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John Henry & Adventures of the West

Discussion in '2nd Gen Builds (2007-2013)' started by andrew, Jul 2, 2014.

  1. Jul 2, 2014 at 4:43 PM
    #1
    andrew

    andrew [OP] where's the beer?

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    As some of you have been following, I traded in my 2013 Tacoma for a 2012 Tundra Rockwarrior before an overseas adventure for 9 months. In an effort to help pass the time and such, I had planned a 3-4 week camping adventure to Colorado to get some trout fishing, and then was to elk hunt near Morenci, Arizona for a week. The trips were truly awesome, and now i'm in the beginning stages of planning a trip to Montana or Colorado again for some hunting this time (and probably trout fishing as well) for the fall of this year. I have decided to redirect the thread "Colorado Camping Build" to the more accurate title of "Adventures of the West". Feel free to follow along, and make suggestions.

    AUG2013: This is "John Henry" (named after Doc Holiday) when I got him from the dealership. I loved my 2013 Tacoma but I couldn't justify the lack of power to the lack of gas mileage, so I decided I would upgrade to a full-size truck and take the hit on 2-Mpg for an extra 1.7L's and nearly double to towing power.
    IMG_1735.jpg

    May2014: For 9 months this awesome truck just sat under a carport due to obligations elsewhere. While I was gone, the wife decided to just keep piling trash bags in the bed of it and wait for me to come home to take it to the dumpsters 1/2 mile down the road (Worst idea ever). I'm not a stickler for super-nice paint, it's a truck after all. However besides a smell that just would not go away from liquified goo that got out, there were now a good amount of nice deep scratches on the side of my truck from squirrels and probably a raccoon jumping in and out of my truck to take part in the wonderful buffet of food scraps. I was happy enough just to have 2-ply toilet paper when I got back, so the scratches were forgiven.

    June2014: It was now time to get everything ready ASAP for the trip. I had it planned for mid-july so there wasn't much time to waste. I was starting everything from scratch. The first step was to get my bedrack for the RTT I ordered from the TacomaWorld group buy from Bobby at CVT. Jeepandrew and derrick hooked it up. I really couldn't of asked for a more solid rack. If you need some fabwork near Tucson, Arizona, send me a PM for his info. I highly recommend them.
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    I hit it with a few cans of flat-black spray paint and then threw it on the truck.

    Next up was getting the rack ready for the RTT to arrive. I bought some flexible LED Light strips and put them down the three cross beams on the rack. That was the most useful mod to the whole thing. It is what gave light to find everything in my pelican boxes and coolers at night. It was just as useful after the trip when i used to wake up at 3AM to go bass fishing in southern Arizona. Free's up a hand from having to hold a flashlight. I also decided to get outward facing lights. I was already over budget at this point since I decided to get new fishing tackle and stuff, so I ended up getting cheap LED spot lights off amazon (Lebno brand I think?)
    I put them as spotlights off the back end of the rack so that if I arrived at night, it'd help me get a decent spot and set things up. The lights were about 12$ a piece and you could tell they were cheaply made (you get what you pay for!) I took the covers off and sealed them with silicone to make sure they stayed waterproof. I put holes in the bottom of the rack and threaded them. It allowed me to swivel the lights 360degrees. It was nice to have some extra light off the back of the truck and they didn't drain too much battery.
    IMG_2094.jpg

    One of the big decisions of the lights and electrical was "how to do the switch boxes" as well as "how to connect the rack to the truck battery". Ideally, I would of had a solar panel to trickle charge the batteries since they were not high use electronics. Trying to keep a budget in mind, I came up with a 20$ solution. I bought a flat-4 trailer connector and wired 2/4 of the pins to the ground of the truck battery, and 2/4 to the hot terminal with a inline-fuse. This allowed me to just connect and disconnect it at anytime so that removing the rack would be that much easier.
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    As for the switch box, to keep it simple I would wire everything from the outside and not do any inside switches. I was in the process of building a plexiglass box to house everything, but Jeepandrew had the cheaper and smarter solution to just use an electrical panel for it from home depot. I drilled some holes in it for switches and a cigarette lighter.
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    Since the wife was coming along and she has never really been camping, I wanted to build "onboard water". I basically just bought a 50$ 12V water pump and secured it to the outside. I made my own shower head that would attack to the underside of the rack and hang off to shower under. The tank for the water was just 2x seven gallon water jugs i picked up for 10$ a piece. It was nice because all I had to do was carry them to a lake to fill up instead of driving the truck for more. The shower head had an on/off switch to conserve water. It ended up using 1GPM so you could get a few showers per tank with some good water flow.
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    After all this was wired up, I was just missing one more thing... The tent!
    Bobby from CVT gave everyone a really good deal on the GB, but that meant they were backordered for a good while. Ordering in March, I figured i'd have it by July (especially since I got a ranier, not a shasta.) However, due to issues with manufacture it was pretty behind schedule. I planned on leaving at the beginning of July but had to push back two weeks to have the tent. It arrived two days before the latest day I could of left.
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    and then at 5AM that Saturday, I was off!

