Oct 16, 2016

How To Keep Your Toyota Alive

Part of the John Muir "Idiot Book" Auto Series, How To Keep Your Toyota Alive has awesome illustrations by Joe Leahy with explanations by Larry Owens.  I was fortunate to pick up a copy just before prices skyrocketed, but you'd be hard pressed to get your hands on one now that it's out of print.  Not to worry though, someone has taken the liberty of creating a digital version for online reference.

Aug 15, 2016

Feature by LC Engineering

Not long ago we were approached for an interview with LC Engineering for their regular newsletter.  In case you haven’t heard of LC Engineering, they make and sell an impressive variety of performance parts for older Toyotas like ours.  We were very honored to be considered for their feature and J.P. asked some great questions.  If you're interested in reading  the interview, you can follow the link below.

LC Engineering 11-14 Newsletter

May 22, 2014

Life After "The Big Adventure"

In January we loaded The 4Runner into a shipping container and sent it back to the US via Miami, where we will reunite with it soon.  We are trying to establish a new homebase in the mountains of Western North Carolina, where all of Shannon's family has migrated to over the years.  Shannon will go back to nursing and Brenton will explore other opportunities while he tries to get back into the fire service.

Jul 10, 2013

Toyota Trails Magazine Article

We may be far from Guatemala at this point, but we recently had an article published about our time in the Petén region of Guatemala.  The article was featured in the May/June 2013 issue of Toyota Trails Magazine.  This was a pretty exciting opportunity to be able to write about our experiences and see it in print.  

We've had friends and family request to see the article.  If you’re interested :
Guatemala By The Dashboard Light

If for some crazy reason you want to get your hands on the print version, you can find it here

Jun 7, 2013

Questions from Kindergarteners

Recently we were approached by a Kindergarten teacher  who told his students about our adventures.  They were very curious about and had some thoughtful questions.  He sent us this list of questions, and it was so much fun to think about our responses to a group of 5-6 year olds.

When we finished our response, we decided the answers could actually clear things up for most of the grown-up questions that we've received over the years.  It's become very clear to us that no one will truly comprehend what our life has been like on this journey.  Most of the "Western World" has so many misconceptions and strange notions about other cultures and unfamiliar places, which is why we have enjoyed challenging our own understanding of the world and experiencing the world first hand.

Mar 17, 2012

1st Gen 4Runner Dual Battery, Zuk Mod & Fan-tastic Vent Fan Install

Leveled out again
Technically we were on the road, still in the United States,  but we still felt completely unorganized and overpacked. While visiting family in Washington state, we paused for a chance to re-organize, de-clutter, do some work and get rid of unnecessary gear.  

WARNING:  From this point forward this post gets boring unless you're into Toyotas and vehicle customization. 

Dec 25, 2011

'86-89 Toyota 4Runner Old Man Emu Suspension

WHY we installed the full ARB Old Man Emu Light/Medium suspension on our '87 4Runner before we drove from the USA to Argentina.  Also a detailed run-down of the installation with photos.  We also give our unbiased opinions of this suspension from our experiences over the last 8 years (~80k miles).  ARB has never given us any products or compensation and we receive nothing in return for this writeup.  This is strictly for the benefit of the Toyota 4x4 community.

WARNING: this update will be long, boring, and technical.  Proceed with caution.

When I originally bought the 4runner it was in surprisingly great shape for a 30 year old 4WD.  It was garage kept and the previous 2 owners truly babied it. The suspension on the other hand was in a sorry state.

Oct 10, 2011

Vaccinations: Our Visit with Rebecca

Brenton and I have done our research. We knew which vaccinations we wanted for the trip, what medications we want to bring and what medical supplies we'd like to take for an emergency.

About a week ago, we finally made the appointment to get our immunizations. I had spent a couple of days calling different clinics and doctor's offices to find the best prices…immunizations aren't cheap.

We decided on a clinic in town and called to make the appointment. I was initially annoyed at the fact that they insist you schedule a "travel consultation" and don't just let you walk in, get the shots you request, and go. I can say now, I am so happy we had the opportunity to meet and talk with Rebecca, our travel nurse.

Jul 1, 2011

Learning Spanish

Before going on a trip of this proportion, it's important to learn the language. Matter of fact, part of the reason we're going on this trip is to learn more and become comfortable communicating in Spanish. 

At the bare minimum, you should be able to count to ten and know common pleasantries. Just attempting to communicate in the local dialect can go a long way towards making friends with strangers. This shows a willingness to learn the culture and communicate on the terms of the locals.

Both of our Spanish skills have gotten pretty rusty over the years so we bought the entire Rosetta Stone to practice.  It's not cheap, but you are able to download it to two computers so we only used one download, and let our mechanic use the second download in exchange for occasional help and advice. 

Bribe Basket

photo courtesy of DriveTheAmericas
We won a unique giveaway in a contest through Drive the Americas, one of our top resources for this trip.  This anti-bribe kit was put together to help us avoid the shakedown that is often experienced by travelers in Latin America. When dealing with corrupt border officials and police officers, you need all the help you can get...check out Drive the Americas' website for tons of tips and what to look out for. 

They also do a great job of explaining why supporting corruption is bad for travelers everywhere and why you shouldn't ever take part. Here's what is inside of our little goody bag...