Read along and quickly catch up on our adventures. Scroll to the bottom to start from the beginning.
If you have time read our full stories on the blog, as told by Cameron. I promise you'll be entertained.
15. Descend on Bend. We heard about a van-meet up near Bend, Oregon through Instagram friends and thought it'd be a great opportunity to test drive the Westy on a long trip, meet new friends and pick up some tips along the way. We had a wonderful weekend (driving 500 miles each way!) and look forward to sharing stories with these folks again someday.
13. One bonus of returning to the States was the chance to visit with family on the East Coast. A visit to Maine + convincing Jacqui's mom to retire and move into an RV + too much lobster + spending time at the beach and with family = a wonderful, reenergizing two week vacation from all our travel bugs!
12. After a few weeks, we got our feet back on the ground. We found a temporary home with everything you'd ever need:
- Fun and generous roommates (Alex made me chicken soup from scratch when I had a cold!)
- Inspiration and new skills to learn around every corner (during the day talented craftsmen and wormen came to work - welders and metal finishers, carpenters, neon-sign-makers, etc),
- Project space and tools at our disposal
- Centrally located in the middle of the SF bay
- A place to sleep, cook and bathe
11. Returning to San Francisco was bittersweet. We were excited to see family, friends and experience many things we loved about the Bay Area, but for a period of time we were sad to be heading north, not continuing south. We understood we needed time to regroup, but didn't know how everything would work out. What would we do for work? Where will we live? How long will this take?
We arrived in SF and quickly recovered from the initial culture shock and claustrophobia. For a couple weeks we bounced around from driveway to driveway and reconnected with our personal and professional connections. Suddenly, we were right back in the swing of things.
10. In the end, we knew the Dolphin couldn't be the rig to take us to Chile. We left her and our belongings in Mazatlan and took a bus to Tijuana, returning to the States on foot. Luckily, within two weeks we were the owners of our next adventure mobile. Before returning to SF to work, regroup and trip prep again, we went back to Mazatlan with friends to collect our stuff. Six months later, we're about to restart our journey. We're so fortunate things (including having an accident!) happened the way they did. We feel our Westy is better suited for the travel we want to do and we're grateful to those who helped us get back on our feet. We've learned a lot about trust, being vulnerable, asking for help and have been amazed at how much people can give and love.
09. Here's the kicker...after 6 weeks of rebuilding the Dolphin (notice the grey patch) we farewell (again) to our friends and hit the road. Only 10 miles in, the differential blew up!! We came to a screeching stop on the side of the road and casually retrieved our lawn chairs, water and snacks and waited for a tow. Our local friend, Danny, went out of his way over he following two weeks to help translate at mechanic shops and bring us to all the yonke's (junk yards) to find replacement parts - to no avail. Mazatlan wasn't ready to let us leave!
08. How lucky can we get? We made excellent progress on the Dolphin repairs, with the help of Jon, a retired carpenter (who had all his tools with him!). We got accustomed to having parts of the Dolphin strewn about and were feeling ecstatic to see it transform into our beloved Dolphin again!
07. After the accident, our friends in Mazatlan help us get back on our feet. We were offered a place to stay in Helene and Barrie's RV/home while we rebuilt, Deb and John made sure we had everything we needed from food, to connections around town, to emotional support, Val and Jon (a retired carpenter who had all his tools with him!) spent hours helping and teaching us. The list goes on. We can't wait to visit our Mazatlan family soon. I gotta say, rebuilding after an accident isn't so bad when you're in paradise with so many loving folks surrounding you. We can never thank them enough and will do our best to pay it forward!
06. March 3, 2014 the day we left Mazatlan for Guadalajara, we were thrilled to be back on the road heading south! Sadly, as we drove a windy mountain road we were t-boned in the rear axle. Everyone involved was OK but both vehicles were seriously affected. After a super sketchy tow, we spent the night in a mechanic shop in our damaged Dolphin. The next day, when she was drivable again, we tied her up with rope to keep the rear-end together, loaded up the fellows from the other car (as they needed to get home too and their car wasn't fixable!) and after assessment, started to rebuild.
05. Following several fun weeks in Baja Sur, we took the cargo-ferry over to Mazatlan just in time for Carnaval! The humidity and lush greenery struck us right away and we discovered Isla de la Piedra, which soon became a home-away-from-home!
04. La Ventana, a kiter's paradise. Weeks of beautiful wind, weather, mountain biking, snorkeling and "down-winders" with friends. We were fortunate to be able to stay at a friend's casita for a couple weeks, then spent the rest of the time camped out on the beach.
03. Our first day in Mexico we drove two hours down a dirt road (not the one pictured here!) in our rickety Dolphin, planning to sleep at a spot on the map labeled "fish camp". We met Don Chuy and, using our limited Spanish skills, Cameron said, "Tengo pesos, tiene pescado" looking to buy some fresh fish. Don Chuy smiled and said "Gratis", handing us a bag of his day's catch. We couldn't have asked for a better first impressions of Mexico and overlanding!
02. Last December (2013), we hit the road in the ol' Dolphin on a "quick" cross-country trip for the holidays as we wanted to arrive in Baja Sur during the windy season. We saw beautiful parks and sights, visited friends and family, and really got to know the Dolphin (while making repairs in driveways and parking lots across the US). Despite almost blowing up our transmission in NM, it was a fun and successful trial run before crossing into Mexico!
01. Our original adventure rig, an '85 Toyota Dolphin, was purchased two weeks after our decision to leave and we spent the next 3 months prepping her mechanically and for full-time habitation. Looking back, she wasn't the ideal setup for a drive to South America but she was exactly what we needed to get started!