22 March – Fin.

Wow. It honestly feels like an Eon ago I was chilling on Copacobana Beach in Rio anxious for the start of this almightly large adventure. What an adventure it has been. Just shy of 15,000Km’s and it has all come to the end of the world in Ushuaia, Tierra Del Fuego. It feels strange that I sit here blogging (yeah I know i missed the last few days sorry haha) knowing that I don’t have to set an alarm for tomorrow morning. Don’t have to clean and rain-x the windshield. Don’t have to check radiator and oil levels. Don’t have to carry our bags and put them precisely where they belong in the back. Don’t have to slam down some corn flakes and scull a cup of coffee. Don’t have to steal ham and cheese and bread from the breakfast buffet for lunch on the road. Tomorrow I am completely left to my own devices. And it feels different.

The last few days where shorter days in comparison to the beginning of this epic journey but for some reason they felt as long as all the others. I think everyone as starting to get a little bit tired, including the cars. A few days ago we had some reallyexciting gravel road regularity tests. They say you always get better with something with practice, totally true! Me and dad only ever improved our tactics and methods for regularity and the last two tests we had total penalties fewer than 10 seconds over hundred+ distances.

The true patagonian winds whipped up and slapped us in the face on wednesday. “Why are we going so slow, James, is your foot to the floor?” Dad asked me as I was driving as fast as possible with the roaring headwind…. We barely crept past 70kph on the flat…. And mother of Zeus was it cold…. Tierra del Fuego is The land of Fire….. more like Tierra del ICE.

The end of the world is hard to describe. Because it literally does feel like the end of the world. It has been weeks since the feeling of a large city, and we cross a 6mile ferry channel to the Tierra del Fuego island and everything changes. Flat. Lifeless apart from the few alapaca things and rolling low hills. If Chile has an abundance of pebbles, then Patagonia and Tierra Del Fuego has an abundance of shrubs. Small salt-bush-esque bushes that care not for the howling south-west-bone-chilling-nose-melting winds. Every now and then you can spot a tree or so.

And then all of a sudden on our way out of Rio Grande this morning we caught a glimpse of mountains again. It was so pleasing to see mountains with snow caps again. And snow means moisture, so trees and vegetation came back into sight. yay! We were at sea level and the tree line was still only a few hundred feet above us. I have no idea how anyone could live in this place all year round. I would go mad. The bleak rain one minute and not 5 minutes later the sun would poke through and wind would blow me over. It would be colder than pitching a tent inside a freezer. Kudos to those who stick it out down here….. However, the view across Beagle Passage to the Chilean fiords and mountains (all islands) is pretty spectacular.

Tonight is the prize giving ceremony and final goodbye dinner. Yes, we are the overall winners and Champions!!!! Huzzah!!! Winners baby! I know we have said that merely making it to Ushuaia would be enough but come on…. winning is always better 😀 hahaha

Thanks to everyone who has stuck it out and followed us on my rambunctious rambling blog. It has really meant a lot. Thank you all!

I can finally take my beard off when I get home now. I have succeeded in looking homeless.

Final goodbyes and mucho love to all. Until my next adventure. Thank you and farewell.


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  1. Andy Inskip

    Well done guys. Where in the world next for you to conquer. See you on the road somewhere soon.
    Andy Inskip

  2. carl and helen

    Well done chaps, Awsome that you guys come first!! going to miss the commentary! now back to reality!!
    Till the next adventure,P2P??
    Carl& Helen;)

  3. Syd

    Bugger! Finished! I’ve enjoyed your blog so much that I am going to have withdrawal symptoms. What an adventure, and you finished in finest style, well done. Well written, too, your style has developed and matured, maybe it has something to do with the way you’ve had to put up with the old man for so long.
    Till the next one.

  4. Tubby

    Max and James…….congratulations boys, again you have excelled and maintained the load carrying capacity of the 23-60 Vauxhall – Penny is the near perfect steed – where else has the one Vauxhall done so much. James your writing is on its own and a joy to read, again well done and all the best for a safe journey home from all your friends in the V.S.C.C. here in Australia………Tubby.

