Imagine deciding you’re going to drive around the world on your second date?! Well, that’s exactly what one Kiwi couple, New Zealanders Bridget Thackwray and Topher Richwhite, agreed on their second date and less than three months later they were setting off from Deadhorse in Alaska, the northernmost point in the western hemisphere accessible by road, in a Jeep Wrangler, nicknamed Gunther.
So far they’ve covered 90,000 miles and been through 53 countries, including the US, Canada, Mexico, Belize, Colombia and Argentina, from which their Jeep was shipped to Africa where the odyssey continued up through South Africa, north through Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Egypt. There have been a lot of highs and lows on the journey, including the highest temperature experienced in Sudan (123 degrees Farenheit/51 degrees Celsius) and the lowest altitude in Ethiopia, 127 metres below sea level… Ethiopia is also where they had their scariest moment, being held up by teenage gunmen with AK47 machine guns (fortunately they escaped unscathed!).
The most remarkable fact (or maybe not, since we know how great Jeeps are!) is that they’ve not had a single mechanical or technical issue with their Jeep, which is a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon. The stock factory spec was upgraded in Arizona, where Gunther was fitted with 33-inch off-road wheels and tyres and lifted by 2½ inches, as well as having extra fuel tanks fitted (and water), extra spotlights and heavy-duty suspension, bumpers and roof boxes. Next year will see them tackling Iran, Russia, China, Mongolia and Tibet. You can follow Bridget, Topher and Gunther on https://www.instagram.com/expeditionearth.live/Enjoy more Classic American reading in the monthly magazine. Click here to subscribe.