Why We Drove the Pan-American Highway

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San Pedro de Atacama, Geothermal field at -15C

In 2003, two adventurous MDX owners embarked on their very own, very unique American revolution.

It is hard to believe that Jeanne and I drove the entire Pan-American Highway from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, just thirteen years ago. This highway is a network of roads measuring about 47,958 kilometres (29,800 mi) in total length and passes through many diverse climates and ecological types, from dense jungles, to arid deserts, to cold mountain passes. The Pan-American Highway has been described as being not so much a road, but an idea. There is even, believe it or not, a gap.

Once back we were asked if we would ever do it again. Our answer: “Yes, in a heartbeat!” We still feel that way, although we may do the route a little differently.

  • We were inspired by several people. One was my son Sean Easton, who owns and runs a global mountain safety company on the West coast of Canada. He told us this is something he has always wanted to do. Sean, an experienced mountain guide, took us up the East face of Mount Edith Cavell on a climb near Jasper, Alberta, during the early stages of our journey.
  • We read and were further inspired by reading a book called “Investment Biker” by Wall Street legend Jim Rogers. His odyssey included travelling through 52 countries by motorcycle and resulted in his writing this bestselling book.
  • The timing was good. Markets were down, the Information Technology bubble had recently burst, and Jeanne and I were motivated to do something out-of-the-box. This would be the trip of a lifetime.
  • It looked challenging. As we researched and talked with people, we found no one who had done the entire trip. Although we are sure the Pan-American has been driven in it’s entirety before, we have yet to meet anyone who has. As Walt Disney once said “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible”.
  • It was early in start of a personal relationship between Jeanne and I. We were living at different addresses. It took us six months of planning to prepare for the venture. This included packing for four seasons, arranging health coverage and insurance, choosing a vehicle, taking Spanish lessons, and finally a great farewell party. We learned about the value of a “carnet de passage” – essentially a passport for the vehicle.
  • We were looking for an investment or business opportunity. And that moment came to us in Costa Rica where we had the fortune to live in an amazing mountainside, ocean-view treehouse in a 250-acre eco-forest which we now share with friends, family, and guests. More Treehouse information can be seen at http://junglavista.com/
  • We both love travelling, heading off the beaten track, meeting interesting people, seeing new places, being outdoors with nature, and experiencing different cultures. We documented the entire trip, took almost 3,000 photographs, and have given several presentations on our travel experiences. There is an article of part of our experiences in Acura’s Expression Magazine called “The Road Less Travelled” at our Treehouse website under the tab “About Us”.

Remember, impossible is only in the eye of the beholder.

 

Paul Pidcock
Paul Pidcock
Living in Toronto, Canada with a second home (a Treehouse) near the Pacific Ocean in Costa Rica which we rent out to guests while we are not there.