Friday, September 26, 2014

Preparing for a trip: Overland Expo East 2014

So I was selected to go to Overland Expo East at Taylor Ranch in Asheville, N.C. ( and teach an Intro to Wilderness and Remote First Aid class and sit in a discussion panel. Not long ago a friend suggested I should write a post on "preparing for a trip", so it seems fitting to do it now as I get ready for this adventure. This is not my first trip, nor the first time I'm invited to teach out-of-state/country, but this is the first time I'm presenting a much condensed version of what is a pretty encompassing subject/class. Most trips have many things in common when it comes to preparations, and I'll go over those first.
Vehicle: Since I just came back not too long ago from a 2,000 mile trip covering FL, AL, NC, SC, and GA the Jeep is pretty much ready, meaning tires are in good condition, fluids are checked, and it has a new battery. The last thing you want to ruin your trip is lack of maintenance of the vehicle in which you'll be living/relying to get you there and back. For this trip I'm replacing the rear flood light from a 55watts halogen, to two 20 watts LED at a 45 degree angle for better light coverage while keeping the battery draw to a minimum. The soft top of the Jeep was also recently replaced since I still had the factory one and after 10 years it was leaking pretty bad inside.
Tent/trailer: Living quarters for me will be a Tepui roof top tent on a utility trailer by Manley ORV. This setup allows me to have all my camping gear always ready to go, and it provides some creature comforts like the memory foam mattress inside the tent, while keeping me off the ground.

Other items for this trip include Cameras (Nikon D3100, and GoPro Hero2), laptop, projector, Stat Packs medical bags, Emox emergency powdered oxygen, and medical equipment for demonstration of skills, and a GearShade Jeep top that I will be using as a makeshift stretcher.

As for what I'll be presenting it is an Intro to the American Red Cross Wilderness and Remote First Aid, which is a 16 hour long all hands on/ field class, geared towards people who will be going to places that are at least 30 minutes away from help (i.e. EMS, Fire Dept., Sheriffs Office, etc.), so it is a perfect fit for overlanders, and outdoor enthusiast. The only pre-requisite for this class is a valid CPR certification. Due to time restraints the presentation at the expo will be 50 minutes in length with 10 minutes for Q & A. In order to use the time as best as possible I'm using a power point presentation and hands on demonstration to get the most vital information to the most amount of attendees.

Thank you for reading!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Manley ORV 1 year review

It has been over a year since I purchased my Manley ORV trailer. In that time I've travel and camped all over Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South and North Carolina, and the second Epic Trip (E.T. '14). during this time the trailer and tent combo have been visited by a bear (while I was inside), driven thru extremely heavy rain, driven on and off-road, played at an off-road park and even showed up at car shows.

I've made some additions to the trailer since I bought it as a plain utility trailer. I added a nose cargo box, a roof rack and a roof top tent (rtt) and everything it needs to spend a week in the middle of nowhere at a moments notice, the only thing I need to stop and get are food, ice and of course beer.

The only issue I've had with it has been one of the tailgate latches that broke the pin off, but Josh Manley sent me a new one in a matter of days. The customer service at Manley has always been amazing which was one of the draws to purchase from them.

This trailer is extremely solid and easy to tow on and off-road.

It also makes for a great impromptu kitchen on the side of the road!

All I can say is this trailer/tent combo are nothing short of amazing for short or long camping trips and definitely built for a Jeep to tow without hitting your pocket or performance.

Epic Trip 2014

Well a year has passed since Epic Trip 2013 and we've began a new adventure for 2014. Derek and I took on the road and visited some amazing destinations around Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. This trip had it all, mountains, lakes, caverns, coast and some really nice country side drives to tie it all up. Hope you enjoy the pictures!

First stop Florida Caverns State Park (, were we got to tour one of 32 caverns on the park, and walked down the 9 rooms in the cave open to the public. While waiting for the tour of the cavern to begin we got to hike some trails in the park. The park also has other amenities such as the Blue Hole Lagoon, which is a spring fed lagoon that remains at 64 degrees year around. The campsites were spacious and provided plenty of trees for Derek to hang his camping hammock, and the facilities were clean, and comfortable.
 Tribute to the Citizen Corps who helped create this caverns.

Second stop was Amicalola Falls State Park in Georgia ( The park offers great hiking trails, among them the beginning of the Appalachian trail. The main feature of the park is the water falls and the 600 step climb to the bottom of the falls and the top. The campsites are at the toop of the mountain and are very nicely/privately set up. The drive up to the campsites does include a very steep incline for about a mile and a half that required driving in first gear the entire length and no faster than 10 mph at 3000 rpm. Once set up we went on a hike to see the falls. We hiked a total of 2.9 miles, the first mile was down hill and the second mile plus was uphill and included the 600 step climb and proved to be a great work out. Lots of wild life to be seen and the friendliest squirrels that would pose for pictures.

On our way out of the park we ran into this sight.

Third stop: Smokemont Campground in the Smoky Mountains (, N.C. Unfortunately although Derek and I went for a nearly 6 mi. hike I wasn't able to take but a few pictures with my camera due to a thunderstorm that passed after we were near the halfway point and climbing up to over 1,300 ft. of altitude. Most of the pics from this part of the trip were taken with my Samsung Galaxy S5 since it's water proof and they are on my facebook page.

Just outside of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the town of Cherokee, N.C. ( )where we stopped for breakfast and to do laundry before heading to South Carolina (which at this point we didn't know yet).


Fourth stop: Sadler's Creek State Park, S.C.( this park was selected by "luck of the draw" and because of their excellent costumer service. Not only it was a great drive to the park, but also a beautiful place where we got a great waterfront site to camp in 3 out of the four days we stayed.

Fourth Stop: Talbot Islands State Park, Fl. ( Like the previous stop this one was also decided on the go, and it worked out great! This place had a good trail for hiking and beautiful coastline with a "bone yard" of dead trees. Wildlife in this place was easily spotted and considering the time of year, the heat wasn't so bad. Like most of the Florida State Parks the campsites had plenty of shrubbery and trees to make it both private (enough) and protected from the sun.

The only thing I really don't like about Florida State Parks is that they refuse to have Lifeguards on those parks that are beach front (with the exception of Hugh Birch State Park in Ft. Lauderdale).

Like always, hope you enjoyed these pictures, and maybe even got inspired to go out there and find your own adventure. In the meantime remember to leave only your foot prints, and leave whatever place you visit better than you found it!