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#1
Old 08-21-2012, 04:49 PM
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Could you drive from North America to South America?

I'm wondering if it'd be possible to drive from where I am (Montreal, Canada) to South America.

I'm not actually planning to do it. I'm just curious.
#2
Old 08-21-2012, 04:51 PM
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There's a gap in Panama over a very rugged canyon that can't be crossed by auto. Otherwise, yes.
#3
Old 08-21-2012, 04:53 PM
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No, but you can walk it in theory. They left it as a roadless jungle between Panama and Colombia on purpose. People have hacked paths through it but it isn't safe, easy, or fun. You can drive almost everywhere between North and South America however and you can have your vehicle ferried across the gap.

Last edited by Shagnasty; 08-21-2012 at 04:54 PM.
#4
Old 08-21-2012, 04:59 PM
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A friend of my cousin's is in the middle of biking from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, for peace or something.

Did I mention that this is a female friend? And that, while she'll be meeting up with other cyclers, she will be spending quite a lot of the trail alone, through some countries that are not necessarily friendly to random white hippie girls?

Yeah. We're hoping she survives it. But theoretically, it's possible.
#5
Old 08-21-2012, 05:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shagnasty View Post
They left it as a roadless jungle between Panama and Colombia on purpose.
What purpose?
#6
Old 08-21-2012, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Peremensoe View Post
What purpose?
Quote:
The Darién Gap (Spanish: Región del Darién or Tapón del Darién) is a large swath of undeveloped swampland and forest separating Panama's Darién Province in Central America from Colombia in South America. It measures just over 160 km (99 mi) long and about 50 km (31 mi) wide. Roadbuilding through this area is expensive, and the environmental toll is steep. Political consensus in favor of road construction has not emerged. Consequently there is no road connection through the Darién Gap connecting North/Central America with South America and it is the missing link of the Pan-American Highway.

-- snip --

The Darién Gap is subject to the presence and activities of the Marxist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which has committed countless assassinations, kidnappings, and human rights violations during its decades-long insurgency against the Colombian government.[14] FARC rebels are present on both the Colombian and Panamanian sides of the border.[15] In 2000, two British travelers, Tom Hart Dyke and Paul Winder, were kidnapped by suspected FARC guerillas in the Darién Gap while hunting for rare orchids, a plant for which Dyke has a particular passion. The two were held captive for nine months and threatened with death before eventually being released unharmed and without a ransom being paid. Dyke and Winder later documented their experience in the book "The Cloud Garden".

Other political victims of the Darién Gap include three New Tribes missionaries, who disappeared from Pucuro on the Panamanian side in 1993.[16]
In 2003, Robert Young Pelton, on assignment for National Geographic Adventure Magazine, and two traveling companions, Mark Wedeven and Megan Smaker, were detained by the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, a right-wing, pro-government paramilitary organization, for one week in a highly publicized incident.[17][18]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dari%C3%A9n_Gap

Last edited by Duckster; 08-21-2012 at 05:13 PM.
#7
Old 08-21-2012, 05:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Peremensoe View Post
What purpose?
1) Environmental concerns
2) Drug and human trafficking concerns
3) Spread of disease concerns (foot and mouth disease in livestock for example).
4) Engineering challenges
5) Insufficient political will or economic justification
#8
Old 08-21-2012, 05:11 PM
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<Should have known I'd get ninja'ed on this...>

Last edited by John DiFool; 08-21-2012 at 05:11 PM.
#9
Old 08-21-2012, 05:17 PM
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I haven't read this book, but an earlier thread referenced The Darkest Jungle as a good resource about the Darien Gap.

Last edited by Earl Snake-Hips Tucker; 08-21-2012 at 05:17 PM.
#10
Old 08-21-2012, 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Peremensoe View Post
What purpose?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shagnasty View Post
1) Environmental concerns
2) Drug and human trafficking concerns
3) Spread of disease concerns (foot and mouth disease in livestock for example).
4) Engineering challenges
5) Insufficient political will or economic justification
Let's not forget the biggest purpose... The US basically carved Panama from Columbia to control the land to build the canal. I doubt they wanted to make it easier for Columbia to get there if they wanted it back.

