Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Communication Is Key

 It's important to today's society to keep close tabs on one another and hourly updates from social media seems to be the new normal. But what do you do in those situations when a phone doesn't make for the best form of communication? Yes there are actually times when a phone is actually inept at keeping us in touch with our peoples. If you are adventurous, and you should be, you will find yourself without cell service when you get out into the back country. If you take a cruise outside of the United States you will face international charges to any call, text or cutesy selfie that you send across the cellular networks. Of course many folks don't realize that until the bill comes at the end of the month. Ouch!
  In our case we tend to do a lot of off road adventures that require to stay in touch with groups of 40 or more vehicles at a time and we tend to travel in larger groups as we visit national parks or other sites so again, a phone is not going to work for that style of travel. So what do we use to talk to all of our closest friends? We use what the youngsters would consider to be an archaic technology. It's called radio frequencies.
 Two way communications comes in all shapes and sizes and I thought I would just touch on the ones that we have found useful in the past to maybe give you guys an alternative way to talk to one another during your own adventures. Each style of radio that I'm going to talk about of course comes with different skill sets and price ranges but are by no means something to fear. All of them have there place and it is ultimately up to you to decide what type of radio fits your needs.


 The most common radio that I've seen would be a family style radio. They are compact, run on AA or AAA batteries and have a one to two mile range that can allow you to speak car to car, on a cruise ship or while your out on a hike. The small frames make them easy to stash in a backpack or a purse and most will even clip to a belt. As with all radios they work best with direct line of site and the more things (walls, trees, etc) will affect how well the radios sends and receives information and these radios have the weakest output of our radios. The trade off here to me is power for portability. The price range on these guys start around $20 and can reach $200 on the extreme side.


  The most used radios in our closet is the CB (Civilian Band) radios. If you grew up watching The Dukes of Hazard or Smoky and the Bandit you know about CB radios. From what I understand these shows help propel sales of this style of radio through the 1970's. You just weren't cool if you didn't have one. Today truckers across the country still use these radios to converse with one another to pass information to one another and to generally give them someone to talk to on those long road trips. These radios are going to be hard mounted in the vehicle and require an external antenna to use them. They come in all shapes, sizes and power and use 40 channels to give you a larger chunk of airwaves to keep your conversations your own. If you like to attend off road events like the Easter Jeep Safari or Jeep Jamboree these radios are a must. We also like to have them mounted in our motorhomes as we caravan to our next camp site. CB radios range in price from $30 to around $200. They have a much better range than your family radio and more channels to use but again, require an antenna mount and wiring to be done on your vehicle. These do come in a hand held version as well but I have never had one to offer an opinion on.


  Finally we come to the big daddy of radios. Amateur radio has the largest range of frequencies and power available to the public. They can be mounted in a vehicle or set up in your house. They also come in a small hand held unit like the family radio but these guys are more powerful. These radios require a license from the FCC to operate and can cause all kinds of judgmental facial expressions when you refer to them as their common name. These are HAM radios folks and yes, I do have a license. I joke about funny facial expressions because it's true. I used to be one of those people. When I heard about HAM radios all I could think about were a bunch of lonely old dudes hanging out in their unfinished basements eating ham sandwiches and talking about the weather. Shame on me. We were introduced to amateur radio through our CERT team (Community Emergency Response Team) which taught us the ins and outs of HAM and how useful they can be. I am currently working on a full time set up to put into the Jeep so that we have long distance capabilities when we head into the back country for days at a time. Getting licensed isn't difficult. It just take a little studying and you have to take a test. You may not need this kind of radio for your regular day travels but if you are into overland travel or emergency preparedness this is something you would be interested in. HAM radios range in cost from $35 to $10,000. Yes that's a huge range but a mobile station that you would mount in your car it will be more like $180 to $700 and you again need antenna set ups like you do with a CB radio. I'll let you do the research on that one on your own.

