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P a n - A m e r i c a n   H i g h w a y

R    O    A    D    T    R    I    P

"Twenty years from now you will be more
disappointed by the things that you didn't do
- than by the ones you did do.  So throw off
the bowlines.  Sail away from the safe harbor.
Catch the trade winds in your sails. 
Explore.  Dream.  Discover."

Mark Twain

Sure you can call this a journey
of a lifetime if you want - but this
is the kind of road trip that your
grandkids tell their grandkids about -

From the shores of the frigid Bering Sea
in the Arctic Circle of northern Alaska
to the mystical Beagle Channel and Ushuaia, the southernmost city on the planet in Tierra del Fuego Argentina.


A    L    A    S    K    A       t  o       A    R    G    E    N    T    I    N    A    

2  continents,
8 - 12 months,
15  countries,
30,000  miles, 

  a lifetime of memories



If you are interested in participating or donating/filming/sponsoring
this incredible undertaking please drop me a line and lets chat.  Regardless, please check back every now and then to see how we are getting along.

Listed below are proposed destinations for the Argentina trip.
Obviously since the departure is so far in the future, this a very preliminary
 itinerary and should only be used as a rough outline for our possible route.  Though we drive large sections of the Pan-American Highway we often will 
drive on & off the main road to search out hidden treasures.

This extravaganza starts in Anchorage, Alaska and will continue to the following locations (though maybe not in the exact order as listed).


Denali National Park, Alaska
Fairbanks, Alaska 
Prudhoe Bay, Alaska
Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada
Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada *
Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada *
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Vancouver Island, BC, Canada *
Olympic National Park, Washington (USA)
Seattle, Washington
Mt. Rainier National Park, Washington
Mt. Saint Helens National Park, Washington
Portland, Oregon
Crater Lake National Park, Oregon
Redwoods National Park, California
San Francisco, California
Yosemite National Park, California
Lake Tahoe, California
Great Basin National Park, Nevada
Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
Zion National Park, Utah
Las Vegas, Nevada
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Navajo Valley National Monument, Utah
Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado
Roswell, New Mexico
Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico
Austin, Texas
Brownsville, Texas


Vera Cruz, Mexico
Palenque, Mexico *
San Cristobal, Mexico
Lago Atitlan, Guatemala
Antigua, Guatemala
Tikal, Guatemala *
Lago De Yojoa, Honduras
La Esperanza, Honduras
Gracias, Honduras
Copan Ruinas, Honduras *
Lago de Coatepeque, El Salvador
Rutas de las Flores, El Salvador
Parque Nacional Imposible, El Salvador *
Playa San Diego, El Salvador
Bosque Conchagua, El Salvador *
Leon, Nicaragua
Granada, Nicaragua
Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua
San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua
Peninsula de Nicoya, Costa Rica
Monteverde, Costa Rica
San Jose, Costa Rica
Parque Nacional Chirripo, Costa Rica *
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Costa Rica *
Bocas Del Toro, Panama
Boquete, Panama
Parque Nacional Volcan Baru, Panama *
Parque Nacional Soberania, Panama *
Panama City, Panama


Quito, Ecuador
Otavalo, Ecuador
Tena, Ecuador
Banos, Ecuador
Chan Chan Ruinas, Peru *
Lima, Peru
The Nazcas Lines, Peru
Colca Canyon, Peru
Machu Picchu, Peru
Lake Titicaca, Boliva
La Paz, Boliva
Cafayate, Argentina
Santiago, Chile
Pucon, Chile
Bariloche, Chile
Ushuaia, Argentina
Pueto Madryn, Argentina
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Iguazu Falls, Brazil
Parati, Brazil
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

currently the South American segment of this trip
starts in Ecuador, (i would prefer to start in Columbia)
so i am currently researching the possibility
of starting in Columbia instead ...  

There are limited available
spots on the "goddess of goodness" for this spectacular spectacle,
is one of them yours??

as you may know, i bought a new and improved bus to replace ramona a while back for the
ALASKA to ARGENTINA TRIP, then i basically had nothing but mechanical problems with it
and when i finally got it sorted out i just decided that i was so far over budget that i honestly
did not want to deal with it any longer ...
so i sold that bus and went on holiday to africa (did an overland safari that enabled me
to get more ideas for my next rig).  during my travels, i had time to process my next move
and decided that i should follow my heart.  on that note, i have decided (now that i have
owned 4 different bus' over the years) that i am going to buy a vintage 1950/1960s bus
and then build it from the ground up. 
basically, i am going to buy classic school bus and take it off its frame and then place
it on a frame/chassis of a newer truck ... so then i will the super fly old school styling
of the vintage bus with the modern mechanical pleasures
(power steering/power brakes/air-con/diesel engine - veggie oil capabilities/maybe even 4 wheel drive) of a new vehicle...
pretty much my dream rig and the one i have wanted to build since i bought my first
bus ("buttercup") many moons ago. 

the new and improved rig will also be slightly larger than ramona - so it can carry
up to 10-12 people and therefore reduce the per person cost for all my trips ...
so i have post-pone this trip
until august 201? ..
 but the show must go on - so for the time being, i have purchased a conversion
van with cozy captain chairs that comfortably seat 6 or 7 passengers and i will
be doing a few "road adventures"
in that until i get the bus sorted - 

for more info regarding my next voyage please click HERE.

