Panamericana roadtrip memories 12 - Technical Team

| Sapa Pana Travel

The Panamericana road trip started in December 2011. A car trip through South America with 83 classic Volvo's. In 35 days and 16,000 kilometres, these Volvo enthusiasts drove from Buenos Aires in Argentina, via the south to Cartagena de Indias in Colombia. On our blog we will share memories of this memorable journey in the near future.

The charming Ecuadorian landscape

We’ve been on the road for 33 days and we’re driving through the charming Ecuadorian landscape. Ecuador is the fourth smallest country in South America and although it’s comparable in size with France, the distances are nothing compared to those in the previous countries. We crossed the Peruvian – Ecuadorian border simply by crossing a bridge over a mountain river and the landscape changed immediately. The roads here wind along small fields and through colourful towns. The population, often in traditional dress, has a different, more relaxed pace. Driving through Ecuador with its snow capped mountaintops, green valleys and meandering rivers we can’t help but think about Heidi, the children’s programme. We can just see her running around with Peter and the dog behind her. 

Thinking about the last few weeks

We adapt our pace and take our time to stop and think about the last few weeks. As a member of the technical team we haven’t yet had the time. During this journey we have driven across vast plains and through dry and wet areas. We passed mountain passes at extreme altitudes of over 4500 metres. We drove at temperatures around freezing point and at temperatures of over 30 degrees Celsius, sometimes for over than 15 hours a day.

Everyone is still driving

Some days weren’t just a challenge for the physical condition of the participants, but also for the condition of the old-timers. Thankfully everyone remains healthy and everything is going on schedule. Sometimes we even drove through the night. But we did it, everyone is still driving. There are teams we never see. Just because they don’t have technical issues or because the participants are capable of fixing things themselves. 

Imitation parts

What we, the technical team, have noticed is that the cars that break down are the ones that have been fixed with imitation parts. And they’re not of the best quality either; you could even say poor quality. For instance, contact-breaker points that have broken or been burned after a day. There are also starting motors and dynamos for sale that are not up to the Volvo standards. When we ask people where they bought the parts, the answer is usually on the Internet because it’s cheap. We always advise buying original Volvo parts and when those are no longer for sale at Volvo, buy them from specialised companies. That’s where we buy our spare parts.

From Ecuador to Colombia

After four days in Ecuador we cross the equator and we drive on to Colombia, the sixth and last country of this special journey. We’re curious to see what’s waiting for us there.

Technical Team PANAMERICANA 2011-2012

Book Panamericana roadtrip

As a reminder of this memorable journey, the book 'Panamericana Roadtrip' has been published. The story is told with the stunning photographs from travel photographer Thijs Heslenfeld, supported by a selection of some of the many stories written by the heroes of this journey. For everyone that did not participate in this journey, it is a wonderful book to dream away with. The proceeds of this book go to the special projects of the HoPe Foundation. This organisation - founded by Walter Meekes - is involved in developing education in the remote mountain villages around the Peruvian city of Cuzco. 

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