Third-Month-Heading-(1200x627)

If you missed the two first months, here they are:

 

Lessons Learned

How to Extract a 8500lbs Home on Wheels from Sand

Lesson learned #1: If getting after dark at a campsite, just choose a site near the road. Don’t push it. There is probably a good reason why no one chose this perfect spot…

Van Recovery Sand (1)

“Escape I.P.A.”. How apropos.

Lesson learned #2: When traction is needed, DEACTIVATE THE TRACTION CONTROL SYSTEM (TCS)!! We remembered to turn if off for our very last (and successful) attempt. Each previous attempt of our 2 hours saga resulted in getting stuck again every two feet; the van was just not keeping its momentum to get out of there. Once the TCS was off, the van literally jumped out of its hole and keep moving until we hit the brakes…

Van Recovery Sand (2)
Van Recovery Sand (3)
Van Recovery Sand (4)
Van Recovery Sand (5)

 

Lesson learned #3: We’re out there spending most of our time in remote areas, in harsh terrain. Let’s make things right and have recovery devices in the van, for safety sake. Who knows where and when we’ll get stuck next time?! The comment we had the most following this little event was: “just get Maxtrax yo”. We did our homeworks and researched the most popular recovery device brands. MaxTrax are indeed THE recovery boards to have. Here are our notes about the MaxTrax:

  • The Maxtrax are, by far, the most popular choice among the 4×4 crowd (it’s generally a good sign) and the reviews are great.
  • They work great on sand and deep snow, but for ice we’re carrying our Thule Snow Chains (http://amzn.to/2iYN2CS).
  • The dimensions are 45” x 13”; it’s not exactly easy to store them in the van… except that once the pair is stacked together it’s only 3.35″ thick. Neat! We found the perfect place to store them!
  • They’re over 300$, it’s not cheap. There are cheap knock-off on Amazon, but we stumble upon many reviews showing these shredded to pieces. It’s never a good idea to cheap out on a safety device…
  • Maxtrax it will be then!
Maxtrax MKII

MaxTrax MK II Recovery Boards. Buy from Amazon.

 

Can you find the MaxTrax in the van?

There! We didn’t plan for them, but they fit very neatly!

 

 

Actual Cost

November is our cheapest month to date! We’re still tracking our monthly expenses here:

 

FarOutRide Store

This month we added an Online Store to our site. It’s online, so you don’t need to drive your car to get to our store. Just sit back, relax and shop from the comfort of your house; we’ll take care of everything! Thanks for your support! 🙂

 

Van Report

Webasto Heater

Since we installed a new combustion chamber, we used it for approximately 120 hours and we’re happy to report that it’s still running fine at the time of writing these lines!

(context: http://faroutride.com/webasto-install-new-burner/)




Overhead Storage Cabinet

We recently noticed that the overhead cabinet latches didn’t align with the doors anymore:

Overhead-Storage-Fix-(3)
We found a design flaw: the top frame (in blue) was left “floating”; it’s the only section of the frames that was not glued to the cabinet. With the gas springs constantly applying UP force to it, the wood was slowly bending:

Overhead Storage Fix (5)

 

No worries, we designed the van so that everything can be taken off pretty easily: an hour later the cabinet was fixed AND we had clean laundry, yay!

Overhead Storage Fix (1)
Overhead Storage Fix (6)

Here is the detailed write-up on how we built/installed the overhead cabinet: faroutride.com/overhead-storage-cabinet

 

Solar Power

Being from the East Coast (Quebec), we normally get OBVIOUS signs that winter approaches: rain/snow/cold/muddy trails/etc AND/OR all of this simultaneously.

Is it Winter Yet

Meanwhile in Quebec… (this was shot in november 2016)

 

During our third month here in Utah, we didn’t get any of that! No rain, sun all day, still warm… but we can tell winter approaches, because we’re having a hard time getting our battery charged back to 100% using only solar power. Indeed, days are shorter and the sun is not as direct than in summer. We need a boost from the alternator from time to time, so we’re glad we designed our electrical system (faroutride.com/electrical-system) with that in mind. We’re using an inverter + battery charger for that but if we had to start over, we would install a Sterling Battery-to-Battery charger (http://amzn.to/2hTdIEe) so we don’t have to think of turning it on (we often forget)…

Sterling Power BB1250 Battery to Battery Charger 12V 50A

We wish we installed a Sterling B2B charger… Buy from Amazon.




Tales from the Road

Third month traveled road:

 

Moab (Utah)

We left Moab the very last day of our second month. We were sad to leave, so we made this:

 

Fisher Towers (Utah)

Fisher Towers are just between Moab and Fruita (CO); it’s a 2-3 hours hike and it’s very scenic!

https://www.hikingproject.com/trail/7002660/fisher-towers-hiking-trail

Fisher Towers

 

 

Fruita / Grand Junction (Colorado)

Antoine ridding Zippity Do Da.

