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Mongol Rally: Let the extreme adventure begin--again

July 13, 2012|By Catharine M. Hamm | Los Angeles Times Travel editor
(Leon Logothetis )

But why?

Why would you want to drive from Britain to Mongolia in a tiny car through the sometimes-hostile terrain of 18 countries where you’re almost guaranteed to encounter some sort of trouble? Especially when that trouble could include death, quite possibly your own?

And why, if you’ve tried it once and nearly got killed, would you want to do it again?

To encourage reading, of course.

We don’t mean reading of this blog, although that’s nice too. We mean reading for children who may not have access to books.

That’s why Leon Logothetis and Steven Priovolos have teamed up again for the Mongol Rally, a road trip that starts Saturday outside of London at and ends in Ulan Bator, Mongolia. For every mile the two drive (and rules of the rally say the car can't have more than a 1.2 liter-engine), they will donate a book to an underprivileged child through FirstBook. Ten thousand miles, 10,000 books.

Logothetis and Priovolos started the rally last year, as readers of this blog may recall. Things went OK the first week (if you ignore visa problems and a stomach upset that laid the ever-energetic Logothetis flat on his back) but on the eighth day, they were T-boned in Romania by a driver in a 4X4 who was violating all sorts of traffic laws. Their car, a Nissan Micra, was totaled. Somehow, they were not.

After having to drop out of the 10,000-mile rally, Logothetis said he was frustrated and depressed. But then, he said, he and Priovolos concluded that the adventure may have been cut short because there was no element of giving and compassion, the hallmark of some of their previous adventures.

The two, for instance, last spring completed a tour of what they called the Kindness Cab, in which they drove a black British taxi cab across country, stopping to give rides to people who needed them (a veteran on his way to the hospital for cancer treatment, a poor family who joined the two for a trip to an ice cream store, complete with frozen greats for all). The Kindness Cab was cute but a mechanical mess. In the end, it didn’t matter. They raised $11,500 that they donated to local schools and to the St. Joseph Center in Venice.

With the book donations, Logothetis thinks his Mongol Rally karma is in sync. You’ll have a chance to see in the coming days as he blogs his way across a third of the Earth’s surface.

Watch this space.


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