Last edited by crypto; 08-21-2012 at 05:44 PM.
#11
Old 08-21-2012, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Maggie the Ocelot View Post
A friend of my cousin's is in the middle of biking from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, for peace or something.

Did I mention that this is a female friend? And that, while she'll be meeting up with other cyclers, she will be spending quite a lot of the trail alone, through some countries that are not necessarily friendly to random white hippie girls?

Yeah. We're hoping she survives it. But theoretically, it's possible.
Make sure when she puts the videos of her bot fly infestation being extracted one by one on YouTube, and then let us know.m if she's good looking, and she takes a bath before they extract the things, she could make some good money from YouTube viewership. (seems many central American trips, mostly to Belize, result in a video of someone getting a bot fly removed from their bodies. Search "bot fly" on YouTube. It's a freakshow!
#12
Old 08-21-2012, 05:49 PM
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I read 'Road Fever' by Tim Cahill years ago. In it, he drives from South America to North America. I don't recall it, but I guess he must have put the car on a boat for a short while.

http://amazon.com/Road-Fever-Tim.../dp/0394758374
#13
Old 08-21-2012, 05:58 PM
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Loren Upton and Patty Mercier made across the Darién Gap in a Jeep. It took them a couple of years, averaging less than 300 meters per day. But that was before FARC started taking tourists as hostages in that locale, which might delay your trip by a few more years.

Last edited by Muffin; 08-21-2012 at 05:58 PM.
#14
Old 08-21-2012, 05:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Maggie the Ocelot View Post
Yeah. We're hoping she survives it. But theoretically, it's possible.
Possible that the crossing can be made, or possible that your friend will survive?
#15
Old 08-21-2012, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Stink Fish Pot View Post
Let's not forget the biggest purpose... The US basically carved Panama from Columbia to control the land to build the canal. I doubt they wanted to make it easier for Columbia to get there if they wanted it back.
Oh come on. It's some of the roughest terrain on the planet, and if the wildlife and sudden drops don't kill you the drug cartels, revolutionaries and all-around bad people present will.

They'd have to pay me an AWFUL LOT OF MONEY to be on that road construction crew, is all I'm saying.

Not everything's a conspiracy.
#16
Old 08-21-2012, 06:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maggie the Ocelot View Post
A friend of my cousin's is in the middle of biking from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, for peace or something.

Did I mention that this is a female friend? And that, while she'll be meeting up with other cyclers, she will be spending quite a lot of the trail alone, through some countries that are not necessarily friendly to random white hippie girls?

Yeah. We're hoping she survives it. But theoretically, it's possible.
I can guarantee you 100% that she is not riding a bicycle through the Darian Gap. Between the FARC rebels, insects, disease and impenetrable jungle, she will be stopped in her tracks less than a mile in.

There is a ferry service now that she can take. Let's pray that she has the sense to take this ferry and not consider it "cheating".

A great Locked Up Abroad episode shows what happened to 2 guys who tried to hike the GAP.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=WEWu4Kc5COo
#17
Old 08-21-2012, 08:25 PM
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Interesting old ad/video touting the ability of a GM car to cross the Darien.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=lrhH1U_NAcM

Part 2:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=7EnZKOu4fV4
#18
Old 08-21-2012, 08:40 PM
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Someone who shared the same advisor I did in grad school decided, after he got his Master's degree, to drive from the US to Tierra del Fuego in a car he bought for that puropose.

There were a couple of places he had to get the car transported because there was no road, but I thought he'd made it all the way down to South America before that happened. I could be wrong, though.
#19
Old 08-21-2012, 09:29 PM
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I started a thread a long time ago that I can't find now for some reason. A determined person could theoretically walk from the tip of South America into North America, into Alaska, across the frozen Bering Strait, into Asia, then on to Africa and then on to Europe.

Look at a globe. Five of the seven continents are still mostly connected (and Antarctica doesn't really count so you could hit all all but Australia) but there are gaps that make it impossible for the average person. One person is doing it however and has passed the major geographic challenges only to be held up by political obstacles in Russia and finances.