    Colorado Trip pt 1
    July 2014:

    First stop was in New Mexico. We went and got beers at "3 rivers brewery" somewhere up north. We made it a point to stop at every brewery we could. The brewery was pretty awesome. Nothing special, but I am a big fan of small breweries in small towns. We originally planned on stopping somewhere up in the national forrest on the border of colorado and set up camp the first night. Instead, we decided to push the extra 5 hours or so to Kerr lake. It got dark pretty fast, and of course we got lost so we regretted it at first. The drive to the lake from the town nearby was cool, a lot of dirt roads. The actual forrest service trails to the lake was hard to find. We ended up setting camp up at 9pm. Pretty exhausted, but glad to make it to Colorado. We stayed 3 nights there. As we were driving up to the lake, my wife just starts screaming "ITS A BEAR!! ITS A BEAR!" just to find out they had a lot of cows roaming the area near the lake. She was embarrassed.
    IMG_2176.jpg
    Next we went to the gunnison national Forrest to a creek out there. Alot more dirt roads, about 50 miles or so to the spot. Was supposed to have really nice fishing as well, but the creek was muddy and flooded due to the heavy rains. It was worth the view though, looks liked what you would imagine Ireland to be like

    After staying the night, we headed back south some and spent the next few nights at a developed campground "Big meadows lake". It was a really nice maintained lake, but pretty busy. Alot of RV's and older people. They were all really nice so it was cool. Everyone seemed amazed at the sight of the RTT, I think I probably had 20 people watching me set it up. The lake is supposed to be really good for fishing but this year they wernt doing to well. Everyone fished right by the campground but when me and the wife went to the other size of the lake, we caught 3 in an hour or so on a small white inline spinner before I snagged a tree and didn't get anything else the rest of the time.

    The next place we wanted to go was the sanddunes near alamosa. We stopped in creede for a few hours. If anyone is going near the area, I suggest you go there. It's really cool to see the old mining areas. If you're hungry, go to tommyknocker tavern. It was a really cool little bar with cheap food for lunch.
    We arrived at the sanddunes and walked around a bit. It was pretty bazaar to have a giant sanddune in the middle of nowhere.
    There is a waterfall about 15 miles away in the mountains called "Zapata falls" that we wanted to see before we set up camp for the night, it's a big of a hike from the parking area up there, but I was pretty cool. It's a bit sketchy walking up a narrow pass and crossing a stream to make it to the waterfall
    The campground up there was pretty spaced out but there were a bunch of drunken kids who showed up from Florida to have a party and kept everyone up all night. Once we woke up we started our way back. It took us 15 hours to get there so we decided to split it up on our way back. We went to the brewery in durango colorado called "durango brewing co." their wheat beer is the best ive had in the states. its alot like the beer i had in germany when o lived there. We also stopped at the "4 corners" that split up New Mexico, arizona, Colorado, and Utah. It was "neat" but probably not worth the hour in line to get a picture taken. Everyone wanted to sit down and take a million fancy poses on the actual spot so it took a good while.

    Continued down to Lyman lake, arizona for the night. They had "beach camping" but it was impossible to find at night. Not very well marked at all. After an hour or so, we asked some guy down there about where to park and he said he had no idea either so we went about 75 yds from him and set up camp. (No picture for this one.)
    We started our final leg of the trip home in the morning. And got back at about 5pm
    Spent about 500$ or so in gas but I got about 16-17mpg for most of it even with all the gear. Pretty awesome trip, but it rained Every. Single. Day. Wasn't a light shower either, it was pretty much constant downpour except a few hours if we were lucky. The extra room in the rainier was nice for watching movies on the computer while trying to wait it out in the tent.

