September 2018

This month’s post will feature an update on our travels and an overview of our current home on wheels. 

September has been a month of driving and searching for ‘good’ weather.  In the month of September we’ve covered just over 1500 miles to travel from Vancouver Island to southern Utah.  We left Vancouver Island after the long holiday weekend with some sadness about leaving the island and feeling excited about exploring more of the PNW.  Our aim to explore the coasts of Washington and Oregon was thwarted by the rainy weather in combination with our current home on wheels.  We are currently in roof top tents and have no indoor space so wet, chilly weather is a challenge for our comfort and basic daily needs such as cooking and eating.  There were still large fires in both Washington and Oregon as of early September causing poor air quality so we will have to attempt a more extensive exploration of the PNW sometime down the road.  We soon headed east towards Idaho and reset in Coeur D’Alene for a few days.  In Coeur D’Alene we were able to play at their amazing playground near downtown and ogle over the yachts in the marina.   We saw some beautiful boats and the leaves were starting to change colors.  Henrys Lake was our next camp, which was beautiful with more fall colors and all sorts of wildlife – ducks, moose, eagles and trumpeter swans.  Henrys Lake is approximately 6400 feet above sea level so temperatures at night were in the mid-30’s making tent living even more exciting.  Sleeping in a tent without a heater in cold conditions seems to not bother kids as much as grown-ups, so we put on more layers and faired well.  We decided to make a quick stop in SLC to explore living options for our work stint in SLC this winter.  Our first time camping on Antelope Island was pretty cool with bison walking through the campground and beautiful sunsets.  While on Antelope Island we met a family of 4 from France who had been traveling in the US and Canada for almost 8 months.  It is always fun to chat with other families on the road and let the kids play.  Returning to SLC was fun and we are looking forward to spending time back in SLC this winter.  We headed south out of SLC with the plan to return to the St George area for warmer weather.   One of our favorite camping spots in Southern Utah is near the Silver Reef area.  The area has great views, beautiful sunrises and sunsets and there’s easy access to trails and the city.  Our current plan is to continue to explore southern Utah, eastern Nevada and northern Arizona over the next month before we head to an indoor living space for the winter in SLC. 

 

Overview of our current home on wheels:

Vehicle: Lexus LX470, SLEE rear/front bumpers, ICON suspension and that concludes Laura’s knowledge of our vehicle (and she thinks it’s pretty sweet to drive).  Kevin is happy to provide an exhaustive list of modifications should anyone be interested or want to geek out on all things Land Cruiser related.   

Trailer: Borderland Outpost trailer with hot water heater, kitchen, 120watt solar panel that powers our fridge/lights/device charging, storage for tools/clothing/toys/food/fridge/firewood/propane tanks/gear, and an ARB fridge that Kevin installed.   

Living spaces: hard-shell rooftop tent on the Lexus, soft-shell rooftop tent on the trailer, awnings on the trailer and on the Lexus, outdoor shower incorporated into the trailer all enjoyed in the great outdoors!  People commonly ask about sleeping arrangements and since both kids are too young to sleep in a RTT together we split up - boys in one tent and girls in the other tent.  The boys are gentlemen and gave us girls the nicer tent (the hard-shell tent). 

For those who are interested in how we chose this set-up read on! 

We explored many options when we decided to sell our previous rig knowing that if we pursued our own build that we would need a temporary solution so that we could stay on the road.  We had the Lexus in storage during our first year on the road and when we rolled it out of storage it started without any problems after charging the battery (go Toyota!).  We knew we wanted to try to utilize the Lexus as in our previous sticks and bricks life we never felt that we fully experienced it’s off-road capabilities.  For our temporary home on wheels we explored Four-wheel campers, teardrop trailers, vans and possibly buying a used expedition vehicle that would fit our needs instead of building our own.  As we scoured ads across the west we found that many expedition vehicles seat 2 passengers in the cab or if they seat 4 or more they are bigger than what we want long-term, so a no-go.  Vans are a hot item and tend to be pricey; plus we would have had to deal with registration, insurance and maintenance.  So a van was out of the running.  Another truck camper such as Four-Wheel campers would have required a vehicle purchase and likely a lot of outfitting, so we opted to not pursue that route either.   Kevin had previously built an off-road trailer and we knew that a set-up like that could keep us on the road, allow us to spend as little as possible and allow us to continue to explore off the beaten path places.   Then began our search for an off-road trailer and these days there are so many options.  It seems that just 5 years ago there were a handful of manufactures making off-road trailers, but now these types of trailers are everywhere.  We needed a trailer pretty immediately and wanted one that could safely store our belongings - the Borderland Trailer fit our criteria.  The trailer we bought was a demo unit and we bought it directly from Borderland (part of a company called Mobilight).  Our interactions with the folks at Borderland were great and the trailer has performed well.  As you know from our previous post and IG feed we are in process of building our own expedition vehicle with Acela Truck Company and Total Composites and we aren’t sure yet what we will do with the Lexus.  The trailer will be for sale in the near future as we won’t need it with our new rig and there’s no reason to store it. 

 

As always happy exploring and more updates to come!