At the Crossroads of Europe & Asia

Photo credit: Russ Cmolik & Ellen Cmolik

Epic Overland Expeditions – Ultimate Dream Trips

What does it take to create an epic overland expeditionIt could be as adventurous as road tripping across Siberia by vintage automobile, following in the 1908 tire tracks of a pioneering motorist. Or it might be as enterprising as traversing the alluring lands of the Silk Road through ChinaCentral Asia, and the South Caucasus in Land Rovers, a modern-day variation of a camel caravan.

Epic overland expedition by Land Rover. Photo credit: Ann Schneider
Epic overland expedition by Land Rover. Photo credit: Ann Schneider

More than thirty years ago, MIR began creating custom journeys for the most intrepid of travelers venturing to the territory of the U.S.S.R. Today, we continue to craft tours to places that are far from the familiar, spanning our territory at the crossroads of Europe and Asia including Russia, Central Asia, the South CaucasusEastern Europe, and beyond.

It is one thing to witness the wonders of a new country, hear a different language, eat unfamiliar foods, or sip tea with locals. It is a completely different thing to be the one backstage overseeing the details of that epic journey. Such logistical expertise is what we love to do. It is especially challenging – and satisfying – to plan and oversee imaginative overland expeditions.

Here are some of our most memorable examples of ambitious overland expeditions

An Epic Family Road-Trip  


These long-time MIR travelers have taken the concept of “epic journey” and truly turned it into a family affair, traveling from two to five months on average each year in their Land Rovers, with sometimes dozens of friends and family joining them in their latest adventure.

Like the Canadian couple with their extended family and friends, many travelers prefer to explore MIR destinations on their own terms, and sometimes in their own vehicles. MIR helps make their imaginative overland expeditions successful by handling visas, multi-border crossings, car permits, hotels in remote places – even where to find the nearest gas station in Siberia.

MIR President Douglas Grimes in Uzbekistan with the adventurous Canadian couple, along with their extended family and friends. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes
MIR President Douglas Grimes in Uzbekistan with the adventurous Canadian couple, along with their extended family and friends. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes

Year after year, we at MIR are delighted to successfully assist this Canadian family through complex logistical challenges on each of their epic journeys.

Turkmenistan’s Darvaza Gas Crater, one of many memorable photo ops for Canadians Russ Cmolik & Ellen Cmolik. Photo credit: Russ Cmolik & Ellen Cmolik
Russ Cmolik & Ellen Cmolik with a Kyrgyz family in Naryn. Photo credit: Russ Cmolik & Ellen Cmolik
Camping with Land Rovers at Darvaza Gas Crater, in the desert of Turkmenistan. Photo credit: Russ Cmolik & Ellen Cmolik
A slice of local life in Dahongliutan, China. Photo credit: Russ Cmolik & Ellen Cmolik
  • Turkmenistan’s Darvaza Gas Crater, one of many memorable photo ops for Canadians Russ Cmolik & Ellen Cmolik. Photo credit: Russ Cmolik & Ellen Cmolik Turkmenistan’s Darvaza Gas Crater, one of many memorable photo ops for Canadians Russ Cmolik & Ellen Cmolik. Russ Cmolik & Ellen Cmolik
  • Russ Cmolik & Ellen Cmolik with a Kyrgyz family in Naryn. Photo credit: Russ Cmolik & Ellen Cmolik Russ Cmolik & Ellen Cmolik with a Kyrgyz family in Naryn. Russ Cmolik & Ellen Cmolik
  • Camping with Land Rovers at Darvaza Gas Crater, in the desert of Turkmenistan. Photo credit: Russ Cmolik & Ellen Cmolik Camping with Land Rovers at Darvaza Gas Crater, in the desert of Turkmenistan. Russ Cmolik & Ellen Cmolik
  • A slice of local life in Dahongliutan, China. Photo credit: Russ Cmolik & Ellen Cmolik A slice of local life in Dahongliutan, China. Russ Cmolik & Ellen Cmolik

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Touring the World in Land Rovers


The MIR team has had the pleasure to work with members of the well-traveled Hong Kong-based Land Rover Club on one of their overland expeditions. The 2013 journey from Kazakhstan to Turkey motored through Central Asia’s Silk Road and the South Caucasus for 24 days. They had 18 vehicles, 54 participants, and a crew to shoot professional HD videos, with partial proceeds going to their club’s favorite charity. They used two of their Land Rovers as support vehicles equipped with supplies for flat tires, radiators, and batteries so they wouldn’t waste time searching for local replacement parts.

