If you want to spend a year travelling the roads of the North American continent, one way to stay safe is to drive what is essentially a safe on wheels. Nick has done just this and writes to tell Biglorryblog the story of Jim the truck and their travels
I bought an 03 plate Mercedes Atego 1823 cash-in-transit truck from Loomis in 2007, who had in turn bought the truck from Brinks. I don’t really know what possessed me! I bought the truck with the intention of converting it into a motorhome, and it’s difficult to imagine a less suited vehicle.
I spent a considerable amount of time over the next few years converting the truck from an armoured cargo vehicle into a partly armoured motorhome, complete with hot shower, flushing toilet, gas oven, fridge freezer, double bed, and even central heating. I benefitted from the great payload of the 18 tonner by being able to fit sufficient fresh water storage for two weeks of backcountry camping, and sufficient batteries and solar panels to keep the fridge running and the lights on indefinitely.
In December 2013, I shipped the truck from the UK to America, and spent the next 11 months driving it around North America, Mexico and Canada, with my wife and dog. I’m certain that Brinks never envisaged their truck climbing steep mountain grades on gravel roads in 40 degree temperatures, but the truck worked admirably in conditions far outside of it’s designed comfort zone! Certainly I would have benefited from the extra 50 horses on the 1828, the crawler gear on the 9-speed box, and perhaps a hub reduction axle, but the 6-speed box and 230hp motor did everything that I asked of them. I was grateful to brinks for specifying the diff-lock and air conditioning, without either of those the trip would have been much less comfortable.
We are now back in the UK, and the truck was so comfortable for us during the trip, that we are still living in it! There are a lot of photos, and tons of information about the conversion and the trip on my blog: www.jimthetruck.blogspot.com
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