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The Longest Drive

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1. Posted by Sam2000 (Inactive 121 posts) 9y

Hi guys, I'm new to the forum and I'm going to post an introductory post as soon as I've posted this!

In geography today I was looking my atlas and I was wondering what would be the longest distance you could drive without getting out of the car (assuming of course that you're not just going around in circles)?

Is it driving from Alaska down to the southern tip of Chilli?

John O' Groats, Scotland, down to Dover (then hopping on a ferry [this one counts!]) and then driving to either Cape Town, South Africa/Nagercoil, India/Singapore/Somewhere In Russia?

Then I thought that it would be cool to try and do the drive with a couple of friends over a very long period of time and catching the sights on the way.

So basically I've been thinking about this all day (and didn't get much else done) and yeah, I realised that it would be hell to organise but would be awesome to try out.

This is probably more of a romantic whim rather than something I'd put into practice, but who knows, during my gap year or something I could do it.

So anyone got any pointers as to how to go about organising it? Possible routes to take (which ones longest?) Vehical (thinking a VW Camper Van!) and everything I would need to concider to do it.

Thanks guys,

Sam.

2. Posted by Brendan (Respected Member 1824 posts) 9y

I'm not sure which is longer:

  • Alaska to Argentina
  • Scotland to South Africa
  • Scotland to Singapore
  • Scotland to Southern India
3. Posted by Sam2000 (Inactive 121 posts) 9y

Thats a point, Argentina is further away.

Though I think the southern most town in South America is Punta Arenas which is in Chilli...Dunno if roads go further *checks Google Maps*...

Ok there are small little tracks and some tiny villages further south so yeah...Argentina it is!

Man I reckon it would be cool to organise, even if I never do it!

4. Posted by beerman (Respected Member 1631 posts) 9y

Well, you can't drive through Panama....the Darien Gap is inaccessible by car (unless you have an incredible car!!), so that might rule out North to South America.

How about Vladivostok to Lisbon? It's supposed to be 6,200 miles as the crow flies (direct), but I imagine it's a lot longer driving. Mind you, you'd likely drive through some pretty dodgy areas, and the customs paperwork alone would be a nightmare.....but it's a long drive.

5. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 9y

How about Wladivostok to Johannesburg in South Africa? Or Singapore to Johannesburg?

I know that Australia to South Africa via Europe is about the longest overland trip you can make. You would have to take a couple of ferries or hitch a ride on a boat, but it is possible to cover the distance without flying.

I also remember seeing a book on amazon about 2 motorcyclists who travelled all over the world riding their bikes. The only time they used other transport was across the Bering strait, IIRC.

BTW the most northern point in Europe with road access is not Scotland, but the North Cape in Norway at the end of the E69. According to viamichelin it's from there to Palermo 5376 kms, 5799 to Portimao in Portugal and 5474 kms to Gaziantep in Turkey. From Turkey you could drive on to 1) South Africa via Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Sudan, ... or 2) to India via Iran and Pakistan or to 3) to Singapore via Russia or Central Asia and China. (Just note that bringing your own car into China is a real hassle.)

[ Edit: Edited on Sep 19, 2007, at 9:40 AM by t_maia ]

6. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 9y

The longest drive would probably be from Cape Agulhas, South Africa (the southern tip of Africa) to Magadan, Russia. Many of the roads through Siberia, though, are best passed during the winter when they are ice roads. There's lots of big trucks that take that route, though, so you'd want to do it in something very substantial. So it's probably not a very doable gap year activity.

Realistically, driving south from Europe to the southern tip of Africa down the western coast is pretty popular. You could either sign up with one of the many companies that do this is the large trucks, or do it yourself. Check out the website A Tale of Two Travellers to see a couple that is doing this drive.

I know people that have done the drive from Alaska to the southern tip of South America. As others have stated, you need to ship your car from Panama to Columbia to get around the Darien Gap, but otherwise it is mostly driveable. In fact, I ran into a couple in Chile who did that very drive in their Land Rover with their 3 year old daughter. They took their time doing it, almost two years (and yes, their daughter was one when they started). There are a few threads on the topic of driving the Americas if you use the search function.

7. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 9y

Quoting t_maia

I also remember seeing a book on amazon about 2 motorcyclists who travelled all over the world riding their bikes. The only time they used other transport was across the Bering strait, IIRC.

There are a few books on people who have done similar, though most recently would have probably been "Long Way Round" in which Ewan McGregor (yes, that Ewan McGregor) and Charlie Boorman did the ride with Camera man Claudio ...something... in tow. It is both a book and a TV series.

Quoting t_maia

I know that Australia to South Africa via Europe is about the longest overland trip you can make. You would have to take a couple of ferries or hitch a ride on a boat, but it is possible to cover the distance without flying.

Well, technically if you can catch hitches on boats, why not add on hitching a ride from South Africa to the Americas, up North to Alaska, across the Bering Straight to Russia, and back down south along the Asian coast to Australia again? :)

8. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 9y

Quoting GregW

There are a few books on people who have done similar, though most recently would have probably been "Long Way Round" in which Ewan McGregor (yes, that Ewan McGregor) and Charlie Boorman did the ride with Camera man Claudio ...something... in tow. It is both a book and a TV series.

That is the one I was thinking about.

[ Edit: Edited on Sep 19, 2007, at 9:25 AM by t_maia ]

9. Posted by Sam2000 (Inactive 121 posts) 9y

Awesome thanks very much!

I'll look into the resources you have posted, and I'll look into getting the book too!

Though why would you want to drive across Siberia when the roads are icy? Presumably thats pretty dangerous!

Driving from Europe to Southern Africa sounds awesome really, I'd actually love to do something like that...You could stop off at the sights on the way as well and you'd get a good feel of the countries.

Why is getting your car into China problematic?

Thanks again,

Sam.

10. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 9y

Quoting Sam2000

Though why would you want to drive across Siberia when the roads are icy? Presumably thats pretty dangerous!

Because there aren't many bridges, so the only way to cross the many rivers in the region is when they are frozen over. Up in Northern Canada it's the same - there are some places that are only accessible by vehicle in the winter when lakes and rivers have frozen over.

Quoting Sam2000

Why is getting your car into China problematic?

Except for some parts of Beijing, foreigners are not allowed to drive in China. Therefore, you can't drive your car into China, because they won't let you drive.