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A World Odyssey-The Epic Voyage of the Sand Ship Discovery

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UPDATE II: Maury forwarded an updated video about the Sand Ship Discovery that was posted to youtube in January of 2020. Loren’s wife provides information on some of the unique details of this CJ-5, modified for difficult terrain and the 6’4″ Loren Upton.


This post was last posted December 26, 2017:  This just appeared in our local newspaper. A couple local folks are helping him out. Here’s an accompanying video:


An article from Spokane’s Spokesman Review alerted me to the story of A World Odyssey-The Epic Voyage of the Sand Ship Discovery. This is actually a local story (for me) as Loren Upton, the man at the root of the adventure, has lived in Yakima and the Tri-Cities and worked at the nearby Hanford  nuclear reservation.

Between 1984 and 1989, Loren piloted a CJ-5 around the world, surpassing 55,000 miles. The jeep holds a Guiness book of World Record for being the first vehicle to cross the Darien Gap. Some of you might remember the 2014 post about the 1959-1960 venture across the Darien Gap in a Willys Truck and a Land RoverHowever, some of that trip was done by floating part of the river.

Loren’s nephew Laurence would like to restore the CJ-5 back to it’s former glory and then take his Uncle on one more world trip. They’ve set up a go-fund-me page and a website with lots of information and photos. Good luck to them!



16 Comments on “A World Odyssey-The Epic Voyage of the Sand Ship Discovery

  1. Dave

    I believe some of this account was in a series of magazine articles many years ago… of the popular 4×4 magazines. I remember reading it and saving the articles. Probably in my filing cabinet somewhere.

  2. Dave

    I remember the magazine story as well and also have it saved in my filing cabinet full of JEEP stuff. I’ll be interested to follow the continuance of the journey. Best of luck!

  3. Vernon Haggard


  4. Patricia Upton

    The Nat Geo expedition was quite the feat. The main difference was they got to the Atrato River and then went up river a 100 miles or more before “getting” out of the Gap.

  5. Patricia Upton

    Dave, thanks for following us. Things are beginning to come together, land transportation is scheduled for Feb 5th to Galveston and then shipping to Ashdod, Israel on Feb 12. Loren and I will arrive in Israel the first week of April, hopefully the same time as the Jeep.

  6. David Eilers Post author


    I’m always interest in adventures involving jeeps. So, I’m looking forward to following this as well. I live in Pasco, so this has the feel of a local story 🙂

    Good luck!!!

    – Dave

  7. Mike

    My 66 CJ5 has the V/6, “Blood & Guts” had the 4:88 gears, great for snow plowing, switched them out for 3:73’s nice highway driving with no gear whine.

  8. Patricia Upton

    Thank you, everyone, for your comments! We will do our best to keep you posted and you can always check out our website for additional information Our Jeep – has the 225 V-6, great engine. We always said the best sound in the morning was her firing up, sometimes on less than six cylinders, but always firing up!

  9. Vernon Haggard

    225 odd-fire v-6 firing up — 720 degree firing order — pop , pop , pop … pop , pop , pop … like a Harley gone wild

  10. Vernon Haggard

    my 1967 Kaiser jeep cj-6 has the 4.88’s — warn od- t-86-90 hybrid 3 speed ( Vernon built ) — rear powr-lok- rear pto — warn mod 8000 winch front — Kelly full steel hardtop — 16″ rims — 225 v6 — modified 2 stick mod 18 t-case — 5 on the floor — no radio — or a/c — Kelly hubs — etc — faster than a corvette — ( ok , up to 45 mph ) — I have a t-98 I built up for it — all the original jeep adapters — looking for a ventilating windshield …

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