This Land Rover expedition makes a stop in Bukhara, Uzbekistan. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes
This Land Rover expedition makes a stop in Bukhara, Uzbekistan. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes


We began initial talks for this epic expedition about a year earlier, coming to fruition in 2013. We created a detailed itinerary, including accommodations, safe parking for the Land Rover vehicles, meals, gas stops, local on-the-ground support, guides, and sightseeing. We also handled very complex border crossing issues that might easily have wilted the most intrepid of travelers.

Land Rovers thrive on rough-and-tumble roads, a common element in overland expeditions. Photo credit: Jered Gorman
A stop at a hotel along the way. hoto credit: Ann Schneider
Gassing up 18 vehicles can be a logistical undertaking, as here in Georgia. Photo credit: Jered Gorman
Land Rovers take their places for a sunrise video shoot in Bukhara, Uzbekistan. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes
MIR handled logistics for professional videographers to shoot atop ancient mosques in Bukhara, Uzbekistan. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes
  • Land Rovers thrive on rough-and-tumble roads, a common element in overland expeditions. Photo credit: Jered Gorman Land Rovers thrive on rough-and-tumble roads, a common element in overland expeditions. Jered Gorman
  • A stop at a hotel along the way. hoto credit: Ann Schneider A stop at a hotel along the way. Ann Schneider
  • Gassing up 18 vehicles can be a logistical undertaking, as here in Georgia. Photo credit: Jered Gorman Gassing up 18 vehicles can be a logistical undertaking, as here in Georgia. Jered Gorman
  • Land Rovers take their places for a sunrise video shoot in Bukhara, Uzbekistan. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes Land Rovers take their places for a sunrise video shoot in Bukhara, Uzbekistan. Douglas Grimes
  • MIR handled logistics for professional videographers to shoot atop ancient mosques in Bukhara, Uzbekistan. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes MIR handled logistics for professional videographers to shoot atop ancient mosques in Bukhara, Uzbekistan. Douglas Grimes

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With MIR’s help, the Hong Kong Land Rovers’ professional video crew was able to document this impressive trip and the awe-inspiring locations. This trailer for the club’s video series highlights their Silk Road adventure, shot to help raise money for their charitable cause, an eye clinic in Hong Kong. (You can view all of the Hong Kong club’s videos on YouTube.)

Logistical Expertise: Complex Border Crossings

MIR’s on-the-ground team typically speaks several languages and is attuned to cultural nuances – helpful skills especially at complex border crossings with the Land Rovers and their vehicles. Sometimes those crossings can take hours and layers upon layers of documents and paperwork; MIR’s hands-on expertise can help make the crossing smoother and faster.

Land Rovers caravan through Turkmenistan along the Silk Road, once the exclusive domain of camels. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes
Land Rovers caravan through Turkmenistan along the Silk Road, once the exclusive domain of camels. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes

Over the years, travelers repeatedly have told us how much they appreciate the expertise and experience of our logistical expertise in planning and successfully undertaking such complex overland expeditions, like the Hong Kong Land Rovers. 

They realize they could never do this by themselves, especially at the border crossings, and how important it is to have a deeply experienced organization like MIR to assist them. Their time is valuable, and they know they prefer to spend their trips traveling and exploring, not stymied with handling their own logistical challenges such as visas, accommodations, and even where to find gas in Uzbekistan!

