Driving north from Ushuaia on RN3 was really just an exercise in keeping ourselves entertained.  3,094 kilometers to Buenos Aires in five days isn't really that bad, but the straight roads, relentless headwinds, and never changing scenery meant we had to keep busy between gas stations and empty campgrounds.  We spent months driving south along the Andes, so it took some time to get used to flat plains and the epic sunsets through the driver-side

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Upon leaving Puerto Natales we realized that literally within several days we would arrive at the end of the road: Ushuaia, Argentina. Despite this fact, we still had close to 1,000 kilometers to go. A quick boat ride from Punta Delgada across the narrowest section of the Strait of Magellen placed us onto the archipelago of Tierra del Fuego, translated into English as “Land of Fire." The name is derived from a Portuguese explorer by the name of Ferdinand Magellen,

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We had been dreaming about Bolivia’s Lagunas Route (also known as the Southwest Circuit) for, well, years. Except it was no longer mythical. It was time to actually start our engine and complete what would most likely be our longest offroad experience in South America. Crazy.   Our generous friends Peter and Leonie (Amsterdam to Anywhere) sent us route details and .gpx tracks months prior, and we were finally at the start of those tracks. We

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After negotiating a rate for some sweet Bolivian gasoline and subsequently filling our tanks, it was time for us to leave the city of La Paz and find some fresh air and freedom.  Chris and Mallary joined us for a mini convoy to Sajama National Park.  Sajama turned out to be a culmination of everything we love: beautiful landscapes, a little bit of off-roading, and wide open spaces devoid of people other than some close

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After arriving in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile it was time for a legitimate American/Canadian Thanksgiving dinner with Jenine, George, Mallary and Chris, complete with turkey, stuffing, potatoes, veggies, and wine.  We all raised a glass and enjoyed each others' company, as this would be the last time the six of us would all be together in one place in South America. The town of San Pedro de Atacama was dry, dusty and packed with

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The Sacred Valley of the Incas, formed by the Urubamba River, runs through the central Andes of Peru from Cusco to Machu Picchu.  It is comprised of numerous villages, colonial towns, markets, and archeological sites.  Many sets of Inca ruins (large and small) line the Valley, keeping tourists busy for days. The Tourist Pass (Boleto Touristico) is the best bang for the buck if you want to visit many of the historical sights in the Sacred Valley.

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We decided to spend a couple of days in Huaraz stocking up on food and fast wifi, and attempting to decide whether or not to do the Santa Cruz Trek.  I had been dreaming of trekking in the Cordillera Blanca since Central America, and the Santa Cruz trek seemed like the perfect multi-day hike for us to attempt unguided.  The trek is very popular with backpackers, who often pay for a guided tour complete with

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If you're not hip to  Sackwear / Cruiser Shirts, here's the lowdown.  Tim McGrath (the brainchild behind the brand) has one of the nicest 40 series Land Cruisers I have ever seen.  He creates awesome designs based on real Cruisers and puts them onto (really comfortable) t-shirts.  You can keep up to date on the latest designs and see more images of his wicked Cruiser on his Instagram account @cruisershirts. "Sackwear was founded in 2005.

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Richard We have been using our simple plywood platform and Rubbermaid totes for the last 10 months on the road.  This worked fine (for the $60 it costs us) most of the time, but sometimes it got totally out of control organization-wise and nothing was ever easy to access.  Also, we realized that sometimes we really don’t want to haul everything out of the back of the truck just to make a snack or find

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Our first South American border crossing experience was incredibly un-stressful. In fact, we weren’t 100% sure if we had completed all of the paper work after we obtained our Vehicle Import Permit and drove off into Ecuador. It felt like the Ikea television commercial where the woman has a cart full of cheap furniture and shouts, “Start the car!!! Start the car!!” The difference from the seemingly totally disorganized Central American border crossings was drastic. After only

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You see Colombian police everywhere on the side of the road. Every couple of long driving days we end up being pulled over. Normally they ask us where we’re going and where we are from. Sometimes they ask us for documents, but many times they just ask how we’re doing, shake our hands, and let us continue along our way. I guess we look like nice Canadian kids. On our way to Tatacoa we were

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Have you ever spent time in Tim Burton's mind?  If you haven't, but you'd like a good idea of what it must be like you should really stop at Andres Carne de Res.  This restaurant is one of the first that we have stopped at that wasn't an empty room filled with plain plastic tables and chairs.  Actually, this is about as far from the typical Colombian restaurant we normally eat at as you can get.

