Shahn has always been uniquely creative, schooled in welding, he also has extensive experience working with wood, fabric, photography, building construction, computing as well as many other useful trades. He has used all these skills and taught himself many more in his 15 year career as a renovator of residential properties and our 12 years together building Draco, traveling, photography and now Drake.

We often wonder what we would be doing were it not for the crippling illness I came down with in 1998. That was the main reason Shahn built Draco. I went from being a pilot and a CPA to being a wheelchair and bed ridden cripple almost overnight with no cause or reason given by the medical community. After 2 years of traveling from hospitals such as the Mayo Clinic and University of Virginia, where I am originally from, with our dignity barely intact we gave up trying to figure it out and decided to try to get on with our lives the best we could.

I was on massive amounts of narcotics just to get through the day my pain was so bad. Shahn asked me “If I can build you a vehicle that you can be comfortable in, would you like to try and continue to travel?” The choices were - stay home behind the same four walls day in and day out in agonizing pain or try and travel and have a different view out the window each day. Hmmm it was a no brainer for me.

Then we started looking at motor homes and of course found nothing that even came close to being what we would need. Because of my illness I had special needs extra heat, special shower and a lift to get into/out of the vehicle. We wanted to be able to have usable 4 wheel drive. So, in order to accomodate all of our requirements we decided to build our own. We had no idea what sort of vehicle to use as the base - a bus or a military truck.....

Then we came upon a 1979 Oshkosh M1000 Crash/ Fire/Rescue vehicle that had been thoroughly abused and was stripped of everything but it's cab,which was hanging on by the gas pedal, and it's engine compartment. The engine had been recently overhauled and the price was right.

This was not a commercial venture for us, this was a part of our life that helped us go forward despite the pain, we did this to help people see what can be done despite a debilitating illness. With a little creativity one can live their dreams no matter how adverse the conditions.

We have lived many adventures in Draco and soon I hope to be strong enough to be able to write a book using our photographs and telling our stories. It took 5 years before I was diagnosed with Chronic Lyme Disease. I have gone through hell and am still there 10 years later fighting this cruel and punishing bacteria. We have also made it our mission to inform and educate everyone we meet about this awful disease and its possible consequences. There are some doctors who believe it is a National Health Crisis. Others who believe it is a world wide epidemic that will make Aids pale in comparison.  So please go to our LINKS page and learn what you can.

Email Me

All of the text and graphics on this Web site are Copyright ©2008 Shahn Torontow / V. Ross Johnson. All Rights Reserved. Please do not copy on to disk, redistribute, attach e-mail, or post the graphics or text on any Web page, FTP site, news group, Intranet or mailing list.

2002-2006 PHOTOS
The new Drake

Mr. Shahn Torontow & Ms. V. Ross Johnson 

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