Taco Fly-Buy-Drive

jeepstream

Observer
My son and I planned for years to go to the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico for some serious backpacking. July 2-14 2018 was going to be our last big trip in Scouting as he was 17. Unfortunately, wildfires forced cancellation of all Philmont trips this year two weeks before we were scheduled to go. So, I started developing an alternate Expo approach to our two weeks together. We had ATL-DEN flights to work around. My son wanted to visit CU Boulder and the University of Washington, so we had our bookends. I changed the return flight to Seattle and started formulating my plan to do a fly-buy-drive. Many nice vehicles came and went in those two weeks. Anything in my price range had high miles, so I had to see it in person before purchasing it to go on an immediate 2,000 road trip. I was getting a bit nervous the day of our flight because the vehicles available weren’t ideal. I purchased WiFi on the Southwest flight so I could continue my search online right up to our arrival. About a half hour before landing a 1997 Tacoma 4x4 Extra Cab appeared on Facebook Marketplace. I started live messaging the seller and it turned out to be the one! 5F1997B6-235C-48E1-BA7E-8B079574C18E.jpeg

The seller changed the oil, washed and waxed it on July 4th when he learned how far we were taking it. He also let me use his pristine shop to install the custom platform and drawers I bought off Craigslist. They were made for a second gen Tacoma, so some modifications were required.A564831B-91F2-4B9E-A7CA-368323093287.jpeg

Now we had our truck and a place to store our gear and sleep wherever we could park overnight. I wanted more space for relaxing, changing and storing our gear when we were sleeping in the truck canopy, so I bought a 10x10 awning and side tent for $100 at Dicks. It is high and wide enough to fit around the end of the truck with the canopy door open if it’s raining and sets up in 5 minutes.20180711_191515.jpg

It was finally time to start our adventure!
 

Ngneer

Observer
Kudos to you sir! We the people need more Dads like you and nice looking truck, please more info about the trip, I mean come on man!
 

jeepstream

Observer
The Taco had 164k when I bought it. Clutch, timing belt and water pump done at 132k.

I originally planned some hikes and places to camp in the first few days, but the delay in getting started caused me to scrap those plans to make up for lost time. As we were getting closer to the Bighorns, we started craving time on the trails in the mountains. We stopped for gas at 8pm in Buffalo and discovered the dinner options were very limited. We decided to find a place to fire up our camp stove to have a Mountain House meal. Upon looking at the map I discovered we were less than 30 minutes from a trailhead where I had originally planned to start an overnight hike in the Bighorns. The Fates had delivered us to this place and we couldn’t resist the call of the mountains any longer. 16C188EE-B443-4AD4-9756-B3CC8B2A9AD6.jpegEating quickly dropped down the priority scale. We drove to the trailhead, haphazardly threw our gear into our packs while battling mosquitoes at dusk and hit the trail by 9pm. My dinner was a bagel with a glob of peanut butter as I tried to catch up with my son. We were finally hiking!A5A495BE-3EAE-4984-BA00-54CAF616FBB9.jpeg
 
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jeepstream

Observer
Starting a 4 mile hike in the mountains with a 1500 foot gain and full packs at 9pm is not recommended. Fortunately, it was a clear day in early July, so it didn’t get dark until after 10:00. 987654F5-095F-4F3A-9BAF-D067A41BFB33.jpeg

We had a little difficulty locating our campsite overlooking Willow Lake in the dark. Once we did, we were rewarded with a phenomenal view of the starry sky. We left the rain fly off the tent so we could take it all in. CCAE9CBE-2BD6-40AC-AB6F-3596853070BB.jpeg
 

jeepstream

Observer
Part of my logic in buying a vehicle for this trip rather than renting was that my son could help me drive the 2000+ miles. Since the Tacoma has a manual tranny, it was also a chance to teach him to drive stick. I decided it was time when we were in a remote part of Wyoming and I was getting tired. I happened to pull over at the exit closest to the site of Custer’s last stand. He learned to drive on a dirt road on the Crow Reservation. The loose surface was very forgiving for poorly coordinated clutch releases.71533FE0-87BB-4C13-9BEC-E517062769C2.jpeg
 
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