Greetings from Plymouth, Devon. We're now back at the desk, in front of the computer, working away on the road trips we've got planned for this summer. It's grey outside, and spring is still at least a month away. Everything feels routine. But this year hasn't all been like this. Until recently, things were very different.
A few days ago, we got back from South America, where we'd spent the preceding nine weeks or so in the company of our project car, a 1974 Mini, and a Range Rover Classic. The purpose of our trip? To drive the Mini as far as we could up the world's highest volcano - the 6,893 metre tall Ojos del Salado, in Chile.
We shipped the cars into Montevideo, and hit the road at the start of December. What followed was a 4,100 mile road trip across South America, from the Atlantic to the Pacific and back, with the highlight being almost a month spent living on the side of the mountain, deep in the Atacama Desert.
Despite facing may problems and challenges with both the cars and the high mountain environment, on New Year's Eve we managed to get the Mini to an altitude of 5,920 metres above sea level - slightly short of our target of 6,000 metres, but still a most satisfying achievement. To put it in perspective, this is over 100 metres higher than the highest road on Earth, and made Daisy the Mini the highest car on the planet as 2024 got underway. Not bad for a 50 year old Mini, which had spent much of the preceding 15 years rusting away in a shed.
If you'd like to find out more about the trip, you can read our rolling coverage over at www.detour-roadtrips.com/mini-6000
And now, with our latest big, globetrotting adventure behind us, thoughts turn to the summer road trip season. This year, we'll be running our biggest range of trips yet, with five European tours in the pipeline. Two of these trips - the Beer Italia and Mountains and Machines, are already fully booked. However, there are still some spaces available on the other three trips we'll be running. Our tours are open to all sports and classic cars from Minis to McLarens, and if you'd be interested in joining one, take a look at the 'drives' section on this very website, by clicking here.
But the final note on this blog post should go to the cars we've just spent two months living with in South America. The Mini and Range Rover are currently in a container, being shipped back to the UK. We expect them to arrive here in early March, and are looking forward to getting out and about with them over the spring and summer. So, if you spot either of them at a show when the sun returns, feel free to come over and say hello.