If the right roads were built to connect the gaps, you could theoretically drive a very capable all-terrain vehicle from Argentina to the U.S. to Canada to Russia to China to anywhere in Europe, the Middle East or all the way down to South Africa. You could do those trips in just a few sections even today but I have never heard of anyone taking a road trip from say France to China or India to South Africa. It is possible however.
#20
Old 08-21-2012, 10:42 PM
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Originally Posted by robert_columbia View Post
Interesting old ad/video touting the ability of a GM car to cross the Darien.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=lrhH1U_NAcM

Part 2:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=7EnZKOu4fV4
Thanks for finding that!
#21
Old 08-21-2012, 11:04 PM
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Originally Posted by phreesh View Post
I read 'Road Fever' by Tim Cahill years ago. In it, he drives from South America to North America.
As I remember, they start out with the idea of staying awake by drinking instant coffee made in the cab while they drove. By the end of the trip, they've resorted to just moistening the instant coffee and scarfing it by the handful.

Last edited by blondebear; 08-21-2012 at 11:04 PM.
#22
Old 08-21-2012, 11:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Shagnasty View Post
but I have never heard of anyone taking a road trip from say France to China or India to South Africa. It is possible however.
People have crossed the frozen bering strait on foot and on skis but no land based vehicle has achieved this.

One guy strapped floats to a land rover and made it:
http://motorauthority.com/news/1...-bering-strait

And this strange screw propelled vehicle (which floats) made it:
http://athropolis.com/arctic-fac...challenger.htm

I don't really think either of those counts as a "road trip".
#23
Old 08-21-2012, 11:13 PM
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I recall David Letterman sending Larry "Bud" Melman on a road trip to somewhere south of the border. I can't recall how far he was supposed to go, if he was actually supposed to reach South America, but by the time he'd hit Guatemala, he was literally pleading on air to be allowed to return. The corrupt cops, the bandits, the revolutionaries, all got to him. This was in the 1980s, and the situation may be improved now. (The gag was called off, and Melman returned.)
#24
Old 08-21-2012, 11:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Blakeyrat View Post
Oh come on. It's some of the roughest terrain on the planet, and if the wildlife and sudden drops don't kill you the drug cartels, revolutionaries and all-around bad people present will.

They'd have to pay me an AWFUL LOT OF MONEY to be on that road construction crew, is all I'm saying.

Not everything's a conspiracy.
it sounds like you've been there, I haven't so I'll take your word on the terrain. And you could be right.... however there was talk of a canal across Nicaragua I think, and it was decided the terrain was unsuitable... so all of a sudden Panama appeared.

Now I'll have to look up the panama canal history and see when panama was clipped off of Columbia.

Next thing you are going to tell me is that the US didn't manhandle Hawaii to take over the island chain for themselves. Sam Dole, of Dole fruits was the first president of hawaii. Coincidence? I think NOT!

OK, according to Wiki, an engineer named William Kennish, (he worked for the US government) surveyed the different potential locations for the future canal and his conclusion was basically where the current Panama Canal was finally built. He wrote this up in 1855. The French started construction, and failed. So from 1881-1890, the French were given the rights by the Columbian Govt. to dig the canal in the Columbian province of Panama.

The US started to look at different options in 1890, and after looking at the Nicaraguan canal potential, the US Senate, in 1902, agreed to pursue the French interests in Panama. A treaty was signed by the US and Columbia representatives to permit this and to give the US a renewable lease in perpetuity. The Columbian government never ratified this treaty.

Per Wikipedia " Phillipe Bunau-Varilla, chief engineer and significant shareholder of the French canal company, told U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt and Hay of a possible revolt, and hoped that the United States would support Panamanian rebels who aimed to separate from Colombia, by providing U.S. troops and money. Roosevelt changed tactics, promising support for the separation of Panama from Colombia."

"On November 2, 1903, U.S. warships blocked sea lanes for possible Colombian troop movements en route to put down the rebellion. Dense jungles blocked Colombia's land routes. Reportedly, extensive bribes were paid to get the few Colombian troops stationed in Panama to lay down their arms. Panama declared independence the next day, November 3, 1903. The U.S. quickly recognized the new nation of Panama."

