OverLanding: part-1

What is Overlanding and Why?

3/1/2020

So today marks the start of our OverLanding overview, guide and thoughts. This will be from our perspective on the how’s, why’s and just personal opinion. There are a lot of guides out there to Overlanding. But sadly most I’ve read, read as if they are from a salesman’s desk. So much miss info, or wrongly stated info when it comes to the masses. That’s not to say that I’m 100% correct on this all. Cause God knows that’s not the case. BUT, I aim to give you a real world view. And a view that comes from someone that don’t have deep pockets. So without getting any farther off track lets get to it.

What is OverLanding? In a nut shell it’s ANY kind of travel over land. Not by air or sea. So be it foot, bike, ATV, SXS, Jeep or Truck. If your traveling overland you are in the simplest of ways OverLanding.

Now this is where things get messy. What we in the “Off-Road” world call “Overlanding” is a simple Upgrade to “Car Camping” of a bygone era. Most of us that enjoy this lifestyle more than likely remember a day in our youth camping with, our father, uncle or Grandfather out of the back of some old pickup truck. Of dragging a trailer through some woods behind a Jeep to camp out in the middle of no where. I know I do.

Can’t recall the year, but I remember my Dad taking us camping off Kingsley Road near Beards Hills, Michigan in his CJ-7. Pulled that trailer down by the river out in the wilds of the forest. Setup camp without a care in the world. We fished and explored. (Maybe my Mother recalls this trip)

That is the kind of memories that OverLanding gives. I was maybe 7 or 8 and here I aim almost 44 and that memory warms me.

So now that we know what OverLanding is, let’s look at “Why we do it”. For us it’s simple, To Explore new places away form the masses. But did you know you can OverLand in towns and city’s too? (Mind Blown).

Now where I think things have gotten out of hand on-line, in the media and in print. Is that it’s made out that you need a $100,000+ overland setup and TONS of gear to enjoy this LifeStyle. That simply is “popy-cock”. You can enjoy this lifestyle with a $100 beater and a blanket if you so choose. And anywhere in between. Now for us (and I’ll get into detail as we go) the following is How we break it all down.

Mode of transportation: What kind of vehicle do we plan to use?

How do we plan to use Vehicle: Is this a Overland only vehicle or a Multi use on

How many:How many in our vehicle (us, me, pets, ect.)

How long we plan to stay: Mainly for what do we need to bring

I’m sure there is more when we get into it. But this for us is the basic of where it all will start. In our next post I’ll start into Vehicle choices. What we have, why, what made us go this way and what our options were and why. Along we’ll help you build a list when you plan your OverLander.

So until next time stay Blessed and by all means keep on A.G.E.ing!!

Get out and Explore!

Speed Bumps in Life

2/24/2020

Here I sit drinking my morning coffee again. And reminding myself that life does and will have speed bumps. I guess it’s funny to think “Speed Bumps” when talking about 30 months from now. Or 910 days. However it does feel as though the brakes have been tapped. Funds got tight and some saved cash needs to go to a few day to day needs. We also have a past medical bill pop up that will also drain the bank for a bit. What does all this really mean? Not a lot it’s called LIFE. And no mater the amount of planning or thinking you do. It can and does catch you off guard sometimes.

For me, speed bumps are a hard part of life. I tend to not like them and even wish them away. Michelle, she gets it. She knows that they will happen, that you really can’t control them. So you just have to roll over them. Man do I wish that I had her understanding on this. Cause it makes me cranky.

It someways I feel that I need to go back to the drawing board. But is that really needed? Not really. We have time, we have each other and we have God. He wouldn’t have put us on this path as he has if it wasn’t meant to happen. Funny is though, that after the Jeep crash I was all doom and gloom. Right up until I saw the light that put us on a faster track. Before the wreck we were on a 5 year plan, or 1825 days! Double where we are today. No it don’t make it any easier, but it does high light our progress.

I’ve been trying so hard to make things happen in a few “large steps” and skip the “baby steps”. I just might (and I really hate it) have to take smaller steps. In doing so, it might not be as cost effective. But may be needed. Uggh adulting can be hard, and suck, and be expensive.

