Drive Nacho Drive Meets Bumfuzzle
In 2002, Pat and Ali were living the standard American existence in Chicago. One night over pizza and beer they decided to leave the life they knew, buy a catamaran, and sail around the world. They took an intro to sailing course, bought a boat, and set sail. Four years later, they had made it all the way around. Not yet ready to settle down, they sold their boat and bought a 1958 Volkswagen panel van and drove from Alaska to Argentina. Now they have two kids and live aboard a sailboat, which they’ve been slowly cruising down the Pacific coast. Their current location: Puerto Vallarta.
Ambling down the dock toward their boat, Bumfuzzle, we recounted to Pat how we had arrived in Puerto Vallarta hoping to camp at an RV park in the old town. It had closed, so we ended up staying at a cheap hotel where we fell asleep to the soothing sounds of a wailing hooker on the other side of our paper thin wall. Oh, if our mattress could talk. I awoke in the morning to find that the fitted sheet had come off, and I was lying directly on the bare mattress. As we walked to the boat, I habitually scratched at my sides, convinced that our bed had given me the clap.
When we arrived at the boat, Ali greeted us holding their infant son, Lowe. A few minutes later Ouest, age two, awoke from her nap and sidled up the stairs. She took her place next to Ali’s leg, shoulders sagging, and squinted at us with sleepy eyes. Sure, Pat and Ali keep the boat clean and running, but we could tell who called the shots around here. A red and yellow Playskool car was parked next to the mast, and the boat’s perimeter was lined with kid-proof netting. A set of pink tea cups sat on a ledge. This was Ouest’s territory.
After a quick tour of Nacho we headed to the beach for drinks. Ouest, ever the unique two year old, had quesadillas and guacamole. Pat and Ali lived in their VW van for two years, so it was nice to compare notes and see how our outlook compares to theirs.
Soon enough, Sheena’s guilty conscience got the best of her.
“So Ali, did you drive a lot during your Volkswagen trip?”
“Um, every once in a while.” She looked a little sheepish, but then Pat interjected.
“Ali, the only time you ever drove was when I was behind the van pushing. In 60,000 miles you drove less than a hundred yards!”
“Yeah, like I said. Every once in a while.”
Great. The precedent has been set.
A recurring theme in Pat and Ali’s blog is their inability to capture a normal family photo due to Ouest’s shenanigans. We all decided to give it a try for a Bumfuzzle meets Drive Nacho Drive photo, and it was the same old story. First attempt: Everyone stands in a line, the camera timer starts, Ouest runs away, click. Second attempt: Everyone stands in line, the timer starts, Ouest runs away, Pat runs after Ouest and snatches her by the armpits, Pat runs back into the frame just in time, click. Yep, we know who calls the shots.
The afternoon turned to evening and we talked about their near term sailing plans. Would they stay in Mexico, or venture elsewhere? In true Bumfuzzle style, they hadn’t made up their minds. They sounded content sailing up and down the Mexican coast, but Pat mentioned that it would be fun to make another Pacific crossing.
“Where would you go? Australia?” I asked.
“Well, if we made the crossing then we’d probably sail around the world again.” You know, if you’re going to bake a cake, you might as well open a nationwide chain of bakeries. Obviously.
Their spontaneity and confidence was an inspiration. The next morning, after getting lost for three hours and ending up back at our starting point, we headed East. As we drove up into the mountains toward Guadalajara it felt like a weight had been lifted from our shoulders. For some reason until now a sense of urgency has underscored our trip. We had a plan and a rough timeline and each stop was another step toward executing the plan. After our day with Bumfuzzle we were more at peace. We drove higher and higher into the mountains, not leaving first and second gear. As soon as we felt like it, we stopped. There was no reason to go any farther; wherever we were was the destination.
A weight has been lifted, undoubtedly! Guilt-free chauffeured trip around the world! What a great stop along the way.
Comment by Ada on February 3, 2012 at 1:43 pm
I was eager to hear this particular post as I read a lot of Bumfuzzle’s blog after your mentioned it earlier on. Great that you made the effort to go see them. Safety netting the entire boat… now that’s something new.
So, are you going to rename the blog “Brad drive Nacho Brad drive Nacho?” hehe
Comment by Richard J on February 3, 2012 at 1:49 pm
Excellent pics and story! Keep it up!