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What is the best part about touristy towns/cities?  The food and drink!  For us, in Villa de Leyva our favourite coffee spot also happened to be our favourite lunch spot.  We returned over and over again to Cafe Los Gallos for their fancy but budget-friendly arepas and lattes.  Our short morning hike to the mirador overlooking town and then a 20 minute walk to town from our very comfortable campsite at Hostal Renecer always increased our

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We rolled into Sogamoso looking for a little rest and relaxation after our time hiking in El Cocuy.  We camped at Finca San Pedro and it was exactly what we were looking for.  Easy camping and good wifi went a long way.  The following morning we were invited to a yoga session in the onsite studio.  Perfect!  Time to give everything a good stretch.  Little did we know that this 2.5 hour long yoga session would

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El Cocuy – The Town The town of El Cocuy is where we prepped for our visit to El Cocuy National Park.  There is more to this town than first meets the eye.  When we first showed up, our main focus was checking in at the hotel, getting secure parking sorted out, and walking for more than 5 minutes without being out of breath.  We were essentially arriving from being at sea level (we were

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From the Colombian coast our plan was to head south, and then east to El Cocuy National Park.  We needed to get some kilometres under our belts for no other reason but hitting the open road.  We had felt trapped by the shipping process and we were finally free in South America.  Little did we know that these first few days were a preview of the long driving days to come in Colombia. Our first stop

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From the mountainous coffee region of La Tagua we headed north to the coastal town of Taganga.  The small tourist town lies in a beautiful bay full of fishing boats and people of all ages looking to take a dip in the cool waters to attempt to lower their body temperature due to the intense heat. We spent an evening wandering the streets, swimming in the water, watching Copa America futbol at an outdoor restaurant,

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By Richard Panama City, where a 5 km drive takes two hours.  The stop and go traffic in 34C temperatures wasn't really easy on us or on the truck. This time it showed the truck’s weak link when we finally made it out of traffic, hit a hill, and I heard the engine revs climb as the clutch slipped like mad in second gear.  That wasn't good.  The clutch in the truck didn’t feel quite

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The shipyard in Colon, Panama is not exactly the most comfortable place we’ve been.  Really the only place we (especially Ashley) enjoyed was the bathroom at the Seaboard Marine Office, which was fully equipped with toilet paper, soap, and even some decor.  Otherwise, we spent half a day at the shipyard on an obstacle race/treasure hunt, following the instructions set out by our shipping agent Tea Kalmbach.  Tea was very quick to respond to our

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Our introduction to Panama City began with the wrong GPS point entered for our hostel. This was after a six-hour driving day. By the time we arrived at the El Machico Hostel we had driven around the general area about a dozen times attempting to navigate the one-way streets of the Marbella neighborhood of Panama City. City drivers were aggressive and impatient. Taxi drivers were reckless at best. The sound of honking horns was constant.

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On the first leg of our trip we had 20,000km of trouble-free driving, but after we picked the truck up from storage in Costa Rica we realized that some of the rubber components needed to be replaced. This is likely due to its year-long hibernation, but also because these parts may be 25 years and 340,000km old.  The rear pinion seal started to leak immediately after picking it up.  A week later one of the CV

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Hiking is one of Boquete's main attractions, with many tours and guides providing mountain and jungle excursions for visitors.  Normally we avoid paying for a guide if it isn't required, but the Lonely Planet guide for this area was a bit lacking when it came to information on solo trekking.  Thankfully, after some quality internet searching (and chatting a little bit with the locals) we ended up finding plenty of available trails.  Of those, we

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"Jungla de Panama Wildlife Center is a safe haven for injured, abandoned, or surrendered animals indigenous to the cloud forest region of Panama.  Jungla provides medical and rehabilitation services for wild animals and a safe and secure permanent home for animals who are unable to return to the wild.  Permanent residents are socialized for visitor interaction, used as therapy animals for local handicapped and autistic children, and provide unique educational experiences for students around the world." We arrived at Jungla for our volunteering gig

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Two days of driving took us from the coast of Ecuador to a green cloud forest filled with evidence of former mudslides, eye-catching waterfalls, and serpentine roads. While climbing one of the hills (at 13,000ft of elevation I guess we can call them mountains) we passed by a guy in a bright yellow shirt pushing a baby stroller. “Jamie!” we yelled out the window. Jamie is running (with an appropriate Instagram and Facebook handle of

