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Old 12-26-2014, 10:06 PM   #1
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How goes a Sportsmobile in Central & South America?

Hello Folks,

I am new to the Sportsmobile forum. For the past six months or so I've been researching the world of 4x4-capable RVs, as I am in the very preliminary stages of planning a Central/South America trip – probably 5 years away.

First, a bit of background on me. Middle-aged guy with two teenagers who will be out of the house in four-and-a-half years. I was an avid world traveler until raising kids - I'm the main caregiver, running my small business, and losing one helluva lot of money on a newly started business thanks to the 2008 (“Is it really over yet?”) recession curtailed my international adventures. I'm an avid skier, fly fisherman, backpacker, dedicated dad and car enthusiast. As I streak toward the wisdom of middle age, I'm changing my workaholic ways, too, or at least trying to.

This past summer the realization of my kids growing up and leaving kicked in, and if college expenses are not too exorbitant – yeah, right - and I can get a solid employee in place to oversee my business who would allow me 2 months off, 1 month on, 2 months off, etc., I can structure an extended southern road trip.

I have many expensive and indestructible flashlights, a well-used comfy sleeping bag, have at last discovered a light, but comfortable sleeping pad and own a very good survival knife. Now I need an international road trip vehicle.

The EarthRoamer looks like quite a rig, but out of my budget, and quite frankly, even if it was in my budget, I doubt I would buy one as it doesn't seem especially practical for international travel – perhaps due to the large rear camper shell. The truck just seems much more suited to travel in North America – such as hunting leases outside of Dallas. Still, one very nice vehicle. The Westfalia Synchro holds a lot of appeal for me. It's a manageable size, is very well laid out/organized, not overly stocked with accessories, and is loaded with “personality” - something that appeals to me as a 25-year FJ40 Land Cruiser owner. However, in burning up the internet researching this unique vehicle, it just does not appear to have the reliability I would want in a vehicle I'm trusting to take me to the tip of South America. I can handle minor side-of-the-road engine repair, but the last thing I want is to drive a vehicle wondering day in and day out what is going to break on it. Plus – the cost of a solid Westy Synchro is astonishing. I would guess only a handful of people are buying the super pricey Westys to take on international travel. Instead, I would bet most of the high priced examples are being purchased by people who will travel the byways of the USA and Canada where tow trucks, mechanics and parts are just a phone call away. I really like the Westy Synchro, though.

So...........the Sportmobile is now making an appearance at the top of my list. I have got to believe a thread already exists on this site addressing Central and South American travel in a Sportsmobile, but I've been unable to locate it. If the thread(s) on the topic already exist, I'm happy to be directed to them.

The Sportsmobile is certainly burly and capable, and looks decently roomy. My main concern is that trying to have a Ford van serviced/repaired in Central or South America may be it's own adventure. Also – one of these beasts making its way on this kind of road trip is sure to draw attention. I don't necessarily like attention. What I do like, though, is reliability, and at this stage of my life not sleeping on the ground every night, or even cooking meals in a storm of bugs, or simply cooking a meal sheltered from a storm also has its appeal, so a self-contained go-where-I-need-to-go-when-I-need-to go is what I would like.

Any and all advice, opinions and suggestions welcomed.

Cheers!

Jason
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Old 12-26-2014, 10:33 PM   #2
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Re: How goes a Sportsmobile in Central & South America?

Welcome. There are a few members gearing up for similar adventures. Myself I still have a lot to see here in the US but think what you're planning is something that will be an awesome trip. Do it while you can.

Good luck on your endeavor.
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Old 12-27-2014, 05:15 AM   #3
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Re: How goes a Sportsmobile in Central & South America?

The nice thing is that a Sportsmobile can be a practical vehicle for you now. Get one now and start using it locally with your kids. Five years will fly by and you will have it all sorted out and really be prepared for an extended journey south.
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Old 12-27-2014, 05:24 AM   #4
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Re: How goes a Sportsmobile in Central & South America?

Hi

perhaps you get in contact with Schluchtenflitzer (Member here in the Forum). He is planning to go on a world trip with Hus 4x4 SmB from mid 2015 on. I think he knows a Lot on how to get parts in remote places and so on.

Good luck with your trip!

Philipp
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Old 12-27-2014, 11:58 AM   #5
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Re: How goes a Sportsmobile in Central & South America?

Jason - You have similar goals to me. I'm hoping to take mine to C & S America in a few years (lot's of life things may impact that though). Here's a few blogs I'm following of SMBers heading south. Until these recent travelers, I'm only aware of one other SMB that made the trip, but their blog disappeared several years ago. Of course there are countless others doing the journey in other vehicles.

This couple is on their way with their young son.
http://whensparksfly.org/

This couple is getting ready to go.
http://www.johnandmandi.com/pages/van

This couple bought a brand spanking new SMB and hit the road immediately. Not sure I would chose this as the shake down trip, but jealous all the same.
http://travelingtheamericas.com/

I agree with this:
Quote:
Get one now and start using it locally with your kids. Five years will fly by and you will have it all sorted out and really be prepared of a extended journey south.
I've had mine since 2006 and have taken several trips with my wife and two kids in it. Lots of good memories for all of us! Kids are out of the house now, but I still have commitments to them that keep me from an extended road trip for a few more years.

Where are you located. Would love to compare thoughts over a beer if you are in the area.

Phil
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Old 12-28-2014, 04:13 PM   #6
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Re: How goes a Sportsmobile in Central & South America?

Thank you for the welcome, and the suggested resources. I now have solid starting points.

Given how long the SMBs have been around, and how long Central and South America have been around, curious why not many more examples of SMBs making the journey are noted. I guess it's either that not many Sportsmobiles have made the trip, or that not many of the trips have been shared.

Happy New Year!
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Old 12-28-2014, 07:03 PM   #7
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Re: How goes a Sportsmobile in Central & South America?

Welcome mtnhigh, and BTW very cool of you to become a financial contributor to the forum even though you only have 2 posts to your name. I guess you're all-in.


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Old 03-27-2015, 07:04 PM   #8
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Re: How goes a Sportsmobile in Central & South America?

The Ford F-250 with 5.4 liter V-8 was sold in Brazil until 2012. There are a lot of newer ford trucks driving all over South America. I would be cautious with a Diesel or v-10 as mechanics might not be as familiar with the engine.
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Old 03-28-2015, 05:29 AM   #9
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Re: How goes a Sportsmobile in Central & South America?

Go to rv.net.com Truck Camper or NATCOA, lots of them have been to South America.

There is allways groups going down in your US winter.

There is a blogger on this site with two young children, currently on tour now,
go to www.ourroadlife.com Mail Chimp. Try them.

North American Truck Camper Owners Association, NATCOA
Paul Beddows/aka Pig Penn. or Facebook.

Contact, Truck Camper Magazine, www.truckcampermagazine.com
Free site. Loads of information

Let me know how you go. Or PM me.


Just type in on your web browser, Blog, South America, lets say E350 Van or Truck Camper, Sportsmobile, try different combinations, see how you go.

Try Baja Sportsmobile on this site, he's in Mexico, I think?


I'm Whitey on NATCOA forum. Sheriffdoug on RV.Net.com
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