The team brings the ambulance in to our trusty mechanic for an initial assessment.
Monthly Archives: September 2011
Today, I officially kicked off my visa challenge. Travelling UK, France, Spain, Morocco, Senegal and Mali, I am the only member on the team who needs visas for all the countries I mentioned. Biometrics for UK visa was done today and I will soon mail my documents to the British Consulate in New York City for visa approval. I expect to hear from them within 2 weeks after they receive the documents.
Visa applications themselves are fun to answer. Questions like “Where will you stay?”, “How long will you stay?” have conditional answers in my case. We’ll be staying in the ambulance all along. Staying in hotels defeats the purpose of the charity rally. If all goes well we’ll take the pre estimated time to travel through a country. But what if there is a delay. We get lost, our vehicle breaks down. We might to spend more time in that country. Hope the officials evaluate my application keeping in mind the objective of the trip. Fingers crossed.
Nonetheless and fortunately for me, I will have many more stories to tell. Stay tuned. Onward to Timbuktu.
It’s high time we got some t-shirts! We’re going to be offering them for $20, with 100% of the proceeds going towards ambulance donation funding. There are lots of hurdles to overcome in donating a vehicle to Africa, as we’re learning. Things like maintenance, shipping, and lots of fuel stand between New York and Mali. Apart from that we aim to donate actual money and not an ambulance alone.
We’ll be ordering two different color T-Shirts in lightweight 100% cotton (Sizes S, M, L, XL). However if you pre-order one you’ll be able to choose any color you want! Below are just some suggested color combinations but if you’d like something you don’t see there, like royal blue or aubergine or anything, we can do that too. You also have a chance to get a striped sleeve jersey, which we won’t be offering later. (Striped Sleeve Jersey only available with white ink, as pictured.)
To place an order just post a reply to this post or comment on the Team Last Responders Facebook page ! (Or contact Mike, Stephen, Kunal, or Dennis directly.) Please specify shirt color, ink color, and size. (We’re not taking any money until you have the shirt in hand.)
100% Lightweight Cotton Tee and Double Sleeve Stripe Poly/Cotton Jersey Tee
So we officially bought the ambulance on Saturday, but never in my wildest dreams could I imagine that we would have plates by today, Wednesday. Honestly, words cannot describe my enthusiasm. With the daunting task of transferring an out of state title, applying for a New York License, and registering an ambulance, I was fully expecting something (if not everything) to go wrong. DMV’s are always point to fine print and telling me to go back and get more paperwork after hours and hours of pointless waiting on endless queues.
This time, the visit was uneventful: woke up at 8, 8:30 bagel and coffee, DMV by 9. 10 minutes on line A, 45 minutes on Line C, and 45 Minutes for booth 13 to call my number, out by 12, and back to work by 12:30. Hats off to the Geico it really does take 15 minutes to get insurance. They even email a pdf.
So there you have it folks. We’re inching our way toward Timbuktu.
Now that we have a team, a destination and a mission, alls we need is a ride to take us across the Sahara. We need a vehicle that announces our presence when we rolled into a Berber village. When I think of this American team, the first thing that comes to mind is the word “Awesome”. Ambulances are awesome. So we’re taking an ambulance, and that was that.
The organizers, other teams, and common sense all generally discourage teams from shipping a car. It’s a huge hassle and not worth the trouble. Well, being that we’re driving to Timbuktu, doing things that make sense doesn’t exactly jive with our collective brains.
Couple weeks ago, we started scouring the net for ambulances. As it turned out, eBay proved to be a great resource. By the end of the week, we found an ambulance listed at 2000 dollars sitting in Agawam, MA. It took all of 10 minutes of deliberation to be convinced this 1989 Ford Econoline ambulance should not retire to the back of the used car lot to be forgotten, nor should it be disassembled at the scrapyard. After a lifetime of public service, this ambulance will embark on its most ridiculous journey yet – tearing up Saharan road in the name of adventure. The ambulance is going to retire to the legendary “Lost City of Gold”: Timbuktu.
A couple weeks ago we ventured up to Agawam, Massachusetts, a rural New England town just across the border from Connecticut. Stephen had found a promising vehicle on ebay that failed to meet its reserve price, so he contacted the dealer and did some negotiating. It was a 1989 diesel Ford, and it looked pretty nice. So we went up with the intent of test driving it and taking it to a mechanic to have it checked out, so there wouldn’t be any surprises. We took it to three different places before we learned definitively that diesel mechanics don’t work on Saturdays. Having failed at that particular goal, the trip was no loss, since we did all get to drive it and familiarize ourselves with it in general; essentially this trundling tin can that we could potentially be spending three weeks in. It drove smoothly, and had a lot of power. The back was very spacious and in great shape, and there were tons of compartments to store things in. We all liked it. Since we still were uncertain of its mechanical health though, we decided to keep looking. The Agawam ambulance wasn’t going anywhere; we could always come back to it if we couldn’t find a better buy.
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