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As the truck was now in order and our hotel room was becoming much too comfortable, we set off for the Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica.  Who could resist the tropical beaches, warm breezes, and fresh seafood?  We were pumped to start the journey. We blasted out of San Jose, only missing one or two turns as we got used to our GPS again.  Our spirits were high.  We’re doing this!  As usual I said

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To be honest, our first month home was a bit of a whirlwind.  Within a week we had found a new place to live and bought a truck.  By the second week we had visited all of our immediate family and moved the necessary belongings into our new home.  We were both back to work by the third week home.  By the end of the fourth week we rememebered why we were here in the first

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  The best camera is the one that's with you. - Chase Jarvis   One of the most common questions from those reading our blog is, "What camera do you use?"  Sure, almost all analog or digital photos go through some sort  of post-processing, but you always have to start with a good image.  Getting that good, or sometimes great image is up to you and your camera. Now that you've clicked the link to

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Our 2014 NW Overland Rally experience started about 10 minutes before we were supposed to talk about our Vancouver to Costa Rica trip.  Traffic at the border and along Highway 2 added a couple of extra hours to our journey.  We rolled in at 6:50pm, just in time for our 7:00pm presentation and finally allowing the organizer, Ray Hyland, to relax. This event was well planned with plenty of activities to do throughout each of the days...

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So, what do you do on your first weekend home with a new truck?  You go camping, obviously. We didn't worry about the little things, such as not having any camping gear whatsoever.  We were able to borrow an old classic Coleman campstove from Richard's Dad, put some kitchen gear in a cardboard box, grabbed our sheets, pillows and a blanket and then hit the road.  Our first stop in the US was at Fred Meyer. 

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We get it Costa Rica, you're beautiful.  You have lush green rainforest, white sand beaches, bright blue oceans, and deep red sunsets. After crossing the border we headed straight for the Junquillal Bay Wildlife Refuge for a night of camping on the beach.  We arrived and were told it was $19 per person to camp.  WTF.  After we stared in disbelief at the cost for what seemed like forever.  Finally the park "ranger" told us

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So... we're flying home to Vancouver, BC on May 14.  What then?  Other than saving money for the next portion of the trip we plan on exploring our backyard in the Pacific Northwest as much as possible. We're also going to the 2014 NW Overland Rally! The rally is a family oriented event where overlanders, car campers, motorcycle riders, and kids of all ages come together.   Have fun, learn stuff, and meet new friends! Haven't

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After our escapades at the Honduras-Nicaraguan border we didn’t have much daylight left to make it to the Somoto Canyon.  We did however pull into the town of Somoto where we found an inexpensive hotel (Hotel El Rosario) where we were able to park in the courtyard. Score (I wish we had parking options like this at home sometimes.). Within 5 minutes of arriving at the hotel we were put in touch with a guide to

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The next stop for us was El Porvenir, where we would be situated for a week volunteering with the Muskoka Foundation and Honduras Child Alliance.  Prior to our departure from Vancouver we organized a used camera drive and collected several point and shoot cameras, as well as a DSLR all donated by friends and work colleagues.  We also collected donations from friends and family in the form of school supplies and other necessities like toothbrushes

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Chichicastenango is a cute town in Guatemala, famous for its Wednesday and Saturday market which is said to be the largest in the country.  After 4 hours of driving around the town with Sarah and Wilson, all we knew was that accommodation was going to be a problem.  It seemed impossible to find a hotel with enough parking to secure two rigs, and for a reasonable price.  We decided to pack it in and continue

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We arrived in the mountain town of Nebaj hoping to find a place to camp for the night.  After wandering around town and making inquiries at hostels and hotels, it looked like our only option was the nearby airport and the football field.  Lucky for us, Wilson ran into a doctor that worked out of one of the hotels.  He suggested we check out the town of Acul which was about an hour’s drive from

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After our adventures in the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve we made our way down the mountain into the town of San Ignacio and the Clarissa Falls Resort and Campground.  We used the raft on the river as a launchpad to cool down and clean off the sweat and dust from the mountain roads before our border crossing the next day. The following morning, and on our way to the Belize-Guatemalan border, we hit a