    Colorado Trip pt2

    I had some friends from TW having a meet up near Silverton for snowbanks birthday. Wife had to work, and I can't say no to camping. I dropped her off and left to go back a few days later. One of the longest drives of my life (12 hours just stopping for gas). I had to go get my oil changed before so I didn't even get to leave until 3pm. We camped by Silverton.
    IMG_2276.jpg

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    The drive to "Clear Lake" near Silverton is fun. A lot of switchbacks, and stupid people parking their subarea's on the side of a road that make it nearly impossible for a truck to pass. I was following everyone up to the hill and there was a line of those jackasses parked so we all had to squeeze by. Some guy was standing infront of his car waiting for us to pass to he could get back in to leave and as I was passing, I heard a "thump". The guy threw his hands up, but it didn't really click until I made it to the lake and noticed my mirror was pushed back because I hit his car with it (he was gone when we went down 45 min later, so I wasn't too concerned. I bet he won't park like an idiot next time though).
    I only spent a few days in Colorado this time before I headed back to Arizona for some elk hunting. I drew my last choice which was a "limited hunt", but I guess that really means "a hunt we have with no elk so we can sucker you into spending 140$ on the tag". Talked to a few hunters out there and not a single person saw anything elk related
    After my hunt, I once again headed back to the north to pick up my cousin and head to the Grand Canyon.
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    Grand Canyon was cool. Almost felt like I wasted my time since its just a big hole in the ground. Didn't have time to hike it or anything though. I kind of thought it would be bigger... Atleast now I can say i've been. One thing that kind of blew my mind were the elk out there. They would just sit in the town during the daytime. Parents thought it was a great idea to have their kids run up and try to take pictures with the elk (natural selection?), the police ended up staying near the heard to keep everyone away. We bought a few 40 oz's and spent the night in the RTT somewhere nearby and drove back the next day. That was the end of my great camping adventure. My vacation was 28 days with about 22 of them spent camping. I am glad I had the tundra throughout the trip vs. my old tacoma. The weight of the gear and supplies I carried was completely transparent. The Tacoma would sag really bad with just a few hundred pounds in the bed, and could tell the engine wasn't the happiest. The Tundra had no sag, no issues with power, and acted as if it had nothing.

    RTT Review:
    I wasn't completely sure I would like the RTT. It is an amazing tent, but the worst part is that it's also your truck. It takes about 10 min to put away and 5 to set up. Doesn't seem like much, but it is just very inconvenient (especially if you already have your spot set up with other people looking to get one). If you have the ability to mount this on a trailer, I strongly recommend it. If you plan ahead, get all your supplies and want to go out in the absolute middle of nowhere then it is perfect for you. I don't by any means regret it though. When you're out off of 4wd trails that people towing trailers can't get to, you'll appreciate it.

    Next: Hunting Trip to Colorado or Montana

    The next major adventure for John Henry is and elk & deer hunt up north. I'm not sure which state yet, it depends where i get drawn for tags at . Hopefully leaving Nov 1 - Nov 22 with a friend of mine. no major mods are planned except maybe new tires, my current ones are chunked out pretty bad. I'm going to spend the money on a new rifle, rangefinder and non-resident tags so not much are left for mods. If you have any suggestions of places to go or areas to hunt, please post or send me a pm!

    (More to come when I get out of work today)
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2015
  2. Jul 2, 2014 at 4:46 PM
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    andrew

    andrew [OP] where's the beer?

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    image.jpg Thanks to jeepandrew on TW for the rack build. Hopefully my CVT RTT arrives in the next week or so and that will take care of the sleeping portion of my trip(s).
     
  3. Jul 2, 2014 at 4:47 PM
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    andrew

    andrew [OP] where's the beer?

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    image.jpg Finished product getting painted
     
  4. Jul 2, 2014 at 4:53 PM
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    andrew

    andrew [OP] where's the beer?

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    one of main things I've been working on and thinking of is a shower. The plan is to camp in the most isolated places I can since I really don't like camp grounds. I've done a bit of research and decided to make my own shower head to make sure their is good water flow and I can also make a on/off switch to control water pressure. The finished product is actually pretty strong! I will have 2x 7 gallon water jugs that should last a few days. The goal is to have the shower head off a 5-6ft pole off the passenger bedside.image.jpgimage.jpg
     
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  5. Jul 2, 2014 at 7:41 PM
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    Sean266

    Sean266 #ThinBlueLine Staff Member

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    Good addition, OP!
     
  6. Jul 8, 2014 at 11:36 PM
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    Beer'd_n_yotas

    Beer'd_n_yotas New Member

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    This is gonna be good! My plan now too is to build an expo rig. I'm anxious to see your RTT on!
     
  7. Jul 9, 2014 at 6:26 AM
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    andrew

    andrew [OP] where's the beer?

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    Thanks man, I'm anxious to see it on too :cool: hopefully by the end of next week! I just bought LED lightstrips for it that should be here this weekend.:bananadance:
     
  8. Jul 9, 2014 at 9:24 PM
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    csuviper

    csuviper Moderator Staff Member

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    Awesome
     
  9. Jul 15, 2014 at 2:26 PM
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    andrew

    andrew [OP] where's the beer?

