2018 we hardly knew ye. That said, looking back, it was a hell of a year for me. Here are some of the best photos/ videos/ articles that I
shamelessly take credit for have produced this year.
Oklahoma Adventure Trail West - January 2018
January saw my so-called Adventure Group ring in the new year at an almost certainly haunted bed-and-breakfast/ winery. We awoke alive, with slightly fuzzy brains, to an absolutely frigid morning.
This was the last day of our trip on the western half of the Oklahoma Adventure Trail, a 2,200 (total, ~1,100 this trip) mile loop around Oklahoma predominately on back-country roads and farm tracks, and was one of the most memorable trips of the year.
This was in part because it was George’s first big off-road trip in his Renegade, Taylor first big off-road trip in his long-suffering 2WD XTerra, and my first big trip since I learned the Land Rover was in need of new head gaskets.... and a new front bumper thanks to my clumsy but honest neighbors.
The Great Alfa Romeo Rebuild
I never anticipated keeping my Alfa, let alone addressing the worrying bubbling in the driver’s side fender. After finally committing to taking it to the shop in late 2017, two weeks later I got word that the shop didn’t want to do the work because they didn’t think the car was worth it. Also it took a piss on their floor.
The local Alfa club then stepped in and lent a hand. Over the next couple of months we did extensive work removing rust, fabricating panels, and doing a lot of welding.
The Alfa also got all new front and rear suspension, a complete steering refresh, new exhaust, and new wheels.
This all culminated in a Alfa-only track day that was truly epic.
A Tale Of Two Head Gaskets
Against my better judgement, the Land Rover didn’t end up in a scrap yard and instead got treated to essentially a new top end, complete with water pump, belts, radiator, heads, plugs, wires, coils, cooling system... you name it, I probably replaced it.
This was, by far, my most ambitious vehicle project to date and I still can’t believe I pulled it off.
That rolls us right into...
Oklahoma Adventure Trail East
Two days after completing the head gaskets on the Land Rover we were off on the Oklahoma Adventure Trail, Eastern section. It was a way different trip than the first. Less magical, more hardcore.
But still a lot of fun.
Also this saw the retirement of the 2005 XTerra and the introduction of the 2015 XTerra. New and improved!
The “Tooty Scooty” Build and Test
Drunken craigslisting somehow brought to my attention the motorized bicycles are “an thing.” Not sure how I’d missed these as they’ve been around since the stone age.
Either way, this began what has to be my most... controversial Oppo project to date. People either love or hate this thing. I do both, usually one then the other... but sometimes both simultaneously.
It has been a fun project and especially with the prevalence of the “Stupid Scooter Things” I really like it.
Labor Day in the Ouachita National Forest
So much did we like the eastern half of the Oklahoma Adventure Trail, we decided to take another trip with our friend Brady and his new-to-him Suzuki.
The trip was pretty excellent, even if it was just bombing around on trails for a couple of days.
Some of which might not have been meant for us.
Mistakes were made.
Trinity Site and New Mexico Adventuring
Then we were off to New Mexico to visit the Trinity Site in one of it’s two openings per year.
The site was interesting in that it carries a lot of history and weight with it.
More than that, New Mexico was phenomenally beautiful and I 100% look forward to returning one day.
And then there were five: Introducing Project Golf Ball
Another night of time spent on craigslist and suddenly I found myself in possession of a 1986 Honda Civic
Wagovan* 4WD Wagon. Realistically I’ve wanted something of this type for a while now, and within a few days I found myself driving to Arkansas to pick up a dead but clean Wagon.
The Wagon is my 10th vehicle total, number 5 in the current fleet, my 3rd Honda, my 2nd Civic, and my 1st wagon!
A little TLC (and swearing) got it running, though it still isn’t 100% there.
Soon my pet. Soon.
*I have been informed that only base model wagons were Wagovans, therefore mine with its luxuries such as 4WD, cloth seats, and AC, need not apply. This is the type of annoying pedantry that I usually enjoy so I probably need to rethink my life...
Another Saab Club Drive (2018)
My 2017 Saab Club drive of the Talimena Scenic Byway was the Saab’s triumphant return to the road after nearly 13 years of sitting. It was also a spectacular automotive meltdown. The 2018 drive was meant to be a redemption lap... and it almost was.
But alas the starter went nutso towards the end of the drive and caused a scene.
Maybe next year!
Oddly, looks like my write up of this might get published!
Big Bend Adventure 2018
Lastly, the Landy, Renegade, and XTerra will once again be reunited for New Years, albeit a different XTerra. This time we’re going to Big Bend National Park, provided the government doesn’t eff that up, for some light off-roading and drinking.
If all goes to plan, we’ll be pulling out of OKC right around when this post goes live. With the gubberment shutdown things will be a little weird, but ahh well. Reservations are reservations so... here we go.
Looking to 2019
2019 we’re already looking at doing a couple of trips that should be amazing. For May we’re in the process of planning our third Cheap Car Challenge Road Trip, this time from Seattle to Alaska.
We’re spitballing possibilities for an off-road trip for the Civic Wagon sooner rather than later.
I also really want to get the 1st road trip cars back together for a trip, which likely means having the D21 towed to Tulsa for some major work... once I manage to buy a shop.
All in all 2018 was a great year and I’m really looking forward to 2019!