This is a chance for L4EC to look back at what we accomplished in 2019. So here it is, our very first “Year in Review.”
New year’s day 2019 found the Line 4 Tacoma in Ashville, North Carolina on the last day of a trip that had included 2 National Forest and the noteworthy Hurricane Creek trail! This was a fun trip and a great test for the newly installed Icon Suspension! In the next few months, I spent allot of time traveling with the Navy for various training. I was also able to knock out a bunch of small upgrades that netted big improvements. The list included; SDHQ ABS guards, Total Chaos bed stiffeners, Baja Designs amber fog lights and a cab mount chop completed by a fellow Sailor. Right before the next trip we also got the Dometic fridge, which was really nice for all the fresh food that I was going to be cooking on the Skottle!
The next trip was with the Line 4 Alaska Truck and my parents to western Virginia including the Shenandoah Valley, and the George Washington National Forest! It was incredible to finally camp with my parents again. This had not happened since Death Valley at the end of 2013 and I enjoyed it immensely! Also having my Dad along gave me a chance to compare their full size truck with 4WD Camper to my smaller Tacoma in the tighter forest of the East Coast. Sadly this was the last trip with my now ex-girlfriend, more on that later.
The next few months was a blur of Navy trips and more truck upgrades. Lots of parts were arriving for the upcoming Montana build and GFC had provided completion dates which allowed me to finally start planning a trip out to Bozeman. The upgrades to the truck during this time included; CBI Sliders, Safari Snorkel and a Goose Gear Seat Delete. I also started building the deck plate system for the bed. It turned out great, but took much longer than expected.
Finally! The Montana Build trip had come! After making it to Bozeman, Ross and I started working on electrical systems and prep work before the GFC install. My Dad joined us with the Alaska Truck and the three of us cranked out the build. The truck totally transformed with; GFC camper, custom deck plate system, fridge slide, dual battery, Cell booster, CB radio and ditch lights! We then packed up the rigs and headed out to Pony, MT for one of the most epic campsites ever! Most of the upgrades worked flawlessly and we just made some minor tweaks. The drive home was epic and camping in the GFC was a dream come true. I have to say the highlight of the drive was crossing the Bear Tooth Pass into Wyoming. Returning home, things changed completely. My Girlfriend ended things and moved out, which surprised me and changed voided a planned trip south for the fall. The silver lining was that I was able to dust off the New England Plans and distract myself with planning what turned out to be an epic adventure!
Preparation for the New England Expedition began with allot of reorganizing and weight reduction of camping gear. This was followed by a shake down trip to North Carolina for the weekend and was the first time camping in the rain with the new GFC. I also got a chance to corner weigh the truck and was happy to see the bed layout was more balanced than I could have hoped for! Also the total weight was still below the GVW for the Tacoma. The final upgrade was a set of Nitto Ridge Grappler tires mounted on Method Racing Wheels, which turned out to be a great addition for the muddy conditions of New Hampshire and Vermont.
New England Expedition. The Trans New Hampshire route was a great success and put all the truck’s upgrades to the test! The rock sliders finally got some scratches and the brand new tires proved vital for the muddy conditions. There was allot of rain which flooded parts of the trail and lead to my deepest water crossing in the Tacoma, headlight deep! Unfortunately, the stock rear bumper took a few hits breaking the trailer plug and highlighted the need for an improved departure angle. I also met some great people and was able to reconnect with a Marine from my Iraq deployment. Some of the highlights included; crossing the Kancanagus highway during peak foliage, driving up Mount Washington, apple cider donuts, and getting to stay at Pete’s Camp! This trip also brought the total states visited to 48, leaving only New Mexico and Alaska! Returning from New England, I was able to do a photo shoot with Spiritus Systems in North Carolina just prior to leaving for deployment.
Moving into 2020, the next big trip will be to Texas Hill Country and will include a pig hunt with On the Move Archery. There is also a growing pile of parts in Virginia that will have to be installed. Specifically the rear suspension will be upgraded to match the front’s performance and factory IFS skid plate and rear bumper will be replaced by aluminum All Pro Off-road parts. Line 4 will also be re-launching our podcast and expanding our YouTube production.
Thank you all for your continued support!