Only three months to go to my retirement and the big trip, and preparations are progressing steadily.
The Defender has had more work completed by Causeway 4×4 in Bridgwater. New headlining has been fitted. The rear brake shoes and cylinders have been replaced, new stainless steel brake hoses have been fitted and an X-Eng disc handbrake has been fitted. Additional interior lights and power sockets have been fitted. A new rocker cover gasket has been fitted to address an oil leak. All of the fluids have been replaced and the vehicle given a check-over to ensure all is in order for the trip. The Defender has now moved on to another garage where the chassis and underside will be given a steam cleaning and an inspection for any welding that may be necessary., It will then be treated with Waxoyl for rust protection. Finally, the exterior and doors will get some attention to address some corrosion issues.
The vehicle has recently had a new MOT test and road tax has been paid for the coming year. The insurance expires in February, so that will need to be addressed soon. I also need to obtain an international driving licence (probably once I arrive in England).
Having bought the Garmin Monterra and downloaded Open Source Maps for Russia and Central Asia, I have been able to fine-tune the proposed route and determine more precise mileages for the various segments. The mileage for the entire trip has subsequently crept back up to the 20,000 mark and the itinerary has been adjusted slightly to reduce some daily mileages.
Attention has recently turned to the visa application process, as the application forms need to be submitted in the first couple of weeks of January. We need a multi-entry, six-month business visa for Russia, a 30-day visa for Mongolia, and a two-entry three-month visa for Kazakhstan. We’ll also need a one-month visa for Uzbekistan but we’ll have to apply for that once we are in Kyrgyzstan, as they are not issued far enough in advance for us to be able to obtain one prior to the commencement of the trip.
Most of the equipment has already been purchased. There are a few odds and ends that still need to be purchased prior to the trip, but we are well on schedule to be fully equipped and ready to start the trip in April.