Book Review: “Drive Nacho Drive” by Brad & Sheena Van Orden

categories: south america travel

DriveNachoDriveI didn’t know anything about Brad, Sheena or Nacho when I agreed to review “Drive Nacho Drive“. But I admit anyone who names a Vanagon Nacho, gets my attention. And then they reveal they plan to drive to Tierra del Fuego? Oh, yes I’m in!

My initial excitement waned a bit early in the first part. It is the only part not written as blog entries by either Brad or Sheena. The book opens with a brief story that I assume is from before they left, as Brad mentions getting to work. Then it skips to a story in the Colombian Andes. This sort of skipping around in time continues through the first part making it a little confusing to follow. Had I not agreed to review the book I may have stopped reading. I’m so glad I didn’t because I would have missed out on gems like “… the sky exploded into flames like a cheap polyester suit…” I don’t know you Brad, but I love your language. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Part Two opens with Brad sharing reactions to the news of their big trip. Chapter One is already, much easier to follow. This is also where the book takes on its blog entry like appearance that continues through the book. After sharing some letters and blog feedback Brad moves on to share a sort of outline of the plan to save money for the trip. It’s much more entertaining than that sounds. I couldn’t help but giggle picturing a grown man wearing a “pearly white” helmet and riding a Vespa named Cicilia. Actually most of their money saving tips could probably benefit all of us, even if we aren’t driving around the world.

Part Three starts with the first entry by Brad in Puerto Peñasco, Mexico. We are officially on the road! The quote above is actually from the first page of this section. Brad was referring to the sunset as they crossed the border into Mexico. Quite an image! This is also where I should mention not to read this book if you are at all hungry. Sheena seems to be a bit of a foodie and does a wonderful job describing much of the local cuisine. The food is described well enough to make my stomach grumble, even right after lunch.

From here the book continues on with the adventures of Brad and Sheena (and Nacho.) And adventures they are! Everything from mechanical problems to roads that have crumbled to nothing happens to the trio. In my opinion the vehicle really is as much a part of the group as the people. There are plenty of good, even great, things that happen to them as well. They dispel many myths Americans have heard about traveling to Mexico and South America. The stories of the people they meet along the way are heartwarming and sometimes laugh inducing (see the story of the dancing cops!)

The book format is great to read in short bursts or to sit and read at length. I haven’t followed the blog (yet!) so I don’t know how edited the text is from its original form. But it has the flow of many vignettes that come together to make a whole. This is a fun to read tale of a great real life adventure that kept me engaged all the way to Tierra del Fuego. I laughed, I cried and I learned that Mennonites are prominent in Belize! I can’t wait to catch up to Brad and Sheena as they continue their adventure.

 

Disclaimer: A free copy of this book was given to a volunteer with the expectation that a fair and honest review would be written.

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by Melanie Fagan

Melanie is a childhood road trip veteran, including the Chicago to LA round trip with her dad and 3 year old sister at age 8. She prefers the printed word but has blogged and written around the internet. She was found most recently at her blog which she hopes to restart now that the adventure of year one of motherhood is behind her.

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