"In 1904, the United States, under President Theodore Roosevelt, bought the French equipment and excavations for US$40 million, paid the new country of Panama US$10 million plus more each year, and began work on the Panama Canal on May 4, 1904. (In 1921, the United States paid Colombia US$10 million, plus US$250,000 per annum for several years; in return, Colombia recognized Panama under the terms of the Thomson-Urrutia Treaty)."

All quoted info directly from Wiki's page.

However in re-reading it, I am in agreement with you that it wasn't a conspiracy to keep the Columbians from retaking Panama.

The US paid the Columbian govt. quite a bit of money to keep Columbia happy.

I guess the conspiracy or scandal would involve the Columbian government taking the money for Panama and permitting the US to set up shop and basically protect the new nation of Panama.

But as I said, I have to agree with you that there isn't any conspiracy to keep a road from being built.

This has been our history lesson for the day!
#25
Old 08-22-2012, 12:01 AM
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Nitpick: It's Colombia.
#26
Old 08-22-2012, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Shagnasty View Post
You could do those trips in just a few sections even today but I have never heard of anyone taking a road trip from say France to China or India to South Africa. It is possible however.
Plenty of people have done those kind of road trips. Just to throw out an example, there's the Mongol Rally from the UK to Ulan Bator, Mongolia.

Heck, you can get a package holiday road trip from the UK to Cape Town. That cheats slightly by flying to Morocco, but I'm sure I've seen trips that do the whole thing overland, passing through the Middle East. They might not be running now but the problems are political rather than physical. There's a bridge over the Suez Canal, and roads from there connect you all the way to South Africa, so you could drive every mile of the way from London to Cape Town (apart from the 20-odd miles under the Channel where your car will be on a train).

Equally you could drive from London to Vladivostok, now the Zilov Gap is no longer a gap.

Last edited by Colophon; 08-22-2012 at 07:35 AM.
#27
Old 08-22-2012, 08:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Shagnasty View Post
1) Environmental concerns
2) Drug and human trafficking concerns
3) Spread of disease concerns (foot and mouth disease in livestock for example).
4) Engineering challenges
5) Insufficient political will or economic justification
6) A good portion of the indigenous Embera, Wounaan, and Kuna, who have majority control of their comarcas (equivalent to states or provinces), would block attempts to build a road, as being detrimental to their existence as a culture (others, though, might welcome it and the commercial and other opportunities it would encourage.)
#28
Old 08-22-2012, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Siam Sam View Post
I recall David Letterman sending Larry "Bud" Melman on a road trip to somewhere south of the border. I can't recall how far he was supposed to go, if he was actually supposed to reach South America, but by the time he'd hit Guatemala, he was literally pleading on air to be allowed to return. The corrupt cops, the bandits, the revolutionaries, all got to him. This was in the 1980s, and the situation may be improved now. (The gag was called off, and Melman returned.)
I remember that. Dave referred to it as a good-will tour and his destination was Tierra del Fuego.

I guess they should have researched that a bit more.


mmm
#29
Old 08-22-2012, 09:47 AM
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Tim Cahill and Garry Sowerby had gone "full-tilt roto" by the time they got to the Darien Gap. That bit they did by ferry.
#30
Old 08-22-2012, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Stink Fish Pot View Post
(rambling)
Ok I guess to you everything is a conspiracy. I apologize. Carry on.
#31
Old 08-22-2012, 10:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Siam Sam View Post
I recall David Letterman sending Larry "Bud" Melman on a road trip to somewhere south of the border. I can't recall how far he was supposed to go, if he was actually supposed to reach South America, but by the time he'd hit Guatemala, he was literally pleading on air to be allowed to return. The corrupt cops, the bandits, the revolutionaries, all got to him. This was in the 1980s, and the situation may be improved now. (The gag was called off, and Melman returned.)
Yeah, this thread reminded me of that. He barely made it halfway, not even to Panama I think. It was a great bit in that its utter failure was what made it so funny. Poor Larry Bud though. He started right outside 30 Rock in a motorhome which they took as far as Mexico I think. Right from the start Melman and his driver didn't get along. Then somewhere in Mexico Larry stumbled & fell and broke his glasses (he didn't have a spare). Each time Dave would talk to him on the phone he just got more & more sad and depressed. I think they used one of those early video-still-picture phone things and you could see it in his face.

