Calgary

Brazilians set out on road trip of a lifetime from Canada to South America

Two Brazilians leave Calgary Thursday on the summer road trip of every armchair traveller's dreams, through North, Central and South America. What could possibly go wrong?

Six weeks in a Mustang, through multiple countries. What could go wrong?

Brazilian Stephan Prando leaves Thursday on a six week long road trip to Brazil that he's taking with his friend Marcel Gomes in a 2014 Ford Mustang. (Calgary Eyeopener/CBC)

A pair of adventurous Brazilians are about to leave Calgary for the ultimate road trip — but let's face it, for Brazilians, this road trip seems almost soft.

After all, in 2018 there was a Brazilian cowboy named Filipe Masetti Leite who rode a horse from Calgary to Brazil.

Rumour has it a couple others cycled from Brazil up to southern Alberta a couple summers ago.

On Thursday, Stephan Prando and Marcelo Gomes will set out on a six-week long roadie that will take them through the U.S., Mexico and Central America, all the way to Panama City.

Stephan Prando prepares his 2014 Ford Mustang prior to leaving for Brazil on Thursday. (Dave Gilson/CBC)

There, they will ship their 2014 Ford Mustang to Cartagena, Colombia, where they will pick it up, then resume their journey down the western coast of South America, before winding their way back home to Brazil, where they hope to arrive July 20 or 21.

Tuesday on the Calgary Eyeopener, the duo explained the plan to host David Gray.

"This was my idea," said Prando. "I like traveling and like adventure. And I'm a pilot too. So my first plan was to go flying."

When it became apparent that Prando wouldn't be flying, he switched dreams — to overland travel.

"I always wanted to do it by car too. So I said let's go back. I have a nice car. My friend Marcel here is going to be my partner."

The car in question is a 2014 black Ford Mustang, which will take them through 15 countries, including the U.S., where they plan to spend some time driving the famous Route 66 through the southwest.

Filipe Masetti Leite speaks to a reporter before riding out of the Stampede grounds in Calgary on July 8, 2012. In 2018, Leite rode a horse from Calgary to Brazil. (Bill Graveland/Canadian Press)

Once they pick up the Mustang in Cartegena they'll head south through Peru, Ecuador and Argentina, before arriving home in Brazil.

When Gray pointed out that wasn't exactly the direct route, Prando explained this isn't that sort of road trip.

"It's a little bit longer. But better roads," he said.

"We have many beautiful places to to be visited during the trip," Gomes said, pointing to the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone National Park, Mexican pyramids, among others.

"This is my dream as well," Gomes said. "We heard about many people who already did this trip — a couple of years ago if you remember, one guy did it by horse, and actually two couples left my home in Brazil a couple years ago and they are there in Brazil — alive."

Marcel Gomes will co-pilot along with Prando on the drive home from Brazil to Calgary. (Calgary Eyeopener/CBC)

The pair have a tent and plan to camp out next to the car after eight or 10 hours of daily driving, with the odd stopover at an Airbnb.

Their original budget was $7,000, but now it's $5,000.

They've printed out maps, made plans — and understand that trips like these face all sorts of unforeseen variables.

"We plan, plan, plan. But every time, you know, where do we start?" said Gomes. Things change. Weather changes. Danger zones."

And what do they think those American customs officers will say at the U.S. border, when they explain that they're driving a Ford Mustang from Alberta to Brazil — the scenic route?

"OK," Gomes said. "Have a good trip."


With files from the Calgary Eyeopener

About the Author

Stephen Hunt

Digital Writer

Stephen Hunt is a digital writer at the CBC in Calgary. Email: stephen.hunt@cbc.ca

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