I wanted to leave as early as I could so I could explore along the way, but I had some personal business to take care of before I could leave, so I didn't end up getting out of Seattle until Thursday morning, February 8th around 10:00am. Before I could leave though, I had a lot of prep work to do.
I built a new platform for camping in the back of my truck; a 2004 Tacoma TRD with about 186,000 miles on it. I've got a SnugTop canopy on it too, so its ideal sleeping in.
|Right side of the bed with platform and middle section|
|Left side of bed with platform and middle section|
|Both sides, middle partition not shown|
I had a few goals here: 1) Lower the overall platform height for more headroom, 2) Have support legs only on the inner corners of the platform, and put hinges on them so they can swing up 3) Have the outer edges of the platform supported by D-Rings (carabineers) rather than legs to save weight and make it easier to move the platform out of the bed.
The two photos below show the D-Rings that support the platform at the outer edges from the factory installed tie-downs in the bed. I also drilled out the support legs on the inner corners and used 7" long zinc bolts to stabilize the legs since they were on hinges.
|The right side, with the D-Ring support and zinc bolt on the inside.|
|Left side with its zinc bolt and D-Ring supports.|
|The platform assembled and all of my gear minutes before departing|
|Another photo outside of Twin Falls, ID at Lowes' Hardware|
The gear I had in the back included a 5 gallon plastic jerry can for water, and another one for gasoline. I didn't feel like getting caught in the desert without water or gas, especially going through the Navajo or Hopi reservations in Arizona where you can go between 60-80 miles in between the nearest location for fuel. I also had a memory foam mattress (full), my plastic bin with camp gear such as food, propane stove, utensils, backpack with clothes, laptop, books, and other gear for my truck.
I also upgraded the electrical system, including heavier gauge wiring between the battery and alternator, heavier gauge ground wires to the engine block and chassis, and added an auxiliary battery and battery isolator. I did all of this so I can use accessories like my laptop, portable heater for the canopy, and audio system without running the engine. I've gone through two alternators in the last year alone because of bad wiring and too much draw on the main battery and I'm tired of breaking down in the middle of nowhere without cell phone service.
Once I finished upgrading my truck, I made sure I had all of the supplies I would need for the road and headed out on Thursday morning.