Preparations for Southwest 2015

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Victorville, CA

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

As with all previous stock photo trips, I have spent a small investment in some upgrades that I felt were necessary in light of the upcoming Southwest Trip that I will be embarking on with the lovely Miss Julia Starr.
I make a very good habit of keeping an eye on weather trends and research on terrain before hitting the road. With that said, I have compiled a short list of items that I purchased for this big venture.

Item #01)

CURT 45824 Tow Strap 2″ Ball Mount, Purchased this on Amazon for $68.62

The front end of my Dodge Ram 2500 Diesel is outfitted with some very hefty tow hooks, but the rear end is not so fortunate. I needed something to latch on to that could take about 11,000lbs of punishment which is what the 2″ Tow Hitch Package on my 2006 truck can handle. This bad boy claims that it’s weight recovery limit is the limit of the hitch capacity! Not bad and in my case that is in fact at least 11,000lbs. This recovery style hitch mount is made in the U.S.A.



Item #02)

ARB715US 4-1/3″ x 30′ Recovery Strap, Purchased this on Amazon for $111.15
Having a heavy duty recovery hitch calls for a heavy duty recovery strap. I got my hands on this ARB recovery strap with a total weight rating of 33,000lbs. My truck ways less than 1/3rd of that, but you have to accommodate for the pull and the added resistance of whatever you or someone else might be stuck in. It all adds up and that’s why I did not go cheap when it comes to this sort of off road life saver.


Item #03)

Security Chain Company SZ492 Super Z8 8mm Commercial & Light Truck Tire Traction Chain, Purchased this on Amazon for $160.45

With the approach of what meteorologists are calling the biggest El Nino to hit the West since 1997’s record setting El Nino, I was not going to take any chances of getting into an accident or stuck so I did a lot of research and found these reasonably priced snow cables from Security Chain Company.
Finding chains that would fit my 35×12.50 R17 Nitto Trail Grappler M/T tires was not leaving me with very many options. I finally founds this set and gave it a test fit which was a bit snug, but ultimately wrapped the tire. The only down side to this kit are the crappy yellow plastic ‘S’ hooks which looked like they were at their snapping point, so I went to home depot and got myself some steel 1/4 inch ‘S’ hooks rated at 125lbs each.



Item #04)

Midland 75-822 40 Channel CB-Way Radio, Purchased this on Amazon for $67.65
I would never recommend hitting the off road alone, but there are times when you can’t make schedules work with other off road enthusiasts. To add another bit of self insurance, I purchased CB radio because cell phone reception is not very reliable when you travel off the map.

In combination with this, I highly recommend the Wilson 305-38 300-Watt Little Wil Magnet Mount Antenna (about $45 bucks) and get Astatic’s PDC1 100 Watt SWR Meter (about $18 bucks). The SWR meter is absolutely detrimental to your CB radio’s transmission accuracy & range. It’s basically a calibrating tool. Lastly, there isn’t a proper hook up to this unit, so I recommend getting yourself a Double Female S0239 Connector at Radio shack for about $7 bucks. Get these things together and you’re all set.


Item #05)

Midland 75-822 40 Channel CB-Way Radio, Purchased at America Tire Co. for $1,245.00 after a $75 refund
Last, but definitely the most important, “Tires!” I still had enough tread on my old set to get me another 7,000 miles or so, but that’s 7,000 miles of fair driving conditions and where I’m going, the driving conditions are not guaranteed to fill that description. I put around 36,000 miles on my old set, but as you can see in the photo below, the new tires are a must! I bought another set of 35×12.50 R17 Nitto Trail Grappler M/T tires because I have road tested these tires through hell and back and I am a firm believer in these tires.


Item #06)

ARB ARB505 E-Z Deflator, Purchased this on Amazon for $41.33
The 35″ Nitto tires have a decently wide footprint, but sometimes you end up in some really soft sand or mud that requires a much wider footprint for the sake of more surface area to get that traction you’ll need to avoid getting stuck. That is where this handy little ARB EZ Deflator comes in handy. You can set what pressure you want to air down to without airing down too much. Of course, you have to make sure you have an air compressor with you, so that you can air your tires back up when you hit the highway again.


Well, that about sums up the more major preparations I had to make for the upcoming Southwest Stock Photo Trip =)
I’m looking forward to meeting up with Julia and having the most amazing road trip yet!, Stay tuned for the next blog.


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