Am I loosing focus? Maybe a little. But I do know that “This too will pass”. Why do I personally find it so sticking hard to live day to day? I’m 43 years old and feel as I’ve wasted the better part of my years getting here. Always doing what pays the bills, or what others feel I should do. Never in the past had I stopped to simply smell the flowers and “Pick MY direction”. And here we are about to “Pick our Direction”, and go off to live life our way on OUR terms. But I still must wait. And be patient. I guess I can now understand how, a 64 year old that has worked their WHOLE life just to retire feels. When they get right about there and the retirement age gets pushed to 67.

I guess you could say, I’ve always been a “I want tomorrow Today” kinda person. I dream, I hope and I plan. Why you may ask? Cause I’m not always happy where I am today. Or who I am today. It always seems as today is never enough. And that today there are never enough hours. Or that there are never enough days in a week. I need to learn to slow down more. Slow down better. To be at peace in my own mind. But HOW??? That my friend is the magic question. I’m sick of working to just pay bills. I’m sick of just sittin here. I’m sick of wanting to see and experience MORE!

I want to see the world. I’ve always wanted to travel but never knew how. See I was a product of what I’ve talked so passionate about before. The killing of the dreams of our youth. And now that I’ve been so far off track to going forward that way. It’s HARD! Yes we (Michelle and I) are getting on track with that. But it don’t make it any more simple. We have bills, children and responsibilities. Thus why this Blog is here. To get us on track and keep us on track. To share with all of you out there that IT can be done, but it’s neither simple or quick.

We hope that through our frustrations, pains and miss directions it will help you. Have the faith to step out of the norm and Just do life on your terms. I guess some people (aka my loving wife) journals. Me I’ve come to Blog. Funny to say that cause over that last 3-4 years I’ve started pushing away from technology.

Any ways, that is where I find myself or better yet my mind today and this week. SO when you find that your life hits speed bumps. Remember “This to shall pass”. So till next time, stay blessed my friends. And by all means keep on A.G.E.ing!!

Spring Cleaning my Mind

2/16/2020

Hello friends. How has your week been? For me I had 2 extra days of work for advanced sorter training. All I can say is I now know how to program lasars to sort Cherries. We got Xaiver signed up for is Segment 1 driver’s ed. For those that don’t know. Michigan SUCKS for getting a young person a drivers license. 2 segments, 6 months than go get a license. When its all done you spend about $500 to get your kid driving. Crazy. And it really don’t make any better a driver.

So beyond that, we have been planning more. Life is good. It’s on the right track to where we want to go. I hope to start doing product reviews in about 4 weeks. See we will be ordering the first round of parts for the Jeep. From there on for about 6 weeks we will be getting all the needs to get the Jeep trail ready. That’s when the fun really gets started.

After the lift, suspension, steering, tires and wheels get bought. Than adventure will start to happen. Day trips, over nights and more. I’m also planning to launch more YouTube stuff at that point too. This year will have a lot to add here and on our YouTube.

When we started down this road. I wasn’t sure that any of it would start to come together. But I find as I develop patients. ME? yep I am. Odd cause 4 years ago I would have NEVER thought it would happen. But I’m growing as a person with this life direction. It all takes time, but that feels as if it’s getting faster as we go forward. I do think that it won’t really set in until we buy the Bus. And so far we’re on track to buy a bus by the summer’s end.

As of right now our only major trip will be to Florida. And I’ve never ever been there before. That will be to see my mother-in-law. But this trip won’t happen until August. Other than that, who knows what will pop up. I know that day trips in and around Michigan is planned. As part of that we will be in the UP a few times to explore trails, the falls and old mine locations.

As for a bus, well the size and layout have “evolved” a bit. We now have idea’s for big and littler buses. So we’re not locked into one size. We only have 2 really requirements. It must be able to pull the Jeep and have a full bathroom. Everything else is up in the air. Price, age and quality will really dictate what we buy. BUTT we will start looking at and filming some buses very soon.

Any how, I guess that’s about where we are for now. So until next time. Stay blessed and keep on A.G.E.ing!

