Travel

Not your grandparents RV!!

By: Jeff Domingues

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It’s been a long time dream of mine and my wife’s to get into a vehicle, leave everything behind and hit the open road for days/ weeks/ months at time. This obsession started with our honeymoon out west. We landed in San Francisco jumped into a Hyundai Elantra rental (I know the most exciting car possible) and started driving.

We had an idea of what we wanted to do but didn’t want to stick to a rigid time schedule, all we knew is we had to end our trip in 2 weeks in Seattle. 2 weeks of open roads, from San Fran to Seattle, I think we can find a few things to do.

We took in the beauty that is San Francisco,  headed west to Yosemite, drove north weaving between the mountains and the cost to the Redwood National and State Park in Northern Cali. Into Oregon hugging the coast as much as possible and into Portland. Then Portland into Seattle, by the time we handed the rental back we managed to do around 3,000 miles, it’s crazy but that cheap rental opened our eyes to the wonder of road trips.

During our 2 weeks driving around relentlessly exploring as much as possible, I notice something that I’ve never seen before. That is offroading vehicles that looked like more than just a 4×4 to go mudding or rock crawling. I noticed people set up their vehicles to go camping as well. WHAT’S THIS!? Offroading with camping. Never have I seen this before and let me tell you my imagination ran wild with ideas of being perched up on top of a mountain waking up to sun rises in a landscape that hid itself from us because we drove all night to get on top of this imaginary mountain.

We have been camping plenty of times, and not car camping were you drive into an over crowded site with people making noise 10′ away from your site. I’m talking spending days out hiking and killing ourselves to get to a site that few have been to or want to go to. So the idea of driving to remote places that are near impossible to get to by foot in the comfort of our own 4×4 rig became a new dream of mine. After returning home I started researching and found out this is called overlanding.

Overlanding is the idea of using a  vehicle to go offroading into remote places so you can camp for days at a time. The vehicle will provide you with shelter, carry your food and water, your camping supplies ect…    This doesn’t need to be anything special as long as the vehicle has a capable 4×4 system, you can use it to go overlanding. Which brings me into the vehicles. Like I said nothing has to be special but special is what we are looking for and special is what I’ve found.

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Photo by: http://www.Outsidevan.com

Outside Van is a customization specialist located in Troutdale, OR. They use Mercedes Sprinter vans as the platform to create some pretty wild creations. This van is their canvas and they use their limitless imaginations and yours if you want, to create the camper of your dreams. Me and my wife live pretty active life styles so this kind of camper makes sense to use. Outside Van specializes the designs towards people that like to go mountain biking, kayaking, hiking, atving, whatever outdoor activity you like they have a van that can accommodate you.

This list of options that can be put into each of their 48, that’s right 48 base models is limitless and overwhelming to list in this blog entry. Showers, solar power, beds, kitchens, storage, seating, winches, bumpers, whatever seriously whatever you can think of they probably have a model with it in it but just encase they don’t they will make one for you.

Pricing is where this vehicle either stays a dream or becomes your reality. Pre-made base models can run around $80k. This is a get you into a van as quickly as possible model or you can jump into models around $100k that are tailored more to your liking. Then there is the I won the lotto, money isn’t an issue anymore models that can put you well over $200k or even $300k for some models that have everything you want, probably so much in the van you can sell your house and live in it full time. Either way they have something for everyone. I’m currently in the “this van is still a dream” phase. But you never know maybe there is a lotto ticket with my name on it somewhere.

Check them out and spend the time needed to see everything they offer and let the dreaming begin.

www.outsidevan.com

Video by: www.outsidevan.com

Photo by: http://www.outsidevan.com

Photo by: http://www.outsidevan.com

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An Epic Road Trip

Thought my road trips in the past were awesome. But this one beats out a lot of peoples road trip. This man and his wife gave up a lot of things and just went on a road trip around North America and all the way to South America with a Toyota 4Runner.

Check out the link below and read the story about the epic road trip.

 

 

 

Source via

Road Trippin PT 3

After the Grand Canyon, we head west from Las Vegas towards California to visit some old friends. I had never driven like this in the west and first stop was the Mojave Desert and saw some rest stops with Native American markings. It was around 35-38 degrees and it was cold in the desert, right after the Mojave we had passed through the Death Valley.

Death Valley, though it was empty and dry, was amazing but you have to be careful in the highway when driving here. It is very windy and dangerous here and it’s tough to look for a rest stop for miles. Do NOT get stranded here because you can’t get picked up and signal is rough here.

After driving for 4 hours, we got to Los Angeles and had lunch with an old friend. I was always told about how “crazy” or “insane” Los Angeles traffic is. In my opinion during my stay here was nothing compared to New York traffic. Traffic in general is annoying but since I’m so used to driving in Manhattan, to me this was nothing. You move here and there with the traffic which wasn’t bad.

We went to Santa Monica next right after lunch in LA, and it’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve been to. Before my wife got sick, I have not missed a day working out unless I was sick and even when I travel for work I managed to work out. When I saw the beach, I saw so many people working out and fit, that I felt so out of shape (I haven’t worked out in 2 months.)

There are a lot of food places in the area, there is a ring swing (there are 2 in the country, New York is where the other ring swing is). Driving isn’t New York City bad either. I wish I stayed a day or two more but we had plans for the next day.

 

Las Vegas Road Trip PT. 1

It was a long year for my friend and I, since my wife got sick  we decided to go to Las Vegas for a week to take our minds off the stress in the East Coast.

The first day, which was the 26th of December, we went to La Guardia Airport. My friend took Delta and I had Spirit Airlines. My flight was supposed to leave at 8:30 am but it was delayed and I had a connecting flight which was leaving at 11:30 in Detroit that morning which meant I was going to MISS that flight.

The customer service person said they can give me a refund and go somewhere else. Which meant I was going to spend more money for this flight. The lady who was training another girl (who was helping me) rolled her eyes on me because she said I should take my business somewhere else. Eventually after talking to the new person, they took care of my issue and gave me two vouchers for $14 (well talk about this more in a second.)

The flight that they booked was at 3:30 pm which meant I had to wait for a while. I walked my friend to his terminal since he is leaving first, after going back to my terminal, the gate I am boarding had tons of people because a Spirit Airline caught on fire. Okay, this made me feel safe about my flight.

Everyone finally boarded, my flight got delayed to 5:30 pm. Once I got on the plane, these damn vouchers didn’t even work. The seats were TIGHT and for some reason, when you get your ticket, you get a random seat. That’s right a RANDOM seat, even after I chose my seats online.

I didn’t get to Vegas until 10:00 pm that night (Pacific Time) and it was a rocky trip.

My friend and I eventually met up and went to our hotel. I had reserved an all inclusive stay at the Westin Lake in Henderson, Nevada. That too was a lie, I paid for an all inclusive which I thought included some food and other stuff. All it included was a damn paddle boat. The food vouchers were separate and I felt betrayed by my purchase online. This was a rough first night but there was an adventure ahead of us.