Sunsets

I assumed with all of the smoke in the air that the sunsets here in Sedona would be amazing but the evenings I’ve gone out they’ve been pretty disappointing. So today I went back out to the airport hoping the clouds in the sky would light up.

Looking East with the sun shining on Sandstone…

Looking North towards the forest fire…

And then the sun set…

It’s still not looking good but hey, what else do I have to do…and it turned out pretty spectacular…

Overland Expo 2014

I rarely check the FJ Cruiser forum but was bored and checked it last week to discover that the expo was just 50 miles away. I had plans for Saturday morning in Sedona but managed to acquire a space to camp with other forum members for Thursday night. It was slightly odd but there seemed to be an abundance of white Fj’s present…

If you are unfamiliar with the Overland Expo, it is a gathering of vendors, teachers & travelers from all over the country and the world. Classes ranged from how to not be afraid of traveling overseas to how to recover your vehicle to cooking classes. Jeep had a few vehicles from the Chrysler Museum on display

This was an old body mated to a brand new JK undercarriage…

 

They also had this forward controls Jeep..

Local Motors crowd sourced vehicle had 2 cars…

 

There were also an abundance of giant vehicles…

 

I can’t forget that there were hundreds of motos on site as well

And you never know what you’ll find out in No Mans Land…

 

 

No Man’s Land was the camping area behind the off road driving course, my guess was at least 1000 overland vehicles in that area and we heard it got kind of rowdy out there…

It was a good weekend of meeting new friends, meeting the guys that make aftermarket parts and spending a little bit of money…

Asking the correct question…

When planning a 6 month trip you are bound to forget something …

I went to bleed my Hope brakes and besides finding an exploded bottle of brake fluid, I assumed I had everything.

So I break out the repair stand, remove the wheels & brake pads…don’t lose this…

HopeMonopadclip                                                    (its a lot smaller than this)

I adjust the levers so I don’t lose any fluid, then I realize that I’m missing a T10 torx wrench

So I head to Ace in The Village of Oak Creek and strike out, but Absolute Bikes is right next door. The mechanic looks for a wrench and says he doesn’t have a spare so I ask him what he would use if I brought the bike to him and he said they had a Park shop tool…I was about to walk out the door and over to Bike & Bean but it was the right ? because he remembered that they just received this…

ten minutes later, my brakes are bled… Thank you Absolute!

home…

I enjoy camping in my roof top tent, it works great in both warm & cold weather and allows nature to get up close and personal without realizing that a human is near. It sucks in the rain and in high winds

Expo FJ

Last fall I suffered because of a deluge of bad weather including rain, freezing precip & snow. The bad isn’t the rain or the cold but the fact that food is in the weather.

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I decided in the fall that if I was going to continue my nomadic lifestyle that I needed to upgrade. My requirements were light weight as to not affect fuel mileage too much and to have an inside kitchen. I wasn’t worried about space as the RTT isn’t very big. The inside kitchen eliminated the teardrop trailer and light weight/ aerodynamic eliminated almost everything else.

The egg shaped fiberglass trailers started to look like a good choice. The downside is that they are rare and are usually very expensive. It is interesting that the smaller the trailer the more expensive it is…

I started to look for 13 foot Casita like trailers and It turns out that there are more than 20 brands that were made in the 70’s thru today. The downside to the egg’s is the internal stand up height with the majority being right at 6 foot tall inside with only the Burro being 6’3″. The Burro being the hardest to find.

The other downfall to the egg is that since it is shaped like an egg, the bed can be short as well. The 13 foot Casita is a little more than 6 foot long which is no good for my lanky 6’3″ height.

Research and Craigslist searches revealed completely trashed trailers or fully loaded ones locally but I did find a few within 1000 miles from Austin, I was trying to figure out how to look at a trailer in Tuscon & one in Albuquerque. In a Google search I found a forum that specialized in eggs and found a trailer in San Antonio, the add was 4 months old and I assumed it was a dead link but after receiving an email that it was available, I went to look at a 1984 Perris Pacer.

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After 2 visits, I am the new owner. Its a 13 footer which means that the living space is 10 foot by 6’6″. It originally had a bench in the front with a dinette in the rear with both converting to beds. One of the previous owners added air conditioning eliminating the front bench and the last owner used the dinette as just a bed.

I’ve made a few changes, to add storage and to make it it off the grid compatible. I also removed the not so effecient 12/110/propane fridge.

Looking forward:

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Enertainment: PS3 for games/ bluray; laptop for streaming…

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The bedroom, its almost a double bed, remember that the back is rounded so its not as long near the window…

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The closet converted into kitchen storage with some folded clothes storage as well.

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Engel fridge plus solar controls…

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More storage where the old fridge used to be…

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There is also storage on the ceiling for light weight items and also storage under the bed. The porta pottie is also stored under the bed.

All of the lights are 12v and so is the fridge, the stove runs on propane. I also have a deep cycle battery with an 80 watt solar panel for keeping the battery topped off.

Saris Freedom

One of my issues with pulling a trailer is what to do with the bike. The offroad trailer had room on the front for a single tray and it worked fine if the trailer was at the trail. If I had to drive away from the trailer, I was stuck with removing the wheels and stashing the bike in the back of the FJ, not quite ideal.

I needed to find a way to carry my bike, but carrying a hitch mount
Rack wasn’t ideal and spare tire mounts had the bike draped across two poles which doesn’t work well with a sloping top tube full suspension.

When I saw an add for the Saris Freedom, I knew this would be my solution…

The bike is held fairly close to the spare tire

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The Bike is held in three places, both wheels and somewhere on the frame. All 3 mounts are adjustable to fit a multitude of bicycles and you don’t have to remove the wheels!

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When I’m pulling a trailer, I either stash the rack in the FJ or flip it upside down.You can see the rack upside down with the trailer attached.

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Fool Hollow…

Fool Hollow State Park aptly named after a farmer that said he was going to farm there and was called a fool. The name stuck. The park is located in Show Low Arizona and is a fairly new State Park

It is fairly pricey as far as State Parks are concerned at $30 per night with electric & water but you get a level concrete pad

You also get a zen garden of raked gravel, a picnic table & a fire ring.

Fool hollow state park

Fool hollow state park

They’ve done an excellent job of hiding the rv connections…

Fool hollow state park

Each site is well hidden from your neighbors and the outer loop sites have a good view of the lake

Fool hollow state park

Fool hollow state park

Fool hollow state park

This is also the first park I’ve been to that has single & double sites. The doubles have 2 sets of connections….

Single

Fool hollow state park

Double

Fool hollow state park

Each loop also has a shower house. All stalls are actually separate rooms with a toilet & shower with timed hot water.

Bottomless Lake State Park

Another desert oasis, this ones water is surprisingly salty. It’s a series of collapsed domes that salty water flows thru. Some if the lakes are so salty that life isn’t supported. The largest of the lakes is Lea which is also where a swimming beach is located. The lake is almost 100 feet deep

The tower and surrounding buildings were built in the mid thirties by the CCC.

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20140502-174820.jpgThere is also a short MTB trail in the North part of the park. It’s a little over 3 miles in length with almost 450 feet of climbing. Its also interesting that it is clearly visible on Google Maps…