A conversation started recently among a group of us in Park City. As Winter tips past the halfway point, the usual talk about the shoulder season and subsequent summer has begun. Some people will rest, some travel, some move for different work. We started to toss around a lot of big ideas, stupid ideas and impossible ideas. One idea, however, kept coming back up.
What about a road trip to the Andes? Is it possible? Worthwhile? It seems to capture all the elements of late winter talk about post-season. The distance is crazy, the challenges absurd and the effort almost impossible.
After an initial shoot-down, we actually started looking at the facts.
1. It is possible.
Many people drive to Panama. Many people also ship their vehicle across the Darien Gap. Once in South America, it's simply a matter of driving to Argentina or Chile.
2. Mexico Border to Bariloche - 8,500 miles. Expensive?
The Mongol Rally (London to Mongolia) is 10,000 miles. It's completed in 3-5 weeks by normal people in shit cars.
Vehicle Shipping from Panama to Colombia - $1,500
Average 12 miles to the gallon - 708 Gallons. At an average of $3.50 a gallon - $2,479
Vehicle Insurance for Mexico, Central America and South America - $1,000
Random border fees & Toll Roads - $1,000
Oil Changes, Flat Tires, Repairs - $2,000
Shipping vehicle back from Chile - $2,000
Total vehicle cost, not counting food & lodging & beer - Just under $10,000
Divided by 5 people, that's not too bad - $2,000 per person to get to South America. A one-way flight from LAX to Bariloche on July 1 lists today on Kayak for $1,600 to $3,900.
3. Why drive instead of fly?
It would be an adventure. The chance to see a dozen countries, different cultures and all kinds of natural beauty. Obviously it isn't something for everyone. Plenty of people are too scared of the unknown outside our borders to seriously consider this. However, earning your way to ski the southern hemisphere would give a certain touch to a summer spent skiing than a simple flight. Anyone that can afford a ticket can fly. Besides, it would be nice to have your own car to hit all the good mountains and chase the snow.
Ultimately, we decided it would take about $5,000 each to get there in under 2 months.
Anyone else crazy enough to think this might actually be a good idea?