Vehicle Selection

As mentioned in the previous post, we have been talking about driving the Pan American Highway for more than a year now and it has taken many different directions. When I first suggested an extended road trip to Laughlin, I mentioned driving down to Baja and staying for a month or continuing onto mainland Mexico for the latter part of the trip. She became nervous as she began to think I wouldn’t want to come back after being there for an extended period of time! As we continued discussing our plans, we began discussing the whole Pan American Highway as our goal and that is where we are today. However, our vehicle of choice has changed fairly dramatically since the first day we discussed heading to Baja.

At the time we first began discussing our plans, we had a 1999 Toyota 4runner that was clean as a whistle and seemed to be the obvious choice for our trip. As soon as we were ready to pull the trigger on a roof top tent, the 4runner started having problems with low oil pressure and when I dug into the issue a little further, I discovered the engine had quite a bit of sludge in it. I was certainly happy we discovered the issue before we began building our rig and, more importantly, our trip. Before jumping into another vehicle right away, we decided to consider our other options, which ultimately led to choosing our sweet new ride.

4runnerWe discussed that it would be much nicer to have a large space to live on our 18 month journey and really started thinking about going the camper route, but Alaskan Campers are pretty tough to come by. My parents owned a fairly new Alaskan Camper (2008 I think) which was mounted to a 2005 Dodge Ram 3500. This was a sweet outfit which they used a lot, but was certainly outside of our budget. Additionally, they sold it before we had even thought about a trip, but it made us think extensively about purchasing one, so I began to look.

AlaskanI have spent way more time than I care to admit on Expedition Portal where I began reading about other people’s travels with Alaskan Campers. I stumbled on Brad’s epic writeup about his trip to Alaska in his Alaskan camper and when I finished reading it, I noticed he had just posted the rig for sale. He seemed reluctant to sell it , but after we told him about our plans for the rig, he seemed a little more willing to let it go. So, here we are. We just picked up an ’86 Alaskan Camper mounted to a ’94 Dodge Ram 2500 which we intend on driving to the end of the southern tip of South America. We will have a decent amount of work to do to the camper as well as the truck before it will be ready to make the trip, but we are confident that we can make it great living arrangement on our trip. Here is a photo Brad took before we left Spearfish:


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