Drive Nacho Drive: A Journey from the American Dream to the End of the World
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On an afternoon just like many before it, Brad Van Orden sat at his desk. When a coworker meandered past his window, Brad succumbed to an impulse and blurted out the most outlandish thing he could think of—"Hey Steve, let's drive your hippie bus to Tierra del Fuego." This prompted Steve's halfhearted response: "I don't think so." But this got Brad thinking. What if we just dropped everything and left? Isn't there more to life than this? He messaged his wife with a question: "Want to do this?," to which she immediately responded: "Yes!" They clearly had no idea what they were getting themselves into. Drive Nacho Drive tells the hilarious and sometimes harrowing story of what happens when Brad and Sheena Van Orden trade in the American Dream for a year on the roads of Central and South America aboard "Nacho," their quirky and somewhat temperamental Volkswagen van. As a result of questionable decision-making skills and intermittent bad luck, Brad and Sheena repeatedly find themselves in over their heads. Whether negotiating cliff-hanging roads in rebel territory, getting caught illegally smuggling a transmission in a suitcase over international lines, mounting a stealth mission to steal Nacho back from a deranged Colombian auto dismantler, or clinging to the side of a vegetable truck while descending a 16,000 foot Andean pass, there seems to be no limit to the predicaments that these two can get themselves into. With Drive Nacho Drive, the Van Ordens deliver a thoughtful, hilarious, and mouthwatering depiction of adventure and misadventure on the Pan-American highway—one that will leave you simultaneously shaking your head and holding your sides, while asking yourself, isn't there more to life than this?
streets. For the remainder of the day we went from cabin to cabin, checking each one off of the list. Most were the size of small walk-in closets, which explained the low cost. Defeated, and with the sun gone over the horizon, we rolled out of town to the campground. By the time we found the campground it was dark. We drove in and negotiated our way through the thick tangle of trees until the small dirt road ended. I would have to back up and turn around. Sheena got out and went to scour for
Dollhouse he was slinging his latest brew, World Wide Quadrupel, a limited edition brew made to mark the occasion of our departure. He dropped off several bottles, which will be done conditioning in January, so we'll get to start enjoying them somewhere in Mexico. Until then Nacho’s toilet paper storage cabinet has been repurposed as a beer cabinet. Priorities. After loading up the van we hit the road, and as we rolled out of town I hit the button on our GPS tracker and added the first point to
identifying the ship as being originally from Montpellier. A ship broken in under the sunny skies of the French Riviera. The idea of traveling over sparkling blue Pacific waters aboard a majestic French vessel was to me the epitome of romance. A man with a machine gun blew his whistle, pointed at me, and I drove Nacho into the fairy tale ship’s nether regions, descending two levels to the very bottom of the hull, or whatever, and parked. Nacho would spend the next 16 hours driving under the sea.
carabiner I had tied a 120 pound fishing line about twenty feet long. To the end of the leader I tied a heavy duty hook, and on it I attached the only bait I could find in the van: a hunk of Swiss-style sausage. I wasn’t interested in those hipster vegan fish. No, I was interested in the man eaters. The kind of fish that require a 120 pound fishing line and a locking carabiner; one that would be interested in eating manly nuggets of mystery meat stuffed into a piece of pig intestine. Of course a
article’s title, and quickly sent it on to Sheena, along with the question “Want to do this?” She immediately responded with “Yes!” That evening we decided that we would buy a Volkswagen camper van, save a bunch of money, and drive around the world. We would call the van Ignacio because Ignacio is a dignified name, and because every old and beloved vehicle deserves a name. It would be "Nacho" for short. We scribbled out a savings plan and set the wheels in motion. On the fifth day of December,