An Update on Jessie

In Jessie and I, News & Stuff, Travel by David54 Comments

Almost 3 months ago I started talking about the plans that Jessie and I had. You can read the full story HERE. Hard to believe it’s almost time to cast off the bowline and set the sails, but on February 26 I give the condo keys back to the landlady, spend two last days in Vancouver sleeping on the floor of a friend’s studio and on February 28, I start driving. My buddy Dave Delnea is planning to come with me for the first leg, and that might delay our border crossing by a few days, so I may take the ferry across the water and spend three or four days island hopping first, but around the 3rd of March we plan to head south for the Olympic Peninsula.

The truck, Jessie, has not been without growing pains. She’s had a lot of work to make her ready for this overland trip, and is still in the shop now. The artwork at the head of this post was inspired by WWII nose-art on planes and Jessie will be sporting this on her doors. The Autohome, my new home for the rest of the year has just been installed on the roof. It’s a queen-sized bed in a tent, wrapped in fibreglass and it’s fantastic. Bigger than the bed in this condo. My 4×4 guys sent me these last night:

The new transmission is in and I’m told she’s running beautifully, though I’ve yet to have time to myself with her. We also installed an auxillary battery that’ll power my computers, cameras, cooler, etc., without draining the main battery. In the coming days the bonnet/hood will get a big piece of black checkerplating, to match the ones on the wings, so I can stand on it to shoot. She’ll also get security grills for windows and a massive lockbox installed in the back. It’ll be easier to tow the whole beast away than steal my stuff from the back.

Speaking of stuff, I’ve narrowed it down to 4 Pelican 1650 cases, 8 small Rubbermade Action Packers, 2 duffle bags, a Think Tank Retrospective 30, a HUGE Patagonia courier bag, and assorted loose bits like camp stove, MSR tarp, MSR tent, tripods, a GPS, an iPad, a 12v cooler, and a Virgin Mifi unit. The rest got sold or put into storage.

Plans haven’t firmed up much in terms of itinerary. I’m keeping things as loose as I can at the moment. I’m giving Jessie the benefit of the doubt but she’s proven a bratty 18-year old given to displays of hard-headedness and until I’ve taken her through a few hundred problem-free miles I won’t be making any promises about where I’ll be or when. My first real stop will be in San Francisco because I’ve got a quick flight to Chicago to catch before coming back to SFO and making Santa Fe my next big milestone.

I picked up a couple GoPro Hero HD video cameras I plan to mount on the truck, and if I get comfortable with it I’ll post the odd video blog from the road in addition to the usual installments of way too many words, introspective navel-gazing, and the occasional photograph.

I am having a small informal get-together on February 27 between 5pm and 9pm in Vancouver. It’ll be small but I’ve got 10 spots open for blog readers. If you want in, drop an email to Corwin at PixelatedImage dot com and we’ll pick 10 to join us. I hope to see the rest of you at some point on the road. If our paths cross, I’d love to have a coffee. You can keep following my adventures here or on Twitter, which I’ll be using a lot (@PixelatedImage) or you can chose to follow Jessie on Twitter instead. She’s @JessieTrip.

11 days and counting…


  1. I purchassed Jessie in 1993. Since then I have replaced the frame, transmission, front axle, the entire suspension (added a lift kit). added locking differentials, ARB off road bumper, winch, roof rack, tachometer and rock sliders.
    I live in Eastern Ontario and belong to the Ottawa Valley Land Rover Association. Jessie has been on several off road events (i.e. in water 4 feet deep) and performs very well. I Love Her!!!!!!!!

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  3. David,

    Happy Trails, If you end up heading in the direction of in LA, shoot me a email, I have a private hostel room and a hot shower for you.


  4. David, Godspeed on your journey, will be excited to see the updates. Spent 5 months living in a Westfalia, photographing Mexico last year – what a journey.
    North Bay – San Francisco area – free coffee or lunch on me if you want to swap road stories.

  5. Dave,
    If you find yourself in Albuquerque in latter Mar or early Apr, let me know. I have a house in Albuquerque, about 45min south of Santa Fe. You’re welcome to a decent meal and place to stay. – Sean

  6. I’m in Ecuador right now but will be back late March 23. If you haven’t passed through Carson City, NV before then, give me a shout and we’ll find space for you & Jessie.

  7. Dave:

    I am only expecting the fantastic images that this new life will bring to you. This new relationship with the much desired Jessie will bring more to you as a human being and later, as a photographer; i feel very lucky for you letting us be a part of this beautiful process!

    Enjoy, live, snap!!