MIR’s segment of the Hong Kong Land Rover Club’s 2013 tour was part of a 16-country, four-continent expedition marking the 65th anniversary of the first Land Rover. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes
MIR’s segment of the Hong Kong Land Rover Club’s 2013 tour was part of a 16-country, four-continent expedition marking the 65th anniversary of the first Land Rover.

A Daring Road Trip in a 1928 Plymouth Roadster


One of MIR’s most ambitious overland expeditions was the 12,000-mile segment of an around-the-world tour by vintage car – a 1928 Plymouth Roadster – from Japan to Paris, motoring through China, Siberia, the Baltics, and on to France. 

Two modern-day pioneering drivers – Luke Rizzuto and John Quam – faithfully followed as closely as possible the entire 16,000-mile route of the 1908 “Great Race” won by American George Schuster in his Thomas Flyer, a race that transformed the automotive industry. 

John Quam and Luke Rizzuto celebrate in Paris, replicating as closely as possible the 16,400-mile round-the-world 1908 Great Race. Photo credit: John Quam
Adventurous “Longest Race” participants: Leo Janssens, Eileen Bjorkman, Leo Rizzuto, and John Quam. Photo credit: Eileen Bjorkman
Cars– especially vintage cars like this 1928 Plymouth Roadster – demand adjustments on rough Siberian roads. Photo credit: Eileen Bjorkman
The team loved Siberia's Lake Baikal; the 1908 Great Race drivers once stood on that left shore. Photo credit: Eileen Bjorkman
  • John Quam and Luke Rizzuto celebrate in Paris, replicating as closely as possible the 16,400-mile round-the-world 1908 Great Race. Photo credit: John Quam John Quam and Luke Rizzuto celebrate in Paris, replicating as closely as possible the 16,400-mile round-the-world 1908 Great Race. John Quam
  • Adventurous “Longest Race” participants: Leo Janssens, Eileen Bjorkman, Leo Rizzuto, and John Quam. Photo credit: Eileen Bjorkman Adventurous “Longest Race” participants: Leo Janssens, Eileen Bjorkman, Leo Rizzuto, and John Quam. Eileen Bjorkman
  • Cars– especially vintage cars like this 1928 Plymouth Roadster – demand adjustments on rough Siberian roads. Photo credit: Eileen Bjorkman Cars– especially vintage cars like this 1928 Plymouth Roadster – demand adjustments on rough Siberian roads. Eileen Bjorkman
  • The team loved Siberia's Lake Baikal; the 1908 Great Race drivers once stood on that left shore. Photo credit: Eileen Bjorkman The team loved Siberia’s Lake Baikal; the 1908 Great Race drivers once stood on that left shore. Eileen Bjorkman

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Aided by MIR’s logistics and on-the-ground guides and support, Luke and John are now the first in the world to re-create that entire epic ride of 1908. Joining them on that journey in a late-model GMC were pilot Leo Janssens and freelance writer Eileen Bjorkman, both retired Air Force officers.

Luke’s beloved 1928 Plymouth Roadster was used to re-create as closely as possible the 1908 “Great Race. Photo credit: Luke Rizzuto
Luke’s beloved 1928 Plymouth Roadster was used to re-create as closely as possible the 1908 “Great Race. Photo credit: Luke Rizzuto

Imagine the Epic Journey

What does it take to create an epic overland expedition? With MIR, it’s a memorable melding of expertise, logistics, and imagination.

MIR’s specialty is navigating the countries at the crossroads of Europe and Asia – complex places that can stymie travelers on their own, especially at borders known for their historic and modern tensions such as Russia and China, or in countries with frequently changing border requirements like Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.

We’re up to date on the latest information required for each country and have on-the-ground support through our local MIR-affiliated offices, who aid us in overseeing logistics and in creating itineraries to surprise and satisfy even the most discerning and demanding traveler.

We enjoy the challenge of sharing the uncommon places we love and the unforgettable people we cherish on these overland expeditions, and we invite you to imagine your own travel journey – then imagine that journey with MIR. 


Contact us today to start realizing your travel dreams.

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