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Van Life

Battling the Fickle Patagonian Weather


Gregor and I woke up feeling groggy after a bad night’s sleep in the van. Lucky rocked violently in 80-km/hr winds for most of the evening and the wind was still raging when we went out for our morning pee. The inertia was strong, but we managed to muster up enough energy to pack our daypacks and put on our hiking boots. After all, we drove all the way from Canada to see these peaks. (more…)

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Lucky Comes Out of Rehab

Today was the day. Our plan was to pick up Lucky from rehab at GoWesty, drop off the rental car, and spend a final night in Oceano before heading towards Mexico.

We paced anxiously at GoWesty’s reception area, waiting for the shop manager to deliver Lucky to us. Having been separated for two weeks, we could hardly wait to see her. (more…)

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California Dreamin’


Our first major milestone was to get our van to Los Osos, California, by Jan 5. That’s the date that Lucky was scheduled for a mechanical makeover at GoWesty, a highly regarded Volkswagen restoration and sales shop whose mission is to keep the old VW hippy busses and camper vans alive and healthy.

Lucky needed to travel 2500 km through below-freezing temperatures, snowy mountain passes, and interstate highways with speed limits that are impossibly high for a Westy van (80 mph or 128 km/h). We were concerned about how our van would perform in this marathon, since she doesn’t typically go above 100 km/h AND this is her first winter road trip. (more…)

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On the West Coast

Well, we’ve had the new engine in the van for about 6000 km and an update is due!








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Fixing the heater in Lucky


Ready to start removing the dashboard

One of the first things I did this winter was remove and replace the heater core and heater motor in the van. The motor was squeaking and the core was leaking.

Not a job for the faint of heart, it took me three weekends to get it all apart and then all back together again. Surprisingly I had no screws left over when the job was done. This was because I labelled everything and put all screws, bolts and connectors into separate baggies for later installation. I also labelled every wire otherwise I would have forgotten where they connected back up.

The first part of the job was to remove the seats.  This helped in giving me easy access to the dashboard and left the van looking very empty.


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