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John and Mandi

us --> van --> overland
7 yrs and 6 days - end of the road

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Erasmus B. Dragon Nomore

May 2, 2015
by John

Completing the major components of the van exacerbated a glaringly obvious problem, her rear springs weren't beefy enough for her big ole butt. We knew this day was coming so we had been talking with Chris at Ujoint Offroad regarding our freakishly tight timeline. He was able to work his magic and get a new set of Atlas springs rushed in for us. One more trip to NC was in store, no arm twisting needed.

We had also been debating getting a performance tuner for the 7.3. Our timing seemed impeccable as Chris had just worked with DP-Tuner to get some custom tunes developed for those of us that have roided up vans. The build budget allowed it, so we figured we'd give the girl a treat, modern aged Scooby Snack of sorts, we were taking a trip for the springs anyway, right?

Ghetto no more, her pants be right height

Ghetto no more, her pants be right height

WOW! It's difficult to explain but DAMN! Everything is just working wonderfully, the van came together with one week to spare. It was great to see the Ujoint guys one last time before we head off on our Pan-Am adventure. What a great group of people and a refreshing organization to work with. Hopefully we won't be calling them in a panic when we are on the road, if so we're sure they'll talk us off the ledge and do what they can to help. Maybe we'll be able to squeeze a little out of the budget to offer a third world vacation for some hands-on doctoring, worst case scenario.

We spent the rest of last Friday running around getting Keyport Slides made, a tip from Claude-Alain and an item we'll write about later, and dropping our kayaking gear off at a consignment shop. We really wanted to take some of it with us but we have too much other shit, we did keep the wetsuits, neoprene tops, and shoes for the Pacific ocean and such. The day ended with us invading the home of Brenton and Shannon (Ruined Adventures), little Emmeline too, for the rest of the weekend.

Hanging out and talking, eating, talking some more, and baby watching is absolutely fabulous. Truth be told, I don't hold babies but I volunteer Mandi to...she doesn't mind ; ). We will miss those three very much. They are starting a brand new life and we couldn't be happier. Hopefully our tentative idea to get together in Guatemala will work out, it's these times we wish life was a lot cheaper and teleportation was a real thing.

Our final week was spent sewing up the last things at work with Mandi also actually sewing pouches, pockets, and pillowcases.  We managed to hobble together a final farewell over chips and salsa, giving our friends and family an invitation to share a goodbye, kick dirt on us, or let us know where and when we'll end up dead. Heartache, hugs, and handshakes - thank you to everyone who dropped by to send us off.  For those who came and those who couldn't make it, know that you will be missed. 

Are We There Yet?

The number one thing we have been asked is "Where are you going first?" We had no real answer, but Expo West was our first real destination so that's what we said. We've since cashed in all of our reward points for a 7 night cruise. It's excessive and not exactly the most environmentally friendly but we need a break before our big break, it makes sense to us at least. Our first day will be spent driving and the next 7 we'll be floating around in the Caribbean, no complaints here.

The rest of May will be a mad dash of commitments. We've always wondered why everyone's trip seemed so hectic in the beginning and we vowed to not start off that way. Fat chance, pigs flying and all. Logistics is a fickle fat man with a footlong in each hand, no room for extra cheese let alone anything else. Overlay family schedules and shit broke loose long ago. The good news is we'll get to see almost my entire family after Expo West when we fly back to Florida, everybody is scattered along the East coast with the exception of a lone West coaster so this is a big deal.

Today officially marks the beginning of our trip, late May will be when we start the drive North. It's a first of firsts. Leaving work was really hard, not the work part but that of not being employed. A weird feeling indeed. Starting with a vacation might just delay the shock. Our minds just keep repeating: "ITS FINALLY EFFING HERE." All the sacrifice, scrimping, saving, planning, testing, building, and crying worked. Now we are off on "a journey in life along the Pan-American highway!"

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Say what? (7)
Sri Kanth
May 2, 2015 at 10:19 AM
All the best. Hope you both have good time and great memories for lifetime.
May 2, 2015 at 10:58 AM
Erasmus is a great plan! Did you meet him through the staff of Click and Clack?
It sounds like our North plans may cross cross with your North plans. Perhaps we should MarcoPolo!
May 2, 2015 at 02:57 PM
Been thinking about you guys all day!! I'm so excited for you and impressed by you. By the way I was thinking about you while doing yard work all day in your former YARD. :). Peace&Love! Cb
May 2, 2015 at 07:55 PM
Thanks Sri!

Awesome Geneva, still sad we missed you in Florida so let the games begin.

Hey Cathy, we are so happy for you and that special little house. We know it is much loved, you can keep the yard work though.

May 4, 2015 at 11:59 AM
Here you're guys! Your adventure is starting right now. I remember my feeling when I left to travel with VLV, mix of new freedom and excitement. I'm sure you're gonna feel something quite similar. Good luck and all the best to you both. :-)

PS: I may come to the Expo West on Friday or Saturday, will see if you're still there. Will keep you posted.
May 12, 2015 at 08:41 PM
Thanks Claude-Alan! We'll be at Expo all weekend so hot us up if you come.
Dec 1, 2016 at 09:56 AM
I worked for your mom at JAC for many years, and yes, you were there some too. I know Rob actually worked w/us but I dont think you did, but we got stories..................
I've kept in touch because I always looked up to her and had a lot of respect for where she had been and what she had done. I had planned to meet up w/her today, but I procrastinated and missed her. When I called she was already in Chiefland. Hope to see her at Christmas- I spend 5 months each year in NC, so we dont cross paths often! I love your new lifestyle! George
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