Comment by Russ on February 3, 2012 at 2:59 pm
LOL! Sometimes when you think staying in a hotel/motel would be the greatest nights sleep “ever”, Yep, you realize that sleeping in Nacho would have been a lot more relaxing than the “nice warm/soft” bed. The only nice thing about it may have been a nice long warm shower for a change. Love reading your stories and nice that you are able to hook up with these folks that you have been. Their lives are so different than the norm, but probably more satisfying than most.
Enjoy your days ahead. Love to you! Pat
Comment by Pat Van Orden on February 3, 2012 at 3:19 pm
What can I say the beauty where you both are at in life is what life just stopped and you enjoy the beauty the wonderful family that you have connected with and all of your wonderful people. That I know gives me peace inside and the envy of us all what you both are doing. Thank you for letting us dream and following your adventure. Your photos are amazing!!! So nice seeing and talking to your both last night on Skype. Geo slept with me last night. Today Geo is cuddled up to a blanket that Forest gave him. Chelly has also been up next to Geo just relaxing. Everyday is progress with all the cats and Lucy coming together. Love you both Mom
Comment by Barb Wieber on February 3, 2012 at 4:43 pm
I envy your ability to accept the statement ” It’s the journey, not the destination.” That sense of urgency you speak of has plagued every 3 day hike or 50 mile bike ride I’ve been on. Kudos to keeping that feeling away!
Comment by Michael Dent on February 3, 2012 at 5:29 pm
Thanks for doing your dream — each post is an inspiration. Perhaps all of us who are NOT wandering are lost!
P.S. I was never able to get the music thing to work, will keep trying and send it…wherever.
Comment by Cindy & Harper Johnson on February 3, 2012 at 6:31 pm
Up into the mountains and away! I’ll be following your journeys and look forward to meeting you some time on the back end of your very large loop. Have a great time guys. -Blake
Comment by Blake Heinlein on February 3, 2012 at 7:08 pm
Hehe… You’re getting there. I know this whole thing is just starting, but it’s gonna be hard to go back to “normal” after this. You know that, right? ;) 6 months is right around the time you will start asking yourself what day it is. When you do that, all is well. Keep going.
Comment by Todd on February 3, 2012 at 11:58 pm
I just saw that Pat and Ali posted this on Facebook and I had to check it out. Always nice to read about VW adventurers on the road! I hope to read more about your travels.
Comment by Jason @ Travel Junkies on February 4, 2012 at 4:10 am
… meet them in Switzerland, they won a price there (never forgot this) …
Comment by Mischka on February 4, 2012 at 8:05 am
Nice blog. You might want to check out the travels of Kevin and Ruth. They are in a motorhome traveling throughout Mexico. You might get an idea of places to stay. Also The Adventures of Tioga and George as George is traveling Mexico.
Comment by Nan on February 4, 2012 at 12:32 pm
Hey Brad and Sheena,
Shaping up to be an epic trip! We too were victims of the Bumfuzzle spirit and set out on the road after being addicted to their adventures. You might also check out Lost World Expedition (http://lostworldexpedition.com) and Sprinterlife (http://Sprinterlife.com).
We had an open plan other than heading south, and in the end, San Francisco to Panama was all we needed to scratch the itch for a while. We got home in April of 2011 after 10,000 miles and 5 months. The next time we head out – and there will be a next time – will be with our now 4 week old daughter.
Have a great trip! We’ll be following along.
Dave and Ann
Comment by Dave and Ann on February 4, 2012 at 4:43 pm
Awesome! The Bumfuzzle family is such a riot.
Comment by Brian Stanfill on February 4, 2012 at 4:48 pm
Have been following the bums since their first month now I get to follow you all how good is life
Comment by Mike Conlow on February 28, 2012 at 5:44 am
WOWWW !!! Its good to hear about BUMFUZZLE.
I met them in Café Tortoni in+ Buenos Aires.
Pat and Ali: Greetings for your beautyfull Family.
Brad and Sheena, we wait you in Buenos Aires for a Beer !!!
Guillermo & Erika Müller
Glew, Buenos Aires
Comment by Guillermo Müller on April 29, 2012 at 8:50 am
@Guillermo: We anxiously await meeting you for a beer in Argentina!
Comment by Brad on April 29, 2012 at 8:55 am
OK. Is a deal !!!
Tell us when you are near Buenos Aires !
Comment by Guillermo Müller on May 2, 2012 at 8:02 am
What a wonderful chapter! The world would be a much nicer and better place with more people like the Bumfuzzle and Nacho families.
Thank you so much!
Comment by Andrew Ciapalo on March 27, 2017 at 9:29 am