It all changed at one point in the Atacama Desert in Chile, when Emily spotted a UNIMOG Expedition truck that looked like it had emerged from a movie. It was another five years before the couple met the Krug Expedition team and began realizing a project that had been conceived somewhere in the Atacama Desert.
“I drove through India with a rented Royal Enfield 500 Motorcycle, through the USA and Canada with my own motorcycle and through Cuba in 1987 in a rental car. I evolved from backpacking and sleeping in bug-infested $5 a night huts, to motorcycling and camping, to now
comfortably traveling in our expedition vehicle with a heated floor and a Nespresso machine and the option to carry a motorcycle with me” says Dirk, sharing his experiences with us.
The truck is named - Guhonda - after the largest remaining silverback mountain gorilla on this planet. Emily and Dirk saw this amazing creature during a gorilla trekking tour in Rwanda. “We found that his (gorilla’s) look, greyish color, weight, and power somehow fit our truck,” says Dirk.
Dirk and Emily’s early trips with Guhonda took place in Europe and the neighbouring countries due to the truck’s European registration. Their routes ran from Mortil in Southern Spain to Morocco, and from Hirtshals, Denmark to Iceland.
Their first trip was to Morocco. There Dirk, Emily and Guhonda took part in a training trip along with three other expedition vehicles.
Says Dirk, "It was a spontaneous idea. The truck was barely ready and its registration was completed at the last minute before departure. We did not have much time to get all the necessary tools and essentials — plus we had to familiarize ourselves with all the truck and cabin features.”
Through narrow ravines, deep Saharan sands, local military check-points and technical challenges, occasionally having some mint tea with the locals, the Liepolds covered around 4,000 Kilometers in Morocco with a big portion of that being off-road.
At some point they are planning to ship their expedition vehicle to the USA, where they currently live. They plan to take it to Alaska, Canada and to then drive down the Panamericana from there. However, before they do that, they definitely want to visit Mongolia, which we have no doubt will be another fantastic entry for Dirk and Emily’s blog.
You can follow Dirk & Emily’s journey on their blog exd.earth