• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
3m 21s

Argentinian couple drives 30,000-plus miles to Alaska

By Hope Miller 7:43 AM June 23, 2014
ANCHORAGE –

It’s a car that’s hard to miss — a white 1989 Cadillac limo, covered with stickers from across the Americas. There’s even a brown suitcase mounted to the trunk and a sink inside the cozy interior.

This head-turning car belongs to Lucas Cárdenas, 35, and Florencia Bratovich, 28, of Patagonia, Argentina. After two-plus years of travel, mixed with short stops in more than a dozen countries, they’ve finally made it to their destination: Alaska.

“This was the best two years of our lives,” said Cárdenas, smiling from ear to ear.

Cárdenas conjured up the idea years ago to travel across the Americas, a distance of more than 30,000 miles. But it wasn’t until he met Bratovich, now his girlfriend, that he decided to make that dream a reality.

Cárdenas started up a limo business a few years ago in Patagonia, which is where they got the car. They picked the oldest one on the lot and installed a bed and mini kitchen inside before embarking on their journey. Now, more than 800 days after leaving home, the inside of the limo is full of trinkets from the places they’ve visited.

Despite the car’s age, they only ran into one major mechanical issue in Los Angeles that required Cárdenas to replace the engine. A lucky accomplishment because neither knew much about cars when the trip began, they said.

“But that is the reason to travel,” Cárdenas said. “To learn.”

After leaving Argentina, they trekked through Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Belize, Mexico, Cuba (sans car), the U.S. and Canada.

They traveled without watches, phones or tools. They also had no GPS at the start of the trip. It wasn’t hard to get by though, they said, because people were often intrigued by the eye-catching limo and offered to help the couple with their adventure.

“If I sit here for five minutes,” said Cárdenas, sitting in a patch of grass in an East Anchorage neighborhood, “You’re gonna see people coming to see the limo, taking pictures. That is the icebreaker — the limo.”

They stayed with all types of people, he said. Big families, small families, lonely people, poor people and rich people. After seeing thousands of miles of beautiful scenery, it was the people they encountered who made the trip.

“All the new friends, the people, I think is the best [part],” Bratovich said.

Cárdenas agrees. Before the trip, he said, he was jaded about humanity.

“That idea changed for me because we can’t even do one kilometer of this trip without help,” he said.

They found a place to stay in Anchorage when Ricardo Policicchio — who is originally from Argentina but now lives in Alaska — said he heard the couple’s interview on an Argentinian radio station he was listening to online more than two years ago. He was the first of many who offered them a place to stay.

After so much time on the road, the fact that they’ve made it to their destination doesn’t quite feel real, they said. What they’re thinking about now is where they’ll go within the Last Frontier. The Kenai Peninsula, Fairbanks and Denali are top contenders.

They’re also thinking about how they’ll get back home. Cárdenas and Bratovich don’t want to just ditch the car and fly back; they would like to ship the limo if possible and said they’d appreciate some help hashing out a plan.

Once back home, they hope to complete a book — which is already in the works — about their adventures and the people they met. They also want to host their new friends and fellow world travelers in Argentina.

“I want to spend the rest of my life talking about that trip I made to Alaska,” Cárdenas said.

Learn more about the couple’s adventures by visiting their Facebook page or following them on Twitter.

Latest Stories

  • News

    ANSEP aims to excite students about STEM

    by Makayla Clark on Jun 23, 18:31

    Anchorage students put their designs to the test Friday. They hooked a suspended box onto bridges they designed and built out of balsa wood and glue. They then put metal balls into the boxes until the bridges snapped. “This is a very good opportunity to learn,” Jason Kyle, a student at the academy, said. “I […]

  • Man accused in 7-car hit-and-run charged with DWI

    by KTVA Web Staff on Jun 23, 17:20

    One man has a laundry list of charges after a hit-and-run on June 9 near the inbound intersection of the Glenn Highway and Airport Heights Drive. Jake Sundog Rotzler-Martus, 31, is charged with first- and third-degree assault, DWI, reckless driving and leaving the scene of an accident, according to charging documents. On June 9, a […]

  • Politics

    Alaska lawmakers headed home, but session isn’t over yet

    by Liz Raines on Jun 23, 16:50

    Many lawmakers are headed home after passing a budget late Thursday night to prevent a government shutdown next week. But the final gavel hasn’t fallen yet. If lawmakers felt a sense of accomplishment after finally passing a budget, the satisfaction was short-lived. Less than two hours later, Gov. Bill Walker added a new issue to […]

  • News

    Budget cuts threaten rollout of earthquake early warning system

    by CBS News on Jun 23, 16:32

    In an earthquake, having the latest information could be key to survival. At the “quake cottage” in Burbank, California, scientists are working to warn people before earthquakes hit. The facility is home to a state-of-the-art quake simulator where you know exactly when the shaking is going to start. But what if you could get a […]

  • News

    F-16 Thunderbird crashes, flips over at Dayton International Airport

    by CBS News on Jun 23, 16:29

    DAYTON, Ohio — A military plane that was practicing for an air show in heavy fog has crashed at an airport in Ohio, officials said Friday. CBS affiliate WHIO-TV reports an F-16 Thunderbird crashed and overturned shortly before 1 p.m. at the end of a runway at Dayton International Airport. The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds […]

  • News

    Was Russian hacking of Ukraine’s power grid a test run for U.S. attack?

    by CBS News on Jun 23, 16:27

    In its July cover story, Wired magazine takes an in-depth look at a years-long string of cyberattacks in Ukraine that could have global implications. It has undermined every sector including the media, military, politics and even people’s homes. Andy Greenberg, who reported the story, and Wired editor-in-chief Nicholas Thompson joined “CBS This Morning” to discuss […]

  • News

    White St. Louis police officer shoots off-duty black officer

    by CBS News on Jun 23, 16:24

    A black off-duty St. Louis police officer was shot by a white on-duty police officer from the same department who apparently mistook him for a fleeing suspect, according to a statement from the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. At about 10 p.m. Wednesday evening, St. Louis police received a report that a stolen vehicle had […]

  • News

    Teen’s molester moves in next door upon prison release

    by CBS News on Jun 23, 16:19

    CREEK COUNTY, Oklahoma – An Oklahoma family wants to change the state law that allowed the man who molested their daughter years ago to move in next door after getting out of prison, reports CBS affiliate KWTV. “I don’t like feel like I can come home,” says Danyelle Dyer, who is now speaking out about […]