Home is Where the Van is

They say “home is where the heart is”, which has mostly rung true for us throughout our travels. When we flew back to Colorado we were excited to be back with our friends and family, back in our house, and in a town that we love. But part of our hearts were still in a container somewhere between Chile and Texas. We deeply missed Chimera. After a year of impressing, thrilling, frustrating, and challenging us, and always providing a safe and comfortable shelter, our van really feels like our home. So for us home is where the van is (and the dog).

After a month of waiting and figuring out how to fit back into the still life we happily jumped on a plane and flew to Houston to liberate Chimera from the container that safely brought it across the seas. As expected, the process was a hassle and took longer than it should have, but before too long there we were in the port standing in front of the container that we loaded up in Valparaiso. The port crew were happy to let Tim and Corey hook the batteries up and unload the vehicles themselves, which they were eager to do.

Liberation.

Liberation.

Free at last.

Free at last.

Corey happy to be reunited with his Cruiser.

Corey happy to be reunited with his Cruiser.

It felt so great to climb back into our little home with all of its familiar smells and memories. Before long we hit the highway and once again we headed north. We drove late into the night, for the first time on our entire journey, then stopped when the thunderstorms got too intense, and slept at a rest area tucked between big rigs. We drove the whole next day, luckily avoiding the major flooding in northern Texas, and by late afternoon we crossed the border into Colorado.

Welcome home!

Welcome home!

Just after the sun went down we pulled into our driveway in Boulder, which we had pulled out of 431 days earlier as our journey began. Now our whole van family is really home. This marks the end of this wonderful adventure, but as with most explorers this journey has only fed our wander lust and we’re starting to dream about where the van will take us next. So stay tuned, it might be a year or three, but before too long we will hit the road again heading to new places and new adventures.

Thank you everyone for following us through to the end. We are so grateful for your support and encouragement.

One of a Kind – Custom Poptop

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.

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Total Mileage Contest

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.

Odometer when we left Boulder.

Enter your guess here:

Contest now closed, thanks for your entries!