Nissan Titan 2.0 – Ready for this year’s workshops

Richard Charpentier Arizona, hiking, Notes from Rich, Off Road Adventures, Photographing Arizona, Photography, Workshops 3 Comments

A view into the driver's side. Lot's going on in the Titan.

I’m not Chris Marzonie, but if I tried I bet I could play him on TV…….

Chris has great ideas when it comes to off road setups. His ideas are so good that I took one right out of his playbook recently. The Titan has had some new additions made for future off road trips you see……

Given the locations I’m planning workshops this year, the Nissan Titan will be seeing a lot of use.  That’s great.  The poor Titan has been sitting idle for too long.  Only a few major trips last year, and towing the Airstream just a few thousand miles.  Not like back in 06′ when the Titan roamed the country with the Airstream in tow.  Since arriving in Prescott, and obtaining the “scooter” (a.k.a. the Versa) the Titan has been neglected.  I mean, it was purchased to tow the Airstream to wonderful places and travel often.

The travel has been limited in the past year.  I admit that.  But remember, I’m busy building a business, and I’m really taking on the role of starving artist.  So, gas money is tight, trip funds are non-existent, and therefore the Titan and Airstream remain parked.  But soon that will be changing, at least for the Titan.

A view from the rear passenger area. XM, Ham radio, GPS, and IPod Touch all in view.

For the next White Pocket Workshop the Nissan has been upgraded to 2.0.  Some new features, and some old features, make it a fantastic vehicle for getting into one of my favorite photo spots in Arizona.  First, let’s talk about the old features that are still somewhat new.

A big component of off road travel is safety.  Got that covered in a big way.  Not long ago I installed my Yaseau Ham Radio in the Titan for remote trips.  It’s performed amazingly well!  While in the Page, Paria, Grand Staircase, and Vermillion Cliffs areas I have access to multiple 2 meter repeaters.  What’s that mean?

Communication where most communication methods fail.  That’s huge, and that adds an extra measure of safety that many folks often over look.  Let’s not forget, in addition to the HAM radio I also have my “Spot Messenger.”  Emergency communication almost anywhere on the globe.  Of course, we won’t talk about slot canyons and the Spot……  🙂

The controller and mic for my FT8500 from Yaseau. Great radio!

Finally, the Garmin 2610 is always with me in the Titan.  It’s guided me to so many places, and a few times mis-routed me as well.  Of course, one mis-route led me to Prescott, so…..Way to go Garmin!

Beyond safety gear, the Titan is set up for entertainment while slogging through the deep sand.  XM Satellite Radio is with me everywhere I go.  In addition, the IPod Touch has a little setup that keeps it safe while bouncing along rough roads.

In total, 5 passengers can come along in the Titan.  For my workshops I’m limiting things to 3 participants at a time (for the multi-day workshops in remote areas) and sometimes a second workshop leader will be coming along.  So, there’s the 5 max right there.

Now, onto what’s new with the Titan.  There are several items.

Months ago when I traveled to Coyote Buttes and White Pocket with Ken C, I borrowed his gear rack for the top of the Titan.  Well, Ken needed it back, so I gave it back (with tears in my eyes).  Over the course of a few months the business saved a few dollars here and there, and finally I was able to get my own Thule Cargo Basket for the truck.

My gear will be going there.  You know, I’ve got the travel casing that will protect all my stuff.  Workshop participants might not have as rugged of gear as I do, so I’ll expose my belongings to the elements.  🙂

Awful nice of me, don’t you think?

In addition to the Thule Basket, one more thing has been added to the Titan that I’ve been wanting to do for quite a while…….

A new cargo deck has been created and installed.  Last Monday, had you been in the area, you would have heard a good deal of construction noise next to the Airstream.  My friend Dave stopped by and helped me get the job done.

No, it's not an escape hatch....although it could be used that way I suppose.

If you know anything about me at all, you know that I am not good at construction!  Give me a hammer and a nail and I’ll injure someone 3 miles away by accident.  It’s true, we’ve put it to the test time and again.  And I’m sick of paying for other people’s tetanus shots!  Now, if you asked me to design and connect a power plant for a telecomm installation….hey, I can do that.  We’re all good at some things and suck at others.  And for the things we suck at….well, we find the resources to help us out.  Dave was the right resource!

From 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. we cut wood, assembled components, scratched our collective heads, and finally created a really cool cargo management area and cargo deck.  It came out better than I expected, although not exactly like Chris M’s setup on his Toyota.  That’s okay though.  After all, this is the Titan 2.0.

Why is it every time I type “Titan 2.0” I hear “better, faster, stronger” in my mind?  Guess it’s just some little personal quirk.  Got plenty of those……  🙂

The Titan seems to need a wash. But really, it looks kind of rugged......

Now, you might be saying to yourself, “Rich, I thought you made the starving artist comment above?  Yes, I’ve read back and you did in fact make that comment……”  Correct.  Fortunately Dave and I worked out a little trade.  You should see the canvas gallery wrap of his Brittany Spaniel, Pepper.  It came out wonderfully!

Ah, the “trade”.  I’m learning about barter and trading running a small business.  So far, my medical insurance company will not take an image on canvas as payment, but I’m working on that……..

The new cargo setup offers a lot of potential.  I can easily stow client gear in a closed off area.  Keeping their stuff shiny and new.  Of course, once they take the cameras out in dusty places (which are everywhere in AZ) they’re on their own.  But I’ll get the gear to the location in style!

There’s a section for recovery gear, a section for comfort gear (the portable table, chairs, etc), two large compartments for photo gear, slide ins for the cooler, the 5 person Turbo Tent, and more!

Oh, and I can sleep on the cargo deck.  I fit perfectly.  If I was any taller it would be a different story altogether.

So, there you have it gang.  The Titan 2.0.  Bigger, faster, stronger…….

All inspired by the work that Chris Marzonie did on his own off road vehicle.  Big thanks Chris!

Comments 3

  1. Garmin? What’s this Garmin you refer to? Oh, wait – do you mean Garmanita? I really enjoyed her help on my trip down to WP! 🙂 The new shelf in the back looks smokin’! Good luck with the workshops, although with your prep and teaching – combined with the scenery, luck is hardly a factor! 🙂

  2. Rich, the Titan looks great! I can’t wait to get the trucks out on a cool photo expedition. . . somewhere with massive stone towers wrapped in stripes, green meadows and wild skies. You know where I’m talking abou

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