You’re going where?!


We’ve done this before — that is, decided to travel overland, far from the known and familiar, and worked to make it happen.

In 2000, we rode most of the newly mapped Great Divide Mountain Bike Trail (see photo, taken somewhere in Colorado). We bought bikes and Burley trailers, but we otherwise improvised what we needed. The clothes on our backs constituted 50% of what we each wore the full 1,500 miles.

This time, headed south on the PanAmerican, we aren’t so skimpy.

For one thing, we’re not kids willing to sleep in a tent anymore. And we have our eight-year-old and two dogs in tow. We also have businesses to run remotely and an obligation to remain reasonably ‘connected’ even while within earshot of the ocean. In short, we need a vehicle that allows us to be well-rested and not spend tons of time extracting and rearranging gear.

So, today — February 2, 2017 — we set out in our yet-unnamed Sprinter 4×4. (Ryan wants to call it ‘the Rig’. Eliza votes for ‘Sally.’ I suggested ‘Mobi’.) It fits Ryan’s height (6’6″) and prioritizes a roomy queen bed, built-in storage bins and a pop-up full bed in the roof. No kitchen, no bivvy. There’s an external shower hook-up for rinsing off at night, and we have galley gear to make sure no morning goes without fresh coffee. But it’s not all-inclusive by any means.

We each have a bin of clothes, a smattering of shoes, books, maps, school/craft supplies, and strategies for digital habits (music, movies, news, e-mail, texting). My vice is hoarding go-to products — skincare, shampoo, vitamins. Eliza has no fewer than four packs of tissues/wipes/sanitizer. Ryan has at least four pairs of sun/glasses. In general, this is as much an introspective journey toward simplicity as a physical one.

It’s taken some doing, but we aim to live more with less, trading the comforts of an insular existence for a connection with people and places that keep our senses sharp.

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