Have you ever wanted to hop behind the wheel and set out on an exploration of the U.S.? You aren't alone. Many eager travelers, whether they are off-road driving experts or just curious minds, venture out onto American roads to try and see as much of the country as possible. That's the general idea behind the Land Rover Expedition America - with one major twist. Instead of seeing the nation on paved roads, drivers participating in the event are getting a chance to off-road through the U.S. as part of an official Land Rover effort.
Land Rover Expedition America
Land Rover Expedition America aims to do something that hasn't been done before: conduct an off-road driving experience from one coast of the U.S. to the other.
The Expedition began Friday, July 27, when the pack of drivers departed from a Land Rover Experience Center in Asheville, N.C. For the next several weeks, the pack of three SUVs will traverse dirt and gravel trails, as well as mountains, rock-laden routes and other hazardous areas. While a few short stretches of tarmac are unavoidable, the bulk of this trip is set in the wilderness and will require every ounce of power and effort from the Land Rover machines.
Expert off-road driver Tom Collins is leading the charge, and this isn't the first time Collins and Land Rover have teamed up to show off their prowess. After he competed in the 1987 Camel Trophy competition, which consisted of driving through the terrain of Madagascar in a Land Rover, Collins also participated in 1989's Great Divide Expedition through Colorado and organized a number of driving schools across the country. With so much off-roading experience, particularly behind the wheel of a Land Rover, he is the perfect choice to lead this trek.
Collins and the rest of the drivers are not expected to reach their destination - the Pacific coast in southwest Oregon - for another month.
The Trans-America Trail
The Trans-America Trail is the brainchild of avid motorcyclist Sam Correro. Correro spent years nourishing his passion for off-roading before eventually setting his mind to traveling from coast to coast on the back of his trusty dirt bike. This idea required quite a bit of effort, however, as no one had mapped out a route that could bring an off-road enthusiast from one end of the country to the other. So, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Correro decided to do just that. The end result was a meticulously tracked route stretching 5,000 miles through 10 states - the Trans-America Trail.
Most of the Trans-America Trail is dirt and gravel tracks, and the Land Rovers heading out on the expedition will have to deal with obstacles and potentially treacherous environments as they navigate these routes. There are also several complicated mountain passes along the way. A mountain range in Colorado and Oregon, as well as multiple peaks in Utah, will certainly pose a major challenge, but perhaps the most difficult area lies in Nevada.
This route was originally intended to be just for motorcycles, and it remains to be seen how much success larger off-road vehicles like these Land Rover SUVs will find. When the fleet safely reaches its destination, however, it will prove that the 2013 Land Rover LR4 has what it takes to succeed in the world of off-roading. After successfully navigating mud, mountains, dirt, sand, rocks and anything else it encounters in the wilderness, this off-road vehicle could become one of the coolest options for avid explorers.