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Hasta Luego Mexico: Hauling A$$ Across the Yucatan

In México, North America by Dane + PennyLeave a Comment

As the 336km from Palenque to Campeche slowly slipped behind us, a pain was growing deeper inside of Dane. Was it the curry we made last night? The fruit in our oatmeal this morning? Eventually he decided it was the peanuts he had been testing as he toasted over the fire the night before. It's gotta be the peanuts. Whatever it was, once we arrived in the colonial city of Campeche the bed slid out and he slid in, all the while making circles on his stomach whilst letting out groans and moans under his breath. He gave me his ...
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Chasing Waterfalls + Ruins in Chiapas

In México, North America by Dane + PennyLeave a Comment

It was hard to believe this place wasn't on the "gringo trail", it looked like a still frame from Disney's Jungle Book fairytale where Balu might start singing at any moment. But, before reading about it on iOverlander, we'd never heard of it before. At the end of our long drive into the state of Chiapas, which turned out to be an all day affair, we were chasing the sun and praying the gate wouldn't be locked over an hour past closing time. As you guessed, we got lucky and even caught the last bits of daylight in the canyon ...
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Whoa, Oaxaca! Monte Alban, El Arbol del Tule + Hierve el Agua

In México, North America by Dane + Penny2 Comments

We battled morning rush hour traffic, looping around Oaxaca City, to be the first at the hilltop ruins of Monte Alban. As we neared the site, locals were busy walking their dogs and running the trails that surround the site and a few keen cyclists were challenging the incline while the air was still cool and crisp. Monte Alban, which translates to "white mountain" is perched high on a hill overlooking Oaxaca city and the surrounding valley. Now ruins, the structures once served as Zapotec political and religious buildings over a period of nearly one thousand years, making it one ...
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Artesan Markets in Oaxaca

In México, North America by Dane + PennyLeave a Comment

As Dane was accepting the package from DHL with our new rear control arms, I was throwing our things in the van, eager to begin the drive towards Oaxaca City. This area of Mexico is renowned for its artesan markets filled with leatherwork, pottery and textiles and the small towns we pass through would be where it's all from. Each town typically specializes in a specific craft and the best deals can be found there, instead of at the larger markets. But, the big markets would be a great place to start so we could get to know the artesans ...
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Installing Mosquito Nets in Our Custom Camper

In Camper Conversion, México, North America, The Van by Dane + Penny2 Comments

Temperatures had been rising and so had the number of mosquitoes, ever since we hit mainland Mexico. We had two options: roast in the van with the windows up protected from the little disease carrying pests or offer ourselves up to them on a sweaty platter in an effort to catch a breeze and pray we don't get dengue, or zika, or chikungunya... or malaria. Penny's legs were covered in bites and despite our efforts with coils and spray, she couldn't keep them off her. So, we bought a roll of mesh netting as defense. Not sure what to do ...
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Surf Paradise + Hippie Delights: Oaxaca

In México, North America by Dane + Penny1 Comment

We limped Diego into Puerto Escondido where we found refuge at an old hotel just off the highway where overlanders can camp under coconut trees (at their own risk, of course). For less than $10 we had wifi, washrooms and a pool to give us reprieve from the intense afternoon heat. We were setting up our kitchen when we heard voices rise, a fist fight nearly ensuing between the pool owner and the hotel manager we had just paid. As it turned out, the pool actually belonged to the neighboring hotel and they had some un-agreed upon agreement to share ...
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The Price of Haste in Chacahua

In México, North America, The Van by Dane + Penny3 Comments

There we were, bombing down a dirt road to the remote beaches of Chacahua, a place only accessible by boat. Clearly it is in fact reachable overland, although you can (and should!) cross the river in a lancha (small boat) to explore the most remote parts of the town. Once the road turned to dirt we quickly found out why many say it’s only accessible over the sea: it was tracked out so bad it felt like we were driving down railroad ties without the rails! Even aired down, we could feel poor Diego shaking apart at a slow pace ...
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More Than We Imagined: Mezcal, Michoacan + Guerrero

In México, North America by Dane + PennyLeave a Comment

If you do a quick google of Mexican states Michoacan or Guerrero you're more likely to read about drug cartels, missing women and murder than anything to do with tourism. But, soon after crossing the border into Michoacan we were taken away by its beauty, albeit still studying our rear view a little more carefully than usual. But, after a couple nights on the coast and a little mezcal on our lips, our apprehension subsided. We can't explain it really, especially since the surf was a little big for us, but we really loved it here and we stayed for ...
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Discovering Sayulita’s Secrets

