“I just love seeing Mother Nature like this, watching the land change as we go by. It’s really touching me, and what I was looking for in terms of feeling closer to the world, the Earth, appreciating the beauty of it as we ride along.”
That meant electric bikes (Harley-Davidson supplied prototypes) that could withstand myriad environments — snow, ice, altitude, wind, rain — and very few charging stations.
The “Long Way Up” production crew hooked up with an electric SUV startup, Rivian, to supply new prototype pickup trucks — designed to take on every terrain. Rivian also installed charging stations along the more desolate parts of the route.
The trip, well-planned as it was, does not get off to an easy start, owing to unseasonably cold weather (it was the worst winter in since 1994 this time last year), as well as the trial of using vehicles that had yet to be tested in such conditions. But once they start to put real mileage between themselves and Ushuaia, a relatively predictable rhythm sets in that propels the journey forward with fewer headaches and anxieties. And that’s when the real magic begins. The scenery is breathtaking, and while the relationship between McGregor and Boorman is the predominant one, seeing how this group navigates the trip, together and separately, is also powerful stuff.
In the end, after three months on the road, both men were ready to end the trip, though Boorman says, “You always talk about the possibility of another one, so you’ve got that in your head, so it’s not so bad that this one’s finished.
“There’s an arc, these trips that we’ve done,” says McGregor. “You’re sort of ready for it to end. It comes to its conclusion.” And because the “Long Way Up” route terminates in Los Angeles, where McGregor lives, his 13,000 mile journey ended on his own driveway.
“I rode all the way to my front door from Ushuaia — it was a pleasure, that.”