The epic Land Rover Journey of Discovery is now just a few thousand kilometres from Beijing - but it had to overcome a minefield of obstacles to reach the Chinese border, its final country on the fundraising for the Red Cross trip.
We had the toughest border crossing into Uzbekistan at 2.30am with a howling blizzard and the thought of having to sleep under canvas as there are no hotels in the desert.
Someone who had travelled this region before, and spoke enough of the language to be understood, thought we stood a chance of finding a floor to sleep on thanks to the Uzbeks' long tradition of great hospitality.
An hour later we were inside a cracked and peeling brick-built shack with two dogs, three rooms and an incredible smell wafting from the kitchen as the occupants, a family of four, brought out local vodka for the non-drivers and made tea and dinner.
Waking a few short hours later and heading out to take in our surroundings, we could see the blizzard was still raging. But with the Discovery's climate control system turned up to full heat and the heated seats and steering wheels switched to on, the team weren't cold for long as they set off on their route through Uzbekistan.
Livestock has been a familiar roadside view, but the sight of camels running along the road was an unusual one. We noted via the Discovery's speedometer that they were maintaining a fair pace at 42km/h.
Like those camels, the Discoverys are well equipped to go long distances between fuel stops, though even with additional fuel cans Uzbekistan did create some fuel woes. It seems you can buy everything at an Uzbek truck stop, including fresh fish, though fuel is something of a premium. Ask the right questions, though, and it's possible to get some petrol, even if the 80 octane fuel isn't the finest brew.
By the evening we were at the Aral Sea. Once the fourth largest inland body of water in the world, the Aral Sea has seen the tide recede by 40 kilometres and the sea itself shrink by over ninety percent. Tragic yet beautiful, ships that once floated at shore now sit beached and rusting on what was previously the seabed.
After camping out overnight next to these relics we drove to the city Khiva then picked up one of the world's most famous routes - the Silk Road. For 150km the original Silk Road's route changes from freshly re-surfaced road to cavernous potholes and steep sandy banks - terrain that's effortlessly shrugged off by the Discoverys on the way to Bukhara where we soon hit the two-lane highway towards Tashkent.
Leaving the urban jungle of Tashkent behind, the team took on a challenging route through three different countries, via the remote lake of Issyk-Kul, and as communications faltered and roads worsened, the journey became an adventure.
Punctures were inevitable, but the team coped admirably as they pressed on into Kyrgyzstan where markedly improved roads made driving as comfortable as it was spectacular, with pancake-flat fields on one side of the road and the snow-covered North Tien-Shan mountains rising 4855m on the other - but those mountains had to be crossed at some point.
With the 3752m Torugart Pass in its sights, news came of a potential disaster. The route through the Tian Shan mountains, a challenging pass some 2.5 miles above sea level, was closed by a massive avalanche.
It flashed back to memories of the first overland Land Rover Discovery expedition in 1955, which followed a similar route but had to change destination at the last minute.
But the route was cleared quickly and, on rough and rutted roads flushed with snowmelt and rubble, the Discoverys headedfor the border.
Fuelled up from Kyrgyzstan with enough reserves for the drive to the border and back if required, the team carried two days of food and water and took satellite phones for security. So thick was the dust that each car drove over a mile apart.
Now, there is just the challenge of crossing China in time for the Beijing motor show on April 23.