In Hiking, México, North America, Surf by Dane + PennyLeave a Comment

Once it was a quiet little fishing village. Now Sayulita's a bustling tourist town known for its beachfront surf and sandy shore. After Ben and Chica continued on down the coast, we had a couple days to kill before Dane's brother, Rhett, and his buddy, Chris, would meet us here to catch some waves and consume copious amounts of fish tacos and cold cervezas with us. So that we wouldn't be tacoed and touristed out before they arrived, we decided to explore the surrounding area. After some scouting, we found the areas a short drive North or South made our ...
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Making Moves in Mainland Mexico: Nayarit

In México, North America by Dane + PennyLeave a Comment

We arrived in Sinaloa, one of Mexico's most dangerous states, after an extremely delayed Baja Ferries crossing of the Sea of Cortez. With an hour and a half to spare before sunset, we set off in convoy with our new buddy, Ben. We weaved through crazed Mazatlan rush hour traffic, windows up through the plumes of diesel fumes, destined for a sandy strip of palm tree plantations we had spotted from the ship while it docked. With direction from a few locals, we took a dusty dirt road which, as it grew narrower, passed through clusters of humble homes with ...
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Beyond the Baja: The Baja Ferries

In México, North America, The Baja, Wisdom by Dane + PennyLeave a Comment

We arrived in the port city of La Paz a few days early so we could sort out getting ourselves and the van to the mainland. We'd read the wayward stories of other overlanders and knew the process can take a few days; ferries may be booked up and it may take days to get clear directions to the Banjercito. So, we found wifi, slurped back some iced coffees and prepared ourselves. Despite our good intentions and help from Google, we still spent a couple hours pounding the pavement in search of a Banjercito that could process our Temporary Vehicle ...
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Betting On Baja Sur

In México, North America by Dane + Penny2 Comments

Rolling through Northern Baja we would drive for hours on end through the desert, between highway pueblos and the odd surf town, along the Pacific coast. Reviewing the map, Baja Sur looked to hold a bit more diversity as it traverses back and forth from the rugged Pacific coast to the sheltered Sea of Cortez. One side with gorgeous sunsets and uncrowded surf, the other with calm waters, endless snorkelling and sunrises worthy to set an alarm for! To tell the truth, the only thing I had ever heard about in Baja Sur was party-central Cabo San Lucas and the ...
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Northern Baja: Go There, You Won’t Die

In México, North America by Dane + Penny1 Comment

We pulled up to the Tijuana border on a Tuesday afternoon. Delighted to find no wait ahead of us, we pressed the push button inspection and held our breath waiting for the electric glow of the green light. Of course, it illuminated red. We sighed and hoped they would be kind - and fast. The "inspection" was pain-free with a quick peek through the slider door, followed by several questions about our odd right hand drive van. We played a quick game of "chicken" crossing the lanes of traffic coming into Mexico and continued through customs and immigration at their ...
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Fear + Loathing in Palm Springs

In California, North America, The Build, The Van, United States by Dane + Penny2 Comments

In an attempt to surprise Dane's dad & step mom (aka "Schmum") who live several provinces away, we had been avoiding conversations about our timeline for weeks. Even though our trusty GPS tracker (the DeLorme inReach) had been giving away our location, we managed to sneak into their complex - where they least expected to see us - and successfully pulled off the mission. We spent the next several days catching up on current events, playing card games and laying pool side -and, of course, tinkering with the van when we had down time. We finished our last few projects, ...
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Just a Taste of J-Tree

In California, Hiking, North America, United States by Dane + Penny4 Comments

The Flinstones must have been from Joshua Tree. You know, before the roads were paved. Now, the roads are perfect. Smooth, with beautiful corners that anyone who loves the freedom of a motorcycle would go crazy over! As you cruise down that perfectly paved road, there are giant boulders stacked upon each other, some of them with ropes and lines attached for rock climbing, bouldering or slack lining. You see the free climbers walking around looking like Sponge Bob with their square crash pads strapped to their back. Meanwhile, 50ft overhead, slack liners are praying the evening wind eases up ...
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Meandering Through the Mojave Desert

In California, Hiking, North America, United States by Dane + PennyLeave a Comment

