Dec 2011

Blog, North America

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Nacho the Driving Fortress

When Sheena and I lived in Wales during college, we didn’t really trouble ourselves much over vehicular security.  Everyone had one of those club things that goes on the steering wheel, so we bought one for our 1992 Toyota Corolla.  We’d bought the car for $700 from a young Nigerian man and named it Gershwin.  A few short months after buying it, while eating spaghetti in our townhouse, we were interrupted by a frantic knock at our front door.  Our neighbor was standing there at our doorstep with an ominous orange halo emanating from behind him.

“Is that your car on fire?”  The Welsh sound cheerful even when asking rhetorical questions about your burning car.  “Yeah.  Yes, that is our car.  Thanks for the heads up.”  It just wasn’t a situation I’d thought to rehearse for.  As luck would have it, we were chosen for a seemingly random car bombing.  I can’t prove that it was a bomb, but it was powerful enough to blow the rear doors open, knock the license plate off, and incinerate our car in a blast of ten foot flames.  Poor Gershwin burned to the ground with his government-mandated fire extinguisher sitting on the back seat.  Irony.

While we didn’t take it personally, and certainly don’t ever expect it to happen to us again, we figured adding a few security features to Nacho wouldn’t hurt.  By the time we thought of this, it was too late to make the van fire proof.  We opted instead to cut our would-be enemies off at the knees by adding these state of the art Home Depot locks to the doors.  This way we can lock the doors from the outside so thieves and other ill-doers will have to crawl through a broken window to gain entry.  If they’re going to take us down, we’ll make sure they get several minor cuts in doing so.

The next step in Nacho’s home security makeover was to make sure nobody could steal our roof box.  If a thief were to make off with it, he would be very disappointed as it’s just full of spare parts.  However, this would be a big setback for us, as we’ll probably end up needing a lot of spare parts out there.  I secured the box by taking the front luggage compartment off of the roof and bolting the box into it from underneath.  Would-be roof box thieves will now succeed only in looking foolish by trying to outsmart our homemade security system.

The final security enhancement on yesterday’s list was the coolest and most technologically advanced.  However, telling you what it is would defeat the whole purpose of having it, so you’ll have to use your imagination.  I promise, when the trip is over in three years, I will tell you what it was.

Yesterday’s success of transforming Nacho into a heavily guarded fortress was not to be repeated today.  I split the first half of the day between buying fittings at Lowe’s and plumbing in our espresso machine for Sheena’s parents.  Finally after lunch I attempted to install a new battery and a battery separator for the auxiliary battery, but ended the night not having completed anything.  At least we’ll have good espresso in the morning.

We decided that Nacho should have a quick-drying shower curtain, so Sheena went to work creating one out of rip stop nylon.  The white vinyl one that we currently have has two problems; it doesn’t dry quickly, so it’ll turn into a ball of fuzzy mold in no time, and it looks like (and is) a regular home shower curtain, so we’ll be pegged as W.T.  Because, you know, living in a van won’t already accomplish that.

And so here we are, one day closer to departure, a few more projects ticked off the list.  Given the depth and breadth of our preparations, I can’t wait to see what irony has in store for us this time.

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