It was late January when we parked the Land Cruiser in a warehouse in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. It was winter so wrapped up in winter jackets, woolen hat, and gloves we returned to the Apple Guesthouse to pack our backpacks.
This otherwise simple task required more thinking than usual: leaving in winter clothes, 850 kilometers of hiking in Turkey’s early spring, and visiting the Netherlands in (hopefully) the pleasantly warm month of May. We never packed as much as we did this year.
Off we were, only to return to Bishkek early June.
To Turkey & the Netherlands
We had some wonderful adventures, away from our laptops and into the wild. You may have followed our 850-kilometer-long thru-hike of the Carian Trail in Southwest Turkey (find all stories here).
Read More: Hiking in Turkey – The Carian Way
The second part of our trip was in the Netherlands where we spent time with our families and friends. As usual we had a blast at our annual Overland Reunion, which was bigger than ever but just as casual and easygoing as always.
Read More: The Overland Reunion 2019
Back in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
On our return journey we carried even more luggage, including two heavy boxes. Everything carefully packed and weighed by Coen, a job that took him a long afternoon, we hopefully carried everything we’ll need in the weeks to come for our next project.
So, back we are. In Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. And back is our Land Cruiser, however, not yet as our home on wheels. Instead we are staying at an Airbnb.
Why? you may ask.
Check out: The Tire-in-a-Mile T-shirt Collection
Trustworthy as the Land Cruiser is when it comes to its engine and mechanics in general, our Toyota has a rusty body, the rear doors don’t seal properly anymore and there are some minor cracks in a cross member. Even though the Land Cruiser still looks good enough from the outside (well, to our standards), there are too many holes and cracks.
When we drove on Siberia’s unpaved roads and in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert last year, the dust penetrated everything to a level that drove us crazy.
Read More: Feeling Lost in the Gobi Desert
The Land Cruiser Restoration Project
And so, it’s time for an overhaul.
#4 to be exact.
But more on the overhaul in the following blog posts. As we speak we are dismantling the Land Cruiser’s interior while digesting our first setback: In January we had found a welder wanting to do the job. On our return last week he sent a message:
Sorry to let you know, but I’m in the hospital. Expecting to be here for 10 days or more.
Do we wait for him at least 10 days?
Or find another one?
This and many other questions are already filling our heads.
We have a 2-month visa so that should give us enough time to do the job and so, for now, we’re relaxed about it. Based on past experiences, we’ll have to work hard to keep that mindset…
While over the years we have had many wonderful tales to tell about workshops and fantastic mechanics, our stories with body welders are lowest on the list, which makes us a bit anxious (to say the least) about the task at hand.
Edited to Add: To understand why, check out the harrowing story of our first overhaul, in Bolivia, 9 years ago, that we finally uploaded on the blog.
Read More: The Overhaul in Guyana
Are You in Kyrgyzstan? – Come and Visit us!
So, please stay tuned. We can use some mental support for sure, here, on Facebook, on Instagram, or in person.
Do you happen to be in Bishkek in June-August? Let us know. Our home is open for a drink, a meal, and we even have a sofa bed – we’ll be happy to swap travel stories!
Edited to add: check out Where Are We – Kyrgyzstan 3 where we talk about the overhaul as well as the overlanders we met!
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