Saturday, December 5, 2015

Starting the drive from South America to the USA - Seattle to Buenos Aires

From Wikipedia

The Pan-American Highway (FrenchRoute / Autoroute Panaméricaine / TransaméricainePortugueseRodovia / Auto-estrada Pan-americanaSpanishAutopista / Carretera / Ruta Panamericana) is a network of roads measuring about 30,000 kilometres (19,000 mi) in total length. Except for a rainforest break of approximately 100 km (60 mi), called the Darién Gap, the road links almost all of 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 road.
The Pan-American Highway passes through many diverse climates and ecological types, from dense jungles, to arid deserts, some of which are passable only during the dry season, and in many regions driving is occasionally hazardous.
The concept of an overland 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, this proposal was never realized. The idea of building a highway emerged at the Fifth International Conference of American States in 1923. The first conference regarding construction of the highway occurred on October 5, 1925. Finally, on July 29, 1937, BoliviaChileColombiaCosta RicaEl SalvadorGuatemalaHondurasMexicoNicaraguaPanamaPeru, and the United States signed the Convention on the Pan-American Highway, whereby they agreed to speedy construction, by all adequate means.[2] In 1950, Mexico became the first Latin American country to complete its portion of the highway.[3]


The second step for the road trip was to pack my gear and get to the starting point  (the first step was to purchase the vehicle - see "The Beast" posting).  Ushuaia is located in Argentina on the tip of South America.  This meant flying from Seattle to Toronto,  and then overnight to Buenos Aires, and then taking an overnight bus to a small town, Villa General Belgrano, in the middle of the country, and then driving south through Patagonia to the "end of the world".

But before flying off I had to unpack from a 2 month tour of Africa and Europe.  Upon returning on September 4, I had intended to spend 2-3 weeks preparing.  Two months later, after seeing son Lachlan (22 yrs) and Charlotte at the Parents College Weekend -  Whiteman College,  and spending some great time with son Benjie (20 yrs)  in Portland, I was finally ready to go.  One of the reason to purchase a vehicle in South America was to reduce the stress and hassle preparing for the trip.  I remember long ago when Bill Bushnell (best friends since our Mom's introduced us at age 3 days) went on our 6 months windsurfing tour across the USA in 1980, the trip was wonderful but the time getting ready was less so.  This preparation time was much less stressful although I was really ready to leave Seattle's traffic.

The big challenge was to get 200 + pounds of gear through customs, to the hotel, then to the bus station,  through the station and onto the bus, then from the bus station in Belgrano to the camp ground.  The stress points: lost / stolen / customs charging 100 % duty.....

 The gear list included all of my kiteboarding, backpacking, fly fishing, and climbing gear, plus a few cloths and personal items.

 Finally in Buenos Aires airport !!!  The relief in finding my gear not lost, stolen or a large customs duty charge !!  Success after weeks of planing !!!

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