It was dark as we drove down the Saskatchewan-straight highway into the Mojave National Preserve. A well-known "no-no" for overlanders; we vowed we wouldn't drive after dusk once we crossed the border further South. The full moon had risen over the hills somewhere between Bakersfield and Barstow and now we shared the road with only one other set of headlights. It was surreal peering out the window into the desert after waking up in the icebox that was Yosemite in January, surrounded by snow, sequoias and mountain faces. Now, some hours later, surrounded by cacti, tumbleweeds and sand. We spotted ...
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In the Face of Giants at Yosemite

In California, Hiking, North America, United States by Dane + Penny3 Comments

We left the coast, writhing with anticipation of our mountain escape and curious if Yosemite would live up to all of its' hype. We cruised through California’s rolling farm lands with the windows rolled down until we came upon a closed road. Flooded. Detour. Obviously, we had to take a look. Dane, eyes glazed with excitement and full of  confidence in our van (with newly equipped snorkel), was ready for the challenge. While others were turning around, we made the crossing with one long-haired, leather-backed motorcycle rider fist-pumping us on. We passed through gold rush towns with worn wood false ...
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Finding the Lost Coast in Northern California

In California, North America, United States by Dane + Penny1 Comment

While we rushed through Oregon eager to reach California, we imagined the clouds parting to reveal the glorious sun on our pasty Canadian skin. Sweet California did not disappoint, and as we crossed the border the rain wondrously stopped and the sun emerged to welcome us to the sunny state. With little knowledge of what to expect, simply armed with a personal recommendation, we were set on taking the coastal scenic Highway #1 through Northern California. Offseason, mid-January, had us feeling lucky to be cruising the windy, coastal roads with no one on our tail. And, when a local happened ...
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Soaked in Oregon’s South Coast

In North America, Oregon, United States by Dane + PennyLeave a Comment

We made a big push (still trying to outrun the rain!) driving from the interior of Oregon directly West for the coast and stopped in a little fishing town named Newport, possibly best known for 'Ripley's Believe It or Not' museum. Most memorable to us were the sea lions who were making a big ruckus on the docks; we could hear them blocks from the beach and without a clear view of the ocean. We grabbed the camera and walked down to the historic part of town to find them. The sea lions lazed around on the dock. Some of ...
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Slowing Down in Umpqua, Oregon

In North America, Oregon, United States by Dane + PennyLeave a Comment

For days, Dane studied our Oregon maps in search of the right place to test out his fishing equipment. It was January in the Pacific Northwest, so we were constantly attempting to outrun the storms that were pounding the coast and washing out what could be the best places to hook what could be our dinner. The wind howled and the rain poured down while we followed the Umpqua River inland. Meandering up a side road alongside a stream, the storm finally passed and we found a pull out where I could make lunch and Dane could put on his ...
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Cruising the Columbia Gorge Scenic Highway, Oregon

In North America, Oregon, United States by Dane + Penny2 Comments

We hustled through our first 500km on the I-5 trying to outrun the rain, making it into Oregon for day two on the road. After many stops in desperate search of a percolator, we were in need of some fresh air (and caffeine). So, we took Highway 84 East to connect us with the parallel Route 30, the “Columbia Gorge Scenic Highway”. This old highway twisted and turned through the forest, leading us past waterfalls, view points and under the canopy of old growth trees. Needless to say, it was stunning! We passed by the Vista House propped up on …

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Getting Out of Dodge

In North America, Oregon, Preparations, United States by Dane + Penny2 Comments

There was at least one bet (that we knew of) regarding our departure date. While one optimistic family member was confident we would leave on our planned date, another close friend was quite positive we would not. In the end, we left nearly two weeks late trying to finish up some “simple” tasks like the solar panel mount, plumbing and electrical, just to name a few. Looking back, our eagerness to hit the road made us beyond optimistic about meeting our original date and with the ever-growing to do list, we were going borderline crazy working on the van into …

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Testing Diego on The Harrison Loop

In British Columbia, Canada by Dane + PennyLeave a Comment

July 17th, 2011 was the first day I laid my eyes on my better half.. and then got us lost in a city park. Two years later, again on this date, we decided we wanted to travel and explore off the beaten path. Now this year, for our fourth anniversary and with our wild plans nearing fruition, it was time to test out the rig and some of our gear… — Day One —   We started out with a late departure on Friday after work heading North up towards Callaghan Lake Provincial Park for our first night. Even with the sun quite high in the …