Remember the recent post Spartan Luxury? I was biking some trash to the LTVA’s dumpsters today and found the above rig parked near the dump station, waiting for another in order to begin a trip. The owner was sitting in the Jeep and was happy to answer questions for as long as his friend was holding up the show.
A former Seabee and electrical engineer, it turns out he was disabled and in a wheelchair for 22-1/2 years. He is now ambulatory but says there’s “still more for them to do” and he occasionally uses either the wheelchair or two forearm crutches to get around.
As for the trailer, it boasts bed, A/C, catalytic propane heater, TV, satellite dish, microwave, and toaster oven. The gasoline generator can run for 13 hours on a single fill. A sink is being installed, as well as an exterior shower head that will pull and pump water from a stream or other source. His RVing friends, a couple, have eight children and he claims they were all packed into the tiny trailer yesterday to watch the TV! He said it was quite a sight. I believe him, and it must have been quite a sanity break for the parents!
The roof rack seen in the photos are now gone. Why? He’s a bit of a sun worshipper and the rack and spare wheels and tires it held were too much like a roof for him, blocking the open air and sunlight. Gone. He doesn’t even own a roof tarp any more, and drives wet or dry. He’s been to 46 of the 50 states so far with this rig, pretty much as you see it. Rain? Jeep dash switches have long since gone normal and aren’t waterproof, but he just lets things misbehave and dry out for awhile, then keeps going. (By the way, he says the best and fastest way to get an immersed cellphone dried and operational is to immediately remove the battery, then throw it all on some uncooked rice for an hour or more.) The oddest part of this story is that the rack was extremely sturdy and cost him about $300 to build. He sold the build plans to J.C.Whitney, and claims that they now offer a greatly whimpified version of it for around $900 or so.
When I pointed out the off-road orientation of his rig, he admitted that camping at the LTVA is not his usual style, but he’s waiting for some special-order tires to come in before he heads into the hills. He mentioned the black rocks that can be seen scattered all over this area, and pointed out that they are volcanic. “They will cut into a tire easier than you can believe it,” he said, “they’ll just strip the rubber right off, and these I got now are worn too thin. When I get the new ones I’ll be camping up in the hills.” It also turns out that the massive front bumper with winch is actually a lockable toolbox, too. Clever, this hardy soul. He says he’ll be back in a few days, so I’ll see if I can spot him again then. Got any questions for him?