He quit his job, he has been traveling the world in a ’73 Citroën for 14 years and he wants to get to Alaska

This story began to be told a long time ago. There was a moment in the life of Laura Ferrialmost 15 years ago, in which a dream matured. It was not a sudden revelation, but the product of a long maceration. Then He left his regular job, shook off the routine and went touring the roads of America in a 1973 Citroën Mehari.. He has covered thousands of kilometers and an ambitious plan: travel to alaska.

The game does not yet have a fixed date, but Laura accumulates information, examines maps and analyzes how to avoid the dangerous Darien Gap, which divides Colombia from Panama, an area considered almost impassable. She has already obtained a visa to enter the United States and all that remains is for them to give her the green light in Canada.

After more than a decade traveling solo to various destinations in South America, Ferri got a partner. Olga will be her co-pilot on the trip to Alaska. However, she clarifies, “I never traveled alone. That is something physical, but everything that accompanies you is incredible, from the thoughts to the good disposition of the people”.

The meeting was accidental. In 2019 Laura went to Iruya, in the province of Salta, to start writing her second book. she had already posted ‘Adventures in Mehari’ and wanted to continue narrating his road experiences.

“There I met Olga in a hostel. She came from a very different life, she had a supermarket in the town of Gobernador Crespo, Santa Fe. She had been a widow two years ago, ”she says. The following month they took a trip together to Bolivia and there an unbreakable friendship was sealed. “Sometimes life puts things in your way that are like gifts.”

But this is not the story of two adventurers on the road, but of Revo, the Citroën Mehari model 1973. “When I bought it I didn’t even think about doing what I’m doing. I liked it because it was red and black, and I am from ’59 (N. de R. the year of the triumph of the Cuban Revolution). It was the symbol of adventure. First I called him the red and black, but then I started calling him the Revolutionary. Today people know it as the Revo”, explains Laura.

Ferri on his tour of Latin America

It all started in Necochea, his city, 15 years ago. “I was looking for a little car because at that time I was doing another race in Mar del Plata and my children were studying in La Plata. There were 125 kilometers that he had to travel and he wanted a little car to come and go. The budget gave me a Renault 12 or a Dodge, but they had to do a lot. And I thought: if I liked the whole life Mehari. So I started looking for him and after a long time I found him, or he found me, two blocks from my house.”, in the Necochense center.

Some time later something clicked in his soul. In 2012, she resigned from his job at the School Directorate and went on an adventure. “I know that I have done much more than 120,000 kilometers. They are 14 years old and I went to Peru, but my trips are almost never linear, I go into the towns, if I have to go back, I go back -says Laura-. Since I became the owner of my time, I have lost the notion of losing myself. The first time I got lost, in Córdoba, I cried. And then I said: But how can I get lost if the earth is my home! Where there is a way I will get somewhere. I don’t use GPS or anything like that, I keep asking”.

Revo’s odometer can’t keep up. On the last trip, already with Olga as co-pilot, They traveled 23,000 kilometers, crossed 15 provinces and crossed National Route 40 from north to south, including the six gravel sections. The question is mandatory: How did the car behave? “It breaks down, because it’s an old car.”

And he adds: “If Olga were there, I would say that the best thing for me is to call 0800 tow truck. Insurance doesn’t give you much tow truck for that model either. But I learned that any inconvenience is resolved calmly, sitting down, looking around. You will always find the solution or the tip of the solution”.

Then he tells the anecdote that he lived in Peru, when he was climbing the Abra Málga, on his way back from Machu Pichu, at 4,700 meters above sea level. “There I broke the ignition flywheel, which is a piece that has points. And in Peru they don’t know what a platinum is because for many years they have cars with electronic ignition that were brought from Japan. And yet that was resolved too”.

Laura and Revo are a partnership that is only possible if you look at existence through a different lens. “I think it is an attitude that one takes in the face of difficulties. First, don’t get discouraged. Then when the problem is solved one says: ‘In the end, this too has passed’. That gives you a temper that is very useful for life, ”she says.

