Solihull-built Discoveries head off-road on epic 5,000-mile journey through the wild.
It’s the ultimate off-road adventure – three Solihull-built Land Rovers are attempting a history-making trek criss-crossing the American wild in an epic 5,000 mile journey.
The intrepid trio of Lode Lane Discoveries aims to become the first motorised convoy to cross the frontier terrain of North America entirely on an off-road trail.
The journey aims to cover 5,000 miles in one month, through ten states and various climates and landscapes, with the crew travelling in the footsteps of the original American pioneers.
By the time Land Rover Expedition America reaches the Pacific Coast in North Bend, Oregon in late August it will have crossed four time zones and two major mountain ranges on a web of linked dirt roads called the Trans-America Trail.
The expedition’s start point was the Smoky Mountains, when the three 4x4s rolled out of the Land Rover Experience centre at The Biltmore in Asheville North Carolina, the most easterly dirt road point in the US.
“It’s a great place to begin – straight from the Land Rover driving school onto a succession of amazing mountain trails,” said expedition leader veteran Tom Collins.
The expedition is using standard Land Rover Discoveries, fitted with winches and roof racks for the marathon 13-hour days. Each car is crewed by three drivers and navigators.
Swathed in low cloud, the North Carolina tracks were quickly replaced by those in eastern Tennessee. Outside Tellico, heavy rains had turned forest roads into streams and streams into fast flowing currents. Bikers gathered in Tellico were intrigued to meet the crew. There is no record of vehicles having successfully made the crossing to Oregon.
“In Tennessee the TAT trails are already increasingly being paved,” said Collins.
“Who knows how long it will be before other states do the same with their unsealed roads? This is an expedition with a shrinking environment as its challenger.”
By Gary Young