  5. Norton

    Congratulations on finishing and on coming in 1st place!!!!
    Been great reading all the blogs and seeing the pictures, some trip.
    Have a safe trip home and the question is where next?

    Norton and Adele

  6. Congratulations to you both. What a wonderful adventure and a real testimony to the love of a father and son. What a wonderful journey and adventure you have shared together… from the onset of bare chassis rails in the shed at home… to now ‘at the end of the earth.’ What a remarkable experience for you both.

    James, your writing and sharing your adventure has been an absolute pleasure to read.

    I am so proud of you and admire your courage and willingness to embrace and grab life with both hands… Just go for it James…. the world is your oyster… and the pearl your experience in it. I love you James.

    …And Max….you are a wonderful dad and I also admire your willingness to just ‘do stuff’…. even though you may need a few more afternoon naps in the process. heheheh I love you honey and look forward to seeing you when you return home.

    Mum…Julie. xxx

  7. Brian McMillan

    Congratulations Max and Penny. You have done well to survive the thrashing that James has dished out over the past five weeks.
    Just finishing the VCCQ mag. Will make mention of your excellent results. Congratulations.

  8. Nicki Reinhardt

    Wow and woohooooo, all three of you are amazing. Congratulations on being part of such a thrilling adventure, on driving through such challenging terrain and on arriving at the end real winners in every sense of the word. And on top of that to have bragging rights to the overall winner title. Legends all of you.

    Love Nicki

  9. Congratulations ! Had lots of fun reading you. Would love to have seen big picture of full beard ! Look forward reading you again. Jacquie

  10. Rees and Robyn Mackay

    What a fantastic effort but it took a girl to get you there, just remember that!!! Have enjoyed reading your updates but Rees is puzzled how Max can have a kip while hurtling along. Enjoy the celebrating and safe travels back to Aus.

  11. Barbara shooter

    It’s been such a pleasure travelling with you two. The marvellous Max and James, a wonderful, cheerful, adorable boy that anyone would be proud to have as a son. A pleasure and a privilege – until the next time. Barbara xxx. I’ll miss my morning ‘Max’ hug!

  12. John Kent

    Congratulations to you both, what a great adventure. Will miss the daily blog & images particularly those of Max having yet another snooze also the wonderful scenery. I guess the real star though is that Vauxhall. See you soon.



  13. António Cardoso

    Would love to be In Ushuaia to see the Party of the Winners.
    All the Best
    António Cardoso

  14. Alwyn du Preez

    All I can say about your venture is : AMAZING ACCOMPLISHMENT. AND THAT IN A VERY OLD LADY.
    Congratulations Max and James. The other intrepids on the rally also deserve accolade. Congrats to them as well.. Safe travels back to Aus. How do you travel from The End of The World? All the way back to civilization in Penny and then by ship? If so I can imagine some further drama and endeavour. Good luck. Alwyn ( Port Elizabeth South Africa )

  15. Sticky and Emi

    Congratulations Max James and Penny Superexcellent news for Vauxhall, you beat the Bentley,even if Max slept through it all.Well done.Sticky and Emi

  16. Charlie Bishop

    Fantastic result, fantastic blog, fantastic car! Well done both of you. Although I don’t know your Mum I just want to endorse what she has written. James, your positivity is utterly infectious. Max, well you came first buddy! Give us a shout when you are next in the mother country. Charlie and Nellie

  17. G’Day and Congratulations to the three of you.Two amazing Gentlemen and one Sensational Lady and to take First Prize is simply Brilliant.
    I won’t say Goodbye,simply Farewell my friends until you and Penny hit the road again,mornings are going to be a little less exciting here without your blogs so a final “thank you” for the trip and allowing us to join in the ride of a lifetime simply magical from start to perfect finish.
    Regards Penny UK

  18. Faris Mouasher

    Hello Max and James

    Absolutely thrilled for you both…CONGRATULATIONS . What and amazing effort and adventure and to come first…Sweet!

