After doing some work on the engine and changing the oil (and receiving the money), we booked some hotels and headed south!
First things first; getting stopped at the border.
We were not surprised. We were straight up driving what looked like a rape van or drug van… We pulled over, sat for an hour while they searched our stuff and (with somewhat bemused expressions) sent us on our way.
After cleaning up baby vomit, we were on the road again! We drove through North Dakota and just past the painted valley and Teddy Roosevelt park (beautiful area; highly recommended), we began to smell smoke.
We pulled over and found that there was no oil in the engine. Oil I’d just changed myself.
We dumped bottle after bottle after bottle of oil into the engine, finally filling it from empty. We drove to the local Ford shop and they agreed to take a look despite being booked up.
The oil pan seal had failed.
And the only way to fix it on an old Econoline was to pull the engine. Over $1000 worth of work. American.
When we explained our situation, they told us our best bet was to get to our destination the shortest way possible and to buy cheap bulk oil from Walmart; refill the oil every time we gas up.
Oh, and the primary engine access was from inside the van, not the hood, so it wasn’t sealed. So as the oil leaked, we would continue to have trouble with smoke seeping into the van interior. Oil smoke. So we would have to drive with the windows down.
In early Spring when it was still below freezing outside.
When we stopped for the night we had to completely replan our route. No more San Francisco with friends. Luckily we had planned a much longer trip with longer stops, so we were able to decrease the amount of time on the road each day while still getting to the buyer on time.
So we decided to take Highway 15 to Vegas, then pop through Death Valley before selling the van in LA.
What else could possibly go wrong?