Although some of you are already aware, I thought I’d share some recent news with the more extended Expeditionr readers out there. In case anyone is confused as to the status of our immediate family here at Expeditionr, there are actually two families to speak of: 1) those of the human variety and 2) those of the mechanical or automotive variety. While we had an addition to the human team just over two years ago, the more recent news involves a new addition joining the automotive side of the house. This newest member, who shall remain nameless for the moment, has been drafted to the automotive team in order to provide two much needed services – towing and hauling. So as fate would have it, even though this recent turn of events was more coincidental than planned, the timing worked out quite well and our new member is settling in quite comfortably so far, quickly building a foundation of loyalty through steady and reliable contribution. Continue Reading →
This is just a quick update for any readers who may have visited recently and found the site in a state of transition. It’s been over a year since the last major overhaul to the Expeditionr web site, and I’ve been wanting to upgrade some of the site options for several months now. In keeping with the seasonal changes, I decided to do some Spring cleaning and spent the last few days updating the site software to incorporate a brand new “green” theme. This update serves to spruce up the site’s outer shell significantly from a visual perspective and provides some brand new features that should make visiting a bit more interactive. Continue Reading →
Unlike my other blogging sites, Expeditionr is the one place that tends to leave technology in the dust. To be more specific, the topics of conversation at Expeditionr tend to focus more on mechanics and mud than on database applications and web design (welcome to my alter ego). But on occasion, despite my efforts to keep these worlds apart, I find the two areas unexpectedly overlapping in a Venn diagram like fashion. The last 10 months or so have been fairly occupying between work and software projects, so I haven’t had a lot of extra time to detail and document here at Expeditionr. Like the content, software updates to the site have also been lacking, potentially exposing the site to exploitation. Luckily, a recent reduction in life’s pace allowed me to return to writing, albeit on a limited basis. The extra time also allowed me to update the site software and various software modules behind the scenes. Now that things are a bit more caught up around here, I’m able to return to my regularly scheduled content updates. Or at least that’s the plan for the moment. Continue Reading →
Stepping outside our comfort zone is something that most people will avoid doing unless absolutely necessary. There are those lucky few who seem to thrive by living life on the edge, but for most of us, there’s something truly unnerving about moving into unexplored territory. I guess I’d place myself somewhere in between. I like to push my limits because I feel it improves me as a person and allows me to grow and learn from the experience. But I’m also cautious when I take these steps and prefer to feel my way around before jumping in head first. This is true for many aspects of my life and off-roading is no exception. Every time I push my limits as a driver or the physical limitations of the FJ, I get nervous, but over the years I have discovered a few tips and tricks that help to reduce the stress. Continue Reading →
As the number of Expeditionr videos increase, we decided it was time to put together a section on the site where visitors could view them. So the brand-new Videos Section was born. The main reason we opted for a dedicated section here on the site was to allow visitors to view all Expeditionr-related content under a single roof, rather than be redirected elsewhere. This also allows us to relocate the content in the future without any interruption to the viewers. That being said, for the moment, almost all of the videos are hosted on YouTube. So if you have already have a YouTube account and wish to subscribe to our video feeds directly through YouTube, you can visit our channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/expeditionr. For the remaining non-YouTube users, or those visitors who prefer to visit us directly, all video content will now be available here at the site by clicking on the Videos link in the top menu. All the videos have been added in reverse chronological order making it super easy to view the latest movies. Be sure to check back often for updated content and don’t forget to leave us a comment or two if you’re feeling spunky!
For those visitors who prefer their content in a downloadable format, Expeditionr has a brand new feature that will make content on-the-go a whole lot easier. Thanks to a recent upgrade, Expeditionr content is now working with Odiogo to provide readers with a brand new text-to-speech option. Thanks to Odiogo’s full-featured podcasting services, every article hosted on Expeditionr will soon have an MP3 streaming option. This is a great feature for the visually impaired visitors or just those folks who prefer listening over reading. Automated audio podcasts have come a long way in the last few years and the end result is actually quite palatable.
