All Tales From The Road since the beginning of times:
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…
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…
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 (Buy on Amazon).
- 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!
November is our cheapest month to date! We’re still tracking our monthly expenses here:
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! 🙂
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!
Overhead Storage Cabinet
We recently noticed that the overhead cabinet latches didn’t align with the doors anymore:
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:
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!
Here is the detailed write-up on how we built/installed the overhead cabinet: faroutride.com/overhead-storage-cabinet
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.
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 (faroutride.com/b2b-review) so we don’t have to think of turning it on (we often forget)…
Tales from the Road
Third month traveled road:
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!
Fruita / Grand Junction (Colorado)
Capitol Reef National Park (Utah)
Highway 12 Scenic Byway (Utah)
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
Bryce Canyon National Park (Utah)
Walking through the hoodoos is nice, but RIDING through them is better! (https://www.trailforks.com/trails/thunder-mountain/)
Hurricane / Virgin (Utah)
Zion National Park (Utah)
Beer o’clock City (Beer o’clock State)
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!
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!
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)…
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!
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!
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 😉
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!
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!
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!
Follow Isabelle on Strava: https://www.strava.com/athletes/4915282
Isabelle Ride Logs on Trailforks: https://www.trailforks.com/profile/irichard/ridelog/
We’re still enjoying the sun and the warmth, so we shall keep going south: Grand Canyon, Flagstaff, Sedona, Phoenix, Tucson…
TO BE CONTINUED…
All Tales From The Road since the beginning of times:
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Hello! We’re Isabelle and Antoine 🙂 In 2017 we sold our house (and everything in it), quit our engineering careers and moved into our self built campervan. We’ve been on the road since then and every day is an opportunity for a new adventure; we’re chasing our dreams and hopefully it inspires others to do the same!