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We honestly didn't know if we were going to head to Caye Caulker or not.  The island is a fantastic tourist destination and was bound to be expensive.  We went anyways and it was worth every penny. After saying a quick goodbye to the truck we left Backpacker's Paradise and headed towards the water taxi dock.  An hour ride on the Thunderbolt I (powered by 3x 200hp Yamaha outboards) brought us to San Pedro on

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After leaving the jungle in Palenque we started on the long trip to Playa del Carmen.  We had a few days before Ash's parents were flying in and meeting us there, so we hopped in the truck and headed to the Gulf of Mexico side of the peninsula.  After an 8 hour driving day to Chichen-Itza (where we camped in a hotel parking lot... epic) and another 2 1/2 hours the next day from Chichen-Itza

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After our trip to the amazing pyramids in Teotihuacan, we parked the truck at the RV park and hopped on a bus bound for Mexico City. The bus ride was about 45 minutes into town, and from there the metro took us to the Centro Historico of one of the largest cities in the world. We had heard stories about the traffic in Mexico City and how busy it was.  There have been restrictions placed

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La Penita Market 8am-Noon every Thursday We were told by more than one person that we had to go check out the market in La Penita.  By 8am the vendors will be fully set up, but it won't be too busy. As Roy Orbison sang, "Anything you need, you got it!" The market has anything you could need or want.  Trucks full of fruit or veg?  You got it!  Kitchenware, tools, parts for blenders and

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We love Rincon De Guayabitos.  So do the Mexicans.  Tourists from the inland cities poured into Guayabitos and covered the beaches, surrounded the taco stands, and cranked up the volume on every stereo system they could find. The busy atmosphere made for a fun, bustling, and easy town to be in.  Oh yeah, once again the food was fantastic.  Our daily walk down the main drag netted us a giant fresh jugo verde (green juice)

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Lo De Marcos is a sleepy little coastal Mexican town (pop. 2000) that we would have driven right past if it were not for the fact that Ash’s Auntie Barbie was housesitting there.  We were just a little north of town so we popped in for a few days to visit.  Fortunately we were able to stay in the house and enjoy running water, laundry, hot showers, electricity… and great company! For the first time

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We arrived in Mazatlan fresh off the boat, and with no map we made our way through town to the Zona Dorada (The Golden Zone) in which the RV parks are located.  After some tediously uninteresting and un-blogpost worthy activities such as laundry and unpacking, we strolled through the local area, checked out the beach, and looked for a good place to eat dinner.  A local tour operator advised us that there was a great

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Our final task in Baja was to get on the ferry and head to the mainland. Essentially there are two options here.  Baja Ferries or the TMC Ferry.  Baja Ferries is the classic passenger ferry and TMC is the trucker's ferry.  Since TMC allows you to stay with your vehicle for the 18 hour passage we decided to go with them. We pulled in to the ferry terminal and took a quick left into the

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We headed out early and took highway MX3 from Ensenada towards San Felipe. The windy and potholed road took a few hours, but the scenery was epic once again.  We climbed the mountains through Oso Negro, paralleling part of the Baja 1000 racecourse, stopped at a couple of military border checkpoints, and pulled into San Felipe in the early afternoon. We stayed at Kiki’s campground for a few nights.  We had okay wifi, great beaches,

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Fish Tacos.  (R:  My mouth is watering right now just reading this.) Day three (we didn’t move from the beach on day two) in Mexico had us on a hunt for fish tacos, baja style.  So far Mexico is all about the food and we don’t really see that changing anytime soon. Once again we were lucky to be travelling with Song of the Road. Erica had heard of a place called Tacos El Fenix

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 “I would rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth.” - Steve McQueen We planned on meeting up with Song of the Road in Orange County.  We when got in touch with them on Friday morning they said they were on their way to the 2013 SoCal Mountain Rendezvous put on by American Adventurist.  Since we were relatively close in Santa Barbara we detoured slightly East to the San

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It's probably obvious that we're on a budget.  We also want to experience as much as we can on this said budget.  This is how we did it in San Francisco. 9AM :  Golden Gate Bridge - FREE We took the last exit before the bridge and drove to the second viewpoint.  Perfect photo op if you crop the rest of the tourists out of your photo. 10AM :  Parking near Fort Mason - FREE

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Finally time for a quick catchup! We're already on the road heading south (stealing wi-fi in Florence, Oregon) but thought I should work on catching up this build a little bit! The new engine was dropped in about 5 weeks ago, was broken in, and then dropped off at Disturbed Industries for a valve adjust and oil change. Since we were cutting it really close to our departure date I left Ryan to complete the

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"It's only when we truly know and understand that we have limited time on earth - and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up - that we will begin to love each day to the fuller, as if it was the only we had." - Klisabeth Kübler-Ross It's Monday.  You've been counting down the hours all weekend until you get to sit down at your desk and get to work!