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    image.jpg image.jpg Started doing the wiring. I decided to use a 4 prong trailer style connector. Two are positive and the other two are negative. I figured that should allow me to put a switch box in the back for all the lights and shower. Rack is going on this weekend and my RTT should be here about 3 days before I leave. Kind of cutting it close on that one.
     
  10. Jul 19, 2014 at 5:28 PM
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    andrew

    andrew [OP] where's the beer?

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    I got all my lights finally in for the rack. I put 2x 10w LED lamps on each side. I drilled and tapped the underside of the rack and placed a bolt in the center of the lamps so they can swivel 360 degreesimage.jpg

    Spent the day wiring everything and putting the waterpump on for running water. Had to do more drilling and tapping on the rail to make sure it's sturdy for offroading.image.jpg
    image.jpg
     
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  11. Jul 22, 2014 at 12:27 AM
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    Beer'd_n_yotas

    Beer'd_n_yotas New Member

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    Looking good! Are you going to be using an awning?
     
  12. Jul 22, 2014 at 12:49 AM
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    andrew

    andrew [OP] where's the beer?

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    Thanks. I am bringing a tarp to make ghetto awning, but hopefully I can get a real one next year.
     
  13. Jul 23, 2014 at 9:47 PM
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    andrew

    andrew [OP] where's the beer?

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    RTT arrived today!:bananadance:
     
  14. Jul 23, 2014 at 10:31 PM
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    csuviper

    csuviper Moderator Staff Member

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    Just my opinion but you might want to upgrade that wood to steel plate. Appears to have a crack already.
     
  15. Jul 23, 2014 at 10:40 PM
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    andrew

    andrew [OP] where's the beer?

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    Thanks, I plan on it in the future, I just don't have alot of time to invest in it. The wood is only surface later cracked so it shouldhold up for now.
     
  16. Jul 23, 2014 at 10:43 PM
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    csuviper

    csuviper Moderator Staff Member

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  17. Jul 24, 2014 at 3:31 PM
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    andrew

    andrew [OP] where's the beer?

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    image.jpg
     
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  18. Jul 26, 2014 at 2:17 AM
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    Beer'd_n_yotas

    Beer'd_n_yotas New Member

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    Mt Shasta? That's the same one I'm going to get! I want the Mt Rainer but it going to be used on both my Tundra and my wife's Tacoma. Her truck only has a 4.5' bed so the Rainer would be way to big to fit over the bed. What is the height under the tent? I was thinking of bringing pieces of 2x6 to drive up on to get it high enough to walk under. Let's see a folded pic too!
     
  19. Aug 4, 2014 at 6:39 PM
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    andrew

    andrew [OP] where's the beer?

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    I got the rainier. I've seen some people also use in on a shortbed tacoma, it doesn't look too bad, they just leave the tailgate down and use the bed extender. I would recommend going with the rainier over the Shasta if you plan on camping longer then a weekend. I got the bigger one incase it rained for a while. It really payed off on the trip I just went on when it rained 75% of the time, the extra room is pretty nice. The bottom of the tent sits about 5ft 6" off the ground. It's about perfect. I'll grab a few measurements from it in the next day or so for you.
    image.jpg
     
  20. Aug 4, 2014 at 7:16 PM
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    andrew

    andrew [OP] where's the beer?

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    First part of the trip is complete. We drove just over 2200 miles in 9 days. Southern colorado is pretty awesome. We stayed the first two nights at Kerr lake near platoro. It looked alot like the German alps. Got pretty freezing, but nice fishing out there. image.jpg
    Best part of Kerr lake was the 35 miles of dirt road to get there.(3miles of it was pretty good offroading where 4wd was needed.

