Whatever it takes

Whatever it takes

We'd been on the road for three weeks and had driven more than 5000 miles across all of Europe and the western half of Asia. While the journey so far had been enjoyable and we'd gotten to see a lot, it was also incredibly tiring. So when we learned we'd be stuck in Bukhara, Uzbekistan for a week, waiting for our car to get repaired, we were actually thrilled at the opportunity to finally relax and get some much-needed rest. But things didn't go according to plan.

From bad to worse

From bad to worse

In the three weeks since we started our journey, we'd broken down about four times, been to half a dozen mechanics, and tried all sorts of stop-gap measures to solve our car issues, but there was still some sort of big, underlying problem whose name we didn't yet know. Finally we were about to find out.

Breaking down

Breaking down

Driving a small, crappy car was a prerequisite for anyone participating in the Mongol Rally. The point was to make the journey more exciting and adventurous. We liked the idea at first, but now we'd broken down yet again, and our mechanical issues this time were worse than ever.

Culture Clash

Culture Clash

"Honestly, most Americans -- when they think of Iran -- probably think of 3 things," my brother said. "Desert, oil, and nuclear capabilities." And it was true. Before our road trip across Europe and Asia last summer, we didn't really have much of an idea what to expect.

Not what we expected

Not what we expected

First there were a series of terrorist attacks in Istanbul and Ankara and a threat from Kurdish separatists vowing to target Turkey's tourism industry to inflict economic harm. Then an attempted military coup followed by a government crackdown on dissent. As we followed the news in the months leading up to our planned drive across Turkey, it was easy to feel nervous and uncertain about just what we would encounter.