If only these wheels could talk…

Porkchop, the van formerly known as Betty, our beloved thirty-five year old 1980 Dodge Ram converted campervan. Who knows how many miles, countries or owners have spanned the lifespan of our companion 35 years.

Who’s hitched a ride where, when and with whom?

What kind of tunes have played from these speakers?

Who else has turned this steering wheel, in what direction did they take and why?

Amongst the redwoods of Northern Califonia.
Dwarfed by the towering Redwoods of California

As most of you who’ve stumbled upon or been following our adventures will know, we bought Porkchop in Toronto back in August 2014. It was then known as Betty, cost us CAD$1,500 after breaking down in the Walmart carpark, needing a push back to the start line, and shortly following we gave it a new lease of life when we replaced the shock absorbers, stabilisers, ignition switch, complete rear brakes and much more. Open heart surgery followed with a rebuilt engine fitted in Montana, new radiator in Las Vegas and the 15 year old transmission overhauled in Mexico.

 Porkchop at the drive in
Porkchop’s first Drive-In, Colorado

There were emotional times, costly times and delays involved, but no matter what, this van was our home and we loved it. It protected us from the worst rain storm we’ve ever seen while crossing the Mississippi, provided shade on the banks of Lake Granada in Nicaragua, warmth when camping at the summit of the Tioga Pass in Yosemite National Park and acted as the best man at our wedding as transport to load up on cheap booze from Lee’s Discount Liquor in Vegas.

 Seligman, Arizona.
Getting our kicks on Route 66, Arizona

If only these wheels could talk, we’re sure there’d be one hell of a ride to talk about! Hopefully this isn’t the end of the adventure for our dear old Porkchop, as we managed to find a buyer in Panama City who wished to continue the journey with his wife and five kids, that should add something interesting to the story!

Neither are friends.  Hill City, South Dakota, USA.
A little dietary advice from the South Dakota locals

As we’re feeling a little nostalgic writing this, here’s some Porkchop flashbacks to highlight those 34,000 odd miles and 10 countries. For us it definitely was one hell of a ride!

Matt whipping up another stellar BBQ
BBQ time, Sedona, Arizona

Monument Valley, Arizona.
Iconic Monument Valley, Utah

Sarah at our first drive in
Porkchop’s first Drive-In, Colorado

Jon getting ready to take our photo on his large format camera
About to get our photo taken by new photographer friend Jon on his large format, Moab, Utah

Making pizzas in a frypan, Moab Utah
Tortilla pizzas in a frypan for dinner, Moab, Utah

Capitol Reef National Park
Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

Big H'ah and Porkchop at the Madonna Inn, San Luis Obispo
A surprise run in with good mate Hayden at Madonna Inn, California, just before Vegas

Road side mechanics in the desert
Removing the thermostat on the side of the interstate to prevent overheating on the final push to the wedding in Vegas

Picking berries for the morning at the camp for the night, Northern California.
Camping amongst the Redwoods and picking wild berries for breakfast, California

VINO, YES!!!!  Napa Valley, California.
Napa Valley, California

Arriving in San Francisco, California.
Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California

Porkchop below sea level in the Badwater Basin. Death Valley NP.  California.
Death Valley National Park, California

The highest Summit so far in the
Reaching the summit of Tioga Pass, Yosemite National Park, California

On the Pacific Coast Highway.  California.
Sunset on the Pacific Coast highway, California

Ventura Beach, California.
First surf of the trip in Ventura, California

Betty on her first of many tow trucks
The great breakdown, Missoula Montana

Missoula Montana
The great breakdown, Missoula Montana

AVOS gas station.  LA, California.
Filling up at Arco Helios gas station, LA California

Joshua Tree NP, California.
Joshua Tree National Park at sunrise, California

Route 66, California.
Getting our kicks on Route 66, California

Saguaro National Park, Arizona.
Saguaro National Park, Arizona

Chillin' in the Lounge Room.
Beer and cards night in the pouring rain, Creel, Mexico

The rebirth.  Ojocalientes, Mexico.
Best drive thru ever! Ojocalientes, Mexico

The mechanics.  Cosamalopan, Mexico Reconditioned transmission please, Cosamalopan, Mexico

The Mechanics that were very helpful.  Mexico.
Just another mechanic, Palenque, Mexico

Jungle campsite at Maya Bell, Palenque, Mexico.
Camping Maya Bell, Palenque, Mexico

Hanging out with the big boys.  Pemex Somewhere in Mexico.
Hanging with the big boys for the night at a Pemex gas station, somewhere in Mexico

Best street park in the shade all tip.  Playa Del Carmen, Mexico.
Shady home for a few nights, Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Camped for the night at Victor's Inn.  Oragane Walk, Belize.
Farm camping at Victors Inn, Orange Walk, Belize

New years in the tourist Police Station.  Antigua, Guatemala.
New Years Even van party at Antigua police station, Guatemala

Room with a view, Lake Atitlan
Camping on Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

Yep, Bricking it!!!!  Guatemala.
The slightly shady looking car ferry to Montericco, Guatemala

El Horizonte with Ben, Brendan and Bridgette.  El Zonte, El Salvador.
Porkchop and team El Horizonte, El Zonte, El Salvador

Chillin on Lake Nicaragua in Centro Turisto.  Granada, Nicaragua.
First and only time we used the awning, by Lake Granada, Nicaragua

Waiting for our ferry across Lake Nicaragua to the tranquil island of Omotepe
Waiting to take the ferry to Omotepe, Nicaragua

Playa Pelada, Costa Rica.
Beach camping, Playa Pelada, Costa Rica

Lunch on the run.  Costa Rica.
Lunch at the wheel, Tabacon hot springs, Costa Rica

Puerto Veijo, Costa Rica.
Hunting for sloths in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica


So thanks for sharing the blood, sweat and tears with the three of us though stay tuned for the second leg of the two year adventure when we tackle the good, the bad and the plain fun that South America has to offer us.


One response to “If only these wheels could talk…

  1. Pingback: It takes two to tango – Buenos Aires, Argentina | Si, con queso por favor·

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