Whew! Finally back to Portland after a 2400-mile round trip to El Cajon to have my van converted to 4x4 by the incomparable Agile Offroad folks.
What an adventure! Drove down pretty fast, left the van off for John Brindell to do his magic, flew back to Portland, waited four weeks, then flew back to San Diego, met the new van, and drove back 1250 miles to Portland. Took a few terrific sidetrips to Sportsmobile Fresno, Yosemite, Crater Lake, Shasta, etc. What a great time!
I'll break the photo-journal down into three parts:
- Agile pics
- Sportsmobile pics
- Travel pics
Had a blast. And I cannot say enough about John at Agile and his terrific crew. What a talented, dedicated bunch of people. And John himself is top notch. Thanks a bunch to Agile for improving our van life!
The road back with a new 4x4 from Agile:
Planning on the good stuff: Yosemite and the possibility of getting lost (Garmin)
The Yeti was the only thing I packed from Portland. Wanted to make sure I had a long-lasting cooler for the six-day trip back home. The original ice lasted the whole time. Love things that work!
AGILE VAN PICS:
First view of van. Like!
The Man: John Brindell. What a nice guy. And really good at what he does.
My van, before it gets all muddy:
Nice differential, John!
Love them Warns!
Can't wait to try these out!
Nice Agile diff:
How we all get home:
SPORTMOBILE FRESNO VISIT:
Dudes! I had no idea you were right off the freeway. Nearly drove off the road making a turn onto the off ramp. Totally unplanned visit with Jonathan at Sportsmobile. Took me on a great tour and learned so much. Thanks, J.!
The iconic SMB in the showroom:
Jeremy is in charge of putting the tent and the pop-top together. Apparently a woman in Indiana makes all the tops. She's just taken on help because of an increase in demand.
A line of Sportsmobiles waiting for their tops:
The long-awaited BEAST! This thing is fabulous. So glad Ford is continuing the chassis line. SMB is doing wonders with their prototype. Ooh, if only!
Just like a boat. Lots of fiberglass on a form. Love the extra room from the rounded sides.
More views of the beast:
Then they add the steel framing:
If I were an urban type, I'd sure go for this Metris. It ingenius:
I just couldn't leave without a little token from my trip:
Only had a few days to get to back to Portland, and there was so much to choose from to see on the way. Never been to Yosemite, so just had to do that. And stayed at Mt. Shasta on the way... what a magnificent mountain!
Loved everything about Yosemite except the crowds, a little unexpected in April. But, the van was a handy vehicle, especially at restrooms with lines a couple hundred yards long!
I will say I love seeing those majestic sites, but would be much happier backpacking in past the crowds, or boondocking somewhere just outside the park. I did spend the night in the old Wawona Hotel (now Big Trees Hotel), built in 1876, and really enjoyed being a part of the history there.
What a country we live in! And I haven't seen the half of it yet!
Traveling pics in part 2 of this thread, below.