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Photos Heading cross country in the old postal van

Cornellius Mcgillicuddy

Well-known member
Apr 23, 2020
Reaction score
Reno, Nevada
I bought this 1999 GMC Utilimaster van at auction because the odometer said it only had 43K miles on a V8 diesel engine. On the initial drive, somewhere between Barstow and Reno the odometer stopped working.......I've had no engine trouble, but on occasion it'll blast out some white exhaust. I gutted the cargo bay and set it up for living. It has all the essentials. A mechanic did a fluids exchange , cost a lot, he said my transmission fluid looked like mud and my engine oil was 2-3 quarts low. I've never seen any oil leak down below.

I recently decided my job sucked more than the pay was worth, so I put in my notice. I love to travel by any means, and I've accepted the reality that life is short so I should go while I can. With a bit of "trepidation", a bunch of "I have no idea" and a whole lot of "zero f*cks given", I decided to drive "Shevanigans" East. I have family in NC and I've always wanted to cross the country, to see what lies beyond. Will I make it? No idea! But I realized it has only been my fear that has kept me from trying, so I fear no more. I hopped on a freight train the same way, just went. No mentor, just a bunch of You Tube bravado and I mastered the next task along the way. I absolutely loved those adventures, but this is the next, always challenging ones self outside of the comfort zone. I hope this works out in a similar fashion!

We are not very stealth, so free campsites along the way will be the goal. I plan to take the southern route along I 40. I am quite concerned about police harassment given that It is an unusual vehicle and may attract unwanted attention. State to state travelers are probably a good revenue stream for small town road pirates. I carry no drugs, but there is always open alcohol /liquor in the cargo bay/living compartment.

I worry about running into snow and having to use snow chains, gotta make a detour into Denver on the 23rd I have duals on the rear. Must I put chains on both of the dual tires? A fedex guy said I need only place them on the outside tires. The speedometer is 5 mph slow, so 65 mph read 70 mph, it tops out at 65 mph. Not sure if the previous owner put some kind of governor or restrictor plate on it. Pretty slow up the hills, not a lot of power. Hopefully not many steep mountain passes along I 40. I'm traveling alone, I have no drivers bay stereo. I'll listen to music/podcasts on my phone with earbuds, the van is real loud.

500 miles or 7-8 hours a day is the goal. Up early, drive with the sun and find a spot to camp before dark. Repeat as necessary. The Slabs call to me, I look forward to finding East Jesus and Salvation Mountain when I get back West. If anyone else is traveling along that corridor 11/12-30, DM me and maybe we can hook up. Updates will follow. If anyone has tips, suggestions or any other useful info I would be appreciative.

Last edited by a moderator:

Matt Derrick

Retired Wanderer
Staff member
Aug 4, 2006
Reaction score
Portland, OR
Looks good, I hope it lasts you many miles to come!

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