Isabelle riding Kokopelli’s and loving it!

Our first selfie. We like it, we might do another one eventually.

 

 

 

Capitol Reef National Park (Utah)
Faroutride Third Month Vanlife (7)

Is this the best bench-with-a-view, ever? Here it is: https://www.hikingproject.com/trail/7014781/sunset-point (hint: it’s call SUNSET point for a reason…)

Cassidy Arch

Antoine testing the solidity of the Cassidy Arch.

 

Highway 12 Scenic Byway (Utah)

Water Bandit (http://amzn.to/2zV4BhE) doing its thing.

 

 

 

Peek-a-Boo / Spooky Slot Canyons (Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument, Utah)

This is one of the most exciting and beautiful hike we ever done. It’s one hour drive from Highway 12 on a dirt road, but it’s totally worth it! Not recommended for claustrophobic or overweight people, no joke. Plus there are some tricky parts that require some climbing moves / 5 foot drop. It’s hard to find, make sure to have a GPS app or something: https://www.hikingproject.com/trail/7002854/peek-a-boo-spooky-slot-canyons

PeekABooSpooky Antoine

Faroutride Third Month Vanlife (12)

 

Bryce Canyon National Park (Utah)

Bryce 1

Bryce 2

 

Walking through the hoodoos is nice, but RIDING through them is better! (https://www.trailforks.com/trails/thunder-mountain/)

 

Hurricane / Virgin (Utah)

 

Virgin area in all its glory. This is viewed from “Pig in Space” trail (https://www.trailforks.com/trails/pigs-in-space/).

Gooseberry Mesa

View of Gooseberry Mesa from Little Creek Mountain (https://www.trailforks.com/trails/north-point/).

We just don’t get tired of sunsets in the desert. This is at Gooseberry Mesa free campsite.

Free Dispersed Campsite at Gooseberry Mesa Trailhead.

 

Contemplating Zion National Park from our overnight spot at Guacamole. It’s calm and beautiful here. We like!

No shower curtains needed here…

 

Zion National Park (Utah)
Angels Landing Antoine

Antoine appreciating the chain anchored to the rock on Angels Landing Trail; it just feels safer when so close to the edge!

Angels Landing Isa

You don’t always have to get to the very top of the mountain to get a great view over Zion Canyon!

 

Beer o’clock City (Beer o’clock State)

Cheers!



Third Month’s Favorite Trails

This month we’re introducing our “Favorite Trails”. What defines a “Favorite Trail”? It’s a trail/ride we would plan again on a next trip; in other words, it’s a trail/ride that we think is worth the detour!

 

Antoine’s Top 5

1- Flying Monkey, Virgin (Utah)

  • This trail has everything I love about mountain biking: technical, steep, loose, rock garden, some flow too. It’s definitely not a trail ridden on auto-pilot: the rider must have some DH skills, be confident and focused.
  • Not sure if you can ride it? Go ride Grafton Mesa first (see below), then keep in mind Flying Monkey is a step above.
  • Trailforks (note that it’s rated as “pro-line” on Trailforks, it might not be everyone’s cup of tea. Be aware.)


 

2- Grafton Mesa, Hurricane (Utah)

  • Another great technical “DH” run for confident riders. It starts steep and technical, then the finish is fast and flowy!
  • Trailforks

 

3- Lunch Loops, Grand Junction (Colorado)

  • Great network suitable for all skills. Hungry for some technical? Get a Free Lunch then ride Holy Cross!
  • Honorable mention: The Ribbon trail is a great shuttle run, don’t miss it if you are in the area!
  • Trailforks

 

4- Kokopelli’s, Fruita (Colorado)

  • Great network suitable for all skills. Don’t miss Horsethief for fast/flow/fun. Don’t miss Mack Ridge & Moore Fun for technical challenges (climb & descent). I’m still undecided about Hawkeye: I expected a descent from top to bottom, but there was just too much pedaling to my taste (at least to my expectations)…
  • Trailforks

 

5- Gooseberry Mesa, Hurricane (Utah)

  • I’ll be honest, I was somewhat disappointed with Gooseberry: we heard so much about it that our expectations were high. But thinking about it, it was a great ride after all. Great views, unique landscape, technical challenges, etc. I would go back!
  • Trailforks

 

Follow Antoine on Strava: https://www.strava.com/athletes/697494

Antoine Ride Logs on Trailforks: https://www.trailforks.com/profile/atoine/ridelog/

 

 

Isabelle’s Top 5

1- Iron Hills Trail System, Cedar City (Utah)

  • Such a nice surprise! We did Lichen It (easy up) and Lava Flow (fun down). Great flow and many features (berms, drops, jumps) really well done 🙂 SO FUN! Only drawback… it is just too short! I wanted more of it! Shuttling the C Trail was a good complement! I wonder what Green Hollow and Highlands have to offer… next time!
  • Trailforks

