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?
He finished his rounds and we waited in anticipation. He grabbed a bowl and held it up. “This one is the winner!” It was our bowl! It had been a while since we’d won at anything, so this was thrilling. Oh, the sweet taste of victory! I strutted around with my chest puffed out while Sheena squealed with excitement. In the end we had a really nice dinner with our new friends. We rested in a clean and comfortable bed, ate great food, and laughed our brains out, thanks entirely to the kindness of.
Old BMW and used it to drive to Flagstaff when she could, and on occasion I would surprise her by riding my road bike to her house unannounced. The trip was 130 miles, so I would typically collapse in exhaustion on her bed, where I would remain until she went to work at Barro's Pizza, and could revive me with slices of pepperoni with ranch dressing. When she graduated from high school, she moved in with me in Flagstaff, replacing Brandon — yes, the same Brandon — as my roommate. And my roommate.
Stack of plastic cups. Every flavor under the sun can be had — watermelon, mango, strawberry, tomate de arbol — but limonada seems to be the people’s choice. Other men push carts down the street filled with carafes of coffee. Small Dixie cups are offered, filled with either tinto (black coffee) or café con leche (coffee with milk) as a quick pick-me-up. In addition to all of the drink options, there are plenty of vendors selling sticks of meat or fried treats. One popular greasy item is the arepa.
There were even two cats in the yard. But after several years passed, we started to realize that time seemed to be passing more quickly than ever before. We would think back to events that had happened two or three years prior, and they seemed like they had happened last month. We knew that something needed to change, that we would have to do something interesting and adventurous to shake things up. But we didn't know what. And Sheena's biological clock was ticking, so we'd need to do something.
Microwaveable chicharrón. I frequently wandered into the kitchen where, from high above the city, the lights of Lima spread out like a sparkling carpet all the way to the horizon. Hours later, in the wee hours of the morning, Sheena and I strolled along the boardwalk back to our van. When we had left the apartment, Nightmare on Elm Street was still onscreen, still paused on the scene with the crazy-eyed man. I tried to imagine what it would be like to expatriate to Lima, but my mind was haunted.