I’m Excited.

     Well, as you can tell from the title, I’m getting real damn excited. We have a lot going on right now, some of which I’m not at liberty to discuss yet. But we can touch on a little bit of it. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been gearing my 60 up for a pretty sizable trip this coming fall.(At least one, actually.) Before I jump into that one, let me talk about another upcoming trip we’re planning. After some discussion, it’s looking like we’ll be headed to ATR(Appalachian Toyota Roundup.) I’ve heard about it for some time, but I’ve never had the capability to make it up there in my truck and that’s something I’ve really wanted to do. It’ll be a solid drive for the ole girl(8ish hours), but we’ve already established that she’s capable of that. I just hope it gets cool enough to actually enjoy the camping part of the event. 

     Anyway, on to real exciting shiz. Just a little background, I’ve grown up only 90 miles from the beach. My grandparents had a house, so we always went. Well, ever since I was kid, I wanted to drive on the  beach and I’m FINALLY getting my wish!! That brings me to the juicy stuff. The planning is still being worked out, but we’ll be doing about 600-700 miles from the most northern part on the North Caroline coast and down and finishing on Savanna Georgia. A lot of this will be beach driving, there will be several ferry crossings, and a little bit of forest service roads too. Honestly, to say I’m excited is a gross understatement. Between camping on some really remote islands, on the beach, and hanging out with some awesome people, yeah, one could understand where I’m coming from. The best part about it all, all of you reader will get to experience it too. We’ll be filming the whole thing for a three part YouTube series. More on this as I get more information and closer to go time. 

As always, this is Rich signing off.  

BioLite

      Well, as usual, life has picked up the pace. Myself and the family has just gotten back from an exciting week at Disney, down in Orlando. But all that is beside the point, so let’s get to the good stuff, shall we?? 

     I first learned about BioLite about three years ago and that’s where my love affair first started. If you haven’t seen their stuff, you should absolutely check them out. But to give you a little background on the company, they basically provide energy efficient camping products. They have several lighting products and even a few cooking products. Their pizza oven is probably one of their cooler products, but I haven’t gotten to that point just yet. The first thing I picked up, was the Base Lantern XL and some site lights and that’s what’s been powering my camp light setup on my 60. But they’ve recently come out with something else that’s equally as effective. Let me first say, all of the site lights are capable of being daisy chained, but the new lights are going to be a game changer. Each set comes on a 10ft strand, with four smaller lights, that can also be daisy chained. The cool part, even if you don’t have any of their other products, they work. Each set comes with a USB port converter. But if you DO have a Base Lantern XL or something equivalent, they plug directly into it. A few awesome features with that is a proximity sensor and complete control over your entire light setup, via your mobile device. But if you have any questions about BioLite, just give me a shout and I’ll do my best to help you out. If I can’t figure it out, I’m sure they’ll be able to help. www.bioliteenergy.com 

But as always, this is Rich signing off.  

Downtime

      If you live in the south, you know what I mean. Unfortunately, we only have soo much time to get all the camping in, before you start having to head further and further north. I’m going to take advantage of that fact. Right now is not the best time for the 60 to be making any long trips. Although, she preformed beautifully to and from the Smokey Mountain Overland Rally, we had some problems too. To begin with and most importantly, my hubs decided to shit the bed, so I have a bad ass 2wd at the moment. Also, a few of the more aggressive hills, shall we say, in north Georgia, killed my truck. At one point, I was doing 35 in 3rd gear, struggling to make it to the top with the rest of traffic. So that’s getting fixed. Along with new hubs, the ole girl will be getting some fresh 4.56s for gears and probably a locker for the rear. 

     Between all of that and a few other small things, I should have a damn realiable truck. Or about as realiable as a 31 year old truck can be. We’re gearing up for a trip this fall that will be the biggest and longest to date for the ole girl and I don’t want to have to worry about anything.  

