On The Road 9 - The Planning Begins

April 24, 2017

 Today, I start the planning for On-the-Road-9 (OTR9), my ninth long road-camping trip with my beloved German shepherd dogs.  Over the previous eight trips, we covered more than 110,000 miles of travel in my faithful and capable Land Rover Defender on just about every highway and byway across the northern North America continent, from the end of the road in Labrador, to the end of the road in the Canadian and Alaskan Arctic, and then home by way of wherever the spirit moved us to travel from.  You can read about those epic journeys at OnTheRoad.camp.

 Right now, where Donner and I will go - and maybe even how we will get there - is still a blank slate; all I know is that come hail or high water, we will go.  Several times since that first epic journey back in 2000 with Sonntag, I had to cancel the trips for one good reason or another.  God willing, it is hoped that the same thing will not happen this year.

 Right now, the options are:

1-  A rerun of some of the longest prior road trips, moving on every day.

2- Get on the road and stay put at one campsite of another for a week or so, and then move on, until we run out of time, money, energy, our minds, or all four.

3- A focused trip to one far-off place, stay there for a while, and then head home. Two examples are, The Yukon, with a side trip on the new road to the Yukon Arctic; the Utah and Nevada deserts, where our fated 2016 trip ended.

4- Other

 I wrote, "any maybe even how we will get there," because I am not yet certain I have the confidence in the Defender to make another long trip, or even some short ones.  On OTR8, after being stranded in Quebec last year for 10 days due to a distributor failure; five weeks in the Yukon due to an engine failure; a day in the Nevada desert due to an ignition coil failure; and then, just as we were ready to get on I-70 for the final 2200-mile leg of the trip,  two weeks in Salina, Utah, due  first,  to a fuel pump failure, and, then, to a mysterious and improbable happening that was only diagnosed after I shipped the Defender back home and flew back home with Donner.  The Defender is now, four and a half months after it arrived back home, in the hands of a master Land Rover technician who specializes mostly in Defenders, so I am regaining the confidence that that remarkable vehicle may outlive me after all.  Standby for news about that.

 The planning for the trip will be slow going over the next several weeks as I prepare for, undergo, and then recovery from a hip replacement, which follows by three months some heavy-duty back surgery, both conditions which pestered me daily on last year's journey.  I will post my plans and thoughts here as occur, and once the trip begins, begin blogging in earnest.

 ED and Donner, from off-the-road in Washington D.C.