When Larry finally made it clear that he couldn't go on any longer, Dave told him he could either press on further, or he'd fly him home, or he'd send him to Disneyland! This of course got big applause from the audience, but then Melman just pleaded back, "I'd just like to come home..." Was both funny and legitimately a little uncomfortable. So much so that awhile after he got back he appeared as a regular guest just to explain what went wrong and that, although he had a lousy time, he was all happy again.

The contrast of Melman's misery and Dave's faux-enthusiasm, this was supposed to be a "Good Will Tour" across two continents!, worked really well. Before he would call to check on his progress Dave would take out a big map with a little movable picture of Larry Bud in a ridiculous sombrero to represent his progress. Towards the end that happy picture of him so did not match his sad, somber demeanor!
#32
Old 08-22-2012, 10:49 PM
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Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stink Fish Pot
(rambling)
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Originally Posted by Blakeyrat View Post
Ok I guess to you everything is a conspiracy. I apologize. Carry on.
Moderator Note

Blakeyrat, changing a quote within a quote tag is against the rules. Do not do this again.

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#33
Old 08-22-2012, 11:30 PM
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Oh come on. It's some of the roughest terrain on the planet, and if the wildlife and sudden drops don't kill you the drug cartels, revolutionaries and all-around bad people present will.

They'd have to pay me an AWFUL LOT OF MONEY to be on that road construction crew, is all I'm saying.

Not everything's a conspiracy.
This is greatly exaggerated.

I've been to the Darien more than 30 times, including to within a few miles of the Colombian border seven or eight times. I've been well into the Darien Gap itself, up the Tuira River, to within about 20 miles of the Colombian border. I've led expeditions into several of the more remote mountain ranges of Darien.

The road in Darien is now paved all the the way to Yaviza, which is less than 50 miles from the Colombian border. It's an easy 5-hour drive from Panama City on two-lane blacktop.

The terrain is not particularly rugged along the rest of the likely route up the Tuira Valley, and there are no "sudden drops" along it. There wouldn't be a big problem putting a road through this area using modern construction techniques all the way to Colombia, which is mostly flat terrain, although building bridges over the Tuira and its tributaries would be rather expensive. There are roads through a lot tougher areas. The big problem is on the Colombian side, through or around the Atrato Swamp, but I'm sure that wouldn't be insurmountable. And it's hardly impenetrable jungle, since the indigenous people and other residents of Darien have cleared much of the area along the river for farming. There is a continuous series of well-used trails between the villages along the way.

The wildlife is no great threat. Jaguars and pumas aren't going to hang around areas where roads are being constructed. There are poisonous snakes, but the danger is probably worse in the southern US, and that doesn't stop road construction in Texas. (I have had a jaguar come around my tent at night, and my Embera guides once killed a six-foot-long Fer-de-lance next to our camp, but that was in remote areas.)

The FARC is indeed a potential problem for small parties (and why I don't go up the Tuira very far any more). However, although the FARC have sometimes kidnapped people on the Panamanian side, they are under such pressure in Colombia that they really don't want to stir up trouble and motivate the Panamanian border services to go after them. They keep a low profile these days, and I doubt the groups are very large. Drug smugglers and general bad guys (maleantes) are probably a bigger problem. But if the Panamanian and Colombian governments decided to put a road through, they could easily post enough guards to protect any road crews.

There is intermittent talk about building a road through the Gap, but the basic thing blocking it is that although Colombia wants it, Panama really doesn't. Panama has enough of a problem with illegal immigrants from Colombia as it is, and doesn't want to make access easier. As mentioned above, there is also the issue that a road would cross indigenous Comarcas (homelands) and be opposed by these groups. It would also cross the Darien National Park, but that would not be a barrier if Panama really wanted it. A more likely project for the near term would be building a transmission line to bring power between Panama and Colombia.

At least four expeditions have crossed the Darien Gap by car, hacking out roads and rafting across rivers:

The Trans-Darien expedition of 1959-1960, using a Land Rover and a Jeep, and including two Panamanians (a husband and wife), an Englishman, and an Australian.

A team of three Chevrolet Corvairs in 1962.

