So with just over a month to go you might be wondering how things are going on the logistics front! Well all kinds of things are going on behind the scenes.
The car and equipment will be flown to Alaska toward the end of June, generously sorted out by our friends at Hellmann Logistics, with the journey planned to begin on July 8th. At this time it will be mid-summer in Alaska, with very long days of sunlight – the less we need headlights, the better! It will also be more pleasant when we are in the car without a windscreen or roof to protect us from the elements.
Travelling south through Canada and USA should be relatively simple, with largely decent road conditions, well connected civilizations, mostly safe areas and a well documented network of charging stations. Most of the time the team will be sleeping at RV parks and small hotels, but we’ll have to find a secure garage each night for the car.
There will be some great opportunities to showcase the car at the major cities along the route, especially to the hi-tech industries in California. The National Instruments conference in Austin, Texas will also be an important place to visit – “the industry’s premier event on graphical system design that attracts more than 3,000 of the world’s brightest engineers, educators, and scientists.” So including the days in a single place, and the days of pure driving, we plan to average 291km/day.
We’ll be crossing the Darien Gap by boat from Manzanillo, Panama to Cartagena, Colombia on our journey south. This second half of the trip is where all our vaccinations begin to pay off! Providing we remember to begin the malaria tablets in USA all will be fine (fingers crossed!).
Roads and areas are less well documented in South America, and we will start to rely on local knowledge and personal favours much more. Imperial College are sending out letters to the alumni that may be in positions to help us, and the team are undertaking first aid courses should anything go wrong in the remote areas. By the time we hit the Andes the southern hemisphere should hopefully be emerging from winter and we won’t have to drive through the snow.
The embassies are also extremely helpful. There are the foreign embassies in London which can lend a hand with the paperwork, and the British embassies in the actual countries. The ambassador to Ecuador is keen to come along for part of our trip! We’re trying to get as much of the paperwork sorted now to speed up the border crossings, and reduce some of the headaches en route.
All going to plan we shall arrive in Ushuaia, Argentina at the end of September, roughly three months, and 26’000km later.