This one’s not going to appeal to everyone, but for those of you wanting to know more about Emily (my Jeep, and my home for the next year, starting a week from today), here’s the scoop. Yesterday I got her back from the shop after a few last minute modifications and she’s now ready to roll.
First, she’s a 2011 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited – Sahara Edition. The next step up, the Rubicon comes a little more trail-ready but then Jeep makes those decisions for you, and I wanted to do that myself. So I got the Sahara. Front and rear bumpers, expedition rack, ladder and back racks are all from Garvin Wilderness Products. There’s a Warn XD9000i winch and PIAA driving lights on the front. The suspension is a 3.5 inch lift from American Expedition Vehicles. Pro Comp Rock Crawler steel wheels and Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tires. All that meant I needed new gear ratios, so they did that too (going to 4.88, which means nothing to me just yet except that it gives me more torque to pull what is fast becoming a 5,000lb Jeep.).
Under the hood there’s an ARB compressor for inflating tires (above), and the back holds an Engel 35 fridge/freezer and a Partner Steel propane stove on a double-slide from Adventure Trailers (below). The propane tank is a really little one from Kanz Outdoors, mounted beautifully in a custom cage to the back right-hand roll-bar. The back seats have been removed and put in storage in order to hold a little more cargo/crap, all in Zarges cases that are easy to stack and secure with ratchet-straps. The raised air intake (snorkel) is from American Expedition Vehicles.
Up top, mounted to the Garvin expedition racks there’s a Columbus Variant Autohome rooftop tent, the large one, with room in front on the rack for 2 smaller Zarges cases (not shown), in which I keep stuff I don’t usually need, because frankly it’s a pain to pull them down. I found a solid and simple awning from The Camping Lab to protect from rain and sun. Here’s a shot from earlier this year showing the tent and awning up.
Shovel and Axe from Lee Valley Tools. Denali+ First Aid kit from Wilderness Medical Systems. Solar power, lamps, and extra 12v power from Goal Zero. And I got two sweet folding camp chairs from the Kermit Chair Company, that I adore. They’re beautifully handmade in Tennessee and roll up to nothing. Add a couple Go-Pro video cameras and as few extra clothes and other stuff as possible, and we’re ready to roll.
Emily and I, and friends along the way, are taking 2012 to drive, to take our time and explore and photograph National Parks, State Forests, and BLM lands in the American West. If you see us, say hi.
If you got through all that and have no idea what it all means, you’re in good company. I don’t either. This is a steep learning curve for me. But did I giggle like a little girl when I first attached the Jeep to a gigantic tree and winched it across the yard? Yes I did. And is it awesome that I have a fridge – and a freezer should I so need – in my Jeep? Also yes. And am I being a little bit like a little boy about all this? There is a distinct possibility, yes. But as Winnie the Pooh suggested, this is all too important to be taken seriously.
I’ll do a blog post about the intended route in the coming days. If you made it through this without your eyes glossing over you might be just the kind of person that would enjoy the OVERLAND EXPO in Arizona. This year it’s May 18-20 and I’d love to see you there.