Category: Adventures

Four Wheel Camper

If there’s one thing that all my readers know, it’s that we like camping. If I could be camping all the time I would. One thing that I’ve always dreamed about is a Sportsmobile, a vehicle that is ready to go at a moment’s notice and capable to get us anywhere. So I started doing research a few months ago in an attempt to see if it would be possible to make that happen. What the hell right? I’m a believer that one should live now and put things off until they are older.

Well, the Sportsmobile was quickly ruled out due to cost. I found a couple used ones that would’ve required some mods for us, which put them back in the price range of a new one. Then I started shopping for a used Ford Cargo Van with the plan to make it a poor man’s Sportsmobile. Adding interior as we needed it, the penthouse tent and other camping features along the way. I found a few and almost bought one, but I kept getting hung up on the fact that I would still need to add a 4×4 conversion kit. Meanwhile I had a Chevy 2500 4×4 in the driveway. Not as cool as a Sportsmobile, maybe, but it was mine. All mine. So we went back to the drawing board and picked out a Four Wheel Camper.

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For those unfamiliar, the Four Wheel Camper is a slide in camper shell. The roof lifts up while parked to allow access to a queen size bed (In our model) and a 6’6″ head room. This allows the camper to be more efficient when traveling down the highway and the lower profile is better for off road travel as well. A lower center of gravity helps for off camber or bumpy roads. It also makes the shell much lighter since the top two feet or so is canvas and not framing.

About a month ago Serbrina and I picked up our Four Wheel Camper Hawk Shell. We opted for the Shell model because we didn’t need the galley and all the features that includes. Water tank, stove, heater etc. Also, we can add some of those features down the road if we want to. Or not, our choice. Best part? Our Four Wheel Camper cost less than the price of the 4×4 option on a Sportsmobile. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to own a Sportsmobile some day, maybe, but we do own a Four Wheel Camper now. That’s a huge b-b-bonus.

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So even though it’s a Shell model, we did add a couple things. Here are the options we ordered on our Shell.

–Side Dinette

–Awning

–LED Lights

–Exterior Flood Lights

–Wall steps

–Yakima Tracks

–Fantastic Fan

–Exterior Lift Assists

I think that’s it. Since owning it we’ve added a Porta-Potti and I sewed up some window covers. So far so good.

In the first month of owning the Four Wheel Camper it’s already visited Yosemite and Death Valley. It’s worked out great so far and we’re looking forward to a summer full of more trips.

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Four Wheel Camper at the Trona Rocks

Four Wheel Camper

Camping at Mahogany Flat

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Yosemite!

This morning I scored a campsite in Yosemite Valley. They went on sale at 7am and sold out in 5 mins. Normally I wouldn’t aim to camp in the valley, but we are planning to hike Half Dome, so the location is ideal. Pretty stoked for the summer. First Alaska, then Yosemite.

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Do. It. Yourself.

Yesterday I read this post from Steven at The Straight Nope. Go read it. In fact, read all of his posts because they are all good. The subject of this particular post really bugged me for some reason. As usual he nailed it.

For some reason this idea really bugged me. I don’t know why. It’s dumb. People do things differently. I like the idea of this amazing outdoor experience, except that it’s fully supported. The tender voiceover says “It’s a chance for all of us to find out what we are made of to be measured by the wilderness.” Really? Sure looks like everyone has all the luxuries of home out there. They are eating better than I’ve probably ever eaten! A chef with latex gloves preparing the food? WTF! It’s not a camping trip unless there’s a strong risk of an E. Coli outbreak! I have a feeling that out of sight was a toilet and shower truck so everyone smelled good at all times. Artisanal soaps no doubt.

Who cares though right? I like doing things self-supported. It’s not for everyone, but the real lessons come from being outside of your comfort zone. Running out of water. Pushing your bike through bear country with a chicken sandwich on your back. Being so far from home that you find yourself pedaling and crying. Yeah, that’s right. Crying. A grown ass man crying while riding his bike.

There is nothing about those experiences in this. This is the Walmarting of Outdoorsyness. The Urban Outfittering of Camping. The Glamour of “Glamping”. To really find yourself you need to do it yourself. You need to fail now and then. Make adjustments and then try again. Anything else and you’re not getting the full effect. You’re only half way in it.

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Tehachapi Road Trip

This Saturday I took Serbrina on a road trip out to Tehachapi. She’s been a champ putting up with all the bike stuff I’ve been doing for the past month or so. I wanted to spend the day with her and not have anything to do with pedaling for a change.

She’d never been to Tehachapi so I thought it would be a good destination. A long road trip with some California history mixed in. And food. I’ve been through Tehachapi many times. The first time many years ago when my Pops and Aunt took my sister and I there and on to Lake Isabella. My Pops drove us up Caliente-Bodfish road and it felt like we were so far from anything. It felt amazing. I remember sitting in my Aunt’s Vanagon listening to the Buffalo Springfield and watching the train go up the Tehachapi Loop. Great memories up there.

We grabbed some coffee and hit the road to Mojave. In a little under two hours we pulled off the highway at Rosamond and went the back way. Past Willow Springs and onto what is the Adventure Cycling Associaton Sierra Cascades route. Up through the windfarms and down into Tehachapi. Time for breakfast at the Apple Shed.

I spied this game on the table and started playing it. I’ve always enjoyed this game, but it always makes me feel dumb. I tried and tried but could only get three of the pegs off the board. The game says that your are just “So-So” if you leave three. Story of my life! Time for food! Nothing like a good diner meal to get over feeling like a dumb-dumb.

I’m a glutton for punishment I guess so after eating I went back to the game. This time though I got down to two pegs! Yeah! I’m “Above Average” now! It must be true if a wooden game is telling me right?

Next up we strolled through the Railroad Depot Museum. They had scale model of the Tehachapi Loop that was pretty cool. The loop was our main destination for the day. It’s huge circle that allows the train to gain elevation in a short distance. It allows the trains to travel over the mountains from Bakersfield to Mojave. It was built in 1874 by Chinese Laborers and is still in use today.

After the museum we walked around the town. Grabbing pastries to go and checking out the cool signs.

We drove out to the Tehachapi Loop and hung out, but we didn’t get to see any trains. That was a bummer, but the area is so pretty that train or not it’s worth the trip. I did score a patch though.

From there we headed out to the town of Caliente. Caliente is the southern end of an amazing motorcycle road called Caliente-Bodfish Road. If you guessed that Bodfish was the northern end then you were correct. If you have a moto or a sports car this is a fun road. One of my favorites and worth the trip. We turned off onto a road I hadn’t been on and headed west. One of Serbrina’s requests was that Neil Young was the soundtrack for the day. It was perfect out there. New roads, Neil Young and my (Life) Partner in Crime (for life) in the passenger seat. I can’t think of a better way to spend the day.

We made our way back towards the highway but were able to cross it and take a smaller road heading west. It was pretty great finding these frontage roads. People were just flying by these amazing vistas just off the highway while we were able to enjoy them by ourselves. It was a perfect fit for us and this blog. Were were able to use the Frontage Roads for a good part of the day.

We left the rolling hills and descended into an agricultural area towards the town of Arvin. There wasn’t much to Arvin. Except I spotted this statue on the top of a Little Ceasar’s Pizza place. I guess they take Little Ceaser seriously there in Arvin.

From Arvin was a boring drive out the 99, then south to the Grapevine and onto home. Along the way we passed a vintage trailer and Serbrina caught some zzzzzs. Before long we were home and napping. A great end to another day in search of California’s Frontage Roads. (read that last line like Huell Howser for the full effect.)

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