Since learning of Marco Polo’s travels in 6th Class at Primary School I have had a great desire to travel the Silk Route, so when the opportunity arose to join the group, my response was instantaneous. Loris on the other hand was somewhat more reserved: Can’t we do this in a HiLux? Why are we starting in Bangkok? Maybe I’ll fly in and just do parts?
Loris’s initial lack of enthusiasm was probably born from the fact that she had travelled a significant part of the route and more on her return to Australia from working in the UK in the late ‘70s when overland travel by a single girl through such places as Syria, Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan was possible. She also has a somewhat practical view on a car as a means of transport: it must be comfortable, safe and easy to drive. The MG fitted few of these criteria.
Although MGBs were the car of desire during our school and university days, neither of us had ever owned one and had little to do with the marque over the years,. However, as I had rebuilt a couple of old Austins as a teenager, once I started work on the car, there was a strong familiarity with how the car worked. Once acquired, it was a 12 month process to get our car, Dash B, into a shape that would be fit to tackle the route. As a consequence of the time taken to prepare the car we have only driven her a few thousand miles, and Loris has only had a couple of hours behind the wheel, and only a few more than that in the navigators seat. However, with a complete set of paper maps covering the whole of our route, neatly folded under her seat, she too is now ready for the challenge.