     In other news, my lady friend has been shopping for 4Runners and I’ve gotten to help!! It seems as if she’s finally found something she likes and we’ve already placed the order. She’ll be the new owner of a SR5 Premium, with the XP Predator package. It’s 4wd and capable enough to still take it in the woods, but nothing super crazy with a bunch of extra shit she didn’t need. I’m really excited to say the least, I normally do all of the driving and it’ll be nice to have this thing for trips if my truck happens to be down.  

     Anyway, that’s all that I’ve got for now. This is Rich, signing off.  

SMOR, Here We Come.

     Well, as you can tell by the title we’re headed to the Smokey Mountain Overland Rally this coming weekend. This will be the longest trip to date with the 60 I’m finishing up a few last things before we go. To begin with, I got some airbags thrown on the rear to help carry the ass end of the old girl. Since the new 5 speed has gone in, I’ve noticed that my rear u-joints need replacing, so that’s also happening. The fan shroud for my radiator and dual 12” fans finally arrived, so my clutch fan is coming off and those are going on. Finally, we’re moving my fuel pump to the rear of the truck. It’s a “push” pump, instead of a “pull” pump and it’s currently under the hood, so this will allow it to run more efficiently. A new throwout bearing for my clutch arrived yesterday, so that will be nice getting replaced before the eight hour road trip in the old girl. 

      As far as the rally goes, we’re leading a few trail rides throughout the weekend. So if you’re interested in hanging out, come by and say hello. 

But that’s about it for today and as always, this is Rich signing off.  

 

The changes that come with time

The fact that some of you are here and reading this is just remarkable and thank you so much for following along on our journey! It has been a crazy year since we brought this idea from a conversation between friends into what it is today. 

Now some of you may ask what is Southern Xpeditions? Why do you spell it weird? Well lets see if I can answer some of the basic's.

Southern Xpeditions started as a group of guys who came together after Overland Expo East 2016 at the Biltmore is Asheville, NC. Rich and I had been friends since college and Jim I had never met before that night that entirely too much moonshine was poured. We all bonded over one common goal. UTAH!!!

Not to spoil the end but we did it. We traveled hundreds of miles through deserts and over mountains across the state of Utah on the Backcountry Discovery Route. On top of that we filmed it, or at least did our best. And trying to show everyone how much fun and how beautiful it truly is out west! I know we aren't a first rate production company but we did it! We set a goal and accomplished it!

Where do we go from here? Good question, but for now we know that this hosting of the Overland Challenge and helping Veteran based Veteran operated Veteran Focused charities is something special and we hope that you continue to follow along as we try to make a real positive impact on this community and other peoples lives....... Oh and did i forget to mention have a damn good time along the way?

Stay tuned for what is sure to be a fun ride!

Derrick

Camping and Extra Gears

     Well, hope everyone had a great Easter weekend with family or whatever you did.  Like I said, we escaped for a few days of “solitude,” at least as much as you can have with children. Haha. But anyway, super happy with all of the additional mods we did last week. My steering feels great, she tracks a whole hell of a lot straighter and the extra gear is just heavenly. At one point, I was doing 75 on I10 and only turning 2300(ish) rpms. Which is a HUGE change from the 4 speed.  

     I actually returned to find a few surprises in the mail, one being a fan shroud for my two 12” electric fans. So now, hopefully I can free up a few horses with that upgrade and never have to worry about overheating again. I also realized my universal joints need replacing. So that’s going to happen here soon too. I’ve decided to go ahead and replace my shocks. Everything was good when I lifted my truck the 2”-2.5”, but then I did a shackle reversal in the front and extended shackles in the rear and that screwed me. That being said, I’ll be measuring for new shock lengths and hopefully getting some new ones ordered to help with my ride. We’re basically done with camping season this far south, but I’ll have her better than new by the time that rolls back around. 

That about does it for today, so as always, this is Rich signing off. 

Events and Upgrades

      Well, as I expected, the Spring Gathering was an awesome time. We meet lots of cool people, hung out with old friends, and got to play with our toys. What more can you really ask for??? But now that we’ve got a little down time, I’m trying to finish up a few last projects on the 60. My 5 speed is finally going in, so hopefully mileage will improve just a little bit. New brake lines are going on to make up for the added few inches of lift, and I’ve got new tie rod ends going on to tighten up my steering. 

