Road Trip Wednesay: Road Trips


This week’s topic: What’s the most dramatic road trip you’ve ever been on?

I love road trips! They’re my favourite kind of get away, which is ironic since I’ve never actually personally owned a car. I have been on only a few road trips but all of them involved some drama.

1. Road Trip to Pilansberg Game Reserve in South Africa

My best friend and I decided to take two Finnish exchange students for a day in the African wild. We decided to ditch his ancient Toyota in favour of his Mom’s more reliable Honda. This day did not end well when the car over heated leaving us stranded in a game reserve populated by most of the Big Five. We later got the car working only to be left stranded again in a township. A bunch of lovely old black ladies helped us push the car and we got going again only for the car to finally give up the ghost a few hundred kilometres from home. Another friend’s mother had to come and rescue us. The entire trip took about ten hours longer than expected but it was an adventure none the less.

mieliefontein2. Road Trip to Cape Town in South Africa

It’s over 1200km from Joburg so my friend from previous game reserve experience and my boyfriend and I set off on a two driving expedition. It was long and hot but we did find an amazing stop over place called Mieliefontein. On day two, however, a rather strange noise started on the left front wheel. The mud guard was broken and flapping against the tyre. We had to improvise a solution while on the road and ended up holding things together with clothes pegs.

Sweden3. Bus’ing it from Finland to Norway via snowy Sweden

In 2006 I joined a bunch of fellow exchange students as set off on a two day bus trip through Finnish and Swedish Lapland to the Lofoten Islands off the west coast of Norway. This was spectacular! Despite it being mid October and already -15 degrees Celsius in Sweden with a metre of snow, the bus coped rather well. We spent the first night in an old school house on the Arctic circle and got to see a pretty impressive auroral display. That said, I will never to that long a trip in a bus ever again. This summer a bunch of us are driving this same route to Norway again but we’re going in a comfy car 🙂

mother russiaAnd last but not least, my most dramatic road trip ever involved another bus. This time I joined thirty other students for the long drive from Jyväskylä, Finland to St Petersberg, Russia. Now what should have been a rather routine trek across the border turned near fatal when an unseasonal blizzard blew in from Siberia and plunged the countries into a state of emergency. We were just a few hours from St Petersberg when the snow storms brought traffic to a halt. We were stuck for hours in the bus as the Russians waited for snow ploughs to be sent from Finland to clear the roads. A drive that should have taken around ten hours, ended up taking us 21! At one stage I really did think I was going to perish on the Russian border in the snow, but I survived and even survived the following week in Russia despite a slight mishap involving the dreaded ‘polizei’ – but that’s another story 😉

So those are my road trips. What about yours?


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  • Samantha

    Wow! They all sound so crazy/awesome! It was great reading your Africa stories – that’s my next adventure! Love the pictures too!

    • Xaniver

      Thank you! And happy travels 🙂

  • Fantastic! I cannot wait for my upcoming trip to Finland/Russia. (Kauvatsa, Turku, Helsinki, then St. Petersburg).
    It’s lovely to be so well-traveled 🙂

    • Xaniver

      You’re coming to Finland!?!?! We should totally meet for coffee while you’re in Helsinki!

  • That’s a lot of snow!!!

    I’ve been to Kruger in South Africa and our tour guide wound up being my armed guard when I needed a bathroom break because of the Big Five. Glad to say both myself, the tour guide/guard and all creatures in Kruger that day survived the impromptu but memorable experience 😉

    • Xaniver

      Hehehe sounds familiar. I remember going on school tours to the Kruger where we needed armed escort to the bathrooms at night because of the hippos!

  • Jessica Silverstein

    Well, not a road trip, but I suppose my most dramatic vehicular experience also took place in South Africa! I did a three-week program there where kids from my college went and lived/collaborated with students from the Market Theater Lab school in Joburg. Our first night there, the students we were living with wanted to take us out. They told us they had hired vans to bring us to the bar and back again; on the way there, all was well–but then the drivers came in and drank with us; apparently they were friends of our hosts. The ride home–twelve or fourteen to a van, the drivers competing to do the biggest and fastest donuts in intersections, racing through the city streets–I was sure, SURE I was going to die. (The next day, coincidentally, one of the news headlines posted on the power line poles was “Kids Ride In Killer Taxis”–I have a picture of a few of us posed around one of those papers.)

    • Xaniver

      Hahahaha! yeah when you said vans, I thought you must mean ‘taxis.’ Definitely an adventure – glad you survived! 🙂

  • Crystal Schubert

    Wow, you’ve got some good ones! Breaking down in a game reserve sounds like one of my nightmares, lol. Glad you made it our OK.

    • Xaniver

      To be honest we were more afraid of being strand in the township 😛 and thanks!

  • You are brave! The game reserve story has me shuddering. I would be terrified of the Big Five. Not entirely sure what all of the five are, but I’m assuming lions and tigers and bears (oh my!). Maybe not bears, but worse, like a python.

    • Xaniver

      Hehehe 😛 Lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant, and rhino 🙂