Back on the Road, or Not? (Where are We – Kyrgyzstan 2)


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.

Warehouse in Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek (©Coen Wubbels)
Land Cruiser in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Travel Guides for Central Asia

(click on the images to look inside)

Bradt Travel Guides – Tajikistan

Bradt Travel Guides – Uzbekistan

Bradt Travel Guides – Kyrgyzstan

Products from Amazon

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.

Maarten Baars’ Real Time Clock

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.

Books on Overlanding

(click on the images to look inside)

Europe Overland – Graeme Bell

Last Overland – Alex Bescoby

Around the world in 10 years – Pablo Rey

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Drinks on the street, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan (©Coen Wubbels)
Drinks on the street in Bishkek

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

Gobi Desert, Mongolia

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.

Now what?

Do we wait for him at least 10 days?

Or find another one?

This and many other questions are already filling our heads.

Land Cruiser Rust, Kyrgyzstan (©Coen Wubbels)
Land Cruiser Dismantling, Kyrgyzstan (©Coen Wubbels)
Sikaflex is our #1 product in the Land Cruiser’s first-aid kit. Great to glue stuff together, patch up holes in the bodywork, but boy what a job to cut it loose again!
Land Cruiser Dismantling, Kyrgyzstan (©Coen Wubbels)
Experience has taught us all seems to make sense when taking it apart, until, weeks later, you have to put it together again. So we have a system this time!

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

Trimming down the sides in Guyana, 2015. And yes, that side of the Land Cruiser is up for another welding job.

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!

Check out Where Are We – Kyrgyzstan 3 where we talk about the overhaul as well as the overlanders we met!

Check it out: the Landcruising Adventure Throw-Pillow Collection

Fuel Up

Thank you to those who bought us a couple of liters of diesel to support our journey and/or website.

Would you like to do the same?

More on Workshops & Maintenance:

6 thoughts on “Back on the Road, or Not? (Where are We – Kyrgyzstan 2)”

  1. Hi Karin-Marijke and Coen,

    Currently in Tashkent. Will be in Bishkek in +- 10 days. We met 3 years ago at your réunion in the NL. Would be great to see you in KZ.
    Meeting point?
    Jean-Marie Antoine

  2. Hi Cohen
    Met you this morning outside Mongolian consulate we have checked to Salute Hotel and keen to meet up for a drink and chat . Where and when suits you?
    Mark n Sue


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