     This week is spring break for a bunch of kids around here, so my girlfriend and I are taking her two youngans for a few nights in the woods to try out some of the new gear. This will give me a chance to see how the new transmission is on the road and hopefully play with the new nascar like steering. Ha. I just hope we don’t get carried off by blood suckers, cause it’s damn sure getting that time of year in the South. 😒 But anyway, we’ll have some more events coming up this next month and I can’t wait to hit them all up!!  

As always, this is Rich signing off.  

Georgia Bushcraft Spring Gathering

     Hey guys, we’ve got an exciting weekend planned up in Watkinsville, GA.  The Spring Gathering kicks off this Friday morning (March 23) and I hope to see a bunch of you out there!! They’ve got classes planned, vendors will be there, and live music in the evenings.  We’ll have a booth setup and several of us will be around to chat and drink a few beers. We have a few events happening this year and may even be adding a few more.  But if you haven’t heard me talk about how much fun events like this are, you missing out.  Not only is it a chance to kiss some hands and shack some babies, but it’s also a chance to play with ALL of your gear.  Most of the time, unless we’re going to be there for more than one night, camp is pretty minimal.  Not this weekend!! We’ll be there for three nights, so all the toys are coming out.  So stop by and check out some cool shit.  Several of our industry friends will be there as well, including Mountain State Overland and CVT. Anyway, I’m tying down the last few loose ends on the 60 this week and will be rolling Thursday morning. 

And as always, this is Rich signing off. 

Rebuilds and Life

     Hey guys, been a while since I’ve posted anything due to life and everything else.  That also means I have a lot to talk about!!  We’ve still been plugging away on my 60 and I’m happy to report that we’re ALMOST finished!!! Parts have been slow coming in and I’ve figured out I needed a few different parts.  But that’s to be expected when rebuilding a 30 year old truck. I fully expect to have my hands full for the duration of this beast.  However, all that is justified when I just look at her. She has come so far from where she was when I bought her three years ago and I can’t wait to put some more adventure miles on her!! I mean, we’ve already been on a few smaller trips, but with this 5 speed going in tomorrow, it’s going to be a lot more fun.  

     On the other pressing news, we finished our first rally this past weekend and man, what a time it was.  Especially since we had such a monkey wrench thrown into the plans at the very last minute. But as in life, we adapted and overcame. I will say, if you weren’t there this time, you damn sure don’t want to miss the next one!! In my experience, it’s events like that where you meet life long friends and are able to establish those connections.  Anyway, I’ll save some stories for my next post.  I’ll try to stay more on top of it now.  

But as always, this is Rich signing off. 

The 60 Is Getting Close!!!

     Hey guys, been a while since I’ve posted anything. Life has been busy and a lot of things have been going on with my Cruiser.  I am currently in Birmingham, getting Derrick to help finish up with my wiring and cleaning under the engine bay after the rebuild. As soon as I get back to Dothan, she’ll be going to see the fabricator and getting some new metal added to her. We’ll be adding a beast of a rear bumper, sliders, and start redesigning the front bumper.  The plan is to have a gourmet, roll out kitchen, in the middle of the woods and from the looks of the drawings, that’s going to happen.  Can’t wait to see some of you out on the trail!!  

As always, this is Rich signing off.  

Communications: How do you talk??

     Ever since I was in High School, CBs were king and I never really questioned them until the past 10 years.  I always knew they had limited range, unless you go the illegal way and amp them.  But it's just that, illegal.  Well, the next test was GRMS radios (the little two ways you can pick up at Wal-Mart or Academy) and they have the same problem, lack of range.  I have actually seen a company here recently that came out with a 40 watt base unit GRMS and while that is pretty impressive, there is an even better option still.  HAM, is that solution.  They are a little more expensive, but that's the price you pay for multiple functions!!  There's also a test you need to take before broadcasting, but the cost is only about $25.  

