Like so many others on the forum, I have tried to live and explore our region out of the back of a wagon. With a growing family that has expressed a greater desire to explore with me, I found us needing a better solution. At first, I thought the solution was found in the form of a trailer.
Since 2002, I have bought and used a TentTrax, an Adventure Trailer Chaser and ultimately a Kimberly Kamper. Without going into specifics on each trailer platform, they were all eventually sold. I have come to the conclusion that I just don't enjoy towing a trailer off road. While towing the TentTrax over the Rubicon was cool and made my aging father feel more comfortable on the trail, I honestly felt like I spent more time looking in the side mirrors than forward. The feeling really hasn't disappeared with the other anchors in the field. I will say I do miss the KK the most due to it's design and features.
A few years ago these pictures made their way onto the Portal and I immediately fell in love with it. The seed was planted...
Then all the cool kids I like to run around with did it..
In the interim, I have owned a 100 series Cruiser, 96 Land Rover Disco 1. A well built 80 series, a 45 from Oz and lastly the Troopy. I feel I have pretty much nailed the Gucci rides (So keep the negative comments to yourself) and have always found myself wanting for a diesel again.
When I received an unsolicited offer from the gentleman that bought my HJ45 to purchase my Troopy, I figured now was the time to act. He is a great Cruiser Head with a great wife and the kind of guy I felt good with owning my two dream trucks.
One day I'll own another 45 pick up with a removable top. Who knows, my son is getting to the age of a father/son project (That will be built not bought) and while I always thought we would build him an AEV Brute for his first ride (Because clearly any kid would not posses the refinement, taste and maturity to truly appreciate a Japanese 45 series Cruiser) maybe we'll look towards a 45 for "Us." But I digress.
Having owned two 7.3 Power Strokes and a couple of Cummins, I knew what I liked and what I didn't like about each one. The D-Max's were tempting, but the front end kept pushing me away. It wasn't until after I had made my deal that Jack (Locrwln) had educated me on the cool kit available for the D-Max front ends.
Ultimately, I decided that I wanted a 7.3 extended cab, short bed with a six speed. Four wheel drive of course. The Ford's enjoy an extensive after market support and the 7.3 liters had always treated me well. Everything is a compromise of some sort.
The search for a clean unmolested 7.3 was harder than I thought it was going to be. My desire to have a six speed made it even harder.
Enter BearCat Lodge. A cool Lodge in Oregon owned (JW) by a pretty cool couple. The Lodge caters to Adventure Motorcycling and the Owner rides a wicked KTM 990. His scoot fell out of the farkle tree and didn't miss a single farkle on the way down. He has a build thread on AVRider, under FASTCAT. JW can also rock the blues guitar pretty well.
It seems JW is a kindred soul with the way he ordered his F-250 new from the dealer. The 250 (Matilda, but more on that later) was ordered with the XLT package, however it was spec'd with a six speed and lever operated T-Case. Manual front hubs followed by a carpet delete option (Thick rubber mat) round out the truck. And it was 100% stock. No monster lift with 22's, no after market air filter etc. etc.
A deal was struck and monies were exchanged without knowing when I would be able to get to Oregon to pick it up. Without going into details, my free time is rare. I'm supposed to have two days off a week, however since January it has probably only happened five times. I'm not complaining, I'm just stating the facts.
Enter OverLand Journals' own Editor in Chief; Chris Collard. It seems Chris and JW are friends and were getting together for a little motorcycle riding. They were to meet in Alturas CA. to start their adventure together. JW knowing the rigors of my schedule offered to load up the katoom in the Ford and deliver it to Alturas for me.
The plan was set into motion. I would ride the KTM up to Alturas, have dinner with JW and Chris, load up the katoom and head back to Reno.
It went almost as planned... I rode to Gerlach, caught a ride from Gerlach NV to Alturas CA. with an old friend and met up with the guys in Alturas. We chose the most popular eatery in town; the Basque dinner house named The Brass Rail.
Those with a keen eye will immediately notice the Hammarhead Industries creation.
And the mother of all KTM's
Dinner and company was enjoyed and I parted ways early knowing I had a long drive in the desolate and beautiful NV desert.