The British Trans-Americas Expedition of 1972, which used two Range Rovers and drove from Alaska all the way to southern South America.

Loren Upton and Patty Mercier used a Jeep to cross entirely by land (without rafting across the Atrato) in 1987-1989, by traveling only during the dry season.

There have also been a number of crossings by motorcycle.

Last edited by Colibri; 08-22-2012 at 11:35 PM.
#34
Old 08-23-2012, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by phreesh View Post
I read 'Road Fever' by Tim Cahill years ago. In it, he drives from South America to North America. I don't recall it, but I guess he must have put the car on a boat for a short while.

http://amazon.com/Road-Fever-Tim.../dp/0394758374
This book was the first thing I thought of when I saw this thread. Terrific read. Informative and funny. They did travel by boat around the Darien Gap.
#35
Old 08-23-2012, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Colibri View Post
This is greatly exaggerated.

I've been to the Darien more than 30 times, including to within a few miles of the Colombian border seven or eight times. I've been well into the Darien Gap itself, up the Tuira River, to within about 20 miles of the Colombian border. I've led expeditions into several of the more remote mountain ranges of Darien.

The road in Darien is now paved all the the way to Yaviza, which is less than 50 miles from the Colombian border. It's an easy 5-hour drive from Panama City on two-lane blacktop.

The terrain is not particularly rugged along the rest of the likely route up the Tuira Valley, and there are no "sudden drops" along it. There wouldn't be a big problem putting a road through this area using modern construction techniques all the way to Colombia, which is mostly flat terrain, although building bridges over the Tuira and its tributaries would be rather expensive. There are roads through a lot tougher areas. The big problem is on the Colombian side, through or around the Atrato Swamp, but I'm sure that wouldn't be insurmountable. And it's hardly impenetrable jungle, since the indigenous people and other residents of Darien have cleared much of the area along the river for farming. There is a continuous series of well-used trails between the villages along the way.

The wildlife is no great threat. Jaguars and pumas aren't going to hang around areas where roads are being constructed. There are poisonous snakes, but the danger is probably worse in the southern US, and that doesn't stop road construction in Texas. (I have had a jaguar come around my tent at night, and my Embera guides once killed a six-foot-long Fer-de-lance next to our camp, but that was in remote areas.)

The FARC is indeed a potential problem for small parties (and why I don't go up the Tuira very far any more). However, although the FARC have sometimes kidnapped people on the Panamanian side, they are under such pressure in Colombia that they really don't want to stir up trouble and motivate the Panamanian border services to go after them. They keep a low profile these days, and I doubt the groups are very large. Drug smugglers and general bad guys (maleantes) are probably a bigger problem. But if the Panamanian and Colombian governments decided to put a road through, they could easily post enough guards to protect any road crews.

There is intermittent talk about building a road through the Gap, but the basic thing blocking it is that although Colombia wants it, Panama really doesn't. Panama has enough of a problem with illegal immigrants from Colombia as it is, and doesn't want to make access easier. As mentioned above, there is also the issue that a road would cross indigenous Comarcas (homelands) and be opposed by these groups. It would also cross the Darien National Park, but that would not be a barrier if Panama really wanted it. A more likely project for the near term would be building a transmission line to bring power between Panama and Colombia.

At least four expeditions have crossed the Darien Gap by car, hacking out roads and rafting across rivers:

The Trans-Darien expedition of 1959-1960, using a Land Rover and a Jeep, and including two Panamanians (a husband and wife), an Englishman, and an Australian.

A team of three Chevrolet Corvairs in 1962.

The British Trans-Americas Expedition of 1972, which used two Range Rovers and drove from Alaska all the way to southern South America.

Loren Upton and Patty Mercier used a Jeep to cross entirely by land (without rafting across the Atrato) in 1987-1989, by traveling only during the dry season.

There have also been a number of crossings by motorcycle.
Excellent and informative. The 'three Chevrolet Corvairs' raised my eyebrows, though.
#36
Old 08-23-2012, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Chefguy View Post
Excellent and informative. The 'three Chevrolet Corvairs' raised my eyebrows, though.
That does not sound safe.
#37
Old 08-23-2012, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by gazpacho View Post
That does not sound safe.
At any speed.
#38
Old 08-23-2012, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Colibri View Post
I've been to the Darien more than 30 times, including ...
You, sir, are a bona fide badass. Great post.

