My mess kit

I’ve been on a real kick lately about doing as much outside as possible so that I can ready myself and learn to become one with my gear. Part of this is making a point of eating on the trail rather than before and after like many do. It’s actually quite nice to stop in the middle of a four wheel trip and set up the back country kitchen for a meal. It’s one thing to take a trip and get from point A to point B. It’s a whole different trip when you do it while taking the time to actually see things.

I wanted to go over the gear that I use so you can see how simple it really can be. My stove is a Brunton Raptor folding canister stove. I can’t speak highly enough of this piece of gear. It is small, light, easy to use and boils water quickly. After I got this my MSR whisper-lite hasn’t seen the light of day. If I only had one remorse about it is that I wished it was an All-Fuel version, but I’m willing to cope for now. To go with this I use a MSR stow-a-way pot that I have had for many years now and a combo utensil kit that I got at wal-mart a while back.

The whole thing fits inside of the pot and is ready to go at all times. I keep this in my gear box in the back of the truck with 3 days worth of food so I always have something good to munch on when I’m out in the boonies. There is one thing that I am lacking, at this point, and that is a good coffee mug. I’ll plan to pick something up at the next chance I get.

After another successful trip with a meal stop in the middle last night, I’m starting to feel pretty good about the ability of the truck and about my capability to make a solo trip in the near future. I hope to get one under my belt soon.

Had a nice walk last night

I had a little free time after work yesterday so I decided to go for a little walk with the snow shoes on. It’s such an amazing feeling to be out with just you and your gear, no one around, the thoughts that flow through your mind and the feelings that run through your body. I’m so addicted to this feeling, this place that I go when I am there. It’s freedom in a cup!

For this little mini-adventure I decided to just have a park on the side of Highway 20 and go for a little walk. It ended up being dinner, and a movie as well. I walked for about 2 hours and the whole time the clouds were rolling in. It was really quite inspiring to watch as the sun turned the clouds and the moisture in the air around them into a show that was better than anything you would find on the TV. It was so inspiring that I had to sit down and cook a meal while I watched it. Nothing better than a healthy helping of Mountain House Lasagna while the world unflods around you.

After that I walked for a while more, then when it got real dark I broke out the head lamp and headed back to the truck. Nothing like a quick jaunt in the snow covered woods to bring back your thrill for life!

The truck is coming along nicely

As previously stated I plan to use the ’79 Toyota Hi-Lux 4×4 as my base for many adventures around the country, so the last couple of weeks has been spent attempting to make the vehicle as reliable and roadworthy as possible. If I do make a modification to the vehicle, consideration will be taken as to not only the off road gains, but the effects to reliability and street manners as well.

Since the last post I have done a ton of work on the motor to bring it back to life. A compression test was done proving that the motor is in amazingly good condition, so I decided to just go for a major tune-up. I changed the spark plugs, plug wires, cap & rotor, checked the valves and timing, replaced all filters, lubed all U-joints, replaced the front CV joint and fixed the exhaust manifold stud that was missing at time of purchase. I do believe that the vacuum advance is not working properly on the distributor still, so that is about all that is left. All vacuum lines and junk attached to them are good and in working order.

The truck is almost ready for it’s first trip, and so am I! It feels good to have the build up go so smoothly, in the end I am glad that I went with a vehicle that I am very familiar with to work on. This is my fourth Toyota, before this was the 2001 Tacoma, the 1989 4runner, and the 1981 Hi-Lux. All were great vehicles, great to work on and a pleasure to drive. In addition to these vehicles I have built up a few other vehicles as well. The list is; 1978 Chevy Blazer, 1975 Dodge 1/2 ton 4×4, 1945 Ford GPW, 1947 Willy’s CJ2A, and the first was a 1978 Dodge 1/2 ton 4×4. All of these vehicles over the years have taught me much about how things work and there has been many times I learned my lesson over and over again until I finally got it right. I’m very lucky to have had the experiences I have had over the years.

Hopefully my next post will be of adventure, because I am really starting to need it! I will keep you posted, of course.

“I’d like to repeat the advice I gave you before, in that I think you really should make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin to boldly do things which you may previously never have thought of doing, or been too hesitant to attempt. So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. If you want to get more out of life, Ron, you must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life that will at first appear to you to be crazy. But once you become accustomed to such a life you will see its full meaning and its incredible beauty.”

Chris McCandless- Into the Wild

Now that is something to think about. This describes the very feelings that have been inside of me for many years. I have fought it and beat it down, but to this day it will not go away.

By the way, I would recommend the book, it’s a good read.