Let your memory be your travel bag.– Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Several years ago, I purchased an old 2000 Tacoma for $8,000 with 135,000 miles. Since then, I have added another $12,000 on upgrades to suspension, wheels and tires, self-rescue equipment, and travel storage for cargo, and 10,000 miles. We constructed a plywood bed behind the seats with multiple layers of dog bedding for Toohey’s comfort. This small truck has offered us great access to remote places in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming where we have explored amazing things in search of adventure and yes, silence. Silence not only from physical noise but from noise of life.
We recently had Jesse at ATLR, who came highly recommended for his work on Toyota trucks, complete pre-trip maintenance on the truck to help prepare us for the journey. Items to include new timing belt, water pump, valve cover gasket, all the fluids, and lubes. He also provided great suggestions on tools and spare parts that we should keep on board. And best of all was his confidence in the overall condition of this truck to complete the journey. This truck will be the mechanical engine that powers our journey and we now feel it is ready for the task.
When we first discussed our journey, we figured we’d just live out of the truck, much like our week-long trips through the west over the past few years. Once we really started thinking about this, we agreed that we might need a few more comforts over the 12 months for rainy days, sleep overs in Walmart parking lots, and those nights with large amounts of mosquitos that like to chow on my hands while flipping burgers. We researched different models, styles, amenities, weights, cost and so many other considerations and came to this: The A-Liner Ranger 12. This is a pop-up trailer with hard sides. It comes with a good sleeping arrangement, a seating area for eating or working, 2 burner stove, sink, water heater, 3-way refrigerator, and several other features. The one glaring omission is that of interior toilet. This was on the list but in the end, we have decided on a small Home Depot bucket or some other small modular unit that stows well. And of course, the landscape shovel for the most natural of all movements.
From the safety standpoint, the hard-sided set up will hopefully slow potential bear threats down enough to buy us time to locate the bear spray, remove the plastic safety strap, and deploy the sauce. This is a hypothesis that hopefully never gets tested.
Given that neither of us has ever lived this lifestyle, much less pulled a trailer around the country, there is still lots to learn.
The Other Stuff
We will both bring one or two bikes, trail shoes, swimming stuff, camping stuff, and backpacks for overnight adventures on the trail. The camper will be equipped with cooking and eating stuff, clothes, and whatnots. We really haven’t gotten into all that yet so likely a separate blog at some point on travel gear and packing stuff will surface.