A six foot long Fer-de-lance? Hello, bad dreams.
#39
Old 08-23-2012, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Maggie the Ocelot View Post
A friend of my cousin's is in the middle of biking from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, for peace or something.

Did I mention that this is a female friend? And that, while she'll be meeting up with other cyclers, she will be spending quite a lot of the trail alone, through some countries that are not necessarily friendly to random white hippie girls?

Yeah. We're hoping she survives it. But theoretically, it's possible.
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Originally Posted by Mangosteen View Post
I can guarantee you 100% that she is not riding a bicycle through the Darian Gap. Between the FARC rebels, insects, disease and impenetrable jungle, she will be stopped in her tracks less than a mile in.
I agree that she will need to bypass the Darien Gap (although the route does not pass through "impenetrable jungle," and it's feasible to get some distance up the Tuira without serious risk of encountering the FARC).

Aside from any danger from the FARC, she would be turned back by the Panamanian border patrol, which maintains a checkpoint at Meteti along the road to Yaviza and has posts in most of the main towns in Darien. They would be very unlikely to allow a gringa on a bicycle to pass through, especially if she told them she intended to go up the Tuira.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mangosteen
There is a ferry service now that she can take. Let's pray that she has the sense to take this ferry and not consider it "cheating".
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Originally Posted by phreesh View Post
I read 'Road Fever' by Tim Cahill years ago. In it, he drives from South America to North America. I don't recall it, but I guess he must have put the car on a boat for a short while.
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Originally Posted by silenus View Post
Tim Cahill and Garry Sowerby had gone "full-tilt roto" by the time they got to the Darien Gap. That bit they did by ferry.
Cahill and Sowerby shipped their car by boat to San Andres, a Caribbean island owned by Colombia, and then on to Colombia. I don't recall whether they themselves traveled by boat or flew between Panama and Colombia.

There is currently no ferry between Panama and Colombia. One has been announced that was supposed to start service between Colon and Cartagena in May, but I don't think it has actually started up yet. It is possible to travel by small trading boats from Colon along the San Blas coast to Puerto Obaldia in eastern Panama, and then get another boat on to Colombia. However, these take passengers only (no cars).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chefguy View Post
Excellent and informative. The 'three Chevrolet Corvairs' raised my eyebrows, though.
Quote:
Originally Posted by robert_columbia View Post
Interesting old ad/video touting the ability of a GM car to cross the Darien.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=lrhH1U_NAcM

Part 2:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=7EnZKOu4fV4
The videos show the Corvair expedition, which I think was probably the most extraordinary one of all, since they were two-wheel-drive cars.

I met Blashford-Snell, the leader of the British Trans-Americas Expedition, when he gave a lecture at the British Embassy here. He's quite a character.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lieu View Post
You, sir, are a bona fide badass. Great post.

A six foot long Fer-de-lance? Hello, bad dreams.
Sometime I'll tell you about my adventures in Africa and the Peruvian Amazon....
#40
Old 08-23-2012, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Colibri View Post
There is intermittent talk about building a road through the Gap, but the basic thing blocking it is that although Colombia wants it, Panama really doesn't. Panama has enough of a problem with illegal immigrants from Colombia as it is, and doesn't want to make access easier.
Surely that would be an easy border crossing to police, as such things go. One road, with difficult territory to either side?

Is there no incentive for legitimate trade?

I'd think the simple fact that it now was possible to traverse the length of the Americas by road would bump up tourism.
#41
Old 08-23-2012, 02:39 PM
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Trade needs are met by cargo ships.
#42
Old 08-23-2012, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Stink Fish Pot View Post
Make sure when she puts the videos of her bot fly infestation being extracted one by one on YouTube, and then let us know.m if she's good looking, and she takes a bath before they extract the things, she could make some good money from YouTube viewership. (seems many central American trips, mostly to Belize, result in a video of someone getting a bot fly removed from their bodies. Search "bot fly" on YouTube. It's a freakshow!
Yech. I am never leaving the house ever again.
#43
Old 08-23-2012, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Peremensoe View Post
Surely that would be an easy border crossing to police, as such things go. One road, with difficult territory to either side?
As I said, lots of illegal Colombian immigrants come through this way now, even when there is no road. It would be easier if there was a road and all they had to do was go around the checkpoints (or bribe the guards).

