Still driving at over 300,000 miles, this Toyota Sienna saw us from Santa Cruz, California to the southern Pacific coast of Costa Rica. The van came to us in a fortuitous moment (possibly a story for another time), which allowed me to sell my car, a Nissan Versa, to fund this very trip.
Before taking off the van needed a little work, the trunk door was smashed from an accident and needed to be fixed. A replacement door was found at a pick and pull and family helped to install it. With a few additional patches here and there using sheet metal and foam from a bottle called “Great Stuff,” the van with its new door was ready to set off on an adventure.
With the van packed to the ceiling we drove it 3,861 miles (6,214 km) and encountered only two small mishaps: a tire blow-out in Arizona and a smashed window in Mazatlan, Mexico. We made it safely through eight countries (including the US), countless state borders, and a few troubled areas.
Past armed to the teeth military, police, and security guards, the van’s repaired backside helped us to travel incognito. Over pot holes, dirt roads, and streams the van made it faithfully, with the occasional need to stop for crossing cows, lizards, and horses.
The van traveled through forests, fields, mountains, deserts, jungles, towns, and overcrowded cities, before finally reaching its destination in Costa Rica. Still running strong, the van continues to transport us up and down the coast as we visit beaches and towns.