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PAN AMERICAN HIGHWAY TO USHUAIA, ARGENTINA


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#1 tropicaltraveler

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 08:48 AM

I was so surprised to see the sign that read: ALASKA - 17,888 KMS This is the sign at the end of the Pan American Highway about 15 miles south of the small city of Ushuaia, Argentina. They call this the "End of the World" (Fin del Mundo - in Spanish). We camped in the Southernmost Campground in the World, located in the National Park of Panagonia, which is a bit south of the Southernmost Golf Course and the Southernmost Railway...etc, etc.. It was exciting just being there and to say you actually did it - Travel the Pan American Highway from McAllen, Texas to Ushuaia, Argentina.

The trip departed on it's annual trek from McAllen, on the 25th of July, 2011, and finished the first week of December in Argentina. The countries traveled included, USA, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil. Trips to Paraguay, Bolivia, and Venezuela were also optional. There were many foreign RV travelers on the road, especially from Germany, France, Brazil, Argentina, Switzerland, Australia, as well as Canadians and Americans.

I will try to post differents aspects of the trip here in the near future; LEARNING SPANISH ENROUTE, VEHICLE UPKEEP AND HINTS, BIRDING, PEOPLE WATCHING & MINGLING, FOOD CULTURES, HISTORICAL AND CULTURAL EXPERIENCES, RVERS GOODWILL and more! It is just getting time to organize this, and I will post it asap. pictured is the MONUMENT OF THE EQUADOR

#2 Huckshaven

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 09:14 AM

I was so surprised to see the sign that read: ALASKA - 17,888 KMS This is the sign at the end of the Pan American Highway about 15 miles south of the small city of Ushuaia, Argentina. They call this the "End of the World" (Fin del Mundo - in Spanish). We camped in the Southernmost Campground in the World, located in the National Park of Panagonia, which is a bit south of the Southernmost Golf Course and the Southernmost Railway...etc, etc.. It was exciting just being there and to say you actually did it - Travel the Pan American Highway from McAllen, Texas to Ushuaia, Argentina.

The trip departed on it's annual trek from McAllen, on the 25th of July, 2011, and finished the first week of December in Argentina. The countries traveled included, USA, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil. Trips to Paraguay, Bolivia, and Venezuela were also optional. There were many foreign RV travelers on the road, especially from Germany, France, Brazil, Argentina, Switzerland, Australia, as well as Canadians and Americans.

I will try to post differents aspects of the trip here in the near future; LEARNING SPANISH ENROUTE, VEHICLE UPKEEP AND HINTS, BIRDING, PEOPLE WATCHING & MINGLING, FOOD CULTURES, HISTORICAL AND CULTURAL EXPERIENCES, RVERS GOODWILL and more! It is just getting time to organize this, and I will post it asap. pictured is the MONUMENT OF THE EQUADOR



Need pictures and details, what type of vehicle did you do it in ?
Ken and Cindy
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#3 tropicaltraveler

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 09:21 AM

Need pictures and details, what type of vehicle did you do it in ?


I will be posting some more pics, I have a blue bird, but too big for this type of trek. I used a diesel F250 ford with a Lance 8'6" Camper..was just right for the trip because so much out of the RV activity...

#4 tropicaltraveler

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 09:24 AM

Need pictures and details, what type of vehicle did you do it in ?


I will be posting some more pics, I have a blue bird, but too big for this type of trek. I used a diesel F250 ford with a Lance 8'6" Camper..was just right for the trip because so much out of the RV activity...

#5 Jim2

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 09:24 AM

Sounds like a great adventure. I'd sure like to have a link to your pictures if they're online. I got as far south as Punta Arenas, back in the 1980's. That was a side trip, after climbing Mt Aconcagua in northern Argentina, A beautiful & interesting part of the world.
Jim

#6 Kellie Roberts

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 12:39 PM

I'm officially green with envy :D

Some months ago I spent days on end reading about another couple's journey (back in 1978 in a 24' Pace Arrow) who did the same thing. They departed California & drove to Argentina.