 So there they are. Our alternative communications for the limited cellular phone. Using radios allows us to communicate with larger groups at once which a phone just won't do. It enhances our enjoyment of each trip we take and come in handy in multiple types of situations. I hope this helps you out in your future adventures. We'll see you later this week and for those fellow HAM's out there, 73.

Brandan 

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Friday, September 15, 2017

Old Town San Diego's Cosmopolitan Hotel and Restaurant.


When you visit Old Town San Diego you step back in time.  We love our history and we love it when we can see it as it was.  Welcome to the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Restaurant.  Set in 1830's dusty past, this place has a story to tell and it would love to tell it to you.  Whether you are here to stay or eat you will be amazed at all they have to offer. 
The Cosmopolitan was constructed in 1827 as the home of Don Juan Bandini.  There was nothing to speak of in the area besides a few small adobe homes and cattle.  This home is built of 10,000 adobe bricks and was huge in comparison to anything near it.  Bandini was known for his elegant style and his week long dance parties.  This style shows in the home.  You can stay here in one of the ten period inspired rooms for a steal of a deal. They start at just $149 a night and include breakfast in the gaming parlor.  I've never eaten in a gaming parlor but it is now an item on my travel bucket list.  

While visiting the area we were looking for a place to eat.  If you remember my favorite suggestion in the area, Cafe Coyote, then you will understand why when we asked where everyone wanted to eat for lunch the answer came up as anything but Mexican food.  We ate at Cafe Coyote three times in one tiny weekend.   Its good food so I didn't think of the need to look for anything else.  Because of that we missed out on a great place many times, but not anymore.  The Cosmopolitan restaurant now holds a place on our list of must visit restaurants when you are in Old Town San Diego.  It is also "not Mexican food" if you are looking for that.  The building is a large square that surrounds an open area for dining.  With the weather in San Diego always being wonderful it is the perfect place to rest your feet. 

The food here is special and unlike anything we've eaten before.   The menu consists of things like chicken and churros and churro speared hamburgers.  The sweet and salty combos with a twist all of their own.  They start your meal with their own house savory rolls served with a whipped fig butter made with figs they pick from the trees that surround you.   

I did manage to find a burrito though or rather a Chimi-Quesa-Burrito.  A crispy chimichanga shell filled with pork adobado, pico de gallo, avocado, verde sauce, four cheeses, cilantro and onion.  It was pretty good but huge.  I shared this with my mom and we were both full.  Not to full for dessert but still full.  
We also had meals on our table like the beautiful braised short rib.  While it was very tasty, it was so pretty you almost didn't want to make that first cut into it.   We also had meals like crispy chicken and goat cheese grits and aged skirt steak.  There were options for any taste here.  They also change their menu from time to time and have things that we didn't see on the menu.  The table near us got a plate full of fresh made potato chips that looked so tempting.  It was fun to watch the different creations go by.  You can check out their menu here to see what I'm talking about.

While we were all full the desserts were impossible to pass up.  We got a few to share and we were so glad that we didn't pass them up.  I am a fried ice cream fanatic.  I love the stuff.  The Cosmopolitan has the best fried ice cream I have ever had!  The shell was full and crispy with the addition of oats and nuts.  It was full of flavor and just the right amount of sweet.  This is good enough it is reason enough alone to eat here.  Seriously!  We also got caramelized banana cheesecake, red velvet flan and berry cobbler.  All were incredible and pictured below!  

Overall the place was an experience.  We loved the atmosphere.  We loved the food.  We loved the old style of the waiters and the incredible variety they offered.  I feel like we have walked by a hundred times and never knew that this treasure existed.  Now we know, we love it and we will be back.  

