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Tips From A Transient - Buy A Van With Four Wheel Drive | 02/07/2011, by powderjunkyTips From A Transient is a new series on skiingthebackcountry.com that showcases the highlights and lows of living in a van and following the snow.
From the day we bought McGarnigle (Free stickers for anyone who knows where that name comes from), we should have known better. Our first time driving McGarney, he struggled to get up the 5 degree slick as sand paper road with a couple of fish tales and slips that would make any Mario Kart enthusiast proud.
But ever the optimist, like my hero Optimus Prime, we ignored the building evidence against our van not being a winter vessel and a few days later we began the first of 30,000+ miles in the last year and a half of chasing snow.
Then as unsuspecting as Tiger Wood's wife, we were coming out of Granite Hot Springs just outside of Jackson, Wyoming when I whipped the people packed van at 8 mph around an icy curve and soon found ourselves swerving out of control right toward the river. With in seconds we plowed through the snowbank with the force of the incredible Hulk on meth, after he’s finished off a bottle of NyQuil. People were screaming, the dog was barking, babies were dying and tasty Albertson's Trail Mix exploded everywhere.
When I opened my eyes, and realized my underwear was clean I looked around and sighed with the relief usually only Pepto-Bismal can bring. The van had not gone into the river but was now teetering over the steep shoulder off the left side of the road with the river a couple of feet below us. My mind quickly flashed back to a scenario I had witness many times before, on cartoon network. If a bird had landed on the hood our mobile home would become officially a house boat.
The dog, the only one not phased by the situation, frantically ate the spilled Albertson Trail Mix that blanketed the floor. As we slowly and carefully made our way out with the likeness of circus ninjas as to not budge the overhanging home on wheels, we realized buying a two-wheel-rear drive van for winter travel is about as smart as buying advanced tickets to the Justin Bieber movie.