Words: Taylor Boyd
Photos: Taylor Boyd, unless noted
For the next two or three years, Scotty Wittlake, with his wife, Marissa, and their cat, Fang, will be living out of their truck—the Rust Bunny— somewhere in Central or South America. They'll be catching fish and harvesting sourdough from a jar in the '88 Toyota they've converted into a livable space.
I saw Scotty during the Legendary Banked Slalom, where he'd talked of his and Marissa's intention of driving far south. Since, they've landed in Mexico. "Four hundred and fifty miles into Baja, I paddle out, and there's Scotty Wittlake," Jason Robinson recently mentioned in passing. Hours prior, I'd coincidentally dug up photos of Scotty's rig, shot at Mount Baker.
An update from J. Rob confirmed the success of Scotty and Marissa's plan, or lack thereof. The Rust Bunny has already traveled thousands of miles of highway, coastline, and mountain roads, and it's just getting started.
This insulated livable space allows Scotty and Marissa to live comfortably in locales warm and cold, almost anywhere on that world map gracing the ceiling.
The plan is not to have one. The timeline and map are rough. Scotty, Marissa, and Fang have removed themselves from the rat race and found deep snow, good waves and ample fish in the process. Living rent-free with no direct ties to a certain place mean nearly anywhere on the world map that graces the Rust Bunny’s ceiling is a potential place to park it.
The Rust Bunny is a Frankenmobile, comprised of an ’88 chassis, an ’00 engine and a massive welding project. | Photo: Chris Wellhausen
The cab and the chassis are just an '88 Toyota pickup. Under the hood is an engine pulled out of a 2000 4Runner. On the back is a camper. First the camper came off—so it was just a chassis—in order to put a new engine in. The engine, wiring harness, and computer came from a wrecking yard for $800, with 100,000 miles. Insulation was added to the inside of the camper, as well as storage and amenities. Scotty calls it his "first real welding project."
A hidden storage compartment—what border patrol dreams are made of.
Underneath the rear, a tray is welded to hold spare fuel tanks—the type of thing that excites Canadian border officers. "They thought for sure they'd caught somebody," Scotty says. "I was pretty excited to show 'em it was my fuel tank." The kitchen has a two-burner stove, plus storage for pans and utensils. A cutting board covers the sink when not in use. Two bench seats join together to form a bed. The truck is insulated with what Marissa has dubbed the Camper Coozie. Scotty's also crafted shelving with a built-in compartment for a generator.
Roadside maintenance. | Photo: Marissa Dorais
The Rust Bunny has parked in the mountains of British Columbia and on the sand at the southern tip of Baja, with stops at notable surf and snowboard destinations between. Over the course of the next two or three years, it will rumble its way into South America. Sometime during the winters, Scotty will return to the States for a month or two to snowboard. No plan, no problema. Follow along: @noplannoproblema