There you go.  Options in Old Town that are not all Mexican food.  Plus they serve Coke products, if that matters to you.  😉

See you at the next adventure.  Where should that be?
❤ Misty                         







Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Festival Of Sail

 It is no secret that I don't play well in water. I don't like to wear shorts and my fare skin likes to change twenty shades of red when left unprotected for longer than five minutes. But there is a part of me that wishes that I did enjoy water sports because I find old sailing ships to be fascinating. 
  I could possibly blame Steven Spielberg for this in some way. What kid that grew up in the 1980's didn't have grand visions of adventure after watching The Goonies? We all wanted to find a long lost pirate ship full of riches that had been plundered by "One Eyed Willie." Yep, defying our parents, seeking adventure and listening to Cyndi Lauper was all we could think about. Well maybe not the Cyndi Lauper part but hey, she had some catchy tunes. Anyway, when I found out that there was a meritime museum in San Diego and that they were hosting a festival full of these sailing ships I knew we had to go. So we loaded up the car and headed south for Labor Day weekend.
   The Maritime Museum of San Diego is where the Star of India resides as well as the Berkley. Both of these vessels are historic landmarks and the stars of the museum. During the Festival of Sail, however, there were twenty one ships to visit each with its own ship look, feel and story.
  Now, to be honest, I know absolutely nothing about boats or how to sail them. I know it isn't easy and that there is a lot to all the ropes and pulleys that operate the sails. But I wish I had some knowledge about how they worked. It looks like a lot of fun as long as I didn't have to make a living at it. There isn't a lot of room or privacy on board these ships and the head clearance left a lot to be desired for a person over six foot tall. Looks like it wouldn't be a pirates life for me. It's hard to imagine the conditions that people lived in as they traveled the world in those early days of exploration. These ships are obviously younger than that but the concept remains the same.
  We weren't there long before the peaceful docks erupted in loud booms that made most everyone jump right out of their boots. It was canon fire. Yes, two of the ships were giving harbor tours and as they passed by each other they let loose on their canons. These of course were not using live ammunition but the sound, fire and smoke were enough to give you a very uneasy feeling. You defiantly wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of one of those guns. I would however, really like to fire one. Those ships sailing the harbor were the only two ships we didn't get on which was okay. It may have sparked a desire to start another hobby that I can't afford. It looked like a blast, though. (Ha! That wasn't intentional but I like it.)
  One ship is kind of a star in its own right because Hollywood has used it for roles in the films Master and Commander and Pirates of the Caribbean.  Below deck of this ship we heard stories of how they used the ship during filming, what was and wasn't on board during shooting and there were photos hanging on the walls of the actors during the shoot. It's not often that you get to interact with Hollywood history in such a hands on way so I thought that was pretty cool.
  The Star of India was the main reason I wanted to visit the Maritime Museum and it did not disappoint. I learned of the ship from an episode of the series Ghost Hunters a few years back and I've wanted to visit ever since. She was built in 1863 in the United Kingdom and sailed for under her flag until 1906 when she was sold to the United States. During her career she has survived a collision and a terrible wind storm. She was used to carry different types of cargo from the UK, India, Alaska and New Zealand. She is the oldest iron hulled merchant ship still in existence and still sails regularly. She is also rumored to be haunted as you may have figured out. However, if it is the ghosts were silent or at least drowned out by the large crowds of people that toured her decks that day.
  The Festival of Sail was expected to bring in around 125,000 people for Labor Day weekend. Yes it was crowded but it's not everyday you can see that many old ships in the same place. It was like visiting twenty one floating museums. If you get the chance to visit San Diego during the Festival of Sail you should make the effort to stop by. If not you don't make it during the festival then at least stop by the Maritime Museum to see the Star of India. The history of that ship alone is worth the stop. Perhaps next time I'll let them take me out and show me how to sail. That could open me up to all kinds of new adventures.

Brandan

Friday, September 8, 2017

Cafe Coyote, Old Towns Best Mexican Restaurant.

Lets throw down a little background about me.  Hello, My name is Misty and I have never meet a Mexican restaurant I didn't like.  If you ask me what I want for dinner I am going to suggest a Mexican restaurant of some sort.  You should know this about me so you can take the next thing I am going to say with all information at hand, so you can make an informed decision.  


