Camping on a random dirt road, directly atop the continental divide
In the summer of 2010 I left my home in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania for a solo journey across the country to start work in Reno Nevada. I had negotiated a head sailing instructor position for a nonprofit community sailing program in Reno Nevada and would be spending my summer off from college sailing in the desert. Just a month before leaving, I picked up and installed my Bostig engine (group 6) into my 1985 Westfalia conversion.
Just before my first ever run on the legendary Bonneville Salt Flats. 113mph in a VW bus!
This was my first car ever, purchased in high school a few years before and with a history of engine troubles. I took a sunroof bus and built it into a Westfalia, and the addition of the zetec engine was a welcome improvement.
With my bus packed, I headed out. 2000+ miles in 5 days on the way West, with an engine that was just installed.
I met Mario Andretti in Reno Nevada. He and his race team checked out my Zetec conversion and ended up giving me free gas cards for the drive home! He and his team approved, and the champ signed my engine.
Along the way I met some wonderful strangers that quickly became wonderful friends. I camped in the yards of Vanagon.com list members along the way, and thanks to the kindness of others throughout the entire summer, made memories that will last a lifetime. I lived out of my bus in over 20 states in that summer alone, taking side trips outside of Reno to locations such as San Francisco, Yosemite, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, and Tahoe. Over the course of that summer, I drove 13,000 miles, solo, in a car that I built. With no major mechanical breakdowns, and an army of memories and friends, I traveled home from that summer with a smile on my face.
I spent my 21st birthday alone and living out of my bus in Nebraska. This, was my celebratory dinner!