Archives for posts with tag: Montero

Here’s some video of our drive through Joshua Tree. At one point I took a bad line and impacted the bottom of the truck, which was less than ideal. The drive was beautiful though.


Photo: Nik Schulz

After leaving the deserts of Arizona we crossed over into the deserts of California. We’d initially planned to camp at Joshua Tree’s south entrance off of the 10 freeway, but we completely missed the exit and ended up in Indio (in the Palm Springs/Coachella area). By the time we got there it was well past sundown and the wind was blowing an absolute gale. We shelved our camping plan and headed to a hotel.

After a hot shower and a good night of sleep we ready to head into Joshua Tree and found what was probably a more interesting way in.

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Photo: Nik Schulz
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After heading out of Sedona we made our way over to Prescott for some more backcountry exploration and to say hello the team at Overland Journal.

A quick note: if you find yourself on Highway 89A about 20 miles northeast of Prescott, you’ll be within spitting distance of Jerome, AZ. Do yourself a favor and stop. Jerome is an old mining town that’s half deserted, half lived-in and 100% amazing. I’d tell you more but unfortunately we didn’t have time to stop. Word had it there was a BBQ on at the Overland Journal.

Update: Here’s a quick video of the trip.
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Photo: Greg MacDonald

A few weeks ago my friend Greg and I headed up to the Mendocino National Forest for a couple of nights of camping, off-roading, and target shooting in Deer Valley and French Ridge. We, well I, saw a fat rattlesnake crossing the road and then Greg managed to startle me pretty well with Hubert, the rubber rattlesnake that lives in his truck. He left it under some bags and when I went to throw away a beer can, I almost jumped out of my boots.

Heading out on Sunday, we explored one more trail and ended up at the High Glade fire lookout. Annelle, the friendly ranger on duty there, was kind enough to invite us up for a visit. It was really interesting to see how the lookout station worked and, of course, the views were amazing. Check out the gallery. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Mitsubishi Montero / Pajero / Shogun turns 30 this spring!

I looked at a lot of trucks, from Land Cruisers to Land Rovers, before settling on my 1995 Montero LS. The combination of Japanese reliability, a well-designed, well-thought-out interior, and, what I thought were classic good looks, proved pretty appealing. Also, I was looking for something from the mid-90s. That era seems to be the sweet spot on the SUV development timeline in which trucks went from spartan and capable to soft and cushy. The fact that it was the only one from this era available in the US with a manual transmission, sealed the deal. I’ve been happy with it ever since.

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All photos: Gregory McDonald

I’d been wanting an extra margin of water fording safety and a cleaner intake source than under the fender well, so I ordered an ARB Safari Snorkel. A couple of weekends ago my friend Greg — awesome guy that he is — came up to help me install it. It worked out pretty well and took about 5 or 6 hours from start to finish (including a trip to the hardware store for last minute supplies).

If you install one yourself here’s a list of things you’ll need. Read through your instructions fully before you go to the hardware store to get supplies. I didn’t, hence the extra trip.

Apart from the standard tools, you’ll need:

• an 86mm (3-3/8″) hole saw (this may be different for your truck)
• Loctite
• drills up to 1/2″ diameter (the instructions call for larger but if you follow this method, you won’t need them)
• silicon sealer
• ratcheting box wrench (to tighten the nuts inside the fender well without removing the fender)
• a step drill, if you already have one (they’re about $50 so I just used a series of drills)

Here’s the biggest tip of the whole exercise: use the template only to drill the big, 86mm hole. Mark the small, snorkel bolt holes as well but use the bolts themselves to determine their exact positions. The template may not be accurate — it wasn’t for us. Use the same method for determining the positions of the A-pillar holes and you’ll be dead on.

Be sure to follow along with your instructions, if you do this yourself. I’m only going into a general level of detail in this post.

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This first generation Montero, a 1990 LS model, has been transformed from stock into a fantastic looking overlander with very well-thought-out features that I haven’t seen on other trucks. To say I “spotted” it though is to give myself too much credit. Greg showed it to me when Natalie and I met with him in San Francisco to discuss our then upcoming Twain trip. I was immediately impressed. Here’s what Greg has done. Read the rest of this entry »


Photo: Greg MacDonald

After Twain’s first, large-scale, Western ruckus, his audience began to grow, as did his reputation. By 1864 he was honing his craft by writing 4,000-word political dispatches five days a week from Carson City. So much for not liking work.

In 1865 his story “Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog,” submitted too late for inclusion in an anthology of Western writing, was instead published in New York’s Saturday Press. It exploded. Within in no time the tale of the jumping frog with the belly full of lead had appeared in newspapers across the U.S. and Europe.

He had stepped onto the world stage.

As we stepped out into the morning at Trumbull Lake, the sun cracked across 12,280 ft. Dunderberg Peak, a wall of loose rock, towering a good 3,000 ft. above our campsite. We’d completely missed seeing it in the dark the night before.

Prior to 1878 this pile of 100-million-year-old granite was known as Castle Peak. Here’s how Twain described it:

At the end of a week we adjourned to the Sierras on a fishing excursion, and spent several days in camp under snowy Castle Peak, and fished successfully for trout in a bright, miniature lake whose surface was between ten and eleven thousand feet above the level of the sea; cooling ourselves during the hot August noons by sitting on snow banks ten feet deep, under whose sheltering edges fine grass and dainty flowers flourished luxuriously; and at night entertaining ourselves by almost freezing to death.

Mark Twain, Roughing It, Chapter 39

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Photo: Greg MacDonald

When we last left Mark Twain he was slaughtering passers-by in the pages of the Territorial Enterprise. He wrote a similar story in the fall of 1863 meant to shame financiers for artificially inflating stock prices—yes, it happened back then too—and to embarrass San Francisco newspapers for their complicity.

Entitled “The Massacre at Empire City,” it told the story of a man who, in seeing no way out of a huge financial scandal (think 19th-century Enron), committed suicide after gruesomely murdering his wife and most of their nine children.

Twain intended it as satire but big-city papers reprinted the piece as fact, too caught up in the grisly details to catch the finer, cautionary tale. When he recanted the whole thing, cries for Mark Twain’s head could be heard up and down the west coast. Shocked, Twain offered to resign from the paper. “Nonsense,” his editor replied, “We can furnish the people with news, but we can’t supply them with sense.”

In making his first real mark on the West, Twain had, to his amazement, discovered the power of the media.

At our camp in the Bodie Hills, Greg had discovered the power of a wonky stomach. Marinated chicken and my lack of ice-chest due diligence had been the culprits. Back at Desert Creek I had grilled chicken. Natalie warned that it might not have survived the thaw. It had tasted fine but I spit it out anyway. Greg passed too, after swallowing a bite. That simple italics made all the difference. Now in the Bodie Hills he made excursions into the sagebrush with shovel in hand. Read the rest of this entry »

A young, mop-topped Jeremy Clarkson reviews the Gen2 Mitsubishi Shogun/Montero/Pajero in an early-1990s edition of Top Gear. Pretty great, if you can get past the short but cheesy title sequence.