200,000 the hard way

BlkWgn has hit a milestone, that’s right 200,000 miles. While its early life appeared to be easy, in the time that we have had it, the miles have certainly not been. After a long search we found the perfect rig on at a used car lot in Orange County Ca. The body was straight, the paint was shiny and without a scratch. The hook for the Warn winch was missing, but the line looked unused. The lockers engaged with a solid pull of the steering, and the sway bar disconnected quiet and smooth. Not a scratch or speck of dirt in the undercarriage, and a set of street tires. This was obviously somebody’s pavement queen and had rarely, if ever, seen a dirt road in its 73,000 miles. Oh, I almost forgot Paige’s favorite features, dual climate control and heated seats.

Still on the lot

Well, that all changed when we rescued it from the mall and introduced it to the great outdoors. We finalized the purchase and picked up the truck on a Thursday night, Saturday was a trip to a local 4 wheel drive shop for a winch hook and controller on the way to Big Bear in the local San Bernardino National Forest.

Getting to stretch its legs for the first time.  You can also see the tonneau cover that I was thrilled to have and ended up hating.


This first trip was nothing to crazy as we were out by ourselves, but we did let it stretch its legs, most likely for the first time. It was also on this trip we added the first of what would eventually turn into a heavy layer of “Big Bear Pinstriping”.

Some of the Custom pinstripes

Like any good adventure rig, it has undergone a number of changes and upgrades along the way. Each time in an attempt to fine tune it to our needs and our way of travel, and as we continue to learn and grow, it will continue to change.

The short-lived roof mount KC Daylighters


Stopping for dinner in Big Bear after picking up the Leer Camper shell that I found on Craigslist.


Now with 200,000 miles, the paint is not shiny, and certainly not scratch free. In fact there are deep scratches, and dings, and dents but each one is a memory of an adventure. The dent in the bottom of the rear passenger door, and the first in the truck, was from a trip up Gold Mountain in the snow as part of a benefit for the Wounded Warrior Project. A bit above that dent is the mark where we got real close to a downed tree on White Mountain trying to make room for an out of control motorcycle to squeeze past us on a narrow trail. The gouge marks in the skid plates from a not so long wheel base friendly rock in Sidewinder Canyon (the video below), and the dent in the rear bumper, well, that is from a gas station light pole in the middle of the desert but we don’t need to talk about that.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Esnc9RNG07k&w=420&h=315]

Yes, the sounds from the skid plates sounded worse in the cab than they do in the video.


An early flex test in Mt Baldy
Testing the clearance of the Mercenary Offroad bumper


While I can tell you where just about every mark in the truck has come from, I can’t tell you where the next one will be, or what it will come from, but I hope it will be from an adventure.

North Pass out of Saline Valley

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