Cross in the Woods, Indian River, Michigan

17 years together – 2/12/20

2/7/2020

So I’m sitting here drinking my daily coffee. Next week on February 12th Michelle and I will have been married 17 years. Simply WOW! It hasn’t all been good or bad. We’ve had very rough years that about ended us. But over the last 3 1/2-4 years we’ve grown closer and better friends, Best Friends. It took Christ in both our lives. And the understanding that we can and will have fights. Just fight fair. We both can be very head strong passionate people about things near and dear to us each.

We also learned over the years that “Happy wife Happy life” isn’t near as true as “Happy Spouse, Happy House” It goes both ways.

It’s crazy that we’re starting to make some major head way to our dreams and goals. Now that we’re on the same page. We both have wants and needs out of where we plan to go in the future. But in the end it’s something we want to share together. We both want to live tiny with less stuff more memories. We both want to build and live on a school bus. We both also want to figure out where in the country we want our roots to be planted.

See we both grew up here in Michigan. I was born here (Port Huron), Michelle was born in Colorado (Sterling). But do to poor choices in our youth, we never took time to figure out where we want to place roots. I’ve always wanted to travel and live off the grid. Michelle is much simpler. She wants to provide for us, in the way of food. Grow crops and animals. I love the mountains, forests and small towns. Michelle loves forests, small towns and the water. Who knows this crazy adventure that we’ll be taking off on in the next few years might lead back here. Or to some place so much better than we could imagine.

See we plan to travel for 3-7 years. Look, listen, experience the country. Go places we’ve only read about or seen in pictures. We don’t simply want the 3-5 day vacation. We want to take in the beauty of places. Yellow Stone and Devils Tower for example. We have visited both and love them. But we don’t simply want a day or 3 of visit. We want to stay for weeks or months and take it all in. Find those places in the mountains or desert that are far from anything and stay awhile. I want to get better at photography and get back to writing. Michelle she wants me and us to slow down and just Live life.

I guess what I’m saying is that all these things we aim to do. Couldn’t happen if we were fighting and hating on each other. It’s a team plan, a team dream. It’s Us Against the World! And with God as our couch, anything is possible.

As you can read, we’re happy together. We’re working and planning the same goal. Find the soil that we want our roots to plant in. Find a place that we WANT to call home. It’s a big world, and being afraid of it isn’t what we are. I’m more afraid of getting to the end and saying, “If only I had…………”. Instead, I want to get to the end and simply say, “Wow what a adventure it was getting here, I’m ready to come home God.” Your backyard is just the beginning.

We all should aim to lessen the “If only I had’s…” and experience life. We we’re not created to simply work, pay bills and die. No we were created to go forth, share the good news and love what God has created. Live life my friends. Don’t just exist in it.

So until next time, stay blessed and by all means keep on A.G.E.ing!!!

The path is in front of you. Are you going to take it? Or simply stay put.

Project: Redemption

1/31/2020

So much for writers block. Looks like you get a 2 for Tuesday on a Friday.

On my way to town to pay rent. I realized I hadn’t really shared much about the “new to us Jeep” I call project Redemption. Why redemption, it in some ways saved me mentally. It’s also a visual rebuild of how God rebuilds us all IF WE LET HIM. So to me it seemed very fitting. So I’ll get on to showing a few pics than to the build plan.

So Redemption is a 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo. With very good bones. Low mileage 4.0HO, auto trans, and a 242 t-case. She was in a lot better shape before the deer jumped in front of us. But hey I planned to paint it anyway.

Our plan is a complete 3.5″ lift (Iron Rock Off-road) 265/75R16 tires (Falken AT3s) on 16×8 steel wheels. Followed by steel winch bumper, steel rear bumper with swing out. And that’s just the beginning of the build. This Jeep is being built for Overland not Off-road. It will take us places comfortably. The AC will keep us and Polly Dog cool in the heat. And heat will keep us warm in the winter.

At some point before launch it will even get a roof-top-tent (RTT) so when we want to venture where our bus won’t go or fit we can. For probably the first time in my life I’m building this Jeep how I tell others to do their’s when asked for advise. How is that you might ask? ” Build for the 99% you do, not the 1% you dream to someday do.” I’ve over built so many Jeeps over the years. Some got to where they were no longer fun to drive on-road. Or took all challenges out of the trails I had access to.

