Each day closer to Ulaan Baatar brings us nearer to a potentially difficult decision we'd really like to continue ignoring: what to do about our car. We're currently weighing the pros and cons for a bevy of less-than-ideal options, because at the moment, it doesn't seem like there are any good ones to consider.
The first and most obvious solution is to sell it. While plenty of people have tried to buy our car already (some offering more than we paid), in order to do this legally we'd have to pay an import duty. We have no problem with that, but we're told the fees will likely run in excess of $2,000! Our car is great, but nobody is offering that much.
Apparently, the Mongolian government wants to discourage people from bringing in cars more than ten years old. The import duties are reasonable for newer makes, but rise rapidly for anything older, like say, a 1991 Toyota Corolla XLi.
We could easily sell our LRC illegally. But, the Mogol Rally organizers have warned us that trying to leave the country without documentation for the sale would most likely result in being held in the country until the fee is paid. Our passport stamps have a little car on them – as inconspicuous as it is, and as much as we want to believe we could sneak through, we're not sure if we're willing to run the risk.
Then there are the crazy ideas. Here's one: what about leaving Mongolia with it, driving to Vladivostok, and then finding some way to ship it to Alaska?! Our twenty year old hatchback has carried us safely across eight countries from Europe to Asia, covering some fifteen thousand kilometers. It is now a member of our team. Needless to say, we're a little attached.
Thankfully, we still have some time to ignore this impending dilemma. For the time being, all we have to do is drive another day, and that's just what we plan to do.