This year, our trip will take us to some familiar places, but also to more new locations we’ve never visited before. This year will also see my son, Brendon (along with his girlfriend) coming with us in his 4Runner.
We will start by staying near Amarillo before heading up to Colorado where we will go on the Medano Pass in Sand Dunes National Forest. I enjoyed our visit there last year, despite bending a knuckle on the front-right suspension of the Gunship. It was my first real trail, and only our second true overlanding experience (primitive/disbursed camping site).
We will then go West toward Utah where we will visit some National Forests and do a lot more off-roading and primitive/disbursed camping. Next up will be Forestry Service trails and a visit to the Grand Canyon where we will have our refit/reset stay at a hotel.
Then, it’s back on the road with visits to more National Forests in Arizona and New Mexico before heading back home to Texas. Our first and last days are long drives, but we’ve done that before, and we prefer spending more time outside the state of Texas than in it as there are surprisingly few good sites along our path coupled with the general discomfort of camping in heat.
We are really looking forward to the trip, and while I likely will be unable to post during the trip, I will be keeping a record of all the places we stay with photos (also from our drone) and I will post a recap here.
In the meantime, we are in the process of making final preparations and doing gear-checks (known as PCC/PCI’s in the Army). My wife thought I was silly for doing these checks until we skipped testing the awning for our tent before going on our last trip and finding out too late that it didn’t fit our setup. That was a big piece of gear to haul around and have to unload and load into the vehicle every day.
All vehicle modifications have been done on the Gunship (with one exception below), and while I do have a TJM snorkel arriving today, it’s uncertain as to whether this will go on my vehicle or my son’s. My wife seems to think we don’t need it. While I disagree, it will also come down to whether it will fit with my Sherpa Equipment Co. Crestone roof rack.
Also for my son’s vehicle, we need to mount the Apex Overland recovery points which were removed from the Gunship when we put the Shrockworks Ultralight bumper on (the new bumper takes the place of the Apex recovery points).
I’ll be doing a final going-over of the vehicle this weekend to ensure all nuts, bolts, and add-ons are firmly attached. My son and I are also going to add ARB diff breathers to both of our 4Runners as we will be doing a few water crossings and we’re not sure how deep the water will be. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Otherwise, we are prepped for the trip. My wife and I are ready to go now and joke all the time that we can always just leave a little early. There’s just this matter of our jobs getting in the way.