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We rode through North America in a grey Chevrolet panel van. Because it had a short exhaust pipe, it rumbled, so we called it "Thunder".

Into Thunder we packed a huge amount of stuff, foolishly in retrospect, because it meantv that we were never able to simple park the van and walk away.

We had two laptop computers, a scanner, a CD-ROM drive, two tents, a mosquito awning, tarpaulins, shelves full of books that we never read or used, enough clothing to dress an Everest expedition, tools, five cameras, gas bottle, water bottles, the equipment to cook four course meals, inflatable matresses, folding chairs, four sleeping bags for some reason (perhaps wishful thinking), umpteen tubs, bags, boxes.

Plenty of shelves inside Thunder, complete with secret compartments   There was even a desk, at which one could crouch and tap away at a laptop

But apart from the first couple of days, Thunder traveled without a tremor, safely and sedately, chugging up mountains and across deserts.