Heather and Scott

Name and age
Heather (37) & Scott (41)

Portland, Oregon

When did you start your travels?
We started our Pan-Am trip in September, 2011 (all of 2012 was spent in Baja, though). 

Reason for taking this trip and why did you decide to drive?
Overlanding is definitely our thing.  We like going slow and we also have a lot of toys that we carry along with us.  Driving the PanAm seemed like an obvious next adventure after spending a couple years exploring Australia and New Zealand.

What type of car are you driving?
We are driving a 1994 Provan Tiger built on a Chevy Silverado K2500 truck (Turbo Diesel 4wd).

Did you make any modifications to your car for this trip?
Lots.  Many of them were preemptive fixes to possible problems with the older Chevy 6.5L turbo diesel system.  We completely upgraded/overhauled the cooling system, replaced our 2.5" exhaust with 4", new tires, new shocks, and added 2 additional leaf springs for all of the weight we are carrying. As for living quarters, we invested heavily in a good solar setup with new batteries, 2 solar panels, a good solar charger, system monitor, and efficient 12-volt fridge (it's not living without cold beer).  We replaced the propane fridge so that we didn't have to rely on filling our propane tank often.  We also replaced the old water heater with an instant, on-demand water heater for hot showers.

How did you save up or finance your trip?
We are frugal and saved lots during our working years.  We started our early retirement in 2009 and don't plan on working again (at least not for money).  Sloooow overland travel is one of the cheapest ways we've found to live.

How long do you plan on traveling?
We don't know how long the PanAm will take us.  3 years - 10 years is our estimate.  We will end up spending an entire year in Baja before we cross to the mainland so we're already moving at a snail's pace.

Where do you plan on driving?  
After Baja and mainland Mexico, we will hit all of the Central American countries and we hope to hit almost all of the South American countries as well.  Our route will depend on weather and political climate.

What were your family’s and friends’ reactions when you told them about your trip before you left?
For the most part our friends and family seemed happy for us.  At first no one really believed we were going to do it.  Most people couldn't help but suggest that we should "be careful".  The most surprising reaction, which happened OFTEN, was people suggesting we carry a gun (no, we're not packing).

Did you speak Spanish before you left your home country?  
Scott has a good memory of his high school/college spanish.  Heather, on the other hand, did not get good grades in junior high spanish.  We just started some lessons from Michel Thomas and find them THE BEST compared to any other audio lessons.  

Do you have any advice for others who may be considering driving the Americas?
If you're considering it, don't let anyone stop you from making it happen.  Expect to hear lots of stories about someone who knows someone who knows someone that was robbed, raped, car jacked, kidnapped, murdered, etc.

Do you have a blog or a website describing your trip?  If so, what is its address?