For our regular readers, this exciting new feature goes into effect immediately for the latest articles. However older content may take a bit longer to convert, so please be patient with us as we work through the remaining content. If you’re visiting the Expeditionr web site directly and would like to try this feature out, look for the podcast playerÂ just below the title of the article you wish to hear. Click the triangular playback button and in just a few seconds the player should begin streaming audio content for that article. It’s just that easy! So now that you’ve heard from us, we’d love to hear back from you. Be sure and stop by soon and check out our brand new podcasting feature and let us know what you think. Continue Reading →
There’s a lot to be said for consistency in life. For a lot of us, the day’s pace is tracked through a step-by-step set of procedures that take us from waking up in the morning to setting the alarm clock again that night. Repetition has it’s place in life but every once in awhile, I like to mix things up a bit and break the trend. In the spirit of adventurism and spontaneity, I decided it was time to change the visual theme of the Expeditionr web site. When the site was originally created back in late 2009, I opted for using WordPress as my blogging engine behind the scenes. I still hope one day to build a fresh site based on my own code, but time is limited and WordPress works quite well. So for the time being, it will remain in place as the foundation for Expeditionr content. In addition to all the other beneficial features of WordPress, the 3rd party support for themes is tremendous. This gives WordPress authors a wide variety of different themes and styles from which to choose. After sifting through several hundred themes yesterday, I finally found one that fit to my liking and the underlying thematic content of the site. So without further ado, I present to you, the recently updated Expeditionr.com!
This post is for those of you who utilize Twitter and Facebook to keep in contact with your friends, family and other favorite activities. For anyone who is interested in following our progress here at Expeditionr, you can now subscribe to @expeditionr on Twitter for the latest updates. We also have a Facebook fan page now for anyone who wants to follow us there. Alternatively, if you don’t have a Twitter or Facebook account, you can always subscribe to our Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feed by adding www.expeditionr.com/feed to your favorite feed reader. All three of these methods require an account of some sort, but signing up only takes a few minutes and gives you access to all the other cool features that these services have to offer. Or if you’re one of those types that prefers to keep your web travels to a minimum, you can simply continue following us by visiting this site. Zero hassle with 100 percent of the return.
As I was digging through photos for my latest articles, I happened across an older directory that has not seen activity since early 2007. I’m speaking, of course, of an image repository that has remained largely isolated over the last four years. Like most things in life, memories fade all too quickly and in our haste to move into the future, we often forget to appreciate the past. I’ve spent the last four years performing a variety of modifications to my FJ Cruiser. Some were minor projects that I completed in less than an hour. Other upgrades required multiple days, even weeks before they reached a state of completion. And though I have yet to reach the solid axle conversion stage, I’d still rate the extent of my particular modifications somewhere between medium and high. It’s quite amazing how the FJ has transitioned over time.
For those of you who have yet to be bitten by the “mod bug”, these pictures might seem all too familiar. But for me, there are a pleasant reminder of where it all began. If the FJ had a story to tell, mine would have started here. I’d had the FJ less than a week when these photos were taken and it brings back fun memories when I browse through the photos. Quite frankly, I don’t remember another time when the FJ looked this clean. I’ve become quite used to the mud and dirt residue throughout. It’s part of history now and a big part of my daily life. From the day I picked it up at the dealer, my enthusiasm for the FJ Cruiser platform has only grown, and I have Toyota to thank for it. So here’s to Toyota for building not just a vehicle, but a legacy that will hopefully continue for years to follow! Continue Reading →
Although I have a fair amount of experience driving in off-road conditions, I didn’t really get into off-roading for recreational and sporting purposes until a few years ago. Since that time I’ve come to truly enjoy my time on the trail. It’s no longer about the destination. It really is about the trip along the way. For those of us in the mid-Atlantic region, Rausch Creek Off-Road Park (RCORP) is one of the more favorable locations for off-road enthusiasts. Rausch offers nearly 3000 acres of trails ranging from light-duty fire roads and green-rated river beds, to the more hard-core, black- and red-rated rock crawling obstacles.Â As my number of recreational trail hours increases, so does my appreciation for the experience as a whole. Surrounded by trees, rocks, water, dirt and mud… it’s a great way to get away from the day-to-day work schedule and even better when you get to spend it with friends.
Up until recently, my trips to Rausch have been based on larger, sponsored events. These types of events are a lot of fun, with a large number of participants and even prizes and a dinner at the end. But there are some downsides to this type of arrangement. The sheer number of participants means that each group will contain an average of six to eight vehicles. Overall, this means a lot more vehicles on the trails which increases the likelihood of having to wait for one or more groups to complete a particular trail section. Because Rausch Creek is fairly large in scale, this is not typically a problem. But it does happen on occasion. A second down side to sponsored events is that they are often vehicle-specific in nature. While most of the events I’ve attended in the past are completely open to other vehicle brands, it is not well advertised and many folks are still unwilling to attend because they would feel out of place.Â It is for these reasons, primarily, that I decided to organize the Rudimentary Rausch Creek Invitational. Continue Reading →