At this point in our journey, we have visited the vast majority of US States and many Canadian Provinces.
Although there are several more places we want to visit in the US and Canada, the truth is that the next logical travel target for our family to visit is Mexico (and possibly points south).
When you talk to folks north of the Rio Grande these days, a lot of them will express doubts about going south. They will tell you that you will need a 4 x 4 vehicle because the roads are so bad. They will tell you that poor people will storm your vehicle (and possibly rob you) when you cross the border. If you drive a nice car or RV, you are a big bright target for Mexican criminal gangs who roam the highways and who own the police.
And don’t even think about heading farther south, beyond Mexico. Civil wars, domestic turmoil, and non-existent infrastructure mean that you’d better travel with armed guides and in a jungle-approved Land Rover, complete with snorkel device for crossing roads where bridges simply don’t exist.
Now, if you are a young adventure junkie, this probably sounds like fun. But if you are a housewife with four little ones and a husband who can’t even fix his own shoe laces, the thought of going south of the border under these conditions does not generate a positive vibe. It certainly doesn’t sound fun.
One of the challenges that you face when you travel via RV is that, generally speaking, you are confined to traveling to those places that you can actually reach by road. True, you can load your RV on a ship and start a journey overseas. But that can be quite expensive. And many possible destinations, such as Europe, have small roads and low overpasses where a large RV like ours just won’t work well.
So what do we do?
We are nearing the end of this leg of our current North American journey. Within a few days we will be in the Ft. Worth, Texas area, where we have an appointment with the service department at the dealer where we purchased the Warrior about 12,000 miles ago.
Because they will need several weeks to take care of all of the stuff that we have shaken apart, we will be renting a minivan and toting all of our souveniers (plus the kids) back to Virginia, where we will spend the Holidays with family.
Come January our plan is to drive our Jeep back to Texas, where we will purchase a “dingy” towing rig and tow the Jeep behind the Warrior for the remainder of the southern US portion of our journey.
I figured that we could mull over our thoughts about whether we should travel farther south or not after we get back home.
But wouldn’t you know it, something happened today that woke me up a bit, and challenged my thought process regarding Lain American travel via road.
I stopped by Twitter.com today to see how everyone was doing, and ran into a guy named John who runs a website called FamilyonBikes.org.
Apparently John, his wife Nancy, and their two young twin boys, Davy and Daryl, are an ordinary American family that just happens to be bicycling from Alaska to southern Argentina.
Alaska to Argentina.
Makes my concerns about driving the Warrior south sound kinda wimpy, doesn’t it?
When they complete their journey, their sons will be the youngest people ever to cycle the Pan-American Highway. And they expect that fact to be certified by the Guinness Book of World Records.
By the way, now you know one reason that I hang out on Twitter – you meet some amazing people!
Hearing from John really woke me up. I asked him about his experiences, especially in some of those areas that everyone seems to be worried about. He said that the experience has been fantastic (except for a painful ingrown toenail, but that’s another matter).
Current, John, Nancy and the kids are in Ecuador, heading south. I wish them the best of luck. I am familiar with the part of the world that they are now entering and am sure that they will be just fine.
Sometimes, when you have a question, the world just reaches out and answers it. You just have to be listening.
So, will we be heading south in the near future? That is yet to be decided. The Summer of 2010 looks to be a busy time, with a UK trip and RV travel to central Canada current in the planning stages.
But it sure sounds exciting, doesn’t it?
Of course, there is still the matter of Mrs. DeBurgh. 😉
Oh well. All the best,