I consider my self somewhat of an expert in the field of good Mexican food and I feel fairly confident that Cafe Coyote is the best there is.  Located in Old Town San Diego, Cafe Coyote has been thriving for every 25 years.  You don't stick around that long unless you have something special.  
When Brandan and I got up at 6 am to go jogging we decided to run down the street in Old town.  These ladies were there getting fresh tortillas ready for the day.  The smell was incredible.  Seriously, you are in Old Town and not quite ready for a meal.  Stop by these ladies and buy a few tortillas.  They sell them right there in front of the building and they are so good.  If you are hungry at all then it is time to head in.  

If you see a long line in front of the building don't let that push you away.  Grab yourself a tortilla from the ladies making them fresh and located close to the lineup spot and then get in line and wait it out. The place is huge and the line always moves pretty fast.  I don't mean big, I mean huge! Both buildings in this picture are Cafe Coyote plus it goes way back.  In between the buildings that is more seating too. There is tons of seating.  
I only have two negative things about the place.  First, it can be loud.  I go to restaurants with people I love to spend time with and Id like to be able to communicate with them.  This is a place that depending on where you sit might be a voice raiser kinda conversation.  It adds to the feel of the place though so you cant really call it a negative.  Second, Pepsi.  I hate Pepsi.  I know that there are some people out there that like the stuff so I will let it slide but seriously, come over to the good side and bring yourself a Diet Coke. 

Famous Old Town Carnitas
TRES PUERCOSChile Verde, Carnitas, and Chile Colorado
Portions are large especially after getting your fill of chips and salsa.  The cheese quesadilla is unlike any you have ever had too so you might want to add that to your wish list.  We generally just stick with the chips because we know the goodness that is coming.   
You really cant go wrong with anything on the menu but I'll give you my suggestions anyway.  Their chili verde is the best ever!  You can't go wrong choosing that.  If you want more of a variety you are looking for the Tres Puercos.  It has chili verde, carnitas and chili colorado.  Their carnitas would be my second favorite and their carnitas plate is heaping with good stuff.  All of the above served with those amazing fresh tortillas.  My daughter got the shrimp burrito and it was family sized.  It smelled good but I didn't get a taste.  She said that it was very good but she likes chicken nuggets too so you can take that how you wish.  My son got a hamburger.  The best Mexican restaurant ever and he chooses a hamburger.  There are no words... 
Shrimp Burrito- Its as big as a baby.
Hamburger...At Cafe Coyote?!?!









If you are wondering how you will every try everything you want to try here then I have great news for you.  They are open daily from 7 am to 10 pm.  Yes friends, you can start your day with Mexican food, have it again for lunch and then chase it down with Mexican for dinner.  For breakfast the first day I had the chilaquiles. That is corn tortillas smothered in tomatillo sauce and served with eggs and cheese.  It was good but on the second day I made it magical.  (Yes the second day we ate here too)  I asked them to top the chilaquiles with chili verde and it is now my new favorite.  It is like nachos, chili verde and yum all in one perfect piping hot skillet.  They don't have chili verde on their breakfast menu but I asked and they were happy to make it happen.  So good!

Lets be real here.  You are not going to lose weight eating here every day but you will be happy.  Unless you are one of those people who don't love Mexican food.  Then I guess I am sorry.  There are restaurants in Old Town that serve things besides Mexican food, they just aren't the best restaurant in all of Old Town.  

Where is the one restaurant you love that we should visit on our travels? 

Happy trails and good eats.  

❤ Misty











Tuesday, September 5, 2017

San Diego's Mormon Battalion Historic Site

 San Diego's Old Town is one of our favorite places to visit.  We stay in a local hotel and we can walk to see all of it.  There is enough to see that you can easily fill a long weekend and not see it all.  The Whaley House has witnessed more history than anywhere else in the city.  Its even rumored to be very haunted.  That tour is a must do in Old Town.  If you are looking for good Mexican food there is about five you can choose from, though I highly suggest the Cafe Coyote.  I consider my self an expert in the matter and this is the best Mexican restaurant I have ever eaten at.  The chili verde and fresh made tortillas are the best.  Old Town is also a quick drive to both Sea World and Seaport Village so the location cant be beat.  