Quote:
Is there no incentive for legitimate trade?
Not on Panama's side. Panama doesn't export all that much. Much of its economy is based on the Canal, banking, service industries, and money laundering. Colombia is the one with an interest in the road, because they want to be able to trade directly with Central America and Mexico.

Quote:
I'd think the simple fact that it now was possible to traverse the length of the Americas by road would bump up tourism.
I doubt that it would bump tourism all that much. There aren't that many people interested in driving such long distances, with multiple border crossings and huge amounts of red tape, just to say they've done it. Not many people drive to Panama from the US now, and having a road open to South America wouldn't attract very many more.

Last edited by Colibri; 08-23-2012 at 07:25 PM.
#44
Old 08-23-2012, 08:17 PM
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Bizarrely Google maps shows a piece of the Trans-America highway disconnected from anything right across the Columbia-Panama border. Somehow I don't think that's real.

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=panam...anama&t=m&z=13

If Columbia ever builds a road up to Acandi then it seems you could bridge the gap along the north coast without going through the Darien Parque Nacional.
#45
Old 08-23-2012, 08:54 PM
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BTW, does anyone really believe those 2 wheel drive Corvairs actually made it the whole way? The documentary shows them getting to Yaviza, and claims they have gone 3/4 of the way. Then they show them at a border stone with Columbia written on one side and Panama on the other, then it cuts to a montage of South American cities.

In the 1960's there still would have been may 100's of kms from the Columbian border to any roads. I'm thinking they just bashed through the Jungle to Yaziza to get some dramatic footage, then built a prop stone border post, filmed that, then shipped the cars to South America. Who would know?
#46
Old 08-23-2012, 09:00 PM
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Thank you, Gods Turban and Tutu, an International (lack of), crisis not blamed on the UK.
Retires to big cabinet of War trophy and 2012 medals.
Peter
#47
Old 08-23-2012, 09:02 PM
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You know, EmilyG, the forest industry in Québec and Ontario has been taking a beating in the last few years, so there is a lot of equipment out there that can be picked up for a song. Although the gas milage is not too good, and the top speed is pretty slow, once you get to the Gap, a harvester would get you through without difficulty.
#48
Old 08-23-2012, 09:05 PM
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Originally Posted by coremelt View Post
BTW, does anyone really believe those 2 wheel drive Corvairs actually made it the whole way? The documentary shows them getting to Yaviza, and claims they have gone 3/4 of the way. Then they show them at a border stone with Columbia written on one side and Panama on the other, then it cuts to a montage of South American cities.

In the 1960's there still would have been may 100's of kms from the Columbian border to any roads. I'm thinking they just bashed through the Jungle to Yaziza to get some dramatic footage, then built a prop stone border post, filmed that, then shipped the cars to South America. Who would know?
You mean like the moon landing?

Look, they had three 4x4 trucks with winches, and ongoing re-supply.
#49
Old 08-23-2012, 09:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Muffin View Post

Look, they had three 4x4 trucks with winches, and ongoing re-supply.


I find the you tube films pretty unconvincing when you read about what it took to get other expeditions through that are confirmed to have gone all the way. They claim to have only gone across one river by boat and forded the rest.

The only other expedition to do it entirely with no boat crossings took over 700 days.

It was an advertising stunt, it wasn't really necessary for them to really cross the entire gap, just necessary to get footage that makes the cars look rugged.

Last edited by coremelt; 08-23-2012 at 09:25 PM.
#50
Old 08-23-2012, 10:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Muffin View Post
You know, EmilyG, the forest industry in Québec and Ontario has been taking a beating in the last few years, so there is a lot of equipment out there that can be picked up for a song. Although the gas milage is not too good, and the top speed is pretty slow, once you get to the Gap, a harvester would get you through without difficulty.
That is a pretty cool idea actually.

You might need to do some retrofitting though, as the machines arent really ideal for that climate.
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