What an amazing trip & I'm sure some great border stories to tell with it!
Kellie & George Roberts
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#7 Kellie Roberts

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 12:40 PM

I'm also curious - since we too own a Bird - why you didn't take it? The road conditions, or just finding somewhere it would fit, etc.
Kellie & George Roberts
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Bluebird Wanderlodge ~ No Reservations
'08 Jeep Sahara 4x4
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~A ton of regret never made an ounce of difference~

Not A Moment Too Soon


#8 Mike Simpson

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 02:14 PM

Similar curiosity here. Is the highway and other surroundings (bridges, low trees, etc.) of a quality where one could make this trip in a very large MH? I have a Freightlier truck conversion. It's about 14' tall (if you measure all the way to the tips of the various whip antennas), 42' feet long, and about 40,000 pounds. It drinks a lot of diesel and is post-2007 fuel standards, meaning ULSD is required.

We have considered retiring in Costa Rica and driving there (likely a one-way trip) in the MH. Am I crazy (perhaps on several counts) for even considering such a thing?


I'm also curious - since we too own a Bird - why you didn't take it? The road conditions, or just finding somewhere it would fit, etc.


Mike Simpson
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#9 BooneDocks

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 06:31 PM

Here is a link for the blog of a couple who started out in Arizona two years ago and is now in Ushuaia.

Pan Am Bog

2003 Country Coach Intrigue Towing a 2006 Ford Focus Wagon
Follow Our Full-Time Travels Through Our Blog

#10 Gemstone

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 07:52 PM

"I have a Freightlier truck conversion"...Several years ago, Mexico was not allowing HDT's (regardless of purpose) across the border, I'm not aware whether the policy has changed.

Regards
Gemstone

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#11 tropicaltraveler

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 08:19 PM

You are correct that the Pan American Highway system is ample to handle the largest coaches, even the large double decked MARCOPOLO buses travel much of the highway. If only one or two large coaches participated the staff said that would be ok, they are responsible for the additional shipping fees.

More than 60% of the participants on the South American RV expeditions own a large Class A coach, and find happiness in traveling in a smaller Class "C" or a truck camper on a diesel pickup truck. - this was told on the South American trip by the owners.



Shipping: There are some shipping involved: Panama to Columbia and<br style="font-family: arial, helvetica, 'sans serif'; font-size: 13px; ">Argentina back to the USA - shipping price based on size. aprox. $50 per cubic meter.


Ferries: There are ferry crossings, easier to enter and exit the ferry.


Camps: Some camps have limited space. 10 unit caravan limit.


I was told the story of a Bluebird owner who bought a Ford, class C, diesel to reduce the size, and then (against the better judgement of his wife) loaded almost all the stuff he had in the storage comps of the Bluebird into "pod" which he bolted onto the roof of the Ford. After about a week of traveling he pulled into one of the camps, enjoyed the evening, and when he pulled out - PASSED UNDER A LOW TREE BRANCH, and CLEANED OFF ,all the pods, needless to say: The wife half-laughed and said "I told you NOT to bring all that junk!" He had electric saws, barbeques, carpenter tools, and even a food processor....


ANOTHER REASON YOU DON'T NEED SUCH A LARGE UNIT on these trips is most of the time you are OUT enjoying the trip and places, not sitting inside your coach...you can do that at home!


BUYING VS RENTING.... A MUCH BETTER DECISION IS TO BUY A SMALLER RV FOR THE TRIP, THEN SELL IT WHEN YOU RETURN ...MUCH CHEAPER THAN RENTAL - One Born Free diesel traveled 3 times on the trip with 3 different owners, one sold it to the next!


Another popular motorhome is on the Mercedes "Sprinter" chassis, getting up to 24 mpg!, which is the last reason. By the way, diesel is only a dollar a gallon in Ecuador!!!


I am sure there are many owners who would never consider this type of trip, but it is a great one to experience, lots of Birds, culture, and natural wonders, including Iguazul Waterfalls-largest in the world,, Macupuchu in Peru, Glaciers in Argentina, by the way, did you see the Moreno Glacier in todays' NEWS - there was one of the largest ICE SLIDES EVER!!!