This one will see more road and trail miles than all our past Jeeps combined. It will go on trails coast to coast and with a bit of luck up to Alaska in 2024.

So that’s it, Project Redemption. So until next time stay blessed and keep on A.G.E.ing!

Writers block of Sorts

1/31/2020

Well for all that know I work a 4 on, 4 off schedule. Odd cause your weekends floats. But once Jeep parts, a bus and good weather get here I’ll have time to get things rolling. That said, I’ve spent the last 4 days with writers block. No idea where I’d go with this post to you all. So I just figured I’d start typing and let the words do their job.

So what’s been happening? We got a few parts in for the Jeep. A grill from a ’98 5.9 ZJ (it’s a nice look I’ve always been fond of), a Jeep rear storage box (rare), our new to use over head (word lost) cb setup (not installed) placed a order for our switch panel and rear hatch struts. And got our new CD-less radio installed. We are on track to get the new suspension for the Jeep late February and tires and wheels by the end of March.

We’re hoping to start over-landing in April. Along with that should come monthly YouTube videos. This will also be the start of product reviews as well. And just a heads up I’ve never been super at YouTube video edits so it will be a learn as I go. I truly want to do this with larger ideas for the future. But we all must start somewhere and for me that’s here.

We are still on the hunt for a bus. We keep finding what we want but money isn’t available at the time. So by all means if you feel engaged to help move this crazy train all forward faster. Use that Donate button. All moneys go to our builds, adventures, blog and vlog.

Also remember you can chat with us through the blog or email us @- frankandshellys@gmail.com we’d love to get feed back or just chat with you about this all. Just use “From your Blog” in the title so we know your legit. To anyone that might have posted here. Sorry if we didn’t get back to you. We had a bad spam issue we had to deal with. We must be reaching people cause we got hit with 12,000 spam mails/posts over 7 days. And that went on for the last 3 months.

We have also started looking at our timeline in “phases”. Phase 1 – new year new jobs (done), Phase 2 – buy, build, plan, Phase 3 – moving day and Phase 4 – Launch Day 2.0. No there is no solid dates in this with the exception of Launch in September 2022. All other phases are before that day. But it gives us bench marks.

We do find that our new layout and direction does let us breath a bit easier. Not that there isn’t a lot going on but that we know it’s not a over night plan. It has solid roots and direction. Leading to better chance of solid success. Our approach is also starting to be driven by a motivation video. What’s that quote you ask? “Dreaming without a plan is no plan for success, it’s just dreaming.” So we are now taking our dreams and putting them into plans which directly lead to success.

So as you can see this last few days/weeks have been productive on a whole new level.

Oh and I’d like to say hi to @littlehouseontgehwy Liz and Richard it was nice getting a email back from you all. And look forward to one day meeting.

So until next time, stay blessed and keep on A.G.E.ing!

Looking around

1/21/2020

Well hi all, I’m just sitting here drinking my coffee and looking around. In that my mind is rolling through this past year and whats ahead. See 2019 was no where near what we had thought it would be back in 2017. It became a bigger year of change that we could have expected.

Good, bad, different, it is what it was. It did how ever redirect, re-focus, and re-boost our drive and direction for the future. The ups were way up and the downs were well very down. But the blessings weather we saw them all the time or not were EVERYWHERE.

If anything I can say that we know how to get to the next chapter. Where that will go once it starts. Well that my friend is the blessing of life we want to live.

So whats ahead this year? Jeep getting built up, bus shopping. Florida trip. And stopping to smell the flowers along the way. My new job has given me a stressless place to be. I’m now starting to focus back at getting healthy again. See I’m a Sugar eating stresser. And when I stress out I eat junk food. And that has added a few pounds that I’m ready to shed. I want to get back to hiking and biking this year. Spend a bit more time fishing, smiling and laughing. I’m sure there will be days that are up and days that will be down. But what I know for sure is the days will move forward like a river. Ever changing and ever moving.

I hope that next post I’ll have more to share with the projects. Not just the minds eye views. I will be working on a few projects today. Jeep stuff I’m working on today. Over head conceal CB mount. Probably a new stereo install. And I also got a new driver door yesterday too. Simple stuff but it all starts simple.

So till later all, stay Blessed and by all means possible keep on A.G.E.ing.

