The Novice Off Roader

Richard Charpentier Arizona, Notes from Rich, Off Road Adventures, Photography 5 Comments


Near the southern terminus of the Cottonwood Canyon Road

After putting together the trip list in the last post I realized something.  When it comes to off roading, I’m a total novice.

Yes, I’ve driven the logging roads and double tracks of Northern New Hampshire.  Yup, I took a Eurovan off road through Wyoming and Montana.  I’ve owned two Jeep Wranglers in my life, and boy do I miss them!  Finally, you know about some of the fun off road trips I’ve done here in Arizona.  But just because my tires have driven on dirt, well that doesn’t mean I’m an off road guy…….Yet.

It’s pretty clear to me that I need to learn more about “off road” travel.  No, I’m not looking to climb insane hills in low gear over giant rocks.  Yes, I’m interested in getting into more remote spots that most people never get to see.  Why?  Really, you’re asking why?

Pretty simple.  Some of those remote areas hold amazing sites.

I’ve been thinking a lot more about off road travel this summer because of a few places I want to visit.  All of Cottonwood Canyon Road, Coyote Buttes North and South.  And White Pocket.  Especially White Pocket.


I can't wait to return to the Grand Staircase

In addition to those locations, there are many more locations in the Southwest where the only way to get access is with a 4WD vehicle.  Fortunately, I’ve got one of those.  Lets not forget all of my fun trips to the Promised Land, Perkinsville, and the North side of Sycamore Canyon.  Off roading is a way to gain access to fun hiking and photo locations here.

Fortunately, I do have resources here in Prescott.  First, there’s my friend Ken.  His Jeep is decked out to the 9’s.  He’s got some insights, and I’m just beginning to learn what he knows.  Then there’s another resource that I’m going to have to approach.  The folks at Overland Journal.

Months ago I went to the first Overland Journal Expo right here in Prescott Valley.  If you don’t remember that expo, here’s the link to my post on it.

Overland Journal is an extremely cool publication about off road trips and adventures.  The vehicles they use are ready for almost any need.  The off road trailers towed in some of the expeditions are the coolest toys, and a tech junky’s dream!  I love gadgets, and I think all readers know that.  😉

truckoffroad-1I’ve met a couple of the Overland Journal guys this year.  One popped by the gallery not long ago.  Guess I’ll have to drop them a line and get some suggestions on what they’d do with my current truck……

So, I’ve got a goal for myself.  Learn more about off roading.  Learn more about what I can and can’t do with my current equipment.  And finally, take some fun trips to places where most folks never dreamed of visiting.

I must say, there’s one concern.  The Titan.  I think it’s a great truck.  The Airstream has been towed all over the country with it.  The 4WD works wonderfully on it.  But I haven’t seen much information at all on off roading with a Titan.  Xterras, sure.  Jeeps, oh yeah.  Toyotas…..are you kidding?  But Nissan Titans?  Have you seen any off roading gear for a Titan?  Why is that???

See, there’s something I’ve got to learn more about………

For the near future, we’ll see how things go with the little information I know about off roading.  Checking into the South Coyote Buttes area last weekend I learned that the road into Paw Hole is a sandy mess.  Easton told me about someone he knows who got totally bogged down on the way into Paw Hole.  The rangers at the Paria station warned that it’s fairly impassable even for a high clearance 4WD vehicle.  We’ll see if a Jeep and a Titan can comfortably get in there.

insidethetruck-1Oh, I did find a really cool resource last night.  “My” has a cool set of blog posts on the area, and their trip took place just this past Spring. I’d love to find a similar site about off-roading with a Titan.  I’ll keep searching.

In 2 weeks we’ll all know how the pending trip works out.  🙂  If we find things impassable, we’ll find other things to shoot.  Flexibility, I think that will probably be the key rule to remember when getting into off roading!

Comments 5

  1. Wow – just spent about an hour over at the FJcruiser site, which you linked. Some extremely cool places to add to “The List”.

    Looks like Overland will be holding an Expo in southern Arizona next Spring. You might want to think about adding that to the list also…

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  3. Thanks for the kind words about Overland Journal. Stick with your Titan. They are excellent vehicles, and all the big tires and lift kits are overrated for nearly all types of “road” travel.

    Stop by the office in Prescott, and we can chat more about your vehicle.

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    Thanks for stopping by Scott. I think we’ve met once before, and I’ll be sure to stop by.

    My big thing isn’t lifts or anything. So far the Titan has done well and I plan on keeping it for some time to come. It’s a great tow vehicle for the Airstream. I’m more concerned about recovery gear, and gear management for the back of the truck. Can’t find much out there. I’d like a roll out storage system for the truck’s bed, then I’d put a sleeping area above the gear in the bed. 🙂

    I’ll pop by sometime!

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