|Veronica, Hillary, and Loopy's yet un-named Xterra in the Quaker Steak and Lube parking lot|
I had been looking into cargo boxes (which cost a GRIP). The biggest deterrent for my setup though was the general lengths that you can obtain these boxes in. The way that the cap contours dictates that the box cannot be much more than 4 feet in length without then encroaching either on the rear of the solar panel or potentially obstructing the full opening of the rear hatch glass. That realization led me to the option of getting a cargo basket instead and then fastening one of the Home Depot tubs up there. Although it ended up being a rushed job due to my wife's work schedule and my solo Daddy duties leading right up to the trip, the setup worked very well over the cab.
We all quickly got to camp and set up tents and a fire for the evening. I didn't have the chance to test fit the air mattress into the tent. I usually just would sleep on a woefully unsatisfying foam mat. Since Jenn and the baby were going to be camping for the first time, I brought along an air mattress that I had picked up for a house guest previously. Unfortunately, the air mattress was only big enough to accommodate Jenn and the baby. And doubly unfortunately, I neglected to pack the unsatisfying foam mat. (That's what I get for mocking it). Daddy just slept on the ground.
|Dave stuck for the first time. He's looking at my truck, but he ought to be looking back at his own vehicle.|
After getting up for breakfast, we were out on the trails by about 10am. I had scrambled to try to do some last minute preps to my truck for which I was not previously afforded an opportunity at home. I got most of it buttoned up, and the parts that I didn't get to fortunately didn't prove problematic.
One issue that we encountered was that a part of the trail that John had been counting on to be open was actually closed off due to the preparations for the fireworks display and the machine gun shoot (more on the latter later). This led us into a more challenging network of trails than I had hoped to encounter that early in the day given Dave's newbie status. In the above photo, he managed to get off track following the ruts and kind of high-centered in a way. I drove backwards along the trail, linked him up, and got moving again with no fanfare.
|I dont know who that guy is, but he was trying to help.|
It was maybe around 1pm. One of the things that I had probably failed to clear was that we generally try to break for a snack while on the trail and then keep rolling. I suppose, with the kids and all, that this needed to be compromised. And by 'suppose', I mean that basically Dave's wife and mine were like, "We want the full lunch!" So back to base camp we went.
From there, as could be expected, the momentum for additional trail riding was killed for about half of the group. This would be the half that had children. I was in that half. We made a diversion into town while the food was being consumed. Steve and Loops wanted to get some ice. I needed to get some Teflon tape to wrap the threads of the one connection on the Powertank that doesn't come pre-doped from the manufacturer. This one fitting is left un-treated because it is where the tank gets filled with the compressed liquid CO2. I wanted to test it out with airing us up and neglected to snag some Teflon tape from the home stash. Anyway, we ran into town to get that and the ice. Steve found the "It's not your dad's root beer" that I had heard about; I promptly purchased two 6-packs. It was a good run into town.
|Daddy Duty at the Splash Park|
Now, I'd like to believe that Loops and I were made to think that we'd be dropping the kids off with the wives and then either return to run some more trails with the remaining group or maybe stop at a tavern near town depending on how far of a drive it took and when the park would close.
When we got there, however, I was particularly guilted for not wanting to stay. "How are we supposed to keep up with 3 kids if you guys AREN'T here?!"
They got us.
I mean, had I known, I would have brought the trunks that I specifically packed in my gear which was back at camp. Oh well. I sucked it up, changed into a pair of running shorts I had in the truck, and splashed my sleepy toddler with water he was only partially interested in.
When my little guy was tuckered out, I went ahead and had a taste of my Daddy Root Beer in the back of the truck. It was delicious. The fridge got them nice and cold really quickly.
|This big fella was at the end of the oncoming convoy we had to pass at the narrow section.|
|At the base camp.|
All in all, it was a great trip with even greater company. I am fortunate to have a growing group of enthusiasts in my circle who want to make similar outings going forward. It makes it a lot of fun to have folks who have your back with you out on the trail. We can share recovery gear and camping stuff so that there's less stuff to be piled into any one vehicle. Thanks to everyone who made it out and for those who read this blog in hopes of joining us for a subsequent outing.
All the best.