One of our favorite lakes near Range 40 Camp Grayling, MI

Motivation

1/14/2020

Hi all I’m sitting here reflecting on this past week. I worked my first 4 days of the new job. And I’m mid way threw my first 4 day weekend. I want to share a inspirational video with you all. It was done by Price EA. This speaks so deeply to my heart. So here take a min. and watch it.

It really makes you look at life different than how you may have been taught. I’m just going to leave this here for you to think about today. Stay Blessed my friends and keep on A.G.E.ing!

Happy New Year

1/4/2020

Well, Happy New Year all. So far my little break between Jobs has not let me get as much done here on line. We have had a few bumps. Kia lost front breaks, and the Deer into the Jeep. All that is fixed now, but I’ll be re-doing the Jeep front end. Not happy with the parts I got from J Whitney. Just been a time of run, run, run. A lot like the rest of 2019 had been.

So we have demeaned 2020 the Year of Re-Focus. We have several things that will need to be taken care of. Larger items in our view.

  • Xaiver Driver ED
  • Xaiver’s first Vehicle (AKA a Jeep)
  • Jeep build -Project: Redemption
  • Bus shopping/Purchase by years end
  • Florida Vacation

Those are the main targets for the year. Along with settling into our New jobs and schedule. I’m also going to get things rolling here and on YouTube a bit more with local adventures. It’s a lot but less than what it could be. We have fast been freeing our selves from debt and are almost 100% free there. As for after launch, well we have places of interest but we aren’t really doing a timeline. Other than to say our road life plan is for 3-7 years. Find where we want to set roots. Visit places we have and others we’ve only ever read about. Simply put we want to live life for adventure not for paying bills.

Life is about a lot more than living for a Job that will replace you the day after you die! Just let that sink in. We all fall into this false idea that our jobs are our identity and employer’s really care. They don’t! We are simply another tool to them. A machine that at anytime can be replaced. We reached the point that life is more than bills and work hours several years ago. And threw a hast to get out and going we failed the first time. Or did we? I think we simply were plucked down here cause God knew we needed to slow down. The signs were here last time.

I’ve spent most of my adult life (I’ll be 44 March 10th) not being happy. I grew up being told just like others work hard your WHOLE life and you might get to enjoy a few years before death. That’s BS. We need to stop telling our children this lie. I have heard so many times that my dreams had no meaning that they were pipe dreams. Thanks Dad for holding me back!! I shelved my dreams, goals and ideas of what life could be all so many years ago. Than after my coming to Christ back in December 2016. I started to look at all those dreams again.

I guess what I’m trying to say is this. Don’t let others hold you back. Live life, love others and enjoy God’s Green Earth. For us that will come from the drivers seat of a converted school bus. For Michelle she wants to find a place to setup a home stead. For me I want to find meaning and peace. Maybe even follow a old dream of writing a book. Who knows really. But I do know these chains are broken, and my wings are healing.

So for you all, thank you for going deep with me. I’m sure it won’t be the last time. But it gives you more insight into who we are and why we are doing as we are. So friends until next time, stay Blessed and by all means possible keep on A.G.E.ing!

Sometimes the Bug, Sometimes the Windshield

12/26/2019

Hi all, with a bit of luck this holiday season. Your reading the last post on this current layout/theme.

Well I’m figuring by now your wondering why the title of this post. It’s cause 2019 isn’t done tossing us around. See just less than a week back we were out enjoying dinner and a movie. But a Deer decided to use our Jeep as a end all. Yep we were driven along at about 55 mph. And SMASH! We were just having a conversion about how bad the headlight on the Jeep were and needing to be replaced. I saw the 3 on the driver side but not the one on the pass side running out.

Michelle, Xaiver and I are all OK. No injury’s to us. I can’t say the same of the dead. As for the Jeep. Well I’m spending the week between the 2 jobs rebuilding the whole front end. Hood, grill, fenders, core and headlights. All of it.

Ya I’m flustered with it. But 2019 has been a year of change and frustration. So here’s to 2020 being the year of forward motion and new paths.

Sorry no pics as of now but I will have some coming soon. So until next time, stay Blessed and Keep on A.G.E.ing!!