Happy “road-a-versary” to us! Today is day 1,825 of our Trans-Americas Journey road trip. That’s five years of active travel on the road not counting a couple of stretches when we were unexpectedly stuck in one place for reasons beyond our control (looking at you, Chevrolet).

Race Track Road - Death Valley National Park

A road through Death Valley National Park, one of dozens of US parks that have been highlights during our first five years on the road.

We’re not very good at math

Our initial description of the Journey predicted three years and 75,000 miles to cover North, Central and South America from the Arctic Ocean to Tierra del Fuego. We reached those totally unscientific guesstimates on our living room floor where we looped a piece of string back and forth along roadways shown on the maps for North, Central and South America in our National Geographic Atlas of the World, then measured the amount of string used against the atlas’ mileage key. Some of you may even have one of our original business cards with those profoundly outdated numbers on it. E-Bay!

Beaufort Sea (Arctic Ocean) Prudhoe BAy, Deadhorse Alaska

Us at the Beaufort Sea, aka the Arctic Ocean, the northernmost point on our little road trip and, by far, one of the hardest to get to.

An early milestone on the Trans-Americas Journey occurred on Day 155 when, after days of heroic never-say-never pestering, we managed to get ourselves to the Beaufort Sea (Arctic Ocean) above Deadhorse, Alaska. The photo, below, was taken by the  British Petroleum (BP) Prudhoe Bay oilfield police officer who was finally authorized to escort us to the “beach” so we could say we really had reached the Arctic Ocean. The guard had to momentarily put down the shotgun he was wielding to fend off cranky polar bears in order to snap the shot…

Somehow we are now celebrating our five year “road-a-versary.” We’re proud that we’ve blown our original estimates out of the water and not at all embarrassed that it’s taken us five years just to reach Panama (country number 10). We haven’t even dipped a toe into South America yet and there are still 13 countries, at least  70,000 miles and who knows how many more years in front of us (but you know how we are with numbers).

As we look forward to the road ahead, here’s a look back at some more milestones from the first five years of the Trans-Americas Journey.

Five years of the Trans-Americas Journey road trip, by the numbers:

  • explored 10 countries including the United States, Canada, Mexico, Belize, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama
  • made overland crossings of international borders 36 times
  • got turned back at one border (El Salvador eventually let us in)
  • dipped our fingers into the Arctic Ocean once
  • spent at least one night on 27 different islands
  • spent at least 300 nights camping
  • spent $27,963 on fuel (by far our biggest expense)
  • visited 87 archaeological sites
  • drove 132,185 miles (that’s 5.3 times around the earth)
  • drove 1,548 of those miles in Belize and 1,555 of them in El Salvador (anyone else find those numbers eerily close?)
  • saw 73 types of animals in the wild that we’d never seen before (and those are just the ones we could i.d.)
  • craftily foiled six shakedowns by Latin American cops
  • had five flat tires
  • got stuff stolen twice (and returned to us once)
  • visited 250 national parks (and counting)
  • visited 57 UNESCO sites (and counting)
  • spent 3,840 hours behind the wheel
  • appreciated every minute of it

Visit our Facts & Figures page for more stats from the road

Starfish Beach, Bocas del Toro, Panama

Starfish Beach in the Bocas del Toro archipelago in Panama.

Today, on day 1,825, we celebrated five years on the road not at a frigid northern sea favored by polar bears and stubborn oil company executives but on Starfish Beach in Bocas del Toro, Panama where starfish and lucky us enjoyed the warm Caribbean waters.

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