One spot in Old Town we haven't been to in a while is the Mormon Battalion Historical Site.  The Mormon Battalion tells the story of the only religiously based unit in the United States military history.  The battalion was a volunteer unit that was made up of about 500 Mormon men led by U.S. Army officers.  They even had some women and children follow who were welcomed in to help with the huge task.  They traveled nearly 2000 miles from Council Bluff, Iowa to San Diego, California.  

Since we were here last the building has had an overhaul.  What was once a simple building with a rug on the floor is now an experience that will take you back in time to walk the journey in their shoes.  When you walk through the doors you will be visited by missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, also known as Mormons.  These missionaries, dressed in period true clothing, will guide you through the stories and miracles that happened to this battalion and how it helped shape the west as we know it.  

We were guided into the waiting area while we waited our turn for the approximately 40 minute tour we would take.  There we could see eight back lit photos on the wall introducing us to the people who we would be hearing the stories off.  First the missionaries introduced themselves and asked us where we were from, if we had been there before and a bit of question and answer.  As the missionaries began to introduce us to the stories one of the photos sneezed and all eight photos magically became alive.  It was really cool.  As the pictures chatted away the missionaries asked them if they would like to tell their story.  Of course they would.  All eight pictures got up in their frames and walked off into the next room. 

We were welcomed into the next room where we sat on logs arranged for sitting.  The room was a dark campsite where we could look on as the characters from the paintings were projected on to the tents as a screen and the room became alive.  We were told the stories of the trials that they were facing as the Mormons were moving west to escape the persecution of people in Nauvoo, Illinois.  The members packed up and left everything they couldn't carry with them and traveled on.  Traveling west was a hard and expensive journey.  They were praying for a way to go where they needed to be and this would be an answer to their prayers.  

As the movie played on the Mormons began to play a happy tune.  Music was a huge part of their gatherings and we were invited to play along.  We were passed instruments like spoons to clack against each other, hollow wood to beat like a symbol and a washboard.   It sounds like a terrible racket but really it was enjoyable.  The story was told about the Army approaching the group with a letter from James K Polk requesting an battalion be formed and what they desired.  With the journey west being so expensive and trying the decision was made to join since the Army would both pay their way and provide pay to the men to send to their families to help them travel as well.  The men loaded up and begin their journey. 

It was a hot and dry journey.  The group was in luck.  The Army gave them the option to forgo the standard uniform which was thick and hot and instead wear their own clothing and take a $42 uniform allowance instead.  This money was used very carefully and the rest all sent back to the saints waiting to journey on.  This provided money for wagons and supplies for the families waiting who would travel on later.  
It was a one of many miracles that they faced in this one year enlistment.  They were still given a gun, a pack of bullets, a bayonet and a hat as their uniform complete with a badge.  With little training they were ready and set on the way.  There was a war being fought between the U.S. Army and Mexico.  The journey was to very dangerous and it was hard for the families to part ways not knowing if they would ever see them again.  The went forth with faith, which was the reoccurring theme of the tour, and had an amazing story to tell. 

The only "battle" that was ever fought for these men was the "Battle of the Bulls", where a group of wild cattle would stampede their camp.  They had no idea what was going on at first and thought they were being attacked.  Tip: when you enter the room with the crates and rocks to sit on, aim for the crates and you will feel the pulse of the cattle stampede.  There was damage done to gear, mules were killed and a few men were injured but over all it was a minor set back and provided them with food, which was scarce the whole journey.  

On January 29th, 1847, they would reach the San Diego area and help them settle and thrive there.  They were hard working and kind which helped with the local community which helped shape it to be what we know of today.  They helped build the first court house in the area.  The trail they paved would be used to make way for the railroad and for others to travel west. William Prows of the battalion went on to be the first man to discover gold on the Comstock Lode, leading to a rush on mining in California.  Steven Clark Foster went on to be the first mayor of Los Angeles.  

