First off, I recently read your book and thoroughly enjoyed it! I hope you have plans to publish more of your writing, as I like the more personal approach you took; I really felt like I was able to see things from your point of view (thoughts, fears, etc.), versus having you tell them like a story. Your writing has a real thoughtfulness to it, keep it up!
I’m writing because you and Dean both have spent a lot of time on the road and I’m hoping you can give me a suggestion or two.
I’m 26, grew up in New Hampshire and have been climbing for a while now, since around 1999, but have yet to take a major climbing road trip. Come June, I’m quitting my job and heading on the road for a while to climb full time. I’ve spent a lot of time travelling abroad and have climbed in Ecuador, so I’m not a super travel gumby or anything, but I’ve never done it on the road (living in a vehicle, etc.). Do you have any advice for making a Ford Ranger a little more set up for long term living? Based on your book’s cover shot, I’m guessing you can offer me a thing or two . I’ve seen folks with added platforms in the bed to essentially double your storage, sleeping space, etc. but other than that I can’t think of anything cool I can do to make it like “home.”
I’ll be in the valley and all summer (assuming I can figure out a way to stay for that long with all the rules…I’m guessing I’ll figure it out) with some time at Squamish, then Zion/Indian Creek/Moab around late October-ish. Maybe I’ll run into you somewhere along the line!
Take it easy, and thanks.
I’m so glad you have a Ford Ranger. I love them, and have had nothing but good experiences with them. The single nicest thing you can do is to unscrew the metal plate that sits on top of the tailgate, and replace it with a nice piece of plywood. It’s good to rout the edges, and finish the top of it with polyurethane or something. If I only did one thing to a pickup to make my lifestyle significantly better, that would be it. The other good thing you can do is to put a regular sized crash pad in, for your shelf living set up. It fits perfectly between the wheel wells, and then you just need to pad out the little strip where your feet will go. It is kind of a hassle to actually take it out and use it for bouldering (unless you stay really well organized with duffel bags and bins in the truck, which you should anyway, but you know how things can get sometimes), but at least you can. And it is a great mattress.
But. If you are planning to stay in the Valley all summer, don’t get too attached to your nice truck house, since they don’t let you sleep in your truck. For some weird reason.
The third thing you definitely need to make your truck perfect is a small dog! However, this also doesn’t work well in the Valley. For some weird reason. But sometimes it’s better not to try to understand
Finally, make sure your truck top has an inside light. If it doesn’t, it is well worth the extra money to put one in. Otherwise, you are constantly trying to find stuff in there when it’s dark, and trying to find a headlamp, and it’s always a hassle. On the same note, I have a small refillable propane tank and single-burner stove, which I always keep in the back corner of my shelf top, and it has definitely saved my sanity to keep a lighter on a string tied to the on/off knob of the stove. Since I am a huge advocate of backups for the important things, I always keep a small alpine stove kit handy too, for in case I unexpectedly run out of fuel in the tank.
I’ve also found that when on a long roadtrip, it’s a good idea to make sure you have a duffel bag full of everything you need for in case you suddenly find yourself changing your destination completely. For example, what if you go to Squamish, and you suddenly decide to go to the Bugaboos, and you need boots and mini-crampons and alpine clothing? Or what if you are in the Valley to climb free routes, but you suddenly decide to do a speed climb, and need a jumar setup and a helmet? So even if I leave for a month at Rifle, I always have a bag full of alpine gear and clothing, and the minimum of big wall stuff in the truck, just in case. It can be annoying to sacrifice the space, but well worth it if you suddenly need it.
I hope you have a great trip!!