Feed on:


We could not imagine embarking on a trip like this without any training. We identified three areas in which we had little or no knowledge that were necessary areas of expertise for the journey. It was an over-design approach: We did not want to bump up against our limits in any of these key fields.

Frank Gagliardi

Professor Frank Gagliardi
at City College SF

Courses in Automotive Technology, City College of San Francisco

Our main concern for the Long Drive was our lack of knowledge about cars. Working on cars was fulfilling, but there were moments of sheer terror. Like when we crimped the heater hose, or broke a bolt outside the garage at Hunter’s Point. Most people start by changing the oil – we dove in and changed the timing belt. For eighteen months we studied with Frank Gagliardi at the City College of San Francisco and at the suggestion of my racer friend Chris Lock, we bought an old 1997 Miata as a project car.



Practice Rescue

Wilderness EMT, NOLS Wilderness Medical Institute

The NOLS course was a semester of learning packed into one month. Since neither of us had had any medical training whatsoever we had to work real hard – getting up everyday 4:30am to study and sleeping at 10pm at night. We almost got killed on the way to ER rotations and sadly we saw a person die. Luckily we did not have to use any of our emergency medical training on the trip.


Chai - Eleazar Garcia Vargas

In the classroom with Chai

Learning Spanish, Solexico Oaxaca

Learning languages is a passion with us. Solexico was much more enjoyable than either Automotive Technology or EMT. Even though we studied five hours a day for five days a week, it did not feel like hard work. This month long investment in Spanish proved to be very useful later in the trip, when we started connecting with the locals. Many people in Central and South America speak English and one can get by with hand gestures, but without knowing Spanish, it is difficult to connect.


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