Friday, December 01, 2006


Apparently, we haven't done the best job of communicating basic information about our efforts in the challenge to all those family members and friends who have taken an interest in this adventure. It became clear during the fundraiser that there are a number of common questions that have not been adequately answered on our web-site or during our conversations with people.
This, then, will be where we resolve all the questions that are most frequently asked:

How did you come up with this idea/hear about the challenge?
The story goes something like this: Ed came by our house many moons ago, sometime in late winter, or early spring, excited about an article he had read in Outside magazine. We talked. We enthused. We started scheming and dreaming, trying to come up with a plausible way that we could get into the next event. Hours late, and with Amanda's green light on the project, we were committed to going (and just plain committed). No discussion of any practicalities was ever broached.
A few weeks later, Jenna came to visit (remember St. Patty's day?). Details are a bit sketchy on the specifics but, in what can only be presumed to be booze addled thinking, Jenna opted to join us on the trip, and transform the deluded duo into a twisted trio of a team.
Soon afterwards, Ed roped Mike into the mix, and our full complement was formed. Still no definite plans on how or what to do, and nothing more than a vague sense that an application was due to the officials.
Barton came later, starting as a potential source for grass roots charities, and quickly becoming part of the team. Most recently, Scott and Kara, tired of hearing about the great plans and the wonderful adventure that was about to be had, threw their hats into the race and promised to lend their back to any pushing and sand shoveling that might arise in the future.
And, thus, a team was born.

Where did the bus come from/How did you get the bus?
The original idea for the bus was Amanda's idea, proposed mostly in jest during one of the late night team brain storming sessions. And it stuck. We all loved the idea of having this giant moving party machine that could be used to add people to the adventure, with plenty of room for all our various equipment and fellow travelers. No one really thought about the costs associated with larger vehicles. Not yet, at least.

As for getting the bus, that's a longer story. The short version on the short bus: Bid on eBay for a bus in Buffalo, NY. First bid, just for fun and to get the team started on vehicle acquisition process. Bid wins. Ed, Jay, Amanda and Ethan fly to Buffalo (visit Niagara Falls). Drive bus home (with an unplanned pit stop near Rush, NY). Much learning, the old school type that's hard and painful, is learned.

What are you raising money for, or, Why should I give you money to have this much fun?
We are raising money for 2 grass roots charities operating in and near the Gambia. All proceeds that we raise go toward the charities. We believe that these are very worthy causes, so please donate whatever and however you can. The bus isn't going to win any speed competitions, and we're sure that we'll lag all the other teams in the non-race (wink, wink), but we'd like to come out in the lead as total raisers of fun. That would be something to crow about.
We, the team members, are financing all the "fun" stuff associated with the challenge from our own pockets, or through the very generous donations of our sponsors (see sidebar for a list or our website). The repairs, the upgrades to the bus, the travel, food, lodging, gas (yikes!), and shipping.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but there's a giant puddle of water between DC and Plymouth. How are you getting the bus over to England?
As you may know already, several of us are avid sailors. We're going to make the bus water-tight, throw some canvas up on her roof, and follow the trade winds across the pond. That's what all that sailing in the Bay(s) was preparing us for.
Actually, we're shipping the bus. It's surprisingly easy, straightforward, and cheaper than you would think. I guess globalization isn't all bad.

I know one/some/all of you, and you couldn't find the carburetor if your life depended on it, let alone fix it. Who's the mechanic of the bunch?
We don't have one. Yes. Yes, we know.

This sounds like more fun than popping zits. Can I come too?
Are you a mechanic?

It has been our intention from the beginning to make this an open invitation to all of our friends and family to join us on part or all of the route. Amanda's coming for part of the trip, for example. We've all been very surprised, to tell you the truth, on the number of people who are actively considering or who have committed (see team description above) to coming on the trip. Space is getting crowded, granted, but we still haven't deviated from our thoughts on people joining us. Yet. There's some finite number of people who can conceivably be on the bus at one point. We haven't hit that number yet, but it's fast approaching. If you're serious about joining us for part of the trip, you best speak up now.

When are you leaving? What's the timetable/dates?
The exact date of departure is still up for debate. The fourth heat of the challenge officially leaves from Plymouth on the second of February, but we're thinking about leaving early and spending more time in Spain than is slated by the challenge. We don't get over to that side of the Atlantic all that often, and most of us have never been to Spain.
In general, this is what we're expecting:
-Bus leaves US sometime in early/mid January.
-1/25 Team members start arriving in England.
-2/1 to 2/2 The bus, with team, is seen barrelling around sharp corners in Southern Spain.
-2/23 The bus is auctioned off to a very lucky new owner.
Everything else is up in the air for the moment.

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