    Cheers from Croatia (my own let-go of former comfortable life)

  8. Very cool! You’ll have a blast. Hope you make it to New England. There are lots of Land Rover enthusiasts out here who’d love to hear about your trip.

  9. I’m wishing you and Jesse a wonderful, safe and exciting travel adventure. I love to travel without much of a schedule, not knowing what’s around the next bend in the road.

    If you stop in Portland, OR, I’d love to buy you a cup of coffee….with just a little advanced notice.

    Have a great time, filled with sublime images from the road!

  10. I’m in Morocco following your adventure. Best wishes, if you get to Florida before the end of April I will contact you. A packing tip look up Eagle Creek packing systems there are great, used them for the last three years saved me a loads of time and space.

  11. Exciting stuff, David. Not sure if your travel plans will take you below the Orange Curtain (i.e. Orange County), but if you get near northern San Diego, I’d love to buy you a coffee. Or a beer. Or a beer with coffee in it, as I’ve been told that can be a tasty combination. In fact, it is the not-so-secret ingredient in the beer made by Kurt Vonnegut’s family ( A little trivia for a Sunday.

    Regardless, I will be following your trip with great interest and envy.

  12. David,
    Enjoy your journey. I look forward to reading about it often. Coming near Chicago? Please drop a’s on me!

  13. I’m very excited for you, David. I wish you all the best for this adventure, personally, photographically, and spiritually. If you find you happen to find yourself near Winnipeg, on your way back west, feel free to stop in and say hi.

  14. Author

    Mac – Anyone that knows me knows stability ain’t my strong suit. 🙂

    Melissa – I got all the mechanical stuff done at HESP Automotive and all the custom stuff done at Kore 4×4, both in North Vancouver.

  15. Safe travels David! Very much looking forward to your updates from the road. Cheers!
    PS. As a side, where did Jessie get all her work done?

  16. I love Jessie! To only have a journey like yours…. The central coast of CA is a b~utiful place to see through a lens. I’m looking forward to see were Jessie takes you…

  17. Standing on your hood to take pictures? Reminds me of the pictures of Ansel Adams standing on the top of his GMC Suburban with a huge camera on a tripod. I continue to believe that this must have been the idea of some publicity man. Ansel had to have known that under that huge Suburban was nothing but squishy springs and that his slightest motion would cause things to start moving. A tripod ain’t much good unless it is sitting on something solid. The hood of Jessie will give you some height and a different perspective but not much stability. Have a nice trip. The American Southwest is an amazing place particularly in the springtime. Take time to smell the flowers

  18. With the number of people (including me) who will be following you closely across the miles… I doubt you’ll be lacking for company! At least to the degree that we all can cheer you on from our corners of the world. Looking forward to all you have to share as you journey… safe travels, David.

  19. David:
    Good luck on the trip and in taking on this great challenge. You have inspired us all to follow our hearts and gut instincts. Feel free to catch up with me if you pass through southern Ontario.

  20. this is beyond awesome. i’m continually inspired by donald miller’s book ‘a million miles in a thousand years’ where he talks about living your life like a movie/story and you are definitely writing an exciting and adventerous chapter in your personal book. can’t wait to follow along.

  21. When you get the chance, please list the photo/computer gear you will be taking along in those Pelican cases. Thanks. You will be in our thoughts & prayers.

  22. Excited for you and your journey ahead. Looking forward to reading what you discover about life along the way.

  23. David,
    Best of luck for the trip. Unfortunately my Landy (Emily) is 60 this year so not quite up for the same sort of trip. Ill be watching jealously from the UK!

  24. I’m in Santa Fe for the week, it’s been a wonderful week of photographic learning and fun.
    If you travel on I40 or Rt. 66 on your way to Santa Fe, remember Gallup, NM. Mi casa es su casa! Would love to meet you in person and I’ll even treat you to lunch or dinner. 🙂

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  26. I have been following your journey(s) from afar and read your all your books…and you articulate beautifully what resonates deeply within my soul. I would love that cup of coffee if you find yourself in the Chicagoland area!

  27. Hope you get to spend time in the midwest. I will follow your journey via your blog. Lookng forward to hearing you in Peoria.

  28. Don’t hesitate to drop into the beautiful Eastern Townships of Southern Quebec. You will be pleasantly surprised if you do….

  29. David, very exciting to see all the progress and looking forward to following you on your journey.

    PS I’m still bummed that @JessieTrip has more followers than me! 🙂

  30. Things sound like they are falling in place. Got to admit, it will be nice to live vicariously thorough your posts. I’ll be watching to see how close you come to passing by Northern Ohio.

  31. David, I am so excited for you! I can’t wait to follow your journey and see how your work evolves.

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