When we were considering how to turn our tin-top Vanagon Syncro into the ultimate road tripping machine, we spent a lot of time looking at different options that would give us more living space. In particular we required the ability to stand up in our kitchen. Because Chimera is one of the rarest of the Vanagon Syncros, a sunroof Syncro, it already contained the huge hole in the roof necessary to fulfill this requirement.
We, however, wanted more. We wanted protection from the elements and swarms of mosquitos that we will be sure to encounter on our journey south. For this, there are really only two options. The first is to put a hard top on the roof. As the name suggests, a hard top is a hard, usually fiberglass, shell that is glued to the roof to provide additional interior height along the length of the van. This option was dreamed about, but was dismissed due to the seemingly exorbitant cost from the only Vanagon hard top provider in North America. In hindsight, the prices are quite reasonable.
Guess our total mileage over the next year!
Fill out the form below to submit your guess. The contest will be open until April 30th and the winner will get a bottle of wine directly from Argentina (plus bragging rights)!
Relevant information: Our route is not at all set. The general idea is to head south, starting in Baja, then cross over to mainland Mexico, through Central America, and on to South America along the general course of the Pan American Highway. There will be plenty of diversions along the way. We might make it all the way south to Ushuaia, Argentina, but then again we might not. We plan to be on the road for approximately one year. We have already driven about 2000 miles from Boulder to San Diego.
Full disclosure: The oversized tires on the van cause the odometer to be low by approximately 5% (for every 100 actual miles we drive the odometer will read ~95). The winner will be the person that guesses the closest to our total mileage on the odometer.
Odometer reading leaving Boulder: 207,839
Odometer when we left Boulder.
Enter your guess here:
Contest now closed, thanks for your entries!
In the past twelve days we have already traveled over 2000 miles from Colorado to Northern California, then down the coast all the way to San Diego. We have had a wonderful time visiting with friends and family and seeing both old and new places along the way. Today is our last day in the good old USA and we are spending it running errands before crossing the border into Mexico early tomorrow morning. We’re looking forward to finding a nice little place to camp by the beach, surf, and just kick back and relax for a few days.
Packing for a year on the road.
When Tim bought Chimera (then Vanyan), it had a stock Vanagon interior, with one bench seat that folded down into the bed and old carpet on the floor. This was a comfortable set-up for short trips, and even our Canada road trip, but we knew that we wanted more of a camper interior for our Pan American travels. The common conversion for Vanagons is the Westfalia or Westy style, with a pop-up roof that becomes the bed and cabinets along the driver’s side. We decided against doing the standard Westy conversion and decided to make our own custom camper interior, following a similar design with cabinets along the driver’s side and a taller cabinet in the rear. Going into the project we had little experience with cabinetry, but we figured it out as we went along, making plenty of mistakes and then fixing them. What we ended up with far exceeded our expectations and makes for a very comfortable and lovely little home. It was a particularly cold and snowy winter in Boulder, so much of our cabinet work was done inside in the kitchen and hallway.
Working on cabinet framing inside on a freezing winter day.