What is the Pan American Highway?
The Vogel family set out on June 8, 2008 for the adventure of a lifetime-biking the Pan American Highway from Alaska to Argentina. Their two boys, Daryle and Davy, both 11, are attempting to land themselves in the record books by being the youngest people in history to complete this enormous task.
The Pan American Highway, at its completion, wil run 20,300 miles and connect Alaska, via the Alaska Highway, with the southernmost tip of South America. It is not a single highway nor is it controlled, cared for, or regulated by one particular country or governing body. Each country has its own section of the road solely under their jurisdiction. There is, however, a chief coordinating body called the Pan American Highway Congress that meets every four years. Each country, with the exception of Central America where North American aid has been substantial, is funding the construction of “their” section of the highway. It’s been a long road (pun intended) to get the Pan American Highway to where it is today. The idea was suggested back in 1923 at the Fifth International Conference of American States, meeting in Santiago, Chile, and two years later the Pan American Highway Congress was established to act as a permanent advocate for the road. The final agreement did not come until 13 years later, however, and construction of the road began! World War II aided in the support for a highway reaching down to the Panama canal and Central America was, obviously, fully on board, and the road in Inter-America was open to through traffic in 1963.
Who are the Vogels, and why are they biking over 20,000 miles!
The Vogels are truly an inspiration in the cycling community. Taking two and a half years of theirs lives, their jobs, their schools, their friends and family, everything they know, to set out on an incredible journey that will, without a doubt, pay for itself.
“We will be pedaling away from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska in June 2008. About thirty months and 20,000 miles later we plan to arrive in Ushuaia, Argentina. This time we will be traveling with two single bikes and a tandem. The kids will be able to switch back and forth between the single and tandem…There are a couple of major other things happening in conjunction with this trip as well: a quest for a world record, and an attempt to bring the world to kids in classrooms. Upon completion of this journey, Davy and Daryl will be awarded the title of “Youngest Person to Cycle the Pan-American Highway” by Guinness World Records,” the Vogels write in their blog.
Their adventure is helping to bring interactive learning, through the web, into the classroom. Reach the World (RTW) is a non-profit organization dedicated “to linking students in under-funded schools to online, global expeditions that have the power to expand learning beyond the four walls of their classroom. Since 1998, RTW has been linking educators traveling the world directly with classrooms. In addition to gaining essential knowledge about geography and world cultures, children become proficient in the use technology…” the Vogels continue. Mainly in New York and Chicage, Reach the World is having an astounding effect on the children in these under privileged schools. You can help these children and the Voguls on their journey by making a tax-deductible donation by clicking here.
Tell us about your epic rides!
How do you, like the Voguls, use your bike to make a difference? Send your stories to us on Facebook or to firstname.lastname@example.org – we’d love to share your story with the cycling community!