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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Fun Factor - Q’s & A’s

Rainbow Arch National Monument 2018


I appreciate questions, and Happy Runner, who initiated the blog sequence with his original question about “Fun Factor”, has followed up with some great observations.  I will be giving you the insights regarding his thoughts, from my trip this year.

Note that I am more a technical writer than one to write of self, feelings, and deep thoughts.  Happy Runner’s follow up to my original post are right on with his perceptions, and I feel that it is well worth all knowing the answers.

My answers are marked A: throughout the text with my comments under the answers started with -


[Brent's Travels] New comment on Fun Factor - Has It Waned?.

Happy Runner has left a new comment on your post "Fun Factor - Has It Waned?": 

I'm honored that you took the time to respond to my question with a such a complete answer. I had asked because, being a long-time reader, it seemed like things weren't as exciting for you this year, starting with RTR. Not to be an arm-chair psychiatrist, but your post talks mostly about years before this one!!

A: You are correct.  There was a lot going on in the background of my mind and body this year’s travels (2018).  No, this year didn’t beat last year’s fantastic hikes.  I agree that it must have shown in my writing.  

- This year I suffered a lot of mixed feelings about moving from the Prius to the Tacoma/FWC.  I hadn’t had a time to have tested out my camper or finish what I wanted before I left.  I was missing the Prius travels even before I left in the truck.  I did have fun building out the camper shell to what I wanted and that was fun.  

- I kept telling myself you will get to go to places the Prius can’t go.  Remember last year how bad Escalante was and you hadvtobrent the Jeep for $250 for a day to get to The Wave.  Oh, yes I know I would say as an appeasement to myself.  

- I was told by family and friends that you will have more room and that will be good, the Prius is so cramped.  I would mildly agree, not wanting a debate.  I knew it wasn’t about space for me that mattered.  You Prius folks out there know that I had plenty of space as I engineered my Prius to utilize space.

- There we’re supporting comments for the truck camper, but I felt they were based on the stigma of living in a car more than anything else.  Somehow some family and  friends feel living in the camper is more legitimized than “a car”.

- Yes the 4x4 truck can go places the Prius can’t, but was that enough to offset the great time I had in the Prius?  I suffered mixed feelings throughout the trip too.  It wasn’t like moving from the Class B to the Prius as there was no way I was going in the Class B a second time, but it was more feeling torn.  I would say to myself if the truck/camper doesn’t work, just sell it.

- So now you know I was uneasy about my travels this year with the truck/camper from the very start.

- The RTR was a disappointment for me because of its size.  I didn’t get to spend quality social time with some longer time friends.  It was just too far to get to anyone and main meeting area (mile walk one way).  The RTR was nice at a few hundred people vs a few thousand.  Right now I’m 50/50 on going to the RTR next year.  The move to the new BLM area could be good or bad.

- While at the RTR and for a few weeks after I had foot pain that was absolutely debilitating and it wouldn’t go away.  I doubted I would be able to stay on the road for 4 months.  I eventually figured it may be plantar fasciitis and was able to resolve the majority of the problems with jell inersoles.

I'm sure that part of the fun is learning, with everything being new -- seeing a problem or something that could be made better, and figuring out (engineering) a solution that makes life better or more comfortable. As time goes on, those opportunities become less and less.

A: Correct again.  You must have studied my blog well.  I love the problem, evaluation, design, and solution build.  There were more I could have done with the Tacoma/FWC while on the road but I sought out to help others.  

- I became a bit complacent with the camper having spent so many hours with the build before I left.

- I separate my travels into sections. 
- January - RTR / Visit CA Son and family/ Tucson conditioning hiking & disc golf
- February - touring Southern AZ, Southern CA, Southern NV & hiking, Disc golf with friends (if time permits get a preseason baseball game in too)
- March - Utah touring and Hiking with friends
- April - head East, visit aunt in Chicago, attend the SE GTG, visit cousin, visit MD son and family, disc golf before heading home.

- Although I have a general focus for my travel time, I enjoy having alone time and time with friends, and willing to alter plans for the special thing.

- I was bummed this year because the spring weather didn’t come to Utah until the end of March.  Originally I was going to go to the Escalante area of south central UT but the weather made Escalante a bad choice for a couple reasons.  Wet roads in Escalante on slickrock makes for a day of not moving, also its elevation results in more snow.  After seeing the weather was not changing, Joanne and I decided to go to Southeastern UT, as we could be from 4000 ft to 8000 ft depending on the weather.  Snow was typical above 6000 ft from the storefronts.  This area gave us the ability to still explore but stay below the snowline.

I had a selfish reason for asking -- I'm definitely into Prius camping having spent 95 nights last year and am hopefully on track to a similar amount this year. Unlike you, my camping is "stealth urban" as I follow a college softball time I like, as well as flee to warmer weather for weeks of triathlon training (swim, bike, run). It also urban because I need a strong Internet connection to work.

- Ah the Prius is just great for stealthing.  I got good at it, but when out west I don’t need it as much and the truck/camper got me access to new places.  The east coast it’s needed.

- Internet service.  I was also down in March due to lack of internet.  Joanne carries both AT&T and Verizon and she has service where I don’t, as I only carry AT&T.  What I couldn’t figure out was that Joanne’s old Samsung 3 had AT&T service at times when my IPhone 7 had nothing.  I am working on addressing this now.  This will be aseparate post. 

The camping has been fun as well as the "game" of staying under the radar. My innovations go not only to making the camping more comfortable, but also to being more stealthy. It's still a thrill of living a "secret life" right under people's noses, but I asked the question since my "engineering" is becoming less needed and I was wondering how I might feel in another few years.

A; Yes That is me.  Ah, someone like me, liking the chase but when you get there there is a feeling of loss.
I have switch to help others when I can.  I brought tools and equipment to help others.  I remotely designed the solar for Susan, that I installed on her new RAV4.

- My blog is another outlet too.  Not as much at home but on the road it gives me focus while traveling.  Roxy ( is a friend who publishes more nice places to go than I have time to visit, or weather doesn’t allow.  She has her blog above, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and she has a lot to offer.  The blog allows me to share, but there were more followers writing about Prius life.  Thanks to all that followed my travels this year.

- The highlights of my 2018 Travels include visiting Rainbow Bridge NM, traveling the many deserted miles of the Notem-Bullfrog Road, 4x4’ing Butler Wash/Bears Ears, visiting the many cliff dwellings/Petroglyphs, and the many hikes.

Thanks for the insight! 

A: Your welcome

- Brent


  1. Hi Brent!

    Thanks for this post; it's nice to get some insight into your thinking. There's just something about a Prius, isn't there? The simplicity - it seems like there's a minimalistic elegance to Prius living that doesn't compare to other vehicles.

    Having said that, I'm wondering about camping in a RAV4 hybrid: more ground clearance, but still the benefit of the hybrid. The "SUV RVing" guy on YouTube goes nearly anywhere in his RAV4, but his isn't a hybrid. I think even his really great setup would be improved if he had heating and air conditioning on-demand.

    What do you think about a RAV4 Hybrid? Better ground clearance and 30 mpgs - not as good as the Prius, but maybe a viable middle option?

  2. Wow, this is really cool that you took so much time to respond to my questions. I was worried that I was being intrusive.

    Sounds like we're much the same. I live pretty close to your son. Tell you what: when you return from your travels next year in April, give me a shout and I'll take you out for an unsweetened ice tea on me!

    1. Happy Runner,

      Thank you on the feedback. The blog is my way of communicating and questions and answers are an important part of it.

      Email me as I am often on travels for family reasons and meeting may be possible