A blog about off-road vehicles, overlanding, 4×4 trips & travel. We write posts about interesting trucks for sale, help you improve your driving and camping skills, learn about gear, show you amazing places to go, and share stories of adventure. We like to go out and explore, and we love adventure.

Oregon Dunes, WCXC
Greg out on the dunes. All photos: Nik Schulz

WCXC is back, albeit on a very limited basis while I make a living and write a book about spending a few months living on a mile-wide British island. (More on that later.) Still, adventures are being had and it’s time to get some photos up.

A few days ago, Greg, his wife, Abbey, and I, went to the Oregon Dunes in southwestern Oregon. See the photos after the jump. It was nice camping there, if a bit noisy.

Link:
Oregon Dunes

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Dear Readers,

First off, a couple of apologies. If you’re on my newsletter list, you already know that I moved the site to a self hosted server from WordPress.com and managed to trash my subscriber list. If you’d like to keep getting notice of posts by email, click the “Subcribe” link above and put your email address in the second text box. I’m sorry that got goofed up.

And speaking of posts, apologies for the lack of them lately. For the last few months my goal had been to write a post a day but I hit a wall in April. The time I was devoting to WCXC started cutting into my paid illustration work. I write this site, and maintain our Pinterest boards without any income and it’s really brought me to a crossroads.

I’m not looking for donations but rather your feedback. I don’t think it will be feasible to continue at rate I’ve been posting without earning some kind of income but I’d also rather not take anyone’s money unless I provide something of real value. So would you mind, if I bounce some ideas off you, valued WCXC readers?

Please reply in the comments. Ideas for WCXC can be found after the jump. Thanks! Read the rest of this entry »

1953 Dodge M37 • WCXC

This is a 1953 Dodge M37, 3/4-ton, 4×4 truck. We spotted it outside of Jack’s Auto Upholstery in Healdsburg, California. It turned out Jack was the owner. He graciously showed me around the truck.

The M37 was built between 1951 and 1968, and fitted with a 230 cubic-inch (3.77-liter), flathead straight-six engine which produced 78 hp and, as far as I can find out, about 190 lb-ft of torque. This engine, the Dodge T245, was in production from 1929–1968 and had quite a long stroke. This enabled it to produce a lot of torque but also caused it to throw connecting rods, if the truck was driven much over 45 mph, hence the notice on the dashboard.

The transmission is a 4-speed manual. The truck even has its original radio. Jack’s had this one for just about a year, in which time he fitted, among other things, a 8,000-lb Braden PTO winch, and converted the electrics from 24V to 12V. The canvas tops and interior he also redid, of course given his profession. They looked quite good, as did the whole truck.

It was a pleasure to see. Check out the links below, to learn more about the M37 or Jack’s shop.

Links:
Jacks Auto Upholstery

Wikipedia: Dodge M37

Dodge M37 Specs

Dodge Flathead Engines
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The 20-minute motorcycle documentary Fifty Years of Kicks, about guys in their 60s and 70s riding dirt bikes is pretty inspiring. It starts with a quote from Oliver Wendell Holmes. “Men do not quit playing because they grow old. They grow old because they stop playing.” Well said. Even better, well done.

Here’s an interesting video showing Fraser Island, a popular off-road site on Australia’s east coast, just north of Brisbane.

The Toyota is towing a Conquerer UEV-490 trailer, which looks quite interesting with it’s fold-out, open-air kitchen. One interesting point about these trailers: they can be ordered to match the track width of the towing vehicle. That way the trailer just follows right in the tow vehicle’s tracks, which makes towing in sand or soft ground a lot easier.

Link:
Conquerer Trailers

To me, this video captures the joy of overlanding, the quiet stretches of road, the beautiful scenery, the people, the friendships. Two Czech guys head off through Turkey for a drive around Georgia, Armenia, and Karabkh, in their Land Rover Defender. Well done.

FlightTracker • WCXC

Have you ever wondered where that jet flying overhead was going? Well, if you have an internet connection, you can find out. A site called flightradar24 mashes live flight data with a Google map giving an amazing, live map of every flight in the sky. Click on any jet icon and see, among other things, the plane’s speed, location, altitude and destination.

If you have the Google Earth plugin installed on your browser, you can even click the 3D button and get a live, flight-simulator view from the plane’s cockpit. Pretty neat.

Link:
Flightradar24.com – Live flight tracker!

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The early Jeep, it’s about as plain as a cardboard box, and about as versatile too. It’s an honest thing—the essence of the 4×4. You can’t distill it down to get anything simpler. And here’s one for sale, a Willys CJ-2A from 1946, the first year of production. It came with a 60 hp, 4-cylinder engine good for 105 lb-ft of torque, a 3-speed transmission, and a 2-speed transfer case.

This one has been treated to a three-year, father-and-son rebuild. The engine was rebuilt as well, but the job was done by a professional. It has a new Solex carburetor, 12V electrics, larger-than-stock rear brake drums. I love the side-mounted spares on these.

This jeep is available for the more-than-reasonable price of $6,000 in northern Idaho.Click through at the end of the post to read the original ad text.

Links:
Original Craigslist ad

Bring a Trailer post

Wikipedia: Willys Jeep CJ-2A

The CJ-2A Page (for further research)
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This is a nice looking 2004 Toyota Tacoma DoubleCab that the owner reportedly converted to PreRunner 4×4 spec using all Toyota 4WD parts. It has a 2.7-liter, 4-cylinder motor, and an automatic transmission.

The truck has all kinds of overlanding goodies, like an ARB front bumper, an Outdoor Logic rear bumper with swing out, a Safari Snorkel, ARB front and rear locking differentials with 5.29 gearing, a complete OME suspension, and BudBuilt skid plates.

It looks like it’s been set up right. The diff. breathers are said to be routed to under the hood and the effect of the larger 255 BFG Mud Terrains has been corrected by a Dakota Digital speedometer calibrator. I like the little touches like the front-mounted hitch receiver under the license plate and the black Toyota trim.

The truck has 225,000 miles, but on a truck that’s been well maintained, I no longer see that as an issue. Just keep up the maintenance and drive it.

The truck is located in Modesto, California and available for $14,000. As is usually the case, you couldn’t build it for the asking price. See the original ad text at the end of the post.

Links:
The ad on Expo
The truck’s build thread on Expo
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Hollister Hills • WCXC
Photo: Nik Schulz

In early April WCXC got together for a day at Hollister Hills OHV near Gilroy, California, for a couple of days of camping and trail skills practice. It had been raining so the trails were pretty muddy. Still, we had a good time driving the obstacle courses and playing in the mud.

Given all of the rain, and that this was our first outing as a group, we decided not to head down any of the intermediate difficulty trails. After we had our fill of the two obstacle courses, and were on our way back to camp, a ranger asked us if we wouldn’t mind helping a guy out that had not been so cautious and had gotten stuck on one of the intermediate trails. We said we’d go have a look and see what we could do.

What we found was a full-size, crew-cab 4×4 pick-up on 80 psi street tires, that had slid completely off the trail, down a slope that led down to a small ravine. It had sunk into the mud up to its door sills. Mas had a winch on his truck and we offered our help. About two hours, 3 or 4 winch pulls, and a rain and hail storm later, we had the truck back on the road. As the rain picked up I got concerned that he—and we—would be able to get back out (as his truck blocked our exit). He got his truck turned around though, and we all made it out. Sheesh. It was a little more than we bargained for.

Still it was a great trip. Here are some photos from that day. Read the rest of this entry »