MIR’s Overland Expeditions: Driving Siberia, and Beyond
One of the most challenging – and satisfying – of the projects I love at MIR Corporation is planning and overseeing imaginative overland expeditions to MIR’s 35 countries.
Many go far beyond one country or one region: they involve multiple countries; riding in cars, Land Rovers, motorcycles and even vintage automobiles; complex paperwork and documentation; detailed itineraries and accommodations; and what I like to call MIR’s “logistical wizardry” from our stellar on-the-ground support staff. These truly are momentous, unforgettable overland expeditions limited only by one’s own imagination.
Some of our clients who have imagined such epic adventures with MIR include:
- Motorcyclists on long cross-country treks through Russia and Central Asia, like the GlobeRiders’ biennial “World Tour” for 55 days across six countries.
- Vintage car enthusiasts in their automotive “World Race 2011” from Beijing to Paris, echoing the grueling, historic 1908 New York-to-Paris auto rally.
- Russ and Ellen and dozens of their extended family and friends, traveling up to 99 days through Russia, the Silk Road, Central Asia, South Caucasus, Balkans, Turkey, and beyond. For more than six years MIR has been working with this bold family on a series of handcrafted overland journeys in their 4×4 vehicles.
- Hong Kong Land Rover Club, with MIR most recently creating the itinerary and handling the logistics for 54 members driving from the China/Kazakhstan border across Central Asia, the South Caucasus, across Turkey, ending in Istanbul.
(click on photo to see larger version)
As MIR’s roster of these distinctive – and often daring – overland expeditions continues to grow, I am honored and awed by those who share their stories with me and with MIR: their challenges, highlights, lessons learned, and lives transformed through travel.
Two modern-day pioneering drivers, Luke Rizzuto and John Quam, faithfully re-created the around-the-world route of the 1908 “Great Race” won by American George Schuster in his Thomas Flyer, a race that transformed the automotive industry. Accompanying them on this leg of their “Longest Race” journey were retired Air Force officers Eileen Bjorkman and Leo G. Janssens, driving a bit more modern vehicle – a 2008 GMC.
The four generously agreed to tell their stories of this truly great race, in their own words. MIR is grateful to have helped play a part in their automotive overland expedition, and we’re honored to share their imaginative adventures here.
- Luke Rizzuto: “Living a Vision, 1908 Style”
- John Quam: “Recycling a Dream, 1908 Style”
- Eileen Bjorkman: “Driving Siberia, 1908 Style”
- Leo Janssens: “Driving to Parts Unknown, 1908 Style”
(Top photo credit: Leo Janssens – Even Russian traffic cops unabashedly pull over the 1928 Plymouth Roadster for photo ops)
PUBLISHED: February 2, 2015