I have great news – Vanifest is fixed, runnning well and preparing to make the long trek to Alaska again this summer! Vanifest’s leaf springs failed last month in California, creating the “perfect storm” for much inconvenience and expense as we got stranded in the California ghetto with a packed schedule of adventures ahead of us and and no transportation to get there.

A shop in Richmond, California took apart Vanifest’s front end and then couldn’t remount the leaf springs because one of them broke when it was removed. Therefore, Vanifest was stuck at that shop and became difficult to move. There was not much we could do but wait for the shop to work on our van.

The shop certainly took their sweet time (over 2 weeks) to fabricate new leaf springs for Vanifest.

IMG_0327 (Large)The shop was in a place we did NOT want to spend weeks waiting. We went there for a sailing class but otherwise this was not a fun place to hang out. There was nowhere to camp. The less expensive motels were rumored to be infested with roaches and frequented by prostitutes. The more expensive motels were completely booked. The best thing we found was an inner city community garden with some incredibly cute chickens nesting in raised garden beds.

In the midst of this crisis, we lost faith in Vanifest and started talking about getting a new van that would be more reliable. I cried after spending the second night in the lot of the auto shop and finding out they had no estimate when the repair would be done. I ended up missing one of my favorite canyoneering fests of the year. I had an important project coming up in Boise I had been planning for months. I made plans with the local television show Outdoor Idaho to take them along on a two day canyoneering trip in the Idaho backcountry for one of their upcoming shows. With a dozen people committed to this project, I couldn’t really reschedule it.

10357752_10204044871260943_5740297626429417380_oThings were looking dark, and then Brian saved the day by renting a big SUV. We were ecstatic to escape from the auto shop parking lot! We loaded all our toys into the SUV and cheered as we drove away, leaving Vanifest behind for an undetermined length of time. We drove the rental car back to Boise and got Brian’s Toyota 4-Runner out of storage. A couple weeks later, the Outdoor Idaho show had been filmed and Vanifest was finally fixed. Brian flew to California at 6 AM one Saturday, and drove all the way back to Boise in one day.

Now that the “family” is reunited (Brian, Lisa, Vanifest), we are back in love with Vanifest and ready to enjoy a summer in Alaska. The dream is alive again!


Lisa Hackett

About the Author

Hi, I’m Lisa. I’m a tall, blonde superhero and I live in a van. I do it all. I rappel big waterfalls, drive from Idaho to Alaska solo, live and work in a van in the wilderness and dodge encounters with wolves and bears. Seriously. More

One Response to Van Trouble Part Two – Vanifest Rides Again

  1. wally says:

    good to see you back on the road. its like the ass falls out of your world the when you get all sorted the feeling is great so good luck ….

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About the Author

Hi, I’m Lisa. I’m a tall, blonde superhero and I live in a van and on a sailboat with my superhero husband, Brian. I do it all. I rappel big waterfalls, scuba dive with sharks, dodge encounters with bears and wolves, and work remotely as a full time computer programmer.
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About the Van

Hi, I’m Vanifest. I’m a big, 4x4, off-the-grid van complete with solar panel for power. I'm a 2000 Dodge Ram Van and Lisa has had me since 2009. Read more about me here.


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