Loaded @ Last & Ready to Ship!
Trip Start Jan 09, 2011
53Trip End Oct 13, 2011
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Back on the 9th Dec 2010, at Kaymar 4WD Accessories (see www.kaymar.com.au) in Lilydale, we loaded our vehicles into a container for shipping to Chile. It takes about 37 days for the ship to go from Melbourne to Valparaiso – via Sydney and Panama before being transhipped for the hop-scotch run down the South American coast.
Our rough plan is to travel south from Santiago, Chile, through Patagonia to the southernmost tip of Tierra del Fuego then north for the long haul thru' Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Brazil where we'll visit the largest swamp in the world, the Pantanal, and the beaches of Rio.
From Belem, at the mouth of the Amazon, we’ll head west along this great river using a ferry and the notorious BR319 which heads southwest from Manus to finally cross the Andes into Bolivia
Once back in Ecuador its north through Columbia and Venezuela before we ship from Cartegena to Panama around the infamous Darien Gap. We'll head up through Central America to Belize with its impressive diving and onto Mexico. From Cancun on the Yucatan Peninsula we'll fly over to Cuba for a few days to soak up Fidel's legacy before heading back to Mexico and picking up the vehicles for the drive north.
Once we cross the border into the USA we'll make a quick dash to LA where we’ll end our journey in mid October. The plan is to return to the States in April 2012 to continue our drive north through Canada and Alaska to the northernmost oil town of Barrow. After that who knows???
We’re taking our stretched 4.2 turbo GU Patrol (veteran of our Africa and Russian trips as well as many journeys in Australia) which has been checked and overhauled by the team at Outback 4WD in Bayswater (www.outback4wd.com.au).
Along with many of the ARB accessories we have had fitted to the Patrol over the years we have recently changed our suspension to their latest OME Sport shock absorber and fitted their latest air compressor (see: www.arb.com.au)
For a bit more … no, a lot more … comfort, we are taking a Track Tvan to the Americas with us. For this long trip we’ve just upgraded to our third Tvan over the 10 years they have been manufactured, and this one is their top-of-the-line Murranji camper that has just been developed (see: www.tracktrailer.com).
Both the Patrol and the Tvan are fitted with, what I reckon, are the best, toughest 4WD radial tyres on the market – Cooper STT’s (see www.coopertires.com.au).
With us on this trip will be Neil and Helen Cocks in their well set-up Ford F250 and who travelled with us across Africa and Europe (see: www.africaoverland.com.au) and then Russia and Mongolia with us (see: www.guidebooks.com.au, and follow links to Russia Overland).
Joining us also for the first leg of the South American jaunt will be our old friends, Bryan and Fran Jackson, who travelled across Russia the year we were driving across Africa (we met up for a few days in Switzerland!). Since then they have been travelling around the UK, France, Portugal, Spain and Morocco
We decided we could do a better job at loading and tying down vehicles than what we’ve seen in the past – just using chains had to be better than the rope and fabric straps we have had foisted on us when shipping to Durban, South Africa and from Vladivostok in Far Eastern Russia. Still it took us a few hours to get them all in and tied down – Bryan & Fran’s rig rolling in (just) on 'special’ wheels.
And while we have shipped our vehicles before, closing the container door on them, knowing … hoping … we’ll see them in 5 to 6 weeks time in a distant country, is always a little daunting!
While N&H and B&F are flying direct to Santiago in mid January, Viv and I will be heading that way on the 9th Jan, via New Zealand Tahiti and Easter Island. We’ll update this blog from Tahiti – if we can find the time between drinking pina coladas, admiring the verdant peaks of the most beautiful islands on earth (as some say) of Bora Bora, or just floating in gin clear water among a kaleidoscope of fish, coral and other marine life.
For more mudane details (but important if you want to do an overland trip like ours) on our vehicles, our sponsors, shipping, insurance, planning and preparation, LPG gas, security, medical, etc, etc, check out: www.guidebooks.com.au and follow the links to South & Central America Overland.