with 2 thirty something’s and me being a 60 something was definitely a trip to heaven and hell and back! Tempers reached some pretty high peaks! And yet we all looked forward to each day when we finished up and chilled with some Kingfisher beers and delicious Indian food. Some of the small towns we ended up in, I swear no tourist has been to.
I do not regret a minute of the Rickshaw Run, well, maybe the first 2 nights.
Would I do it again? No way! But bring on the Mongol Rally, because I am ready!