Landtrek: A Leap of Faith

As I rounded another bend on a small northern Vermont road and got closer to my destination, my stomach became twisted and my heart lumped in my throat. What will the truck look like? In what condition will it be in? Will the repair shop owner have all my paperwork? I’ve had my fingers crossed since I last saw my new Land Cruiser and put it on a trailer. It’s been about a month ago already.

Before driving to Miami from our campsite at Myrtle Beach state park, I thought it would be impossible to find such a rare bird. What are the odds of finding a Land Cruiser equipped for overlanding at a decent price? What are the chances of finding a one owner diesel HJ47 Australian pick-up truck completely outfitted for adventure? Chances get pretty slim, right? But luck was with us and, as we pulled up a surprisingly quaint Miami street, with the sun already set, we could see what looked just like the photos we’d seen on eBay.


We couldn’t help but “tour” the outside of this wonderful beast even before we met the seller. It was completely dark when we finally got to meet him and the three of us agreed to meet again in the morning. France and I went to bed, but the anticipation and extreme humidity of a hot Miami night made it hard to get any sleep.

At the first light of morning, we wet back to the truck and begain our in depth inspection. We didnt’ miss a thing on the truck. France was in the camper checking out the stove, fridge, large windows (a must for her) and the tons of storage. Everything checked out; relatively low miles (about 219,000 km), extremely well maintained and well documented service, zero rust to the frame while the body has just enough rough to it to give it awesome patina…I was in love. Heck, it even came with a generator and a portable Coleman water heater.

Marc: “So, what do you think?”

France: “Yeah, I think it would work. What about you?”

Marc: “Are you kidding? ”

We took it for a spin, made an offer and, oh joy! Our offer was accepted! But there’s a problem. How do we take it home? After much deliberation it is decided that the most convenient, economical, and safe way is to put it on a car hauler. The seller called a shipper he knew, who in turn knew a repair shop close to the Vermont/Quebec border where we planned to store the truck until I could pick it up and bring it into Canada.

And so, our adventure began in an act of faith as we made payment and left the truck behind along with the keys, title, and all paperwork for the car hauler who would drop everything at his friends shop in a couple of weeks. About a month later, my wet hands turned the steering wheel left and I pulled into a large yard in front of a small repair shop and there it sits, waiting for me, looking as good as I remember it did. Now, only the customs officers stand between her and her new home…

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Christophe Noel is a journalist from Prescott, Arizona. Born into a family of backcountry enthusiasts, Christophe grew up backpacking the mountains and deserts of the American West. An avid cyclist and bikepacker, he also has a passion for motorcycles, travel, food and overlanding.