Dara & Ed's Great Big Adventure is a three part TV special that first aired back in 2015. Dara is joined by his best pal Ed Byrne in a 4000 mile, month long, trip down the section of the Pan-American highway that links Mexico to Panama. You can travel north from Miami, Arizona, where the guys start, to Alaska but the highway only goes to Panama before there is a 100 mile break. It starts up again in South America. On route Dara and Ed see the sites, meet some people, and eat some fucking scary food. One of the reasons I don't care much for travel to foreign lands.
Dara and Ed started on the trip because of a book by Sullivan C Richardson. He was a Detroit newspaper reporter that took an unusual car trip in 1941. Along with two other men, Arnold Whitaker and Kenneth Van Hee, Richardson traveled from Mexico to Tierra del Fuego. The men were called the ‘three damn fools’ in Newspaper stories in the US. The idea of driving a car where there were no roads was pretty silly but Plymouth gave them a Salon Car for their project. It did pretty well but it needed a lot of help in some areas. The jungle was so great they had to take a train and a boat to get around it.
Richardson wrote articles for the US newspapers and eventually wrote the book that Dara and Ed would use as a guide to their trip. Our modern day travelers don't have anywhere near the hardships that the original men did. The Pan-American highway is well finished when they took their trip. In 1941, it was barely a dream. There had been some talk about it in the 1930s but it was the war that made it more important. The same thing happened here in the US.
I thought it might be interesting to read the book, unusual for me to read a travelogue, but I have read this sort of book before, though mostly when they are by humorous writers. The library didn't have a copy. Amazon didn't have a copy. Ebay and ABE books each had a copy, it was $699.99, and it might have been the same copy. Hardly seems like a good gamble that I'm going to get 700 smackers worth of entertainment out of a book so I guess I'm not going to get that. That money would buy a hell of a lot of DVDs. I do wonder how a rare travel book about a trip to South America came into the hands of a couple of guys from Ireland.
I thought something about this photo was familiar when I was looking about the internet for images to purloin. Check out the DVD cover. I saw a bit of this TV special on YouTube but the image was so poor I couldn't watch more than a few minutes. Some people load videos to YouTube with altered images to avoid getting spotted by the YouTube crawl'bots looking for copyright material. You might have seen a program framed with a different moving image. At least you can see what's happening, it's just small. Some upload video that is so cropped that you are seeing 50-60% of the original video. It often looks like this.
What were they thinking? The episodes uploaded to YouTube suffered both of these problems. It was so bad I decided to order the DVD. It was under 10 bucks from Amazon UK. There's a copy for about 4 bucks on Amazon US when I write this. Of course the main problem with the PAL DVD for most people is they would need a special player or software on their PC. If that means nothing to you, take a look at the program on Daily Motion. Here's episode 1, (it looks pretty good) and there are links to the 2nd and 3rd episodes on that page.