As you end your tour you are invited to take a photo that they can print there or send to your email.  
You can exit the museum into the yard where you can pan for "gold" (pyrite), wash clothes by hand, learn to make bricks in an oven, pump water by hand and see how hard the things we do every day were then.  If you look toward the exit you will see a staircase.  Take the stairs for an awesome view of Old Town and San Diego.  There are binoculars to use and signs telling you what to look for.  Its not marked so we almost didn't know it was there.  



We were members of the Mormon Battalion for an hour there and it was a lot of fun.  The missionaries are eager to answer any of your questions and excited to tell the stories.  Take lots of pictures and maybe even sit in the wagon for a pretty cool photo opportunity.  The Mormon Battalion Historic Site is located at 2510 Juan St, San Diego, CA 92110.  Its just up the hill in Old Town.  The cost is free which is a pretty good deal and on a hot weekend like it was for us the building is well air conditioned.  

We are making great memories and loving every minute of it.  Where should we go next? 

❤ Misty








Friday, September 1, 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy- Mission Breakout at Disneyland.

We weren't exactly okay with the idea of Disneyland changing up the Tower of Terror.  It was an incredible ride with an incredible story.  We understand change is part of life but this change was one we were not looking forward to.  

The Tower of Terror was set in a fictional Hollywood Tower Hotel during the 1930's.  In July of 2016 Disney announced that they would be taking away the Tower of Terror to make way for a new attraction based on Marvels Guardians of the Galaxy.  In a few short months we watched the sign come down off the side of the building and we said our goodbyes.  


The fact that they were taking Tower of Terror away to make room for this new ride made us feel like the new ride could never be what the Tower of Terror was.  We were right but in a way we didn't expect.  While the Tower of Terror is gone we thought that they would just slap a new paint job on it and call it something new.  That wasn't what they did at all.  

Call it pure Disney Magic.  From the ashes of the Tower of Terror rose something new and wonderful.  Its not the Tower of Terror.  It never will be and it was never trying to be.  It is its own journey and it is a great one.  

We enter the collection of Tivan.  He collects things from all over the Marvel universe.  You will love to see all the gadgets he has on display.  The line went by in  breeze after you got in the doors because of all the great things to look at.  Most have a little sign telling you what it is but you need to know a little bit about movies to know where they were from.  If you like Marvel movies you will see a few things that you will make the line worth it for you on its own.  

While were on the topic of things in a collection.  Does this yeti look like the one that was once inside the Matterhorn? I'm feeling like it might be more of that Disney magic showing.  


When you are ready to experience the ride for yourself we would love to hear all about it.  Until then you can experience it here from Brandan's point of view.  We have a handful of videos on our YouTube channel that you might enjoy if you are looking for a travel fix while waiting for your next adventure.  For now enjoy Guardians of the Galaxy below.  

Happy memory making. 
❤ Misty






Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Evolution of an Adventure Rig

