The Start of it All

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?

Dan after a little snow

Dan after a little snow

Having a look at Monument Valley

Having a look at Monument Valley

Getting comfortable for the night

Getting comfortable for the night

Ready to Cruise

Ready to Cruise

Ready to snooze

Ready to snooze

The kitchen setup

The kitchen setup

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.

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7 thoughts on “The Start of it All

  1. Hi you two, I am sirting in snowy, gray, chilly Munich and am turning green with envy. Your travels sound magical and I love to be part of it at least vicariously. I am spending three months in Germany, had 12 terrific days in Florence and am hoping to go skiing in Austria a few times while here. Back in DC March 2 and hopefully back in Santa Fe for the summer. Are you planning at all to come back there to check on your house or is it sold?? Have no idea why you would want to drive Dan to the East Coast, but if you ever do, please come and stay with me in your nation’s capital!
    Happy trails and much love,
    Michaela

    • Hi Michaela, Great to hear from you and that you’re enjoying our blog. Hope you got a look at the one we posted yesterday. We’re working on another one today which should bring us up to date with where we’re at now, San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas. Thanks for the offer to come visit you in DC. We will do this sometime, for sure. At this point, we plan to stay in Mexico until May and then maybe head to Alaska for the summer. If the house sells, we’ll drop everything and go back of course and then would hopefully get a chance to see you. Much love, Bonnie

  2. Dave, I don’t if you remember me; I was in one of your modern lit classes in about 1971. In fact you once talked about letting me stay at your pad, but your squeeze at the time wasn’t up to if. I’m glad you’re able to live your dream. Pictures look great and you pretty healthy for an old guy. Hell, I’m 63 so you must be at least 70. I think I’m doing that here in Osaka, Japan teaching college English to art and drama majors. And it sure looks like your companion is a lot cuter than Steinbeck’s companion in Travels with Charley, although his camper was a bit beefier than Dan. Hope the roads are clear and safe for you! Vaya con dios!

    • Of course I remember you! In fact, was thinking about you about a week ago when driving down the coast. Thought of the softball game we both played in, and my last conversation with you when you said that you were going to join the Peace Corps and go to Columbia to make the right connections, and that mattress nailed up to your bedroom wall :D. Ah–some things you just don’t forget!

      So many years, so many experiences for both of us. Would love to have the chance to talk sometime and better, get together. Do you come back to the States on occasion? We should be passing through in May–

      Stay in touch! Give me an email address. I am at daveylaw@mac.com.

      Really the best to you!

      Dave

  3. “The traveler has to knock at every alien door to come to his own, and one has to wander through all the outer worlds to reach the innermost shrine at the end.” – Rabindranath Tagore

    Following your and Bonnie’s travels with great fondness; also shared on FB for a select few from CSUF days to follow. (Great praise for your mentorship in those days subsequently poured in!)

    Much love,
    Theresa

    • What a kick! Had a great comment from Kim K. yesterday from Japan; figured you were the connection! Will reply to him today too.

      Am really behind on the blog right now–we are in San Cristobal in Chiapas for a few days then on to the jungles for ruins and scarlet macaws. Hope to have about three more entries in a day or two to post.

      Much love!

      Dave

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