Day 30 – Back Home

I do a 30 day road trip every year. My biggest fear is that my USPS mailbox might explode while I’m away. As I do every year, I toss the SPAM back into the USPS mailbox “outbox” for the postman to deal with. Sorry, if my name isn’t on it, its not mine. 😉

This year I had to take care of two things when I got back.

First, I had to address an issue, where the ARB Dual Compressor mount (under the front passenger seat) rubbed against some of the electrical connectors under the seat. Apparently it’s a known issue, easily addressed by raising the back of the rails up 1/4″ or so. I went to Home Depot, got some A0B washers and a couple M10-1.5×40 (10.9) bolts and some red Loctite. It took 10 minutes to fix the problem, no more issues sliding the front passenger seat back and forth. The washer center holes are pretty big, so I wasn’t able to line them up perfectly, but who cares, it’s a very strong setup.

Second, when I got the Jeep, I tried to unscrew the bolts on the top tailgate hinge, so I could attach my Teraflex dual antenna bracket. I’m a klutz, of course I stripped the very first bolt. I have a tap/die kit, but of course the bit broke off. During the trip I researched tailgate reinforcement solutions. I have Jeep’s steel bumpers, so no plan to buy new bumpers. Based on some positive feedback I got from some serious wheelers at Moab, I decided to get the Smittybilt 7743. Very nice design, very rugged, and has two antenna mounts. I can finally mount my GMRS and CB antennas on opposite sides of the tailgate.

It also provides pre-drilled holes for a Hi-Lift bracket. I haven’t seen anyone with a Hi-Lift installed on this product, so not ready to buy it yet. I definitely want to mount my Hi-Lift on the outside of the Jeep. Once I see one installed on someone’s Smittybilt 7743, I’ll decide if its the right solution for me.

I’m happy to report the Partners Steel 22″ stove and the 5LB propane tank worked flawlessly. I was able to fry food and boil water at the same time. At first I thought I should have bought the 18″ stove, but there were times I needed to have a frying pan on one side, and a pot on the other side. It all worked out in the end. I did worry about having a stove so close to the propane tank and RotoPax fuel container, but a good number of Jeep folks had (almost) the same setup.

I missed not having my Baja lights mounted, since there were times I found myself needing more light on the trail. Now that I’m back, I’ll need to sort out how to use the four AUX switches that came with the Jeep. Not sure yet if I’ll need the 6 button sPOD, now that the Jeep has built in locker switches. So I may end up getting rid of that kit.

Since I ran out of time before the trip, I ended up not mounting the Garmin Overlander and bluetooth camera. I ended up using my iPhone and Gaia Pro or Maprika (yuk) on the trail, though the later is buggy/unsafe as it hasn’t been updated for iOS in nearly 10 years). I used CarPlay and Apple/Google maps on the road. I should mention though, the 8.4″ navigation unit that came with the Jeep is extremely accurate and easy to use (opensource!). I kept my US Atlas handy, but hardly needed to use it.

I didn’t have my Garmin Dash Cam 46 set up, because the small metal mounting plate went bye bye when the windshield on my last Jeep broke. I ordered a replacement so I can get it mounted again. It’s not only always a good idea to have a dash cam, it’s also an easy way to record your adventures. Even though I set the dash cam to record 1080x30fps, still shots come out sharp enough for blogs. 🙂

Another thing I didn’t have time to do before leaving for my trip, was to get my GMRS and CB wired up. I didn’t have a place to mount my antennas (see note above), and I wasn’t sure where I wanted to mount the radios. This turned out to be a good thing, since I had lots of discussions with other Jeep owners about how they’re communicating.

Apparently Midland sucks, don’t support repeaters, Rugged Radios are very well designed, reliable, and most are waterproof. I ordered a kit, should be in by Wednesday.

I’ve already begun to plan my Jericho Mountain 4×4 Trail (NH) trip for Labor Day.