I must have only posted a few pics to Facebook; I thought for sure that I had blogged about this.
Saturday, November 26, 2016
Wednesday, November 9, 2016
Ultimately, I have literally zero regrets from the trip. It was a great experience and it only became greater as I allowed myself to abandon the need for specific plans and instead just went with the flow.
Before leaving town, I thought it only right to visit our wounded trail leader Bill back at his condo. I knew he was in no shape to take on any trails even riding shotgun, and that he would probably be sitting somewhere by himself. I broke my leg pretty catastrophically half a lifetime ago, and I remembered how much of a pick-me-up it was to have my teammates and new acquaintances check in. So that's what I did.
My plan was to visit for an hour or so, and then head north to Salt Lake City and figure out whether I would stay in town that night or try to continue on closer passing through Yellowstone.
Well, Bill was not at all feeling sorry for himself. He actually looked to me to be more of a call center operator. He had at least one phone working and was fielding calls from various folks and also posting and reviewing event updates on a laptop. I had probably been there for an hour when, as I got ready to depart, a fateful phone call rang into the condo.
Slas E, one of the NORAC board members had called to relay that he was suspending his efforts on Hell's Revenge after noticing that his truck was struggling to make what should have been easy climbs in 4WD. He also reported having heard some clicking the day prior and thought maybe it was prudent to get off trail and get a closer look. It was sounding all too familiar to me. If it was, in fact, what I thought it was, it was beyond serendipitous that I had thought to bring the exact equipment we had used to extract my sheared axle shaft from my R180 differential. The only problem was, a friend with superior welding skills to mine had actually done the extraction. I just watched.
We had also heard that Terry had a 'tool' for removing these stubs. In practice, it basically turned out to be a threaded extractor with a cross-brace that was positioned against the outside of the housing. One first had to drill and tap the hardened metal stub to get it to work. We had momentarily abandoned the welding effort to try a drill and tap approach, but the bits were making such slow progress that we feared it would be hours before we'd even be in position to start tapping the stub. And I still had waning delusions of still making it to Salt Lake City that day.
I was then made an offer that I could not refuse to join the group for dinner. The only dilemma was that I had already broken down my campsite. Granted, I had actually reserved it through Saturday, but I didn't want to go back and pitch a tent all over again.
I spent another day and a half with Bill and Kelly in their hometown. Since Bill was a gimp, Kelly was kind enough to chauffer me around as we tracked down the last few components needed to make the trailer harnesses that Bill had scrounged up operational.
"Bill, why won't you let me leave Colorado?".
-Aerodynamics and weight shaving.
The roof basket is probably a non-starter for long trips like this. It made it convenient to access the tent readily, but I also don't think I really used the tent on the outbound trip. I think I largely slept in the truck anyway. I also didn't need nearly as much gear as I crammed in the trailer. If I save some weight, the truck might take some of those hills a bit better. The trailer empty was not particularly noticeable on my test runs down and back to Virginia Beach (3 hours from my home). There was NO forgetting it on this trip though.
My pride and joy Whynter unit died after the first trail day. I just don't think it was ruggedized to support trail duty. It's probably fine for RV usage and camping, but it basically gave up the ghost after the first day on the trails. I still have to see if I can find someone local to repair it at least for use around the homestead. If I still want to go the overlanding route, it may very well be worth it to invest in an ARB unit.
-Electrical system revisions
Electrical system revision 3.0 needs to be undertaken. Even though I had insulators at the top of the terminal posts of my fuse holders, They eventually wore through or still allowed an arc to form which shorted out the batteries against the hood. Made for a harrowing few moments trying to figure out why the truck was suddenly dead and working up a bypass.
-Carry ALL fuses
This really is an extension of the above. I have common fuses, I did not have the two specialty fuses that blew on my setup. The reason was that they are fairly expensive. Well, I would have gladly paid double that to have had replacements when mine went out. I was a bit unnerved running my dual battery setup without those inline fuses, but the factory fuse harness was in place. So it wasn't like I was completely unprotected. It just doesn't pay to try to spare the expense. Have everything you need to keep your rig running when you are far from home.
I think that's about it for now. At least i finally finished the trip report.