Friday, July 29, 2011

Introducing The Camper Sled

I've decided that it's time to hit the road again, on what I expect will be a very long-distance road trip. I'll post some details about that soon, but for now just want to show you yet another modification I've done to my "Road Rig."

Let's start with a brief review: I absolutely love my truck camper. It's such a great set-up for me in terms of size, space, facilities, etc. Because my camper can go practically anywhere my truck can go -- which is just about anywhere -- I have the ability to go places that travel trailers can't.

Also, because there's nothing easier than a truck camper for getting in and out of camping spaces, it's about as simple and efficient as it gets! This is especially great for moving fast, when you're pretty much driving all day and only camping for a night at each stop. You pick up your supplies, etc., along the way and you're ready for your in-and-out camping.

The only times when the truck camper isn't so great is when you want to dawdle on your road trip. Then, what was an advantage of having the truck and camper attached is a bit of a compromise. If you want to stay some place for a couple of days to explore, you have to choose between packing up your stuff every morning and hauling your camper around, or dismounting the camper. The dismounting isn't really a problem, but it does take a little time and effort. It's not nearly as easy as just unhooking a trailer, and that's where travel trailers have the edge.

I was thinking about this in terms of my upcoming long-distance, long-term road trip. I considered for a moment getting a travel trailer, but I really like my camper and don't want to own two of them. Plus, I don't want to lose the option of putting the camper on my truck for times when I want to go into difficult terrain. What to do?

As I was pondering this, I had an idea: What if I put my truck camper on a trailer? The more I thought about it, the more sense it made. I could use it as a travel trailer for the ease of unhooking when I want to stay a few days in each place, but could also put the camper back on my truck whenever I want and just leave the trailer portion behind for a while.

Thus was born what I am calling the "camper sled":

My good friend Rob helped me with the design and fabrication. We started with a simple flat-bed trailer and built onto it what is, in effect, a pick-up truck bed. We replaced what would be the side fenders of the truck with hinged top storage boxes. Then Rob went to work fabricating the storage shed that goes on the front, under the canopy of the camper that usually rides over the passenger compartment of the truck.

So far it has worked out great! I gain the ease of a travel trailer, while retaining the capability of a truck camper whenever I want. Plus, I've now got plenty of storage for things like lawn furniture, a full size grill, some extra boxes of gear and even my bike! I'm pretty confident it's going to be a hit on the camping circuit... I'll keep you posted!

Saturday, July 09, 2011

VoM2: Closing The Loop

As you can see on the map, The Voyage of Macgellan 2.0 has concluded and I’ve returned to Seattle!

The short version of the story is that my plans to continue east and transit Russia/Siberia had gotten progressively more complicated, difficult and expensive. After spending such a fantastic six months exploring North Atlantic islands and coasts, I just wasn’t feeling motivated to slog through three months of hassle and hardship just to complete my original plan.

I looked at completing the circumnavigation by taking a freighter from Europe all the way east to North America, but that would require about 60 days at sea. I love freighter travel, but that seemed like a long trip without much opportunity for exploration just to technically complete the circumnavigation.

So, I toasted my successful Voyage and got on a non-stop flight from Reykjavik to Seattle, with no regrets about my decision. I’m actually quite happy about it all. It was a great Voyage and I accomplished all of my most important objectives. I didn’t complete the original plan or the circumnavigation, but even in that I’m proud to have been able to take a pause, take a realistic view of circumstances and make a good decision for myself.

Thus, The Voyage of Macgellan 2.0 is officially over, and I thank you for joining me!

I expect to be in the Pacific Northwest for a few weeks, catching up with myself and handling the usual issues that have cropped up during my long time out in the world. I don’t have any set plans going forward, but I’m leaning toward a nice, long US road trip in my truck/camper rig. If I’m lucky, maybe a dog will pick me and go along for the ride!

As always, I wish you fair winds and following seas during your own life’s journeys…

Best, Macgellan

Friday, July 01, 2011

VoM2: Iceland Wrap-Up

Christian and I have wrapped up our fantastic Iceland exploration and are back in Reykjavik. We had a really great time together and I can’t imagine a better co-Voyager with whom to have shared the experience.

It’s true that we mostly looked at rocks, but we also saw many other things along the way. For those of you who may be “birders” I am delighted to share this Puffin photo. I was able to get as close as five-feet away from them, perched on top of a very windy cliff!

This will conclude the Iceland reporting, but I’ll post a general update on The Voyage 2.0 very soon!