The questions fall out of the notebook. Ferri says that at the beginning she was a farsighted woman on the road. She “At first she brought all kinds of spare parts, but she broke what she didn’t have. Like tools, she carried everything. And then none worked. So I stopped carrying because everything is resolved and everything is achieved. The most unusual things have happened to me. I have obtained parts in places where there is no Citroënshe says, amused.

Route 40 in Argentina
Route 40 in Argentina

Then he narrates the experience of when returning from Chile, at the height of Río Colorado, rbroke the oil cooler. “I’m not going to tell you that I was in a hurry because the car in the back says Slow, but I was doing kilometers to be with my mother at parties. I broke an oil cooler. And yet I got a radiator from a car that had been lying around.”

How much do you put it? “On a paved road, without hills, without wind and without rain, that is to say, on the smooth, the car being quite good, it can go to 80. But I don’t go to more than 60 or 65if I have to pass a harvester, which is the only thing that happens”, highlights Ferri.

She acknowledges that it is not a docile vehicle. But after 15 years on the road, she is used to it. “It’s a tough car that has bell brakes. It’s 600 cubic centimeters. The most beautiful thing there is to grab the holes and the stones because it has a suspension that is great. There is no 4×4 that equals it. I have entered the river that connects Iruya with San Isidro in Salta, among the stones, it is impressive”.

Over time, he also got rid of the bourgeois habit of spending the night indoors. Revo doubles as a bedroom. “I’ve been sleeping in the car for many years.. At first I went to a hostel or a hotel, but then I realized that if I threw a mattress behind I could sleep peacefully, so I turned it into a small motorhome, with a jug with a stove, pots, dishes, cleaning things, clothes,” he explains.

And he adds: “With Olga we have slept in Casabindo, Jujuy, in the middle of Puna, with a temperature of 9 degrees below zero. In the morning the water, the olive oil and the wet wipes were frozen, and we in the back with our thermal bags and blankets had no problems. That’s because the car is made of fiberglass and canvas.then inside there is a small microclimate”.

Your arrival in Peru
Your arrival in Peru

The Citroen Mehari model ’73 has a tank with a capacity of 30 liters. “But I never fill it up because since the tank doesn’t have a breather, it’s not like modern tanks that have a small vent, that’s where it drowns. Sometimes I put 22 or 23 liters -clarifies Laura-. I have an approved 25-liter drum and I want to see if I can enlarge the tank and put 20 more liters in it”.

Experience and this logic that, in the end, everything is resolved, have allowed him not to fear fuel shortages. “Very rarely did I run out of gasoline. It is always found. In small towns, especially in the north, people sell you gasoline. In Peru and Bolivia they sell on the road. Of course, I have also overcome this mistrust and insecurity. If one is suspicious, things will not turn out well. It seems that there is a matter of attracting a bit…”

The Revo no longer pays a patent, but it is required to carry out the Vehicle Technical Verification every year. These days he is getting ready for when the time comes for him to head out to Alaska, 14,000 kilometers from Necochea. It is not a small thing.

The objective is clear. The question is how they came to travel to Alaska in Mehari. Ferri tells the story, a linking of almost casual events. They had finished touring Route 40 and, being only 680 kilometers from Ushuaia, they decided to visit it..

“We crossed and when we were arriving we saw the Haruwen inn, which is at kilometer 3,005 of route 3. We went in because we liked it. They were going to give us a certificate for having reached the end of the world. And the man told us that he would put a seal on us. He gave us half a stamp from America and said: ‘You have to go find the other half in Alaska.’ We looked at each other and began to play with that idea.. We had already been chatting that we wanted to continue ”, says Laura and it seems simple.

Less and less until the Mehari’s engine starts. Ferri says that after returning from Peru, she resumed her teaching job and is now retired. That, in economic terms, allows you to move more freely. In addition, she sells some of her books along the way and rents her house in Necochea, which gives her “a small income.” The same, she clarifies, “Traveling like this you spend much less than at home”.

He assures that he never had sponsors, although many people who find out about his adventures send him things. As is the case of a company that gave him shock absorbers or his city’s insurer, “that he gave me for several months.” Next year, in 2023, the Revo will celebrate 50 years of service. “Let’s hope we’re on the road,” says Ferri. The wish will come true.

Conocé The Trust Project

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