Troy from Edmonton, AB, Canada, joined tonight (Nov 28, 2021).
Rig: '21 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon with Sky-One Touch
Trailer: Semi-custom off-road teardrop.
New to owning an overland rig and trailer, but first had experience with some of the lifestyle while beach camping in a 70 series on Fraser Island, Australia in 2004.
Why I joined:
It was August of 2020, the first summer of the pandemic that my wife and I were ground camping at Tunnel Mountain in Banff. Beside us was David and his DIY teardrop. After coming back from the restroom one day on our trip, my wife was at David's site looking at the teardrop. I meandered over to say hi and take a look. Like many, I had seen teardrops on the road, but never really got up close to one. David was sharing his story how he bought this DIY trailer off someone a year or so before, and spent as much time in it as possible. The ability to sleep off the ground, have shelter and a nice little kitchen setup with a roof appeared to be appealing to me. Was this something I have longed for but didn’t know about it?
I started to think about what life could be like if we had a trailer and a new tow vehicle. At the time we had three vehicles, all great, but nothing tow worthy. During this time, the new Bronco was all the rage. By the end of the weekend, I put down deposits for not one, but two new Bronco's. My first vehicle as an '88 Bronco II, so getting the new full-sized Bronco was quite appealing. Fast forward to today, we have a '21 Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon, and that story is for another time.
So now that a tow vehicle is on order, I went to my wife to say that I think my journey with the Audi, fast cars, race tracks and exotic cars was coming to a temporary end. As an Owner of a commercial interior architectural design firm, stress is always there. I knew I needed a change. And the sale of the Audi would be the means to get there. To me, the outdoors has always been a relief. At this time, I didn't really know what "overlanding" was. I knew it as adventuring by vehicle, didn't know there was a term for it. Yes, years earlier I had seen Expedition Overland on YouTube and watched a few videos, but that was it. So this was a all new to me and us.
So now that the seed was planed, I started to research trailer manufacturers. Locally there was Off Grid Trailers and Mission Overland. A few others as well, but being a designer and someone who wanted value, spending $40-60,000 cdn on the trailer didn't seem right. After more research, I found Northern Teardrop Trailer in Salmo, BC. Then I saw in person a trailer they built for a local Jeep/off-road shop on a custom chassis built by that shop. This got me thinking about doing the same.
By September 2020, my wife and I were near Salmo, BC and stopped in to see Dale at Northern Teardrop Trailer. He showed us his shop and shared his past construction experience as well as how they build their trailers. As someone who has been involved in large scale commercial construction projects, I was keen on Dale's attention to detail and how every year he makes tweaks to make the trailers better. They only build 20-22 trailers a year. As such, I knew that this thing would have a lot of quality controls in place which appealed to me. A couple of months later, with the Audi now sold, I sent in our deposit on November 18, 2020 knowing full well that we would be the last pick-up for 2021.
Over the course of 50 weeks, we worked with Dale on various details and tweaks. We also worked with Travis Kruger of Innovative Welding in Edmonton, AB on the chassis design/fabrication (he has done chassis for Off-Grid Trailer and Mission Overland). Taking queues of other trailers I liked, the chassis was designed and fabricated (see previous posts).
By April, 2020, we delivered the completed chassis to Northern Teardrop Trailer and there it would sit until it was done.
Fast forward to last month. I took a 3 day, 1800km round trip to get the trailer. Salmo, BC is about 900km SW from Edmonton. The most direct route from Edmonton, is via the Kootenay Pass which is part of the Crowsnest Highway. The Kootenay Pass is one of the highest highway-served passes in Canada that is open year-round, although it is frequently closed in bad weather for avalanche control and clearing of debris. As we were entering the winter season, there was a bit of concern of road conditions. A bit more of that to come.
The plan was:
- Day 1: Drive from Edmonton to Creston, with an overnight in Creston.
- Day 2: Drive from Creston to Northern Teardrop Trailer, get the trailer, and start to drive to Edmonton. Roads being a factor, maybe drive all the way back or find a hotel on the route.
Looking back, I have always had an adventurous spirit. It has gone dormant from time to time, but when it awakens from its sleep, it comes out bigger than ever. I'm not sure what the future holds. Do I continue to work and travel? Do I look at a new career that allows me more adventure time and the ability to disconnect a bit more? Do I find new life in my career as a designer? No idea. But what I do know is that this trailer is going to be a life changer, and just maybe it can help me encounter things I could never have imagined and help shape my life even more. As life continues, I'm sure to be on here more and more as well as reading other stories and exploring and being adventurous at every step of the journey.