    Thanks for sharing with us your adventure through this blog. Through your writing, photos and humour it has certainly been a joy to follow your expeinces. Well done penny…you didnt think i had forgotton you, hehehe

    Lots of love to you both and safe journey home.

  19. Leanda

    Well done James, Max and Penny on your great adventure and first place. Have thoroughly enjoyed reading your blogs. I was in Ushuaia in Feb 2010 on my way to Antarctica and I reckon it was colder there than it was in Antarctica.

    Look forward to seeing you back at swimming soon.

  20. Ruth

    Congratulations Max, James and Penny

  21. Derek Moss

    Congrats on your amazing victory.When does your book get published.Will make a great read!

  22. Congratulations on all three of you getting to the finish, and what a result. Looked forward to your updates every day falling into my Inbox, a fantastic achievement, how clever is modern technollogy. In the era of your car it would have been the ‘telegraph’ I guess, it would have been weeks before we knew what had happened to you.

    Look forward to hearing about your next ‘adventure’ – what next?

  23. James Stephenson

    Thanks so much everybody! Appreciate it 😀

  24. Murray

    Really enjoyed riding (felt like we were) along with you on your journey James and Max. Great result. Congratulations! Superexcellent even. Cheers, Murray.

  25. Marianne McMillan

    Not just winning, though that is about the only post the others will remember, but the whole rally. You have managed to unscramble all the challenges that befell you, keep Penny more or less intact, avoid the really nasty situations that some of the others secumbed to,stay well and in one piece (well, three pieces) AND have a great time. Not to mention entertaining us all with your adventures so we could, at least vicariously, enjoy the drive down the length of South America.
    Where does one go to from here ? That’s a hard act to follow !
    Looking forward to your next adventure.
    Marianne in Sydney.

  26. Dave

    Congratulations to both of you. I know how well the Vauxhall was prepared and the result is in line with expectations… How did the Final Party turn out? Anything exciting to report?
    Please be in touch when your feet have hit the ground in Australia.
    Until then,
    Safety Fast,
    Dave Godwin

  27. Joe and Bev

    You’ve done it again. A fantastic feat for man and machine. A big congrats from us both.
    Why don’t you pop over to the South pole while you are down that way. You may never get back.!!

  28. Carol & Gary Rickard

    Whoo- hoo!!!!! Congratulations – We knew you could do it. Here’s to the mighty Penny & her valiant crew!

    A truly amazing journey – perhaps a film in the future! Look forward to seeing you all back on home turf to hear all the finer details that could not be included in your blog – which was a joy to keep up with.

    All the very best for the journey home.

  29. Sandra

    Woohoo – well done . Big hugs and a special kiss for Penny!

  30. Emma Louise

    Congrats! 😀

  31. Patrick & Christine

    What a wonderful achievement. We have been following your blog all the way.
    Congratulations and a big hug,

    Patrick & Christine

  32. Reg Rhook

    Congratulations on the conclusion of this adventure. Penny spent some time in my workshop in the past for maintenance, but there must have been a lot more done since. These 23-60s are a great machine- I have one myself but not sure that it could match what Penny has done. The Guru in Australia, Tubby Stewart approves, so you have reached the summit in things Luton, Down Under! RR.

  33. wonderfully venture !!! i told my friends about Penny’ story!! hehe , she is famous in china and my city now !!

  34. “I don’t have to set an alarm for tomorrow morning. Don’t have to clean and rain-x the windshield. Don’t have to check radiator and oil levels. Don’t have to carry our bags and put them precisely where they belong in the back. Don’t have to slam down some corn flakes and scull a cup of coffee. Don’t have to steal ham and cheese and bread from the breakfast buffet for lunch on the road. Tomorrow I am completely left to my own devices. And it feels different————”
    hahhahah, i can understand u feeling, sometime wish stop here in journey,have nice rest , no need to do anything , no wish open eyes on monring,long travel by drive is a hard thing, but u will get happy memery in u rest life after finsh the travel, and know the wolrd more and stand high level to look the word different before in u mind!!!!

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