In 2009 Mary and I were married during Oklahoma Freewheel. At the end of that ride we parked our tandem bike and hopped into our Honda Element and headed north toward Montana and Alberta Canada. We spent the next two weeks camping in the back of the Element that I had outfitted as a camper. During those two weeks we never spent a dime on hotels, and while the mountain lion was freely roaming the campground in Waterton Lakes National Park, and the grizzlies were roaming the campgrounds of Glacier National Park Mary and I slept safe and sound inside the Element.
While the Element was our first adventure mobile it was lacking in ground clearance and only had two-wheel drive. When we acquired our Subaru Outback with it’s higher ground clearance and symmetrical all wheel drive we knew we had an adventure wagon on our hands, a vehicle that could take us places the Honda Element couldn’t. During the last few years our adventure wagon has taken us on some pretty rough back roads as we have explored new hiking trails, Anasazi ruins, and ghost towns. Well, I guess that just wasn’t enough because recently I outfitted the adventure wagon with 3/16” thick aluminum skid plates to protect the oil pan, transmission, and rear differential. I also added oversized all-terrain tires. Now our adventure wagon can take us to places not reachable before but more importantly we are a little more likely to make it back without getting into trouble. However, if we do wind up in trouble we are now also carrying an assortment of recovery gear that includes an exhaust jack and Maxtrax recovery boards. So even though our goal was to just get to the more remote hiking trails we wound up inadvertently becoming Overlanders!
On a recent back roads trip I camped in the Wander Wagon for two weeks. It got me to where I was going and back again and along the way I fell more in love with wandering the back roads just for the sake of wandering the back roads. So stay tuned for my next story about that adventure.