Chronicles of Dave and Whitney
No kids, no jobs, no mortgage…
Sometimes when you least expect it, your dreams come true. Here's what happened...
July, 1995: Dave and Whitney, only casually acquainted at this point, join 10 others on a river-running camping trip along the Merced River. A good time was had by all, but especially by Dave and Whitney. They moved in together 5 days later. Been living in sin ever since. 'Nuff said.
October, 1995: Whitney puts her house up for sale. Taking the wise advise of a friend, decides to try to sell it herself, without a broker. Lightning strikes! After only three open houses, an offer is made, and the deal closes in 45 days. Dave and Whitney start looking for a place to live, preferably in Noe Valley. House hunting in San Francisco is every bit the nightmare they'd heard it would be, when all of the sudden...
January, 1996: In a stunning coup at the headquarters of Whitney's employer, Whitney is suddenly and voluntarily laid off. This is the sound of the final shoe dropping: Yippee! Dave himself is between consulting projects, they count their collective pennies, throw in the proceeds from the pending house sale, and... what else? They start shopping for a Vanagon Westfalia camper van (wouldn't you?).
February, 1996: It was too good to be true: a 1988 Westy is advertised in the Chronicle one Sunday morning. Hans, the owner, describes it as being in "showroom" condition, in spite of its 97,000 miles. (Yeah, right, and my name is Jimmy Hoffa...) Well, Hans wasn't kidding us. It IS in showroom condition, and now it's OURS! (For more on this, see "The Mark of the VW Beast" elsewhere in this site.) The final piece of the puzzle has fallen into place: we've got the will, and we've got the wheels. Guatemala or bust!
Still February, 1996: By now, we've packed the office, packed the house, bought a van, cleaned the house, sent the cat to Mom's, moved more stuff and ourselves to our good friend Lori's house, and collapsed on the couch, exhausted. On a really good day, we're up at the crack of eleven to play 80 or 90 games of FreeCell or read about Vanagon coolant on the VW list-serve. This is living? We decide quite suddenly to do a 10-day sitting meditation at the California Vipassana Center in North Fork, California. The upshot: it was hard-- very hard!-- but very worthwhile. See "Can I please have another pillow?" elsewhere in this site for the inside scoop.
March 1, 1996: So that's the dramatic lead-in to the real story, which will be delivered from the road. See what happens when your dreams come true? Just six months ago, you couldn't have convinced either of us that this trip could be a reality today! We feel very fortunate, and grateful to our Moms (who look after our affairs while we're roaming).
The Itinerary: Our plan is to head south to Baja, kayak and camp around Baja for a month or so, take the ferry from La Paz to the mainland (Los Mochis or Mazatlan), perhaps head inland via train to the Copper Canyon area, head south along the Pacific Coast through the resort areas-- Puerto Vallarta to Acapulco with occasional inland trips--then east to Oaxaca, perhaps north to Veracruz, southeast to Chiapas... from there, it gets fuzzy. The Yucatan, Guatemala, Belize, it's all on the list. Ideally, we'd freight the van from Panama to Miami or even Alaska, and drive home in late fall. Of course, driving to Chile has crossed our minds...