Pan-American Highway  Info

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Pan American Highway from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska to Ushuaia, Argentina.

The Pan-American Highway (French: Route panaméricaine, Spanish: Carretera Panamericana, Autopista Panamericana) is a network of roads measuring about 47,958 kilometers (29,800 miles)

in total length. Except for an 87 kilometers (54 mi) rainforest break, called the Darién Gap, the road links the mainland nations of the Americas in a connected highway system. According to Guinness World Records, the Pan-American Highway is the world's longest "motorable road". However, because of the Darién Gap, it is not possible to cross between South America and Central America by traditional motor vehicle.

The Pan-American Highway system is mostly complete and extends from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, in North America to the lower reaches of South America. Several highway termini are claimed to exist, including the cities of Puerto Montt and Quellón in Chile and Ushuaia in Argentina. No comprehensive route is officially defined in Canada and the United States, though several highways in the U.S. are called "Pan-American".

The Pan-American Highway passes through many diverse climates and ecological types, from dense jungles, to arid deserts, to cold mountain passes. Since the highway passes through many countries, it is far from uniform. Some stretches of the highway are passable only during the dry season, and in many regions driving is occasionally hazardous.

Famous sections of the Pan-American Highway include the Alaska Highway and the Inter-American Highway (the section between the United States and the Panama Canal). Both of these sections were built during World War II as a means of supply of remote areas without danger of attack by U-boats.[citation needed]

Jake Silverstein, writing in 2006, described the Pan-American Highway as "a system so vast, so incomplete, and so incomprehensible it is not so much a road as it is the idea of Pan-Americanism[1] itself…"




Pan-American Highway system overview

Map of the Alaska Highway portion (in red) of the Pan-American Highway system.

The Pan-American Highway travels through 14 countries:

Important spurs also lead into Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela.

For tourism purposes, the Pan-American Highway north of Central America is sometimes assumed to use the Alaska Highway and then run down the west coast of Canada and the United States, running east from San Diego, California and picking up the branch to Nogales, Arizona.[citation needed]

Darién Gap

A notable break in the highway is a section of land located in the Darién Province in Panama and the Colombian border called the Darién Gap. It is an 87 km (54 mile) stretch of rainforest. The gap has been crossed by adventurers on bicycle, motorbike, all-terrain vehicle, and foot, dealing with jungle, swamp, insects, and other hazards.

Many people, groups, indigenous populations, and governments are opposed to completing the Darién portion of the highway. Reasons for opposition include protecting the rain forest, containing the spread of tropical diseases, protecting the livelihood of indigenous peoples in the area, preventing drug trafficking and its associated violence from emanating out of Colombia, and preventing foot and mouth disease from entering North America.[citation needed] The extension of the highway as far as Yaviza resulted in severe deforestation alongside the highway route within a decade.

One option proposed, in a study by Bio-Pacifico, is a short ferry link from Colombia to a new ferry port in Panama, with an extension of the existing Panama highway that would complete the highway without violating these environmental concerns. The ferry would cross the Gulf of Urabá from Turbo, Colombia, to a new Panamanian port (possibly Carreto) connected to a Caribbean coast extension of the highway. Efficient routing would probably dictate that the existing route to Yaviza be relegated to secondary road status.[citation needed]

Development and completion

The concept of a route from one tip of the Americas to the other was originally proposed at the First Pan-American Conference in 1889 as a railroad; however, nothing ever came of this proposal. The idea of the Pan-American Highway emerged at the Fifth International Conference of American States in 1923, where it was originally conceived as a single route. The first Pan-American highway conference convened October 5, 1925 in Buenos Aires. Mexico was the first Latin American country to complete its portion of the highway, in 1950.[1]

Northern section of the Pan-American Highway

1933 map of the Inter-American Highway portion of the Pan-American Highway.
Pan-American Highway in Guatemala, 2001.

No road in the U.S. or Canada has been officially or unofficially designated as the Pan-American Highway, and thus the primary road officially starts at the U.S.-Mexico border. The original route began at the border at Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas (opposite Laredo, Texas) and went south through Mexico City. Later branches were built to the border at Nogales, Sonora (Nogales, Arizona), Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua (El Paso, Texas), Piedras Negras, Coahuila (Eagle Pass, Texas), Reynosa, Tamaulipas (Pharr, Texas), and Matamoros, Tamaulipas (Brownsville, Texas).