     At this point, I've got three handheld HAMs and one mobile mounted unit.  The handhelds only do five watts, but the truck mounted unit will do 50 watts and has some range on her.  Just a few awesome functions HAM radios have, you can use them as a scanner.  So, with just a quick Google  search, you can find all of your local emergency frequencies (police, fire, EMS, State Troopers, etc) and always know what's going on.  They also can talk on the GRMS frequencies, so you can program all 1-22 or so GRMS channels into your HAM and talk away.  After saying all of this, I still have a CB in my truck for talking with truckers and other weirdos that haven't made the jump to HAM.  Haha

As always, this is Rich signing off. 

Here We Come Ocala NF!!!

     Well, we're less than a week away from our departure date for our meet down in Ocala National Forest and Swamp Shoot with SLR Rifleworks and man, we're all getting excited!!!  Unfortunately, the 60 won't be making it down, but lots of fun will be had regardless.   We've teamed up with X Venturer and have put together a ride along and camp for the November 4th and 5th.  That being said, if you live in the Ocala/Tampa area, come out and join us!!  If you're interested in coming to hangout, checkout our Instagram page for details.  Brass and mud will be flying!!!

As always, this is Rich signing off.   

Bringing the Rebuild to a Close

      With the rebuild of my 60 coming to a close, I can’t wait to get her out and play with all of my new toys!!  Besides the obvious things,(things you can see and that being the new cvt hardshell, rhino rack, and foxwing awning) I’ve added the dual battery system from Off Grid Engineering, a ARB 50 quart fridge/freezer, a 1000 watt power inverter, and about 12 USB ports throughout the truck and tent. I’ve added a few sets of Baja Designs lights around the truck already and plan to add a few more. We’re going to get back in the fab shop next week and start drawing up the rear bumper and that thing will be nothing short of epic. I’m a camp cook, so I want lots of counter space, without having to carry multiple tables. 

     The first weekend of November, we’re heading down to the Tampa-ish area for some full auto fun, wheelin, and camping. If that isn’t a mans weekend, I don’t know what is. My only concern, damnit, is I hope it isn’t hot.  But ya know, if it is, we’ll just drink through it!  That generally works as long as it isn’t too bad.

Anyway, hope to see some of you readers out there camping, make sure to come say hello.

And as always, this is Rich signing off.  

Post Overland Expo

     Well, Expo is over and man, what a time we had.  It's always fun putting names to faces or in my case, trucks to faces.  Unfortunately, my 60 wasn't together in time to take up, but it was still an awesome time.  My lady friend has never been before, so that was a fun first trip for her and to see what exactly I'm about.   

     One thing that really stood out of the show for me, was meeting Alan with Blue Ridge Chair Works and trying out the different models he has.  If you want to talk about craftsmanship, look no further because Alan is crushing it.  Between the chairs, tables, and shower mat, he's covering all the bases and I'm afraid I'll end up owning the whole line of products.  One thing to me that has always really made a camp spot, is how you relax once you are all setup.  Blue Ridge Chair Works has that covered, not only do they pack up really nice and tight, but they're super comfy as well.  If you haven't seen or heard about them, go check out the website, I can promise you won't regret it. 

And as always, this is Rich signing off.    

Rush for Expo

     Well, this past week has been exciting. Packages have been pouring in and lots of planning is going on.  If everything goes as planned, we'll have the block back from the machine shop and back together by next weekend.  I guess I should elaborate a little more on exactly what's going with the ole girl.  To begin with she's getting bored to .020 over, completely rebuilt, a header added, 5 speed, and fuel injection.  Along with that, I'm replacing several parts within the steering, giving her a good scrub down, adding new tires, roof rack, awning, and one of the new CVT hardshell tents.  My sliders will be going on, on-board air will be added, and a 50 quart ARB fridge/freezer will supply me with plenty of cold beverages.  As you can imagine, I'm pretty excited and am REALLY looking forward to getting her back.  Unfortunately, I'll have to drive around town for two or three days straight before I can really go anywhere.  But we still have a few weeks left before Expo.  Anyway, she'll be at Expo this year with bells on.  You may can even find her in the vendors area too, but we'll see about that. 

But as always, this is Rich signing off. 

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