01 Feb ¡Vanamos!
We had some friends swing through San Miguel de Allende in their 1985 Volkswagen Westfalia Vanagon Camper. They are heading down to Central America – two parents, two kids ages 10 & 12, and their trusty steed, Wesley.
There is so much to see – they could spend a year, they say, just exploring Mexico. They reached San Miguel after winding their way through the center of the country. Their route so far has taken them across the Southern United States and down into Guatemala.
Underneath her savanna beige metallic exterior, Wesley boasts a 1.9 liter water-cooled (“Wasserboxer”) engine. The fully-laden vehicle could use a little more power, especially in the hilly highlands of Central Mexico; words of encouragement and praise seem to help on the steepest inclines. But she’s well-equipped for long journeys – with a pop-up roof and a fold-down rear bench seat, she sleeps 4 fairly comfortably. Wesley came with a kitchen, water & electrical hook-ups, a 10-gallon water storage tank, and 3-gallon propane tank to fuel the 2-burner stove.
Modifications for this adventure include two 40-watt solar panels mounted to the roof, fueling an auxiliary battery under the bench seat. Their Engel 46-quart fridge draws most of the energy from the solar panels but the panels also power LED cabin lights & 2 small fans. A Goal Zero Yeti 400 solar generator helps keep their electronics charged while not on the road.
R and I met 20 years ago in Guatemala. We were both there with the Highland Support Project, an organization that works in western Guatemala to implement models of development that break cycles of dependency. I’m inspired to see her with that same sense of adventure and purpose today – setting-off on this epic adventure that is sure to broaden her childrens’ understanding of the world; the potential transformative effects of this journey on their perspective and lives can’t be overstated.
We took a few photos before they resumed their journey South. Their next stop: Michoacán, and then the Pacific coast. What an adventure! We encourage them to go as far as they can – all the way – until the wheels fall off and burn, as Bob Dylan once wrote…although we all agree they should change the 14” Nokians before it comes to that.