Alaska to Argentina: Driving the Pan American Highway

If you’ve ever wanted to drive from Alaska to Argentina you are not alone!

The Pan American Highway is a loose collection of highways that makes it possible to do just that. It connects over a dozen countries in a nearly 20,000 miles stretch between North and South America.

Currently there are thousands of overlanders at various stages of completing the drive in part or in whole.

Some drive from Alaska to Argentina. Others drive from Argentina to Alaska.

We started our journey in Florida… so we chose to attempt to drive from Alaska to Argentina.

This is our guide to helping you to plan quite possibly the biggest adventure of your life: completing the drive from Alaska to Argentina.

STEP 1: Motivations

If you haven’t done so already, ask yourself why you want to drive from Alaska To Argentina?

We still haven’t figured out why most people choose to make the drive along the Pan American Highway.

We’ve conducted surveys from those on the road. They’re inconclusive at best.

We’ve made friends on the journey and asked them. Nobody seemed to know either.

The only thing we seem to find consistent among people driving the Pan American Highway is that they all have a desire to try to do something that few people have done.

Some move fast. Some move slow. And some don’t even move anymore because they find someplace beautiful and call it home.

Whatever your reason for attempting to drive from Alaska to Argentina, it’s important that you keep it close to mind and heart. Maybe even jot it on a sticky note and put it on the dash next to the odometer.

God knows the more you drive the more you are going to be distracted from this reason. And if it ever changes, great.

But we believe that such a commitment – 15,000+ miles and potentially years of your life – deserves its own little monument.

Our Motivation

In 2016 we had the vision to drive the Pan American Highway from Alaska to Argentina.

It is really something we can’t quite explain. We just felt a calling in our hearts to go.

And we trusted that we would figure out more about our calling once we got on the road.

At the time we were fostering 8 children in a group home. We also owned a 40-year old fixer-upper sailboat.

And we knew very little, if anything, about what the journey would entail.

But we were inspired by the idea that one day we might hit the road to complete the drive.

We felt it was part of our destiny.

STEP 2: Preparations

Just as people’s motivations vary, so too do their methods of transportation as they drive the Pan American Highway.

Some people drive monster homemade overland vehicles.

Others drive more modest truck campers.

Still more drive vans or smaller vehicles converted for life on the road.

Yet a handful will make the journey on a motorcycle.

The crazy ones bicycle from Alaska to Argentina (we’ve run across a few of those!).

Heck, one guy even walked the whole way (from Argentina to Alaska).

There are as many ways to drive the Pan American Highway from Alaska to Argentina as there are people willing to do it.

Once you know the method of transportation you can get into all of the other details… which are numerous.

How much will it cost to travel in ___? Where will you camp each night? What do you mean I have to ship my vehicle between Panama and Colombia?

Many of these details will sort themselves out on the road. And as long as you keep in mind why you’re making the journey in itself we believe you’ll have the perseverance and endurance to survive trials that might otherwise break you.

Our Preparations

After nearly six months of studying and shopping our options we decided to attempt the drive in a truck camper.

Seeing our truck camper against the landscape always puts things in perspective for us.

The next six months we shopped for both a truck and a camper. They had to be compatible, durable and… cheap. Honestly, our entire vehicle budget (including purchase, repairs, modifications and upgrades) was $20,000.

We won’t tell you how close we came to maxing that budget in the days before we set out on our journey…

(we had many, many more repairs to make in the first year of our journey so sometimes we try not to think about how much we ACTUALLY spent on our truck camper!).

But we’d love to introduce you to our truck camper if you have a few extra minutes.

Once we had our camper (“Tree Trimmer”) and our truck (“Rocket”) we set to modifying it to make the journey from Florida to Alaska and from Alaska to Argentina.

We’ll share some of those modifications soon.

Essentially we paired a long flat bed with a short-bed camper and created a super-storage vehicle capable of making a trip to the moon and back. Well, not quite.

But we call our truck Rocket because it had 445,000 miles on it when we bought it. That’s enough miles to the moon and on its way back!

With the modifications came the routing, the studying of the itineraries and the saving.

We got pretty good at saving.

But we knew we’d never have enough.

Then we waited for the time to go…

STEP 3: Go!

After nearly two years of preparation and planning, we began the journey to reach Alaska from our home in Florida.

We sold everything that we own. We put what was leftover into our truck and camper. Then we hit the road.

When we began the adventure in spring of 2018 we didn’t have enough money to complete the entire journey.

But that too is part of the excitement of our story.

Every day we have to overcome challenges.

We are inspired to connect with people at every step of the journey and have learned to be dependent upon the kindness of strangers.

We help people everywhere we can, however we can. Our comfort zone is now stretched beyond anything that we could have imagined.

And the value of the relationships with people we have met, served and shared life with is invaluable.

Oh, and Lindsay has Crohn’s Disease and is attempting to be the first woman with the disease to overland in a truck camper from Alaska to Argentina.

Because the disease limits mobility, most people with Crohn’s Disease don’t travel too far from their comfort zone.

There’s really no information out there on how it is even possible to do this.

So we’re forging a way through the unknown to help inspire and inform others on how to overcome obstacles in their lives to pursue their travel dreams.

Whether you want to drive from Alaska to Argentina or not.

The world is not waiting for you to come alive. Come alive now and go!

STEP 4: Adjustments

Things aren’t going to go the way you imagined them – no matter how you imagined them.

And while it could seem easy to advise you to give up your imaginations so you won’t be disappointed, the truth is that your hope for the way things will be when you get there are just as important as actually getting there.

We have always been inspired by adventure and those who have gone before us in exploring the world.

So our first part of the adventure was to get to Alaska from Florida.

You can make it in like 5 days if you drive fast and hard. We took closer to 3 months and 10,000 extra miles. But what a journey that was!

On July 6, 2018 we arrived in Deadhorse, Alaska at the top of the world.

This journey in itself covered twenty states, three Canadian provinces and over 10,000 miles.

It proved to be both exciting and educational.

The Arctic Ocean proved to be cold.

Standing in the Arctic Ocean is the highlight when you drive the dalton Highway

And life proved that there would be more twists and turns in our attempt to drive from Alaska to Argentina than we could ever plan.

That’s good though. Sometimes plans need to be made just so they can be broken.

Life works out better that way…

Where Are We on Our Drive from Alaska to Argentina?

So much has happened over the past few years. Of living full-time on the road. We’re doing a better job of documenting our journey on YouTube. So if you haven’t already done so, please check out our channel and see where the road has led us.

Since reaching Alaska we did turn south. But we ended up spending a winter back in Florida. We spent another summer in Wyoming with a breakdown. And we spent an amazing fall and winter in Baja, Mexico.

But then COVID-19 interrupted pretty much everyone’s plans.

So Argentina is on hold, for now. But as we’re constantly reminded, the South American continent and the country itself is not likely to go anywhere anytime soon…

Just remember, plans are always subject to change. And life is truly more about the journey than the destination.

Cliche. I know.

But once you hit the road you’ll realize some things are cliche for a reason.

Let us help you begin your drive from Alaska to Argentina… or anywhere in between!