June 26, 2020
Sean Silvera was hunched in his upside-down truck at the bottom of the valley after it had gone down a steep hillside — tumbling side over side, front over back, when he began to smell the fumes of leaking gas from the small tank tucked in the cab. A lot had happened in a matter of moments, but all he knew was that he had to get out.
Silvera — a contractor, traveling power yoga instructor and former Marine — was no stranger to time spent on the road. He’d driven his motorcycle to Baja and back, traveled the nation teaching yoga classes and recently completed building out his ¾-ton Ram pickup on 40” tires with heavy-duty suspension, a flatbed tray and pop-up camper. As a lover of overland travel, it was his intention to eventually start living semi permanently on the road, tackling the Pan American and driving up to the Arctic Circle.
In March 2020, however, Silvera left his house full of college-aged kids home on break to spend some time at his rural cabin in northern California about 180 miles away. By the time he got there, it was raining heavily.
The top of a hill was the only spot at the rural cabin where Silvera got a fraction of a cellphone signal. Needing to complete a few work-related tasks by end of day, he hopped in his truck to make his way up the hill. His tires were slipping in the mud, but he wasn’t too worried because the Ram had lockers and four-wheel drive.
Suddenly, though, things took a real turn for the worse.