Way back in the summer of 2021, one month before embarking on the trip of a lifetime in our 1979 VW Bus, we called into the flagship show of Happy Productions—a Wednesday night program called The Happy Trucker Show hosted by Shawn Sullivan. We had no idea really what lay ahead of us—no idea our planned 26,000 mile road trip would total over 40,000 miles and include two catastrophic breakdowns. We had no idea how much our plans would need to change based on roads, whims, and weather. We had no idea we would become residents of the Happy Productions studio in the dead of a Minnesota winter. And we had no idea how much the Sullivan family would matter to us, how much we would love them and trust them and just plain enjoy talking to them.
This is a long detour folks, clocking right at one hour. But it’s a detour that covers a lot of ground—the beginning of our journey, including interviews with folks in the Finger Lakes, New York, and how I came to buy my bus, Adie, from a couple in Clear Lake, Iowa. We talk about my friend Neil, who we came to dub “our rescue squad.” We discuss the kindness of strangers like Blacky and his mechanic. We talk about our hometown mechanic, Norm, who acted as our ground control whenever I attempted a repair on my own.
We saw many amazing things in 49 states—wild landscapes and monuments to humankind and nature alike. We saw sunrises and sunsets in some incredible locales and ate great food. But the real treat for us was the opportunity to meet the people we’ve met, form the friendships we did. And no one has cheered us along more fervently than the Sullivan crew.