    Next we went to the gunnison national Forrest to a creek out there. Alot more dirt roads, about 50 miles or so to the spot. Was supposed to have really nice fishing as well, but the creek was muddy and flooded due to the heavy rains. It was worth the view though, looks like what you would imagine Ireland to be like
    image.jpg
    After staying the night, we headed back south some and spent the next few nights at a developed campground "Big meadows lake". It was a really nice maintained lake, but pretty busy. Alot of RV's and older people. They were all really nice so it was cool. Everyone seemed amazed at the sight of the RTT, I think I probably had 20 people watching me set it up. The lake is supposed to be really good for fishing but this year they wernt doing to well. Everyone fished right by the campground but when me and the wife went to the other size of the lake, we caught 3 in an hour or so on a small white inline spinner before I snagged a tree and didn't get anything else the rest of the time. image.jpg
    image.jpg
    The next place we wanted to go was the sanddunes near alamosa. We stopped in creede for a few hours. If anyone is going near the area, I suggest you go there. It's really cool to see the old mining areas. If you're hungry, go to tommyknocker tavern. It was a really cool little bar with cheap food for lunch. image.jpg
    We arrived at the sanddunes and walked around a bit. It was pretty bazaar to have a giant sanddune in the middle of nowhere. image.jpg
    There is a waterfall about 15 miles away in the mountains called "Zapata falls" that we wanted to see before we set up camp for the night, it's a big of a hike from the parking area up there, but I was pretty cool. It's a bit sketchy walking up a narrow pass and crossing a stream to make it to the waterfall image.jpg
    The campground up there was pretty spaced out but there were a bunch of drunken kids who showed up from Florida to have a party and kept everyone up all night. Once we woke up we started our way back. It took us 15 hours to get there so we decided to split it up on our way back. We went to the brewery in durango colorado called "durango brewing co." their wheat beer is the best ive had in the states. its alot like the beer i had in germany when o lived there. We also stopped at the "4 corners" that split up New Mexico, arizona, Colorado, and Utah. It was "neat" but probably not worth the hour in line to get a picture taken. Everyone wanted to sit down and take a million fancy poses on the actual spot so it took a good while.
    image.jpg
    Continued down to Lyman lake, arizona for the night. They had "beach camping" but it was impossible to find at night. Not very well marked at all. After an hour or so, we asked some guy down there about where to park and he said he had no idea either so we went about 75 yds from him and set up camp. (No picture for this one.)
    We started our final leg of the trip home in the morning. And got back at about 5pm image.jpg
    Spent about 500$ or so in gas but I got about 16-17mpg for most of it even with all the gear. Pretty awesome trip, but it rained Every. Single. Day. Wasn't a light shower either, it was pretty much constant downpour except a few hours if we were lucky. The extra room in the rainier was nice for watching movies on the computer while trying to wait it out in the tent. Next week I'm either going back to Colorado for a few days to meet some of the guys from TW or going elk hunting for a week instead. Stay tuned!
     
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  21. Aug 5, 2014 at 12:51 AM
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    Beer'd_n_yotas

    Beer'd_n_yotas New Member

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    Looks like a fun trip! There is a whole lot more to see up here. Medano pass takes you right to the base of the dunes. Really cool trail. Get to drive on a sandy trail for a while. And it crosses a creek 9 time so plenty of big splashes to be had!
     
  22. Aug 6, 2014 at 8:18 AM
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    andrew

    andrew [OP] where's the beer?

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    Thanks, I'm going to have to check that trail out! The Colorado offroad trails seem alot more truck friendly. In arizona we just have mesquite trees that pinstripe your truck everywhere, but the trails me and the wife did were pretty clear
     
  23. Aug 8, 2014 at 10:53 AM
    #23
    andrew

    andrew [OP] where's the beer?

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    Back to Colorado
     
    Sean266 and TruckyTruck like this.
  24. Aug 9, 2014 at 4:43 AM
    #24
    Beer'd_n_yotas

    Beer'd_n_yotas New Member

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  25. Aug 9, 2014 at 11:53 AM
    #25
    andrew

    andrew [OP] where's the beer?

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    In down by silverton right now. I'll check out the website!
     
  26. Aug 9, 2014 at 2:12 PM
    #26
    Beer'd_n_yotas

    Beer'd_n_yotas New Member

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    Imogene is a must do trail. Engineer is pretty awesome too. I love the San Juan's.
     
  27. Nov 3, 2014 at 5:16 AM
    #27
    MotoTundra

    MotoTundra Adrenaline Addict

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    nice build!
     
  28. Nov 3, 2014 at 3:34 PM
    #28
    andrew

    andrew [OP] where's the beer?

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    Thanks man! Haven't done much to it lately. I keep telling myself "next weekend I'm going to go camping again!" But something always comes up!
     
  29. Nov 3, 2014 at 6:48 PM
    #29
    MotoTundra

    MotoTundra Adrenaline Addict

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    i know the feeling..
     
  30. Nov 14, 2014 at 7:13 PM
    #30
    andrew

    andrew [OP] where's the beer?

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    went to the truck the other day and noticed the switch for the water pump got knocked on. No more water pump :oops: One of my cheap china lights that points outward got really dim, and now doesn't work. :mad: i think i'll hit the mountains saturday with the wife for a night of camping... if i can convince her :duel:
     
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