Tackling the PanAmerican Highway in a 2003 Toyota Tundra
Benjamin | Dec 09, 2011 | Comments 5
Toyota vehicles are a popular choice for private globe-trotting expeditions, thanks in large part to the reliability of their platforms and the relative ease of procuring replacement parts regardless of where your travels might take you. The extensive Toyota support network was one of the biggest factors in Logan Pribbeno and Brianna Haifley choosing a Toyota Tundra as their rig for driving the PanAmerican Highway.
What is the PanAmerican Highway?
The PanAmerican Highway is a length of road that stretches from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, all the way down to Argentina, offering just under 30,000 miles of driving broken only by a 54 mile stretch of rain forest in Panama called the Darién Gap. Although not an “official” highway, the route has been a source of fascination for thousands of travelers both on foot or on any one of a dazzling array of motorized vehicles. Logan and Brianna elected to drive the PanAmerican Highway as part of a “lifetime of adventure” that will see them live their dream of an on-the-road experience free from the constraints of a job or a home for a full year’s time.
Diving the PanAmerican in a Toyota Tundra
The first generation Toyota Tundra being driven by the pair of adventurers is a 2003 model with four-wheel drive and a TRD package. The vehicle had 110,000 miles on the odometer when they picked it up, but Logan and Brianna refreshed the truck by performing every single maintenance and service recommendation that they found in the manual between 90,000 and 150,000 miles. The end result was a Tundra that had seen almost every wear item and all fluids replaced. The couple also made sure that the truck received a series of upgrades to its suspension (Bilstein HD) and its tires (BFG All Terrain Baja Champions), and that it was outfitted with a full first aid kit, safety kit and all of the tools that they could potentially need to deal with repairs during the expedition.
Camping Out in the Toyota
Pribbeno and Haifley had always planned on sleeping in the truck in order to save on costs as well as to provide the most flexibility while traveling. The ability of the Tundra to handle a large in-bed camper with ease (as compared to the smaller Tacoma) was an important consideration when the two selected the truck as their chariot of choice. It also didn’t hurt that 2003 V8 Tundras are a bit cheaper to pick up used than comparable Tacoma models. Several camper manufacturers were considered, including Four Wheel, All Terrain and Phoenix, but the winner was Palomino, specifically, a Palomino Bronco camper that came up for sale fortuitously near the couple’s San Francisco home.
Living Their Dream
The PanAmerican Highway journey is not one to be taken lightly, but Logan and Brianna are an inspiration to anyone who has ever wanted to cast off society’s shackles – at least for a short time – and seek out a life of new challenges, unexpected encounters and exotic locales. The husband and wife team are chronicling their adventures in real-time on their Panamnotes.com blog, allowing the rest of the world to vicariously participate in their journey, as well as learn valuable lessons from the experiences of the daring duo.
Filed Under: Featured Vehicles
I have no doubt this truck will make the journey but some of the countries they cross are scary as heck!
I’ve surfed all over in South and Central America and the bad people are ruthless!
Dez – I hear that! I felt really safe in Costa Rica and Panama, but the open road in Mexico or Honduras? Forget about it. Not worth the risk.
To DEZ and JASON: good that some people are staying home, too scared to do the trip… Makes it more enjoyable for the rest of us, who go on this trip. And we don’t want you to spread your narrow minded views among the locals — might distort their perception of travellers.
dare2go – Well I come by my opinion honestly, it’s not as if I’ve never left Denver… 🙂
All I can say is, good for you. Some people are adventurers willing to risk life and limb to say they’ve done something. Others (like me) are a little more timid (or perhaps wise, LOL).
To each his or her own. Good luck, and cool website too. 🙂
The Pan-American Highway is about 48,000 kilometre long depending on the route you take. There are many options in the United States, Canada, and Mexico because of the large amount of area and number of roads. Central America has only a few roads going north to south.