Let us tell you a little about our home on the road, our 29 year old Volkswagen Vanagon named Dan The Van. We have already done over 110,000 miles in him since buying him in 1991, have slept in him for well over a year in total, and have recently beefed him up for the rough roads of Mexico and beyond with a more powerful engine, a new and much more rugged suspension and a general cleanup and refitting of most of his important parts. Handsome fella, wouldn’t you say?
That said, he does nevertheless present surprises, sometimes at the most inopportune moments. There was a lot of preparation that went into leaving on this wander: a house and casita to rent in Santa Fe, New Mexico while both remained for sale; a much enjoyed job to finish and pass on to another in Dave’s case; and the final preparations and adjustments to Dan for the journey.
And that’s when Dan surprised us. We checked out the propane system it proved to be dangerously corroded after 29 years, and the water system simply didn’t work because the pump had died a quiet death from inactivity. Because of the Christmas rush, the parts supplier could not get the parts to us before we had to be out of the house for renters.
The only solution was to head for San Luis Obispo, California, get the parts from GoWesty and install them there before heading south for Mexico. So we began with a thousand mile detour to Central California where we installed the propane system and water pump, then finally turned south down the coast, through the Los Angeles basin (always a joy) and on at last to Del Mar north of San Diego where we enjoyed two days staying at our friends Tom and Sue’s place across from the ocean. We spent most of that time just relaxing, walking the beach, and stowing all the gear we had been carrying in boxes inside Dan for the trip into Mexico. That finished, we drove two more days from San Diego to our crossing at Nogales and were finally on our way for the wander.