The Silk Route Adventure Begins
Two of our staff members for the Silk Route, both named Mercedes Sprinter, have spent the last 3 weeks in a very dark, cramped shipping container. Their journey to the start of the Silk Route began in Vancouver, had a change of boats in Korea and is closing in on the port of Tianjin near Beijing.
Shipping vehicles across the planet comes with risks and headaches. First there was the issue of fitting the vehicles into the container. We had to take some air out of the tires so they’d be lower than the container ceiling,. On top of that we had to find a very skinny person to drive them into the container as there were only a few inches on the side for someone to get out afterwards. It was a close fit but it worked!
The most unexpected of our challenges though was the Port strike in Vancouver just as we were due to ship the vehicles. This delayed us by about 10 days in the end, and it was an anxious time as no one had any idea when the strike would end. There was a sigh of relief when they left Vancouver but of course that was only the beginning.
Hopefully the vehicles will see the light of day around May 14th, with all the customs procedures and drivers licenses to acquire it is now looking doubtful they will be able to join us for our start in Shanghai. Though of course we will make alternate vehicle plans for the first few days it is a disappointment. Our local Chinese staff are working on it night and day. Our Tour staff will also be bending over backwards to deal with the situation and will be extra busy for the first stretch of the Tour till we have all our staff and vehicles with the Tour.
If only the vehicles could talk, I’m sure they would have quite a story. Of course this is only the beginning of the adventure and there will likely be many more tales of red tape, bargaining, cajoling and possibly bribery before our arrival in Istanbul. We wouldn’t have it any other way…