Between Tacoma Magazine and our trips, we’ve put over 4,000 miles on the MORV Explore this summer. It’s been to Moab twice, Ouray via some amazing trails (See September Tacoma Magazine), Arizona twice, and all over Colorado. Last week I pulled the trailer into the garage for a little autumn cleaning, and to think about what’s next for this beauty.
After getting a substantial amount of gear out of the trailer, I noticed a few things:
First, the outside of the trailer looks like it rolled off the showroom floor, except for a little rubbing on the panel facing the tongue. This came from about 2,100 miles of strapping a storage box to the front. The box held fine and served its function, but left a nasty bit of rash on the trailer. A little touch up pain & it’ll be just fine. A permanent tongue box will eliminate the need for a strapped down box.
Image Courtesy: Bretthn from ExpeditionPortal.com forum
Whether you're surfing Expedition Portal, hanging out at Overland Expo, or reading any given issue of Overland Journal - it's clear that Toyota Trucks, Cruisers, and SUVs are a top choice as an overland platform.
The iconic Toyota brand is known for reliability, dependability, and ease of repair when needed, so it's no coincidence it's one of the top choices for overland travel. Also, since Toyota is an international brand, you're likely to find parts around the globe. In recent years Toyota has focused on using the same parts for multiple vehicles, increasing the chances you'll be able to find what you need on the rare occasion that a repair is necessary.
The Hilux & Tacoma truck platforms are among the top choices for those needing the added utility of a truck bed, while in many countries the 70-series Land Cruiser is the perfect Overland Vehicle (see Expeditions 7). In the United States, all models of Land Cruiser (especially the 80 & 100 series) are at the top of the list, with the newer 4Runner and FJ Cruiser good options for those looking for a smaller platform. Of course Lexus variants of the Land Cruiser (LX Series) and Prado (GX series) are increasingly being used to build dependable overland rigs.
The Overland Expo this year turned out to be quite the adventure for my 3 year old and I. You see, my lovely wife (and our Editor) Angie was planning on joining us at the event, and even spent three days in Ridgway to break up the trip a little (that’s a very good idea when you’re 7 months pregnant). Unfortunately, Angie got called back to Colorado Springs to work at the last minute, so it was Brenden & I for the rest of the journey.
Not wanting to fight the influx of campers like we did last year, we arrived at Mormon Lake early on Wednesday – to a completely empty field. It was actually kind of nice have a little freedom of movement to stake out the FJC/Tacoma camping area in advance. By noon on Wednesday, we had the Manley Explore model setup and ready for the event. We were able to spend a good bit of time exploring the grounds (Brenden is a budding Overland Rider with his Strider bike), and helping others get setup when needed.
Both spring and fall vacations in recent years have lead us to adventures in the southern part of Utah. For spring of 2012 we chose to venture out to Hole in the Rock Trail on a solo trip. Going solo adds another level of challenge to a trip like this. Break something and it gets a lot more complicated and Hole in the Rock is known for causing problems.
Hole in the Rock Trail is part of a Mormon immigrant trail that runs from Escalante, Utah to Bluff, Utah. The entire route runs for 180 miles, however what we today call The Hole in the Rock Trail is just a small segment. The trail is named for the place where the San Juan Mission of Mormon Pioneers constructed a descent to the Colorado River to the east side of what is now Lake Powel. This trail is evidence of the hard work and determination of the Mormons to establish additional settlements in their chosen home of Utah.
You may have seen some of our livestream of the build we accomplished last weeked. I’ve been told that the audio was sub-par so please accept my apologies for that. This build went pretty much as expected and I can’t wait to try out the heater later this summer and into the fall, I really think it will make a huge difference (especially for the little explorers) in the CVT RTT on our Manley Trailer.
At $1231 directly from Adventure Trailers, this kit saves you $550 over the fully assembled Hot Box portable heater. If you have a little skill with hand tools, are comfortable with a little electrical and propane gas work, and have about 4:15(ish) to complete the build, this may be the perfect kit for you. Plus by saving that kind of dough you’ll be able to buy printed copies of FJC Magazine for the next 13.75 years ;)
This is the kind of thing I'd love to see turned into a feature lenth movie
We each take a trip when we pull out of the driveway, and those trips sometimes become adventures, but what does it mean to embark on a true expedition? While it's fun to use the term 'expedition' to give our trips or adventures a cool sound, it’s important to know the difference and understand why overlanding is gaining in popularity.
I've been an outdoor enthusiast and avid backroad driver for over 20 years.
I began by exploring Michigan’s northern forest roads as a teenager, which led to my first Jeep Cherokee when I moved to Colorado Springs in the 90's.
I saw the light in 2007 when my wife Angie & I bought our first FJ Cruiser and began exploring Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico. We started FJC Magazine in 2008 as a 'healthy way for me to deal with my addiction', followed by Tacoma Magazine in 2011.
Today we're excited to bring our son Brenden and baby girl Alana on as many adventures as possible, and we can't wait to see what the future of TCT Magazine brings.