On the other hand, several roads in the U.S. were locally named after the Pan-American Highway. When the section of Interstate 35 in San Antonio, Texas was built, it was named the Pan Am Expressway, as an extension of the original route from Laredo.[citation needed] Interstate 25 in Albuquerque, New Mexico has been named the Pan-American Freeway, as an extension of the route to El Paso.[citation needed] U.S. Route 85, which goes north from El Paso, is designated the CanAm Highway, which continues into Canada in the province of Saskatchewan, before terminating at La Ronge. The CANAMEX Corridor is also similarly designated throughout the western United States, and continuing into the Canadian province of Alberta. Finally, Interstate 69 from the Canadian Border at Port Huron, Michigan to Indianapolis, Indiana, and its planned extension southward to the Mexican Border at Laredo, Texas has been designated as the NAFTA Superhighway along with Ontario Highway 402 in Canada. When completed, I-69 will connect with an official branch of the Pan-Am Highway at the Laredo-Nuevo Laredo border crossing.

The original route to Laredo travels up Mexican Federal Highway 85 from Mexico City.[citation needed] The various spurs follow:

From Mexico City to the border with Guatemala, the Highway follows Mexican Federal Highway 190. Through the Central American countries, it follows Central American Highway 1, ending at Yaviza, Panama at the edge of the Darién Gap. The road had formerly ended at Cañita, Panama, 110 miles (178 km) north of its current end. United States government funding was particularly significant to complete a high-level bridge over the Panama Canal, during the years when the canal was administered by the United States.

Southern section of the Pan-American Highway

A Vía PanAm shield sign is sometimes found on routes in South American countries associated with the Pan-American Highway.
Sculpture of a native man standing at the entrance of Fusagasugá, Colombia over the PanAm Highway

The southern part of the highway begins in northwestern Colombia, from where it follows Colombia Highway 62 to Medellín. At Medellín, Colombia Highway 54 leads to Bogotá, but Colombia Highway 11 turns south for a more direct route. Colombia Highway 72 is routed southwest from Bogotá to join Highway 11 at Murillo. Highway 11 continues all the way to the border with Ecuador.

Ecuador Highway 35 runs the whole length of that country. Peru Highway 1 carries the Pan-American Highway all the way through Peru to the border with Chile.

In Chile, the highway follows Chile Highway 5 south to a point north of Santiago (Llaillay), where the highway splits into two parts, one of which goes through Chilean territory to Quellón on Chiloé Island, after which it continues as the Carretera Austral. The other part goes east along Chile Highway 60, which becomes Argentina National Route 7 at the Argentinian border and continues to Buenos Aires, the end of the main highway.[2] The highway network also continues south of Buenos Aires along Argentina National Route 3 towards the city of Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego.

One branch, known as the Simón Bolívar Highway, runs from Bogotá (Colombia) to Guiria (Venezuela). It begins by using Colombia Highway 71 all the way to the border with Venezuela. From there it uses Venezuela Highway 1 to Caracas and Venezuela Highway 9 to its end at Guiria.

A continuation of the Pan-American Highway to the Brazilian cities of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro uses a ferry from Buenos Aires to Colonia in Uruguay and Uruguay Highway 1 to Montevideo. Uruguay Highway 9 and Brazil Highway 471 route to near Pelotas, from where Brazil Highway 116 leads to Brazilian main cities.

Another branch, from Buenos Aires to Asunción in Paraguay, heads out of Buenos Aires on Argentina National Route 9. It switches to Argentina National Route 11 at Rosario, which crosses the border with Paraguay right at Asunción. Other branches probably exist across the center of South America.

The highway does not have official segments to Belize, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana, nor to the assorted islands in the Caribbean region. However, highways from Venezuela link to Brazilian Trans-Amazonian highway that provide a southwest entrance to Guyana, route to the coast, and follow a coastal route through Suriname to French Guiana. Belize was supposedly included in the route at one time, as they switched which side of the road they drive on. As British Honduras, they were the only Central American country to drive on the left side of the road.

In art and culture

The Pan-American highway is the subject of a 2006 conceptual art piece, The School of Panamerican Unrest, where Mexican-born artist Pablo Helguera is attempting to drive a portable schoolhouse for the length of the entire route.[citation needed]

The travel writer Tim Cahill wrote a book, Road Fever, about his record-setting 24-day drive from Ushuaia in the Argentine province of Tierra del Fuego to Prudhoe Bay in the U.S. state of Alaska with professional long-distance driver Garry Sowerby, much of their route following the Pan-American Highway.[3]

In the British Motoring show Top Gear, the presenters drove on the road in their off-road vehicles in the Bolivian Challenge

In 2003, Kevin Sanders , a long-distance rider, broke the Guinness World Record for the fastest traversal of the highway by motorcycle in 34 days.[4]

Photo gallery

See also


  • Plan Federal Highway System, New York Times May 15, 1932 page XX7
  • Reported from the Motor World, New York Times January 26, 1936 page XX6
  • Hemisphere Road is Nearer Reality, New York Times January 7, 1953 page 58
  • 1997-98 AAA Caribbean, Central America and South America map
  • Overland Adventures