I want to do a write up on the bird watching soon. I will also try to organize the photos, hey this is more work than going on the trip!! lol

.

Edited by tropicaltraveler, 05 March 2012 - 08:30 PM.


#12 tropicaltraveler

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 10:08 PM

Just one additional note: We were advised by adventuretrek that the diesel fuel could possibly be a problem, but the old diesel worked fine for over 11,000 miles and it was decided that is NOT a problem in Central or South AMerica.

#13 Earl

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 10:15 PM

Now that's a trip! I sure hope you write and share much more about it. Sure wish I could have tagged along.

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#14 tropicaltraveler

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 07:26 AM

One of the travelers was a single retired lady, who did all her own driving amazed the others, because she completed the trek two times. She said it was habit-forming. Afterwards she flew to Chile, to an observatory (which we passed, but was not having any activities) for a viewing convention. Chile is noted for it's clear skys and star watching oppurtunities. This reminds me, at one of the camps in northern Chile, a ex-California biologist had be commenting that he was anxious to view the "SOUTHERN CROSS". Well, that evening, one of the others went walking, just over a small hill, next to the campground, and saw a cross that was illuminated with light bulbs - He immediately ran back to Jim, and told him. "Jim, you've gotta see this great view, just over the hill - it's the SOUTHERN CROSS!"
The two walked briskly ....and, YOU GUESSED IT! Jim did see, the Southern Cross!!! lol

Another humorous challenge on this trip, is "Which way does the water flow!" You know when you drain the sink, does the water flow clockwise or counter-clockwise? That is the question! On the equador - when parked directly on the equador, which way? This is the only kind of tourism that you can do, to prove this point. And I will never tell ! We encountered tourists in Quito, Ecuador who had flown in from Manitoba, after telling them the story, they said, it would be hard to bring a sink, on the airplane!

#15 tropicaltraveler

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 08:24 PM

Sounds like a great adventure. I'd sure like to have a link to your pictures if they're online. I got as far south as Punta Arenas, back in the 1980's. That was a side trip, after climbing Mt Aconcagua in northern Argentina, A beautiful & interesting part of the world.


ok... as soon as I get the 1600+ photos sorted, I will try to make a link. Do you have any suggestions on a link? I have Picasa, and i photo..

#16 Connie B.

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 09:24 AM

Tropical Traveler.
If you have Picasa, then you can create Picasa Web Albums. You can then post a link on this thread to your Picasa Web Album or Albums for people to view your photos. Be sure and allow the albums to be viewed and open to the public so everyone can see them. Need any instructions, there is a help page for Picasa.

Our 30 day Scandinavian trip required 2 different Picassa Web Albums. I created a Google email address for each. You have 1024 MB (free) of storage space on each Picasa Web Album. I posted an individual album for each day, put a description of each day first and then put photos.

Am interested in seeing your photos. Hope you have some of your rig and campgrounds along the way.

Connie B.

Edited by Connie B., 07 March 2012 - 09:28 AM.

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#17 tropicaltraveler

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 09:26 PM

Tropical Traveler.
If you have Picasa, then you can create Picasa Web Albums. You can then post a link on this thread to your Picasa Web Album or Albums for people to view your photos. Be sure and allow the albums to be viewed and open to the public so everyone can see them. Need any instructions, there is a help page for Picasa.

Our 30 day Scandinavian trip required 2 different Picassa Web Albums. I created a Google email address for each. You have 1024 MB (free) of storage space on each Picasa Web Album. I posted an individual album for each day, put a description of each day first and then put photos.

Am interested in seeing your photos. Hope you have some of your rig and campgrounds along the way.

Connie B.


Thank you much Connie... I have just touched on the Picasa... it seems to just SWALLOW, THE PHOTOS, that I begin to enter,,,I will play with it a bit..thanks again!!!

