Archives for posts with tag: West County Explorers Club

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We’re getting word that the WCXC sticker is being deployed out in the field. We still have a few of these left to give away to our subscribers. If you haven’t gotten one yet, go to our About page and let us know where to send it.

And, as always, you can subscribe to the blog by clicking the “Sign me up!” button in the left-hand column at the bottom of every page.

Thanks for the photo, David!

Here’s a Pinzgauer 712K with a cool, camo paint job going for a drive in what appears to be the Russian Countryside. Quite a nice little video.

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A couple of weeks ago we boarded Seattle’s historic steamer, Virginia V, at Lake Union and sailed to Bainbridge Island.

The Virginia V is quite an experience. You really get the feeling of traveling in another time. And she’s so quiet. Gliding through the ship canal she barely made a sound.

She was built in 1921 and became a part of what was then known as the “Mosquito Fleet,” a group of hundreds of small vessels that plied Puget Sound in the era before state-run public transit. All the vessels were privately owned, initially unregulated, and often competed for business on the same routes, with the first ship to the dock getting the lion’s share of the fares.

The Virginia V is powered by a 400-hp, double-expansion, three-cylinder steam engine, built in 1898. The 115-year-old engine has a maximum RPM of 200, although it mostly spins at about 80 or 90 RPM. She used to be oil-fired but today burns diesel to develop steam.

Our route took us down the Washington Ship Canal and through the Chittenden Locks. Lake Union is at a higher elevation than Puget Sound, hence the need for the locks.

Locking through is a neat experience. The huge, steel doors of the lock were open at one end as we came into the locks, then shut behind us. The water was then drained out of the lock as the ship dropped about 25 feet down. The doors at the other end of the lock were opened, and out we went, into the Sound.

The Virginia V doesn’t sail very often—she is crewed solely by volunteers. If she has a trip scheduled, and you happen to be in Seattle, make of day of it. It’s a very unique and enjoyable experience.

Link: Virginia V Public Schedule

Read further for a gallery of photos from our day aboard, as well as a quick video.
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Last year marked the 30th anniversary of the Mitsubishi Montero/Pajero. I don’t know much about the current 4th generation Montero — it’s not available in the States — but my favorite is still the 2nd generation, produced 1992–1999, and known to enthusiasts as the “Gen 2.”

I got a message on the site recently asking me what I like about it. Here’s the short answer.

It’s a capable truck for my needs, i.e., exploring moderate trails (no rock crawling) for a week or two at a time. I like the design of both the interior and exterior better than I did that of the 80-series Land Cruisers. I also like its part-time 4-wheel-drive system. I can run in 4-high, 4-low, 2WD, or 4-high with an open center diff (all wheel drive). The ability to switch into 2WD allows the Montero to get about 19 mpg on the highway which, while not great, is better than the 12–14 mpg I would have gotten in the Land Cruiser.

Also, I love driving a stick and the base model Gen 2 Montero was available with a 5 speed. That sealed the deal. I think it was the only mid-1990s, domestic SUV which had that option.

The Gen 2 Montero is the best-balanced SUV I could find. It makes a good daily driver and it’s never let me down on the trail.

Thanks for the video, Greg!

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Ben + Michelle by photographer, Squire Fox. Sometimes travel is just about getting away with your sweetheart.


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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It’s times like this that you really want to trust your snorkel install and waterproofing job. This video is from New South Wales, Australia via YouTube. Once your windshield wipers are under water, you know you’re in deep.


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 »

I’ve always been a fan of rally. Small production cars pumped up with 600-odd horsepower (at least in the Group B days) and flying down loose, dirt roads is heady stuff.

If you have some time this week, you might enjoy this, a feature-length video of the official history of the World Rally Championship.

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This looks like it’s going to be good. Four guys in a biodiesel Ford F250 crew cab overlanding through Mexico, on the way to South America, searching for the best places to fish. This is a trailer for a four-part series that starts in the Fall.

Link Trail: Expedition Portal > Vimeo