Kevin Arnold has had a lifelong passion for jeeping and off-road adventuring thanks to his parents Mike and Sheri. With that love passed down to him he recently delved deeper into one of his father’s major accomplishments and has documented it with the brand-new book “31 Days in the Darien.”
The book features journals written by Mike Arnold during his five-month journey known as The Expedicion de las Americas, which began in November of 1978 and showcased a group from the famous Jeepers Jamboree. The Expedicion was led by off-road icon Mark Smith and featured five jeeps, 14 people and took them from the southernmost tip of South America to the northern tip of North America. All in all, it covered an amazing 20,000 miles of beautiful, yet grueling terrain.
“This was really an incredible and historic journey that my father went on and I’m happy to help tell the tale of how their lives were on a daily basis during it,” said author Kevin Arnold, who is on the board of directors with the Jeepers Jamboree. “I knew about this trip my whole life but reading deeper into his journals certainly opened my eyes even more. I’m still blown away by what they were able to accomplish in such a short time.”
Among the impressive feats during The Expedicion de las Americas was the conquering of the Darien Gap, a 200-mile section of jungle, swamp and danger separating Columbia, South America and Panama, Central America. The gap was previously completed in 99 days by a British Group with 85-100 people, while Mike Arnold’s group crossed the gap in 31 days, hence the title of the book “31 Days in the Darien.”
Kevin Arnold continued, “It was such a grueling trip for their whole team to maintain the schedule that they set forth. Completing the Darien Gap in 31 days was an amazing thing to hold their hats on. Keep in mind that the trip was done with stock Jeeps, with no axle upgrades or lift kits that you’ll see today. I hope that everyone who reads the book will enjoy it as much as I did putting it together. It’s truly a first-hand look from what was an incredible, once in a lifetime trip for my dad.”
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the historic trip. In normal day life the Arnold family owns Arnold’s for Awards, a successful trophy shop located inShingle Springs, California that is still going strong to this day.