Western Follies

So it’s that time of year again, time for an annual Jeep adventure.  This time, in addition to a bunch of photo gear, I also brought along quite a bit of video gear as well, so here is a short trailer of the trip, to get you excited to read the full shabang, including the many MANY changes to the plans, locations, and general misadventures. This one was a pretty good one, hope you guys enjoy.

So unlike trips of the past, my wife and I really had no idea where we wanted to go. My parents took both of our daughters down to the Dominican Republic, so we had the opportunity to go anywhere we wanted. Since my wife picked the last trip (Hawaii,) it was my turn to pick, and naturally I pick a Jeep trip…something she actually enjoys with the exception for the drive out west. With that in mind,  I was sure of two things, the amount of time we had, and the fact that I would have to drive home.  As always, I usually drop my wife off at an airport so she can fly back and I drive back myself (maximizes her vacation time.) After price shopping plane tickets as far west as I thought reasonable, not to mention, half decently priced ones, I was left with only 2 possible choices, which were a 1 way ticket from Denver for $550, or a 1 way ticket from Omaha for $160. Denver is along i70, Omaha is along i80, both are on our way home…so Omaha it is.  So now that she has a return flight, the question arose where do we go? She threw out California, but it was a bit too far with the amount of time we had. I didn’t really want to go south because it was still dead summer and we kind of wanted to escape the heat. Out of nowhere, I threw out Wyoming…she knew nothing about it, and I haven’t been there since I was a kid. Exploring the vast mountain ranges, the small towns, trying my luck at fly fishing for the first time in the best location on earth to do it, and to explore the vast forest trails sounded like a good idea. I had to sell her on some of the spas and hot springs available in Wyoming as well, showed her a few nice hotels around Jackson that we could stay at, and curiousity got the better of her, so she agreed. With the trip being a few weeks out, I started planning a route of sorts, coming in through i90 through South Dakota through the black hills, doing a full circle and coming out through i80 and head on home. Here’s a quick route that I first planned. While at each location, we would enjoy hiking, rafting, 4 wheeling, etc.

After I spent quite a bit of time researching the locations, I get home, and she says to me “what about Montana?” I said that I don’t know much about it, but can look into it….after a quick look on the map, I realized that going up through western Wyoming would drop us off in mid-western Montana. She also wanted to visit Glacier National Park. At that point I said, well, if you want to visit Glacier National Park, I would love do 4 wheel in the Alberta/Banff area, as I’ve been there before and it’s a stunning place during the summer. She was excited at the prospect of this new possible route, so we decided we would wing it, and this would be our rough plan of travel. The beauty with this type of travel is you are not tied to any itinerary, weather, or anything else…sometime not going well? Just turn the steering wheel and head elsewhere.

So packing commenced, and with every trip, I’ve been getting more efficient in packing, taking less and less space for more and more stuff. This time, I also bought a little mattress to make the sleeping much more pleasurable. So the setup looked like this (pardon the photo quality, these are still grabs from gopro footage)

So you can see, the factory subwoofer makes it so I have to slant the mattress out a bit (I later found out a company makes a mattress specifically for the JK, but such is life…for those interested, here it is https://www.amazon.com/Xprite-1-5-in…b609c8c3540020 )

So the big bin on the top right has all the food cookware, foils, plates, napkins, propane tanks, forks/knives, etc the one on the left lower bin has tools, batteries, ties, wire, tape, extension cords, etc, and the top bin has spices, some more cooking/food related products, and finally top right is the coleman grill/stove. If you look carefully, you can see a flyrod secured to the top crossmember of the rollcage.

After more packing, the middle bin has all the books and maps, another bin that looks the same that you can’t see has all survival/medication/first aid/etc items in it, red thing on the left is an arctic rated sleeping bag, then in the middle allen and torx sockets, various spare fluids and at the very top, two camping chairs.

Packing all the camera gear 

Here you can see from the other side (my wife’s hips and legs for scale) that there is plenty of room to lay down, Im 6′ and can fully extend my legs which makes for a very comfortable night of sleep. A product I highly recommend for JK owners is the Dirty Dog trench cover, it fills the gap when the rear seats are folded down making for a MUCH more pleasant place to sleep, otherwise, you need to stuff a bunch of towels or something in there, which isn’t as good of a solution. https://store.dirtydog4x4.com/Trench…nch_cover.html
This has been the most comfortable setup I’ve done to date, although still not quite perfect. The suitcase on the far right inside had all our clothing, and the camera bag and laptop/drone bag was on top of the cooler that you can see in the prior photo….my next purchase will DEFINITELY be the ARB fridge/freezer though.

All packed up, gassed up, and ready to go.

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