Traveling the Pan American Highway

A few days before Christmas, we took a little family road trip to the city of Cuenca, Ecuador. About seven to eight hours away from Quito, it sits along the Andes mountains, just as our city does, but is further south.  Often times, you can take a quick flight at a reasonable cost, but with five of us going, it made more sense to drive.

road trip

Heading north in South Dakota

Interestingly enough, the Pan American highway is the route that joins the two cities.  Since this roadway encompasses a path from Alaska all the way to the tip of South America, you would expect four lanes of exquisite roads, with plenty of space to enjoy a leisurely road trip, right? Something to wet the road trip whistle?

We’ve driven enough in this country to know that what you want is many times not what you get.

The road was certainly not the leisurely, “don’t have to think because nothing will ever get in your way” straightaway drive you would expect from heading on any major highway in South Dakota.

Passing the car ahead of you is always an exercise in gauging safety versus patience -partly because obeying no passing zones is totally optional: Cuenca 001  Cuenca 002

Fast food restaurants are virtually non-existent along any route, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have choices.  We followed an ice cream truck for quite a ways…Cuenca 006  Cuenca 005

And could have stopped in any small town for a typical Ecuadorian meal…Cuenca 048

Cuenca 046But, instead, we opted for a picnic at our self-made “roadside” rest with curious dogs seeking our leftovers.

If you need to use the restroom, most gas stations are equipped with some sort of baños.  But, you need to think ahead as the facilities are a bit different than what you would expect elsewhere.  Make sure you pack your own toilet paper as most bathrooms are not equipped with any.  At best, they may be staffed with an attendant who will sell you a few sheets of paper for fifteen to twenty cents.  Any type of doors would be a luxury.Cuenca 012

But, despite the extra thought and preparation that comes with a South American road trip, you can be guaranteed that your journey will be filled with a variety of sights that will keep you guessing as to what will be around the next bend.  This Pan American route did not disappoint.

Taking your barnyard animals out for a walk…

Cuenca 381 Cuenca 371Cuenca 020 Cuenca 010 Cuenca 009 Cuenca 044 Cuenca 043 Cuenca 007 Cuenca 022

People waiting for rides…

Cuenca 021  Cuenca 018

Cuenca 016

A probable funeral procession:
Cuenca 367

The overachiever:
Cuenca 366  

A New York bus obviously well off its intended route:Cuenca 362

And absolutely beautiful landscape, including a peek at parts of the Chimborazo volcano:

Cuenca 027 Cuenca 031 Cuenca 373 Cuenca 375

Road trip or not, there are always lessons to be learned –

  • We are thankful to have a reliable vehicle which allows us the ability to travel out of the city and explore God’s creation in unique ways.
  • We are reminded of our blessings of having our needs met as we travel through areas of poverty and squalor.
  • We see glimpses into the simple life of having enough for each day, because you work the land, tend the sheep, and milk the cows.
  • Patience means sometimes waiting for a ride at the side of the road for long stretches of time, especially when a gringo with a full truck bed can’t pick you up.
  • The variety of God’s creation is vastly different from South Dakota to Ecuador, but each place (and everything in between) are beautiful in ways beyond description.

Bottom line, we are blessed beyond measure by the God of the universe who is powerful enough to create a vast and diverse world, but personal enough to have a relationship with each and every one of us who confess Him as our Lord and Savior.

Cuenca 358 Cuenca 353

That is a trip worth taking.

Praying you are on the best road trip of all with Christ at the wheel…


4 thoughts on “Traveling the Pan American Highway

  1. Beverly Baartman

    In all the pics Brad has shown me over the many years, there are none of Sarah. Begining to wonder about this, Brad

    1. Sarah Post author

      Ha! I so prefer being behind the camera, Bev. 🙂 I’ll have to make a point of all five of us in one soon, though. 🙂

    1. Sarah Post author

      Thanks for checking in, Jeanette. Yes, always an adventure when we get on the roads down here…wherever they lead! Hope all is well with you and your family!


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