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 "If you want to influence your family,you can lead the way through your own actions. They are not going to change their worldview by something you repost on Facebook, but when they see you following through on your big dreams, they can’t help but notice." -  Chris Guillebeau We are holding a used camera drive with the Muskoka Foundation to support their photography workshops for children in need of a creative outlet!  We'll bring the

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"Do not follow where the path may lead.  Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." - Ralph Waldo Emerson I'm not going to lie to you, some people might not find this post interesting.  Sad face.  For the rest of you out there who are interested in exhaust pipes, gauges, and fiberglass fenders this post is for you!  The next build post should be about the 22RE engine install so stay

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"Aerodynamically the bumble bee shouldn't be able to fly, but the bumble bee doesn't know it, and so it goes on flying anyway." - Mary Kay Ash Old Man Emu Suspension Install The original suspension in this truck was clapped out.  The rear springs sagged with the lightest load in the bed and the shocks could barely dampen the ride with the original tires.  Now that we're going to be running larger tires and hauling

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We leave on what will hopefully be an epic adventure in 75 days. We still need to: 1.  Rent out our condo.  (We are finalizing the details of hiring a property manager...) 2.  Save more money.  (An ongoing constant struggle between our bills and our savings account.) 3.  FINISH THE TRUCK.  (This feels like the big one right now.)   The above image from John Muirs "How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive : A Manual

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“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” – Robert Louis Stevenson Road trips are the best.  #obvious Road trips to pick up gear to take on our next road trip are even better. We took last Friday off and made the trip down from Vancouver to Seattle to pick up some gear that we had ordered through ARB.  We sent

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Disclaimer - Despite how it sounds in this post, we are truly grateful for our jobs.  We enjoy them most of the time.  We like our employers.  We like our co-workers.  We love our passions that have turned into second jobs and we'll continue to pursue nutrition and photography work while we travel  This decision is right for us right now.  It wasn't right for us 2 months ago and it may not be right

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http://vimeo.com/67620343 We finally got started on the build of our truck. The first thing to do was to gain a little clearance for our new tires.  We chose a small 4Crawler 1" body lift to do the trick.  The other thing I like about a body lift is the increased clearance between the drive train and body. Although the 4Crawler website looks like it was made in 1990 there are a ton of great parts

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"Not all those who wander are lost." - J.R.R. Tolkien Well, this will obviously not our first time travelling.  You're going to see where we go next, but where have we been? Cuba This is the first time either of us stepped foot outside Canada or the US.  We flew to Cuba and went to a resort in Varadero.  We no likey resorts.  Never again... but we did love the Cuban culture, sun, and beaches.

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We just counted the days until our proposed departure date of October 1. 126!  Yes, that's only four months.  That shit cray. Okay... take a deep breath and think this through.  On the one hand we can't wait to leave.  We long for the freedom of the road, the simplicity of travelling day by day, and the adventure that follows. On the other hand, at first glance 126 days really doesn't seem like much time

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This is our new ride. Why did I end up choosing a Toyota Pickup for our journey?  Reliability was the key factor.  I've owned Toyotas in the past, seen them with 500,000+ km beat relentlessly in the Wadi Run desert, and knew that we'd be able to find parts anywhere if/when something does break. Originally, I was cruising Craigslist constantly hoping anything would come up in my budget.  In all fairness, I didn’t really have

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"How do geese know when to fly to the sun?  Who tells them the seasons?  How do we, humans, know when it is time to move on?  As with the migrant birds, so surely with us, there is a voice within, if only we would listen to it, that tells us so certainly when to go forth into the unknown." - Elisabeth Kübler-Ross The Plan: Drive down through the Western United States, along the Baja

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With a simple text message conversation our short-term life plans were about to change.  At least there isn’t going to be a divorce or babies…. Phew! I met Ashley  for our “life chat” at Trees Organic Coffee (2655 Arbutus) on April 13, 2013.  Our full-time day jobs combined with our part-time evening/weekend work became too much that afternoon.  Ash hit the wall hard, pushed through, and now had hit another wall.  It was time for

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