Yosemite National Park, California
   When I was a kid I had an assortment of "dream cars." Many of them were expensive, exotic and, as I'm well aware of today, unattainable. Heck, even today I dream of owning a fancy car. It's hard not too here in Los Angeles. I manage to come to my senses as I think about the things I like to do and let's face it, a Ferrari will never go where my Jeep can take me.
  Jeeps and trucks were around me from birth and off-road adventure is my nature so it should be no surprise that I have built many Jeep projects. Not only that but our family has expanded the off-road lifestyle through friends and family members just by getting married. I can count eight Jeeps that have come into the fold just because my brother and I introduced our new family members to Moab, Utah.
  Everyone has their own style of adventure but we all have to use some type of transportation to get to our destination. Regardless of the type of vehicle you choose there is usually some type of customization done to the vehicle to fit our needs. This may be as simple as a GPS unit for the family sedan. But for those of us that choose to spend our adventures a little farther away from civilization a little more work has to be done.
Grafton Ghost Town near Zion's National Park, Utah
 Our current choice of adventure  vehicle is a 2008 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. Until a few years ago this Jeep served as my daily driver.  I knew that I wasn't going to have this Jeep in any difficult or potentially dangerous situations because I already had another Jeep (a 1988 Wrangler) that had been purpose built to tackle the most difficult terrain that Moab had to offer. Plus, I was still making payments on it. But I still made a few upgrades in preparation for the day when it would eventually take over for the older Jeep.
  Once the aftermarket parts start going on you now have yourself a project and a project needs a name so this Jeep has been dubbed Klondike. The bright yellow makes me think of gold and of course I enjoy history so if you think gold rush then I imagine you get the idea of where I'm coming from. If not, read this.
  There are a lot of options to choose from when it comes to aftermarket parts and you really need to know what you plan to do with your rig before you start placing orders. Some parts that work for a vehicle used primarily for rock crawling may not exactly be necessary for a vehicle that will be used for over landing or highway use. On the other hand there are a lot of aftermarket parts that work well for all conditions (like an ARB fridge) and you just need to decide the type that works for you. We knew that Klondike would spend a lot of time in the dirt and rocks so it would need locking differentials. We opted to use a combination of cable activated and electronic OX lockers. This was the first upgrade that we chose to undertake. Because these lockers are selectable they don't have an adverse affect on the handling of the Jeep while on the road and so far I've been happy with them.
  Because of his length, Klondike received rock sliders as the second upgrade. This allowed us to do some mild off-roading without the worry of destroying the rocker panels. These were actually rarely used until we did the Rubicon trail last year. During that trip they were well used.
  I was going to build Klondike to strictly be an over land vehicle while our other Jeep stayed the rock crawler. I would only put a 2" lift kit with 33" tires to keep the ride comfortable for the longer trips. Then things changed. We decided to par down on the all the "things" we had. If it didn't have more than one purpose, we didn't need it. So, Klondike would have to pull double duty. We sold the '88 Wrangler and we chose to put a 4" Old Man Emu lift kit on Klondike. 35" BF Goodrich KO2 tires were selected to keep the ground clearance high enough for Moab but not too extreme for over land travel.
  The 9000 lbs. Warn winch is an older unit that came off of the '88 Wrangler and has served me very well over the years. Eventually I will switch it with a newer one but for right now it works great.
  If I stopped now I would still have a pretty good rig. It has conquered trails in Moab and it handled the Rubicon with ease.  But as anyone that builds there own project vehicle knows, they are never finished. So what's next for Klondike? Soon we will be replacing the stock rear bumper with an aftermarket swing away tire carrier. This will take the weight of the 35" tire off of the tailgate and won't cause damage if the tire were to come into contact with a rock. 
Near Grand Canyon National Park
  A roof rack will be fitted to overcome our storage issues and perhaps someday a rooftop tent. With a family of four we need to carry a lot of items for extended trips. Clothes, school work, food, and camera gear take up a lot of precious room so the rack is a must for overnight trips. In addition to the rack we'll add an awning for shade on those hot or rainy days as well as plenty of lights for use while driving and to see what we're doing around camp. 
  Custom built drawers will be installed to hold our recovery gear, stove and utensils for our galley during our over land trips. To complete the kitchen I'll add a tailgate mounted folding shelf and a fridge/freezer to keep our goodies nice and cold. 
  In addition to our current CB radio we will install a HAM radio to extend the range of our communications. It's about time since Misty and I have both had our licenses for six years now. Oh, well. I would also like to hard mount a GPS capable tablet with a mapping program to compliment our paper maps.
Klondike on the Rubicon Trail
  I could probably go on but it wouldn't be fair. The more I think about it the more I could write about. Like I said, a project is never finished, they just continue to evolve with the tastes and needs of the owner. Most of the things I've mentioned here aren't going to happen all at once. That would be cool though. In the meantime we'll continue to use Klondike for most of our back country outings. I say most because we haven't covered our "fleet" of ATV's yet but that's for a different article. No matter what vehicle you choose to find adventure don't forget to keep if safe and fun. Hope to see you out on the trails.

Brandan