It became rapidly apparent that for Deb and Butch to be capable of getting out of their house in time for its closing date they were going to need help. A lot of help. So somehow a one week visit to help buy and outfit their RV was stretched. Just another "plan" pushed aside as the story of our life on the road develops.
Closet after closet, room after room, drawer after drawer had to be attacked. When I was exhausted and vegging-out Jacqui was still pushing hard to empty each of these in turn to help her mother decide what was going in the RV, being sold, or going to sit in storage.
Everyone pushed hard and Deb and Butch had to make a lot of big decisions. After all they have lived in that little town for decades so they had acquired the kind of things that revive memories and aren't easy to let go. Regardless, it all paid off on the day of the big garage sale. Cabinets, dressers, desks, trinkets, kitchenware and decorative items were transformed into cash and a kind of freedom that can only be found by unburdening yourself from all your stuff.
The massive amount of stuff that took hours just to remove from the house and set on the lawn for the sale were suddenly reduced to a single mini-van-load of items that were driven off for donation. Deborah was finally retired and their house was now so empty that they were living in their RV in the front yard. So a little celebrating was definitely in order.
Surviving the Great Yard Sale of 2015, we found the easiest way to reduce the amount of junk you have.
In the blink of an eye my one week visit was now at a month and Jacqui and I were ready to fly back to our little home on wheels that was still waiting for us in Mexico. We couldn't help but feel like the luckiest people alive. If we'd still been living our old lives, toiling away at our day jobs there is no way we could have lent our time so freely, and without restriction, to family when they needed us.
It seems our one year trip is being stretched into a new lifestyle, and everyday Jacqui and I are weighing the benefits. The massive culmination of our mistakes, failures and breakdowns have forced us to keep at this for so long that we're succeeding at rethinking everything.
After a long set of flights and a midnight cab ride to Overland Oasis in Tule, we woke to find one of our favorite campsites now had some new friends. It only took a day or two till I couldn't sit still any longer so I grabbed another guy who suffers from my condition to help me prepare the PennyWagon for the next stage in her adventure.
You see, while we were in Boston we hadn't forgotten our little predicament with the underpowered, but perfectly running, PennyWagon. Despite the fact that she probably runs better than the day she came off the factory lot, the engineers at VW didn't think it was necessary to install a motor that was powerful enough to climb 20% grades at 8000ft with 5000lbs of junk in the van. Jeez, don't they know what we really do with these things?
So we did the math, did the research, and I give Jacqui full credit on pulling the plug for this one, we put a deposit down on our dream motor for this machine. In Southern California, right now, Quality German Auto Parts is taking a Turbo Diesel engine, throwing all the electronics away and converting it to fully mechanical. We're going to have a fully mechanical TDI powered PennyWagon here in a couple of months which means a massive boost in power, fuel economy, and it'll only require one wire to make the whole thing run.
Say goodbye to electronics problems. Plus with the turbo and massive low end torque, we should have a hill climbing monster. But first...we've got to prep her for being water-cooled.
Enter the other restless project guy...Calvin.
So "plans" right? After a couple of hard days driving I'm writing this post in Texas. We're following the wind to try and get a little kiteboarding in. Then we're heading out to pick-up our motor in Caliornia before we return to Texas to use a DIY mechanic shop to do the install. I'm not going to lie, being able to rent a lift and all the proper tools instead of climbing through the dirt for this whole project is pretty exciting.
I believe we'll be summering in Texas while we earn a little dinero for our third attempt at driving to South America. I think if this plan acutally goes according to plan, that might be the biggest twist in our story so far.
BTW, we've officially been on the road for over a year and a half!
Getting a head start on our motor swap and meeting new friends at Overland Oasis.
Driving up from Oaxaca and spending time with friends in Yucuita on our way to Texas.
Hot days on the beach in South Padre Island, TX. Sadly, no wind for these kiters - wrong time of year.