Header photo by Christopher Jaworski from Adventure Van
The 8th of March was going to be the start of our adventure. After almost five years of converting the Unimog into a “go everywhere” camper, and two years of planning the actual trip, we were finally ready for the adventure of our lifetime. We had gotten leave from our jobs, filled our bank accounts as best as we could, and done our best to prepare our self for a life on the road. Finally the day to set off were almost here.
The last weeks before we left were very hectic. There were thousands of things to arrange. The Unimog also had to undergo an inspection at the authorities, so that it would be re-certified into a camper truck. Although it was almost five years since the truck had had the crane attached, it was still certified as a utility vehicle, and this had to change now. This was a bit exciting as Unimog campers are not very common in Norway, and also because it had some major modifications to the original drivers cabin (extended roof, walk-through, front mounted winch +++)
After some long days and nights with preparations it was time for the inspection. It took two guys and eight hours in the inspection hall, but after some head scratching and reading in the law books it finally passed the inspection without any comments.
Things were looking good for our planned departure date, but then Vegard got the flu and after a lot of coughing also experienced a broken rib bone… We then had to slow down the phase a bit and reminded our selves that if postponing of the departure by a couple of days, meant that we could stress down a bit it would be the right thing to do. After all, we where going to be away for a long time anyways.
On the 11th of March we were finally ready. The Unimog was packed, both water and diesel tanks were filled, the kitchen cabinets stacked with food, and the storage compartment filled with camping gear, tools, and spare parts for all kind of possible brake down scenarios. Our intention was to be as self reliant as possible for the next months on the road. We were excited, but at the same time a bit tired; finally we were ready to head off!
Just one hour after we departed, we got a message from the ferry company, that the ferry to Denmark the next morning was cancelled due to bad weather, and we were re-booked into the next ferry in the afternoon. As we were waiting at the ferry terminal came the news that the Norwegian government was declaring a state of emergency due to the spread of the coronavirus. It was obvious that the timing for this adventure perhaps wasn’t the best…
Suddenly so many things changes so quickly, and it was impossible to predict what would happen in the next weeks. After considering the different options, we decided to try to get out of western Europe before the borders started closing. We therefore “speeded” (75’ish km/h) through Denmark and Germany, heading for Poland.
The border crossing to Poland went smoothly, but the border police at both sides were wearing full protective gear, which was a strange sight. Things were still looking good, and we were optimistic about reaching the Ukraine border later the same day.