After two rather traumatic runaway/breakdowns, Jacqui and I were struggling to find any enthusiasm when word came we could pick up our van again. Even with Marcello putting 150 trouble free miles on Penny, we were simply suffering Vanagon PTSD. Another rental car, another hour drive out to Marcello's and another farewell wave later we we're cruising down the highway with churning stomachs.
I was manning the PennyWagon with heavy shoulders and exhales that sounded like sighs. I had that general disposition you get when you're positively exhausted and someone gives you an insurmountable task that you want nothing to do with. In this case those emotions were directed at driving my own van. Jacqui was following in the rental car with nerves more shot than my own.
Suddenly there was a flurry of honks and flashing lights. I looked in the rear view mirror and Jacqui was clearly trying to tell me something was wrong. I checked both mirrors, checked the gauges, eased the throttle a bit, then in furious denial I declared to no one , "There's nothing wrong! I'm not stopping this car!!!"
Jacqui intensified her lip-syncing and light flashing.
I pulled over.
We stared at the diesel pouring out of the injection pump.
Jacqui explained that, in addition to the leak, our license plate had flown off a few miles back.
We got back on a tow truck.
I thought about the fact that the aircooled motor that we worked so hard to replace literally never left us on the back of a tow truck.
Well, it was minor. Literally just a very easily repaired seal. And so 3 states and 4000 miles later I'm here to report back........FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEDOOOOOOOOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Actually, we're now averaging 26mpg of freedom.
So a HUGE, MASSIVE, GIGANTIC thank you to Helen, Martin and baby Elliott for letting us be roomies for nearly two months. More than that, thank you for being an absolute pleasure to be around! Because of the chaos with our van we got to watch baby Elliott go from struggling to pick up his food, to taking his first steps. I don't think I can ever describe what it's like to just drop into a family's life for such an unexpectedly long period of time, but judging by the fact that we all still like each-other, I'd say it only strengthened our friendship.
Can't wait to see you guys on our next Southbound Round! Though I expect it will be a much briefer visit.
Jacqui's always mandatory gratuitous number of baby photos. Along with an old college photo of Helen and Jacqui.
Jacqui and Helen got crafty by preparing monsters for Elliott's first birthday party. All of the monsters are made from the "Puffs" containers that Elliott loves to eat.
So two months later I'm here to report we've been busy. We planned on spending over a month cruising our way up to the Pacific Northwest. But instead we used that time to be broke-down (aka Mission: Watch baby grow up). So instead, it's been fast-paced hello's, gear swapping and driving.
Back with the old roomies on Treasure Island
Trading gear at the storage unit, stopping by my old work Engine Works in Alameda, the abandoned-military-grocery-store turned renegade-fabrication-shop that we used to live in, and a few of the friends and family we saw around the Bay Area.
Cruising up Northern California
Oregon and Still Northbound
What's that...Jacqui found another baby to take photos of?
We had tons of hello's to make on our way through Oregon. Family, friends and even a van meetup.
Washington and still North-Bound!
When we finally got to Northern Washington we did something we've meant to do for a long time. Camped with my Uncle Tim (Van-Tramp) and his lady Kerri! (@asolojourner) I guess full-time life on the road runs in the family.
The Hoh Rainforest, meandering through Washington and even more hello's (and yes, that blond-haired blue-eyed man is my father).
Northwesty...because no blog post ends without car repair!
Some 30 year old suspension bushings really took a beating on our way to Guatemala and back. We swung by NorthWesty and Kirk was nice enough to let me throw on some bushings and some lift springs in the parking lot, where we also slept a night.