#18 tropicaltraveler

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 07:12 AM

Because of all the PHOTO OPPS, I am getting some new camera equipment and take a more serious effort to produce some really good pictures. I am going to do the trip again this August and document it in pictures. I don't think it is the quanity of photos, it is more important to do fewer good quality! Looking back, I can see where I should have taken, and not taken! I think thats called "hindsight" lol

One of my problems is: I have too many interests, nature, people, old cars, buildings...just everything!!!!

#19 tropicaltraveler

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 01:37 PM

"I have a Freightlier truck conversion"...Several years ago, Mexico was not allowing HDT's (regardless of purpose) across the border, I'm not aware whether the policy has changed.

Regards
Gemstone


That is still in effect, however if you are with a group, there are provisions to bring your rig in .... You also must pay aprox. $400 for the permit.

#20 tropicaltraveler

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 06:01 AM

Traveling and Giving onthe Pan Am

The reason I amgoing once again on the RV trip of a lifetime, it may seem repetitive, but itis not, one lady traveled three times with the group, and then flew down again.


The RVexpedition groups have traveled the Pan American Highway for 14 years, and thisnext expedition is the 15th Anniversary. The trips focus on really seeing the countriesrealistically, as they truly are. The people, the communities, the cultures, the schools, and the natureare seen from the RV window in REAL LIFE! just as it is!, not a "show" put onfor cruise ship tourists!

We also saweverything the "fly-in" tourist would also.

Living the trip is everyday! One day we may startout and the destination might be the famous Machu Picchu the pre-Columbian 15th-century Inca sitel, and another day it may be Pozo Almonte, a little known town of 1500persons! But, in those littleknown, off-the-beaten-path places and towns, you may find the most rewardingobservations and experiences by "living" the trip.

These are the times you must, take a breath, sometimes closeyour eyes, and maybe even pinch yourself, to realize where you actuallyare! You are living next to "newneighbors" who have accepted you, not as a "tourist", but as a person (with alsoyour home with you) who has the interest to visit their small town, andinteract with them.

They really want to "show" you everything, again not as atourist, but a friend from a far away place. We were often asked from other foreign tourist we metenroute "have you had any problems?" The response usually was, the main problem we had encountered was:saying NO! No we can't stay anylonger, NO, we can't eat anymore of the homemade bread, NO, we could not takethat shirt off your back! And on and on. The people were so friendly, and most of all SINCERE!

THE GIVING BACK We were advised to bring some children'sclothes, some school supplies, and photographs from home, of our home, town,and family to show enroute. Theseitems all "broke the ice" with our new neighbors.

Some of our people showed the children (and the adults also)what their areas have to offer, especially the birds and nature, they were sosurprised to see we had the birds in our materials, and they appreciated thislearning of birds and also flowers. They taught us about many plants used for medicines, and new fruits thatwe never knew existed!

Besides the tourist attractions, we visit small countryschools, community halls, coffee plantations, sugar factories, handicraft areas,farms and grain elevators, and many other offbeat places. At the schools, we visit with thepermission of the staff, and see the everyday school life. Afterwards, we leave some schoolsupplies, and share photos with the children and teachers. Also maybe send an old computer fromhome afterwards to them.

The trek staff has a emt or paramedic present, and many timesthere is an opportunity to do a community blood pressure check, and this isalso done in the rural areas, while the groups sees the points ofinterest. The people are sograteful that we show an interest. Most of the time there are some retired nurses, who also participate inthis. - This is part of the GIVING BACK! This is enjoying the tourism, the countries, and the people,and leaving with a great feeling of the experience! Nothing against the Cruise Ship Tourist, but only the RVtourist can do this!

THIS TRAVEL EXPERIENCE REALLY GIVES YOU A GOOD FEELING NOT ALL TAKING, BUT ALSO GIVING!


We are so lucky to be able (still) to travel via RV! Only in this mode of travel could we see what we do, and be so close to the people. Also you can not compare this travel with the TOURGROUPS, because AT THE END OF THE DAY, you have your own gettaway!, if you feel like joining the others at the campfire, or happy hour YOU CAN! AND for some reason, YOU CAN CHOOSE NOT TO. I sure hope we can contine this life as is!!!






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