2- Kokopelli’s, Fruita (Colorado)

  • The reasons why I loved this network are pretty much the same as Antoine! Great network suitable for all skills. I loved Horsethief for fast/flow/fun. And next time I’m on Hawkeye, I’ll do all the optional features! They all look too intimidating at first, but I think I would have been able to do them all! It’s always good to have pending challenges 😉
  • Trailforks

3- Gooseberry Mesa, Hurricane (Utah)

  • Again, like Antoine, I was somewhat disappointed with Gooseberry: we heard so much about it that our expectations were high. But thinking about it, it was a great ride after all. Great views, unique landscape, technical challenges, etc. I would go back!
  • Trailforks

4- Santa Clara River Reserve, St. George (Utah)

  • Santa Clara River Reserve trails are perfect for intermediate riders. They have a constant gradient filled with switchbacks and few ledges making them easy to climb and fun to descent. For more challenges, don’t miss Suicidal Tendencies!
  • Trailforks

5- Guacamole, Hurricane (Utah)

  • Guacamole has this uniqueness that I find hard to explain! The terrain is well diversified: sandstone, big rocks, dirt singletrack with of course, amazing views on Zion National Park and the surrounding! Camping at the trailhead is just the perfect spot!
  • Trailforks

 

Follow Isabelle on Strava: https://www.strava.com/athletes/4915282

Isabelle Ride Logs on Trailforks: https://www.trailforks.com/profile/irichard/ridelog/

 

What’s Next?

We’re still enjoying the sun and the warmth, so we shall keep going south: Grand Canyon, Flagstaff, Sedona, Phoenix, Tucson…

 

 

TO BE CONTINUED…

 

 

 

WANT MORE?

Check out our Build Journal, learn everything about The Van, join us for The Ride, or if you’re new to this start by reading The Prologue.

 

 

OUR CAMERA GEAR

All the photos above were capture using our favorite photo/video gear! Aerial/Underwater/Long Exposure/POV/Gimbal, all of this in a portable package, check it out:

 

 

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ABOUT US

Hello! We’re Isabelle and Antoine, a couple dreaming of being on the move and we’re seeking for the ride of our life. We bought a Ford Transit van, converted it to a campervan, sold our house, quit our jobs and hit the road full-time to make our dream a reality. We are sharing this in hope of inspiring and helping others to follow their dreams too!

 

KEEP THE DREAM ALIVE

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6 comments

  1. Comment by Brent and Lisa

    Brent and Lisa Reply December 4, 2017 at 4:49 pm

    Hi guys, we are enjoying your trip very much and your helpful tips. We also have a transit van and mostly use it on long weekend trips….luv camping in our van and hanging around a campfire. We are big mountain bikers as well and have ridden most of the trails you mention this time. Thunder mt. is weirdly cool. And the road between Escalante and Boulder Utah is one of the prettiest drives around anywhere. Keep having fun.

    • Comment by Antoine

      Antoine Reply December 4, 2017 at 5:22 pm

      Hey guys, thanks for reaching!

      There is so much good stuff out there and time is flying, we’re trying to make the most of it. Let us know if we ever cross your path!

      Happy Trails!
      Isabelle and Antoine

  2. Comment by Ryan

    Ryan Reply December 5, 2017 at 1:29 pm

    Guys, I really look forward to reading these trip reports. Your posts have been incredibly valuable, especially your vanlife costs. It’s amazingly helpful.

    Do you guys have any idea how many amps your solar panels are producing each day? I know you mentioned before that a rough estimate would be 25amps per 100w. How is that translating into real world conditions?

    • Comment by Antoine

      Antoine Reply December 5, 2017 at 8:29 pm

      Glad the trip reports are useful 🙂

      We honestly have no idea how exactly the panels are producing each day… to know, we would have to turn off all our loads for a day and that’s not ideal (fridge). Even if we did, there are so many variables that the measurement would be valid for this specific day only.

      When we hooked up our electrical system and tested it, I do remember thinking that the 25amps per 100W assumption is correct.

      Good day,
      antoine

  3. Comment by Davo

    Davo Reply December 7, 2017 at 5:46 pm

    Hey there I&A! I’m truly enjoying (the evolution of) your blog, build journal and trip reports. There’s a certain high quality of media usage and storytelling that I find lacking in the efforts of others’. Please forge onward. My own developing Transit escape vehicle will rely heavily on your lessons learned. With gusto!

    • Comment by Antoine

      Antoine Reply December 7, 2017 at 8:29 pm

      Thanks, that’s good to hear!
      The trip reports are time consuming to make, but comment like this motivate us to keep them coming 🙂

      Thanks again for the kind words,
      Isabelle and Antoine

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