Callahan Family New Year Week Adventure around Moab in a Rental Tiger - Part 2 or 2

Tom Callahan

New member
…Continued from here:

Next stop, Canyonlands National Park. It is huge: 337,000 acres, 527 square miles. It has three distinct zones - the "Islands in the Sky" - looking down from the cliff tops; the Needles; and the Maze. None of these areas are interconnected by road, so you kind of have to pick where you are going to go when you have limited time. We'd already had the high in the sky bird's eye view at Dead Horse, and the Mazes takes at least a few days to get in and do it any sort of justice -- so we went to the Needles section of Canyonlands. (As I'm writing this, I am painfully aware that many on this forum are intimately familiar with these areas and I probably sound like a pathetic newbie - guilty!)

Just getting to the park border is a beautiful drive along Rte. 211 through open range land and winding through sandstone cliffs by the river and bordered by cottonwood trees.

But first, before we got way off the beaten track, the girls needed a lesson in basic camper maintenance and hygiene...

(Unfortunately, with the temperature hovering around 12 degrees, the release valves were frozen and we couldn't empty the black and gray water tanks at that point!)

So when we arrived at the entrance to the Needles part of Canyonlands on New Year's Eve, we found the Ranger Station/Visitor Center closed and locked. There was a note on the door saying, "Fees Waived for Winter Closure" and "In an emergency, use the pay phone on the wall by the restroom to dial 911." We proceeded to the campsite and enjoyed delicious off-the-grid solitude on that cold New Years Eve, with only mule deer and ravens and rabbits for company.

That ended our camping out for the trip. We spent the next night in the extraordinary luxury of Red Cliffs Lodge along the Colorado River on Highway 128. But before making our way back to Colorado, we had a lovely hike into Negro Bill Canyon as far as the natural bridge.

On the drive back, we stopped at Vail for lunch, feeling a lot like the Clampetts showing up in Beverly Hills. (My daughters did not get the reference, but I imagine readers of this forum are of a certain age!) You can't tell from this photo below, but we are pulled up right at the side of a ski run - you could see skiers glancing over wondering who the heck is this?

There was some embarrassment among the crew:

When we got back to Golden, Gaylord gave us a ride to the airport and pumped us for feedback on how the camper did in the cold weather. We felt extremely grateful for the opportunity to rent a vehicle like this. Sure it would be great to own one - but so many of us are in a stage in life where we don't have the time or the money to justify such an expense. I am glad there are business ventures like Adventure Travel Sport Rentals to serve this market and hope they thrive and proliferate! (For more info, go to

Hope you enjoyed this report - we sure enjoyed the adventure!

TC and family in Alexandria, VA
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Great report and pics, thanks for the effort in putting it out there. I was in No AZ during this time and you're right - BRRRR! But fun :)

I was happy to see Adventure Travel Sport Rentals putting these vehicle up for rent. Sounds like they treated you well. I think it's great that people can try before they buy or just have some fun without the huge commitment of purchase. I too drive a Tiger and have had a lot of good times in interesting places, I think they're a hidden gem for this type of travel. I'm going to check the Tiger Forum and make sure a link is over there so the many folks looking to buy one know about rental possibilities.

(I'm also from Alexandria originally, quite a bit different from UT eh?)


Some sort of lost...
Looks like a fun trip! Always glad to see people getting their kids out on trips. Hard to imagine two teenage sisters getting along in a small space like that for a week!


Great report! Nice to see some folks out and about not afraid of a little cold weather. Looks like you had a great time! Thanks for sharing!

Tom Callahan

New member
Thanks Skrillah - it was a blast, and I do think part of the fun was being out there when other people aren't. We live in a crowded part of the country and it was great to get away for a bit. Brian, thanks - they are great kids and friends to each other.
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From your reports I found the Tiger website.
This looks like the perfect adventure vehicle for us and I'm interested in your thoughts on how it worked out for you and your family...

PS. I'm in VA as well!

Tom Callahan

New member
Smlobx, happy to share my impressions, but they are based on a week in the vehicle and a thousand miles or so. There are folks on this site and on the Tiger Forum - - who have had many years and hundreds of thousands of miles in these vehicles. There seem to be a growing number of offerings out there for set ups that are more bad-road and off-road capable than the traditional RVs and camper backs and trailers that have been around for ages. I found the Overland Expo to be a terrific collection of experience gathered in one place for a few days. You can climb in and examine those vehicles that are on exhibit, and you can talk to dozens of people with a wide range of traveling experience of different kinds. They have the expo in the spring in Arizona and in the fall in North Carolina - I think the dates are up now on the OE website. And of course you can always rent a vehicle like we did and try it out for a few days or longer. Gaylord and Matt in Golden have the Tiger rig and also a very nice Sportsmobile van for rent. Tonto Trails out of Durango, CO rents out a Sportsmobile and a Dodge truck with a Four Wheel Pop-Up Camper. There may be other rental options closer to us here in VA but I haven't discovered them. Best of luck and feel free to PM me with your phone number or email if there is anything particular you wanted to know about our trip.


Expedition Leader

May have to start a Tiger-is-the-best-expedition-camper-because-it-can-carry-two-teen-girls thread! :Wow1:

Seriously, that's a lot of folks in a small space, and in the cold.


-- Did you run out of water?
-- How did you run the hair dryer(s)?

And seriously, great report!


Tom Callahan

New member
Ha! Thanks DiploStrat- we met at Overland Expo on the Africa regional panel. Love your web site! (Smlobx - if you are still monitoring this thread, run to and Fred's "Genesis of Ndeke Luka" post on the considerations that went into his Tiger build - that is the true voice of experience you are seeking.)


Glad you had a great time out west with two teen girls, no less. Bet you do it again. Best time to visit the desert west is when it snows. Looks like you had good traction and camped in luxury.


Thanks Tom.
We will be going to Expo East this Fall and seeing all the other options out there.
My wife and I are about 3 years from retirement and want to get back to exploring some of the more offroad areas than what you can get to with a conventional RV although we have gotten them stuck before!
Renting one for our next trip out West is definitely what we intend to do.

Tom Callahan

New member
Thanks seeNik - checked out your website. Gorgeous photography! Yes, I expect we will do it again - those places get under your skin!
Smlobx - we will likely go to Expo East again this year as well. Really enjoyed it, and so much there to do, see and learn.