• 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

    Bean’s Cafe soup road show back in Anchorage

    by Heather Hintze on Jan 28, 19:00

    There’s a soup showdown in town, a bean brawl to see which of Bean’s Café’s four flavors is a favorite for 2015. “Some people really get into it,” said marketing outreach coordinator Laura Nelson. “This is our second year doing this, and people really enjoy trying them. They like to talk to their friends about […]

  • News

    Walmart stocks shelves with Alaskan seafood

    by Bonney Bowman on Jan 28, 18:51

    A retail giant is now offering a wider selection of Alaskan seafood products. Walmart originally planned to stop selling Alaskan salmon, because the industry decided to stop paying for an outside group to certify the fish as sustainable. Sen. Lisa Murkowski and former Sen. Mark Begich both lobbied the chain to reconsider, since sustainable harvest […]

  • News

    Alaska lawmakers wait for marijuana bill rewrite that ‘reflects the will of the voters’

    by Sierra Starks on Jan 28, 18:03

    Alaska lawmakers have tabled a bill on how to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana, saying they’re waiting for a bill rewrite that more accurately reflects what Alaskans asked for when they voted in November. After voters approved the ballot initiative to legalize marijuana in Alaska, the goal is now to pass a bill by Feb. […]

  • News

    APD seeking whereabouts of missing 14-year-old

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 28, 15:16

    The Anchorage Police Department is asking for the public’s help in locating a missing 14-year-old girl who is considered a runaway. Police say Janessa Rodrigo-Legarda was last seen leaving school at 12:30 p.m. Jan. 15. She is described as 4’5″ tall, weighing roughly 110 pounds. She was last seen wearing a black North Face fleece jacket, black […]

  • News

    Authorities investigate Anchorage inmate death

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 28, 15:10

    A 33-year-old inmate’s death is under investigation after he became combative with corrections officers and was restrained, authorities say. Anchorage police brought Larry Kobuk of Anchorage to the Anchorage Correctional Complex Tuesday around 10:45 p.m. During prisoner intake he was “noncompliant” with corrections officers’ verbal commands, according to an online dispatch from Alaska State Troopers. […]

  • Lifestyle

    Health officials: Pertussis vaccinations could mean lessened severity if not prevention

    by Shannon Kemp on Jan 28, 14:12

    In light of a pertussis outbreak in recent months, state epidemiologists are encouraging Alaskans to get vaccinated to not only prevent contraction of a disease, but also potentially lessen the severity of it if infected. Epidemiologists with the State of Alaska Health and Social Services reported an outbreak of pertussis — commonly known as whooping […]

  • News

    State to appeal court decision in school funding case

    by Associated Press on Jan 28, 13:44

    The state plans to appeal a court ruling that invalidated a requirement that local school districts help pay for education. The Department of Law, in a release, also said the state will request a stay of the ruling. It says that would ensure municipalities continue contributing until the case is decided by the Alaska Supreme […]

  • News

    California officials call e-cigarettes a health threat

    by CBS News on Jan 28, 13:32

    As the popularity of e-cigarettes soars, both federal and state health officials continue to question their safety. In California on Wednesday, state health officials declared electronic cigarettes a health threat that should be strictly regulated like tobacco products, joining other states and health advocates across the U.S. in pushing back against the fast-growing device. The […]