In case you were wondering what we’ve been up to the past few months. About halfway through our time in Baja we cam across an opportunity that we’d been hoping for for years.
But first, a little back story.
During our travels through Mexico and Central America we had the chance to travel with a group of people in Sprinter Vans, the Southern Tip Trip. While traveling with STT and other rigs as well, I was a tad envious of their setup. I loved the fact that they could pick up and go quickly, they didn’t have to get stuff out of the vehicle to setup camp, and they didn’t have to remove a bunch of stuff to get the bed ready, but I was most envious of the fact that they were able to cook INSIDE! They had the ability to cook and clean after dusk without a headlamp and without getting dive-bombed by bugs. I longed for the chance to cook dinner while it was raining without it being a huge production complete with tents and tarps.
It does have to be said that I did and still do, love the 4runner. Although I can’t cook inside and it takes us eons to setup and tear down camp, it also has the ability to go where the other, bigger rigs, can’t. Plus, it’s a Toyota. Nuff said.
So, after the last trip we told ourselves that the next rig would be bigger and started searching for said “bigger rig”. We (mostly Jamie if i’m being honest) researched and trolled craigslist for the perfect travel rig. Did we want a medium sized van that you couldn’t stand up in but still gave us the extra space we wanted? Or did we want the full monty that gave us the luxury of cooking, cleaning and…standing up to change your clothes inside without feeling like being a contortionist?
In the end we kept coming back to the Sprinters. They seemed like the perfect vehicle for what we wanted to do and where we wanted to go. With one catch, we needed to find one that was built in 2006 or earlier. Through our research we learned that the engine was changed starting in 2007, to help with emissions and that these newer engines couldn’t run off of Mexico diesel. Being the Baja junkies that we are, a rig that couldn’t go down to Mexico was pretty much out of the question. This made the task of finding the perfect used Sprinter that much more difficult. Apparently, everyone wants one and everyone is willing to pay a premium to get one.
We searched for two solid years before putting those dreams on hold to redo the 4runner setup and hit the road again. The plans were to hang in Baja for a month then turn back around and head up into the Pacific Northwest before settling down for the winter somewhere in Oregon. Obviously, that plan didn’t pan out seeing as we are currently in San Diego. haha
Now, I’m sure by this point you’ve probably guessed what happened. As I mentioned before, about half way through our trip things changed. We actually found the sprinter we had been searching for! After some waiting and negotiating, Jamie’s dad met with the seller and handed over the check. We were still in Baja and lucky for us Jamie’s dad and stepmom were nice enough to store the beast at their house for a couple weeks.
We named her “La Ballena”, the whale. She’s an old French Pastry van, at 158″ from nose to tale and about 6′ from floor to roof she is much, much bigger than what we are used to. Yipee!
We’ve spent the past month or so getting her ready for the next big getaway.
Stay tuned for more pictures and information on our build!