15th of July, 2015
Londontown! Time to set up base camp and get our affairs in order. Lucky for us, my amazing sister and her beautiful family have a sweet little pad in South London. HQ for the next 9 days. All we have to do now is meet the crew, get our cars, organize our last visa for Russia, make our car modifications, and we’re outta here. Sounds pretty easy but thinking about it, our cars are in Wales, Camo is lost in north England (maybe Scotland), it takes a week to process our Russian visas… but we’re pretty sure everything will go according to plan, especially considering we’re mostly kiwi and we don’t have a plan anyway. But if it carries on as it has already, I’ve made some mates with the customs officer at the Russian embassy who helped us skip all the queues. It’s amazing what you can get away with when you’re a cripple.
Over the next few days, Ben and Sonny both arrived at the wrong time and the wrong airport. Maybe I just lost a day. Maybe I’m too tired to realize what airport they were coming from. But hey, they’re here, so time to get the show on the road. We hired a Peugeot and practice for our Yaris, pile on in, and head for Wales. Six hours later we rock up to some random driveway lined with skeletons. To our surprise we are greeted by the amazing Stu! With Fosters in our hands and a female cat named Hamish, Stu informed us that we were in the correct place, which is a bonus because we need to find our Yaris’s and Camo. Moments later, wild eyes are bleaming out of a silver bullet. I believe its Camo and our mysterious wagons that have been found in the woods of Wales after meeting the amazing John Hunter, the man of the moment who bought our two Yaris’s a couple of months ago, known only to me as being the partner of a long lost friend Emma Burrows, who is at the moment in Mongolia.
After a group decision we decide to mosey on as Crazy Dave and Jak Fantastic are awaiting us with open arms and a pot of bolognaise. We will return tomorrow to investigate are magic-mobiles. The next morning beckons us to disappear over one of the most beautiful passes the UK has to offer, as we spent the night in Snowdonia in an incredible little town called Llanberis, to pick up the mighty Yaris’s. I have to admit the first moment I saw them I had butterflies in my stomach, a little apprehensive until I get to know them. But wise words of John and a speedy ride back to Llanberis I feel like I’ve known them for a lifetime.
One more night with Crazy Dave, the perfect place to start our epic adventure. After the offerings from my legendary mate, our solar powered Tibetan prayer wheels, our cars shall be blessed. Here’s hoping because this is our first trial, back to London via Liverpool. Wait, Liverpool, Manchester, Liverpool, then back to London. 12 hours later we find ourselves on the outskirts of London with one GPS, hand held radios, ready to take on London, City Central. But no qualms, with Nicky at the wheel we never realized she was such a little demon driver. Like a couple of silver bullets, we convoyed through central London like a BOSS.
Now the teams together at base camp, getting lost in IKEA, buying random gimmicks that will hopefully get us to Mongolia, slapping on our stickers (provided by Speedy Signs Riccarton), struggling with the roof racks, the game is about to begin.