Rigs of Moab Part 1: Live-Aboard Adventure Vehicles
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When I win the lottery, this is what I am going to buy. But that seems unlikely since I never buy tickets!
One reason I love Moab so much is the huge variety of people and rigs that come here from all over the country and even the world. On a regular basis a bus or mini-bus unloads a group of Germans, Japanese, Italians or peoples from anywhere in the world. Take a trip up and down the aisles of the City Market grocery store (a Kroger store) and you’ll hear as many foreign languages as you do English.
Another thing that will stand out to you is just how young the people are. While Moab is surrounded by stunning beauty, it’s just as much a place for adventure and living on the edge. Because of that very unusual combination it has just as many young people partaking in adventure or extreme sports as it does older, retired RVers with their McMansions on wheels towing their off-road vehicles. For every older person with white hair there are just as many young, vibrant, athletic people with hard-bodies–both male and female.
This weekend I was shopping at City Market and had gotten a salad from the salad bar and was sitting out in the van eating it. As I watched the traffic roll in-and-out I was struck by how many vandwelling type rigs I was seeing. Of course there was no shortage of expensive rigs, but there was also a lot of really cheap live-aboard rigs that anyone reading this blog might be driving, but of course they tended toward vehicles that could be used for adventure.
I was so impressed with how many vandweller-type vehicles I could see while eating my salad I decided I should go around and take some pictures and share them with you. I’ll start with the very interesting cheap rigs that anyone of us could afford and then add in some of the more expensive rigs that many of us lust after and would love to have! First I’ll add the picture and then comment on it.
It was a rainy and overcast day so the photography isn’t that great. Remember, I saw all these rigs in one afternoon of driving around and taking pictures–they are that common here.
A 4×4 pickup is one of the very best adventure rigs because it has can go many places and has so much room, but they are expensive and adding a camper is both expensive and big and heavy, defeating it’s purpose of getting off-road. However, shells are a dime a dozen and really cheap, they are just much too low for me to try to live in. However, for just a little bit of money you can build a little wall that the shell sits on and gain a lot of headroom. I’ve often wondered why more people don’t do this–probably because its too “ghetto”. But there are few things that are too ghetto for me! If you’ve got to live in a shell, then I suggest at least build a pony wall at the bottom to get more height. Then build in a new back wall to get a door and windows. Paint it all to match.
Can’t afford a trailer to tow, build your own! I just happened to notice this rig as it drove by so I quickly grabbed this shot. Moab is full of cheap but practical rigs like this one. My kind of place!
Here is another nice older extended Dodge van with a great pop-top roof. He is also towing a home-built trailer but this one has seen better days.
My guess is that at one time this was a school bus, but now it is adventure-central for two young free-spirits who ramble around the country living life to it’s fullest. Apparently they couldn’t afford a roof rack, so they just built their own out of wood! They have their website on the back of the bus so I looked them up. You can find them here: http://www.aubreyandkira.com/
This was another short school bus but it has a very interesting extension on back. They have their website on the side of the bus so I looked it up and they are here:http://buslifeadventure.com/. It turns out they carry a snowmobile on the platform on back and are making a documentary on snowmobiling.
A Toyota pick-up with a pop-top camper is an outstanding adventure rig. Get an older one and they are reasonably priced, but because they have Toyota’s legendary reliability they will last you a long time. They get decent MPG and with a 4×4 you can get way back off-road.
Here is another option, a Toyota pickup towing a pop-up trailer. This one is designed for off road travel and it has it’s axle reversed for high ground clearance and is shaped for good approach and departure angles.
No line up of vandwelling rigs would be complete without an ambulance so here we go.
I thought this was an interesting combination with this box truck parked by this Express van. The box truck has a magnetic sign on the doors for a construction company, but I have to wonder if someone is living in there instead.
I’ve got a lot more pictures but I’m going to stop here. There are 10 pictures in this post and I’m concerned for those of us on a slow connection how long the page will take to load.So there will be more in Part II.
Before I go though, let me tell you what my ideal adventure vehicle would be and what I hope to move into within the next year.
I want to have a 4×4 1 ton 3500 pickup with extended cab and a 8 foot bed. Because I love the mountains and they require climbing big, monster hills I want the minimum weight on the adventure rig and no slide-in camper is light enough for me so I am going to buy a tall shell from this company: http://belairshells.com/wood-n-alum. Here are some of the models I might be interested in from their website:
This picture shows it on a Toyota Tacoma but I would have mine on a full size pickup. It’s 48 inches tall so I would just barely miss being able to stand up, but stooping a little is fine with me. Between taking the seat out of the back of the supercab and the over-cab storage, I could carry everything I needed, but I will have to greatly simplify my life–which is not a bad thing! It only costs $1900 for a full-size long-bed truck and they custom build each one to customer order. I’d get several custom items like a rack for solar and vents.
This model is more what it will look like, it is also 48 inches high but it is on a full-size 4×4 pickup. I don’t want the long cab-over so it won’t be this model.
I hope all these photos got your creative juices flowing and considering what might be the right adventure vehicle for you.