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I arrived at the city retreat exhausted but happy to of made it.
I was in my friend Mike’s neck of the woods now.
I got to a motel not far from Mike’s place having arrived at the infamous Denver Airport.


His nickname is Mountain Man Mike and for short I'll refer to him as MMM.
Meeting up with MMM was interesting.
He’d earlier told me he’d often scare the city twin’s he’d had on his land the previous year by walking up silently behind them, I soon realised that MMM’s claim was not unfounded.

As I checked out of the motel (where I’d arranged to meet MMM) I stood talking to the motel woman behind the counter. I’d envisaged Mike waiting outside in his pick-up.
He wasn’t, he was sat about twelve feet behind me in the lobby, I’d not even noticed him sat stealthily there!

Compared to the video footage taken of him he’s a lot taller than I thought, taller even than me in fact!
We had roughly ten days or even less before we needed to be on the road to the Mountain Hold (MMM’s land) so the clock was ticking.

Before we even went to his city location it was off to the sprawling Wal-Mart behemoth for supplies.
I’d taken a fair chunk of change with me and it was a hard temptation to resist buying all the goodies and gigdits they had on offer.
I still needed the essentials though so here’s what I got...

Two tents for both the city set-up and the Wilderness. One small and light, the other large and substantial. I’ll explain more on this later.
Several Weeks Food supplies (various dried foods etc)
Shotgun shells (Various Types)
Propane Gas and Stove

Getting a vehicle is surely one of the most troublesome and challenging things for most folks when it comes to transport.
Faced with doing this in a ‘foreign’ country was even more difficult.
However I had all my papers and without a decent 4x4 machine we were either walking up to MMM’s place or pedaling!

Mike wasn’t in a position to get a BOV as he’d sold his old truck when times had gotten hard, his resources were tight too.
My last BOV in the USA met a strange demise and it was time for another to replace it.
I’d been scanning craigslist for a while and finally found some possible matches.
Mike was adamant we avoid dealers, I on the other hand had no luck getting hold of any of the private sellers on CL. They either wouldn’t return emails or calls would be days in delay.
The dealers on the other hand seemed more promising…
I was more keen on just using raw instinct and coursework to get a decent one. Hoping some of my luck might carry the day
I settled on two vehicles for inspection.
One was a Ford Explorer, the other a Jeep Grand Cherokee

I’d earlier done some checking with the Ford Explorer at Carsurvey.org and the general consensus was they were pretty reliable. The Jeep on the other hand was more mixed results…

The dealer was an interesting arab fellow who’d been in the states since 1981!

The Jeep was in ragged condition, as I checked it I found the front bumper was loose while the rear bumper damn near came off in my hand.
The interior was dirty, the fan blower vibrated the whole machine, door trim was loose (you know when the interior door handle is about done).
Nearly all the power windows wouldn’t work.
The engine didn’t start first time either.
It would cost at least $1000 to get it back to BOV standards. The final straw was it had no roof bars.
They wanted $2500 for that one which was nearly 20 years old!

The other one was the Explorer, something my instincts seemed in-tune with.
Everything was mostly ok on this, and it even had on-the-fly 4x4 controls!
There were roof bars fitted also.
For less than 3000 dollars it seemed ok and a good deal.
I was a bit concerned that the ABS light was on and there was the sound of a worn bearing from the front driver’s side. Something I reckoned to be connected.
All in all for the price it was an ok deal. The ‘book price’ for it was about $4700.
One test drive later and I was good to go!
The ‘gatekeeper tests’ aka emission’s evaluation it flew through ok too.
Such a vehicle needed a name so I came up with ‘The Wolverine’ or the ‘Wolf’ for short as it had a kinda wolverine vibe about it when you slammed it into low-ratio 4x4!


Mike’s garden in the city was by no means without nature. I set my backpacker tent up...

Big tree’s and squirrels scurried about every morning!



I’d feed them oats on this stump and they’d soon make short work of it!


Getting to the Wilderness Area…

The stove set-up I'd be relying on mostly for food cooking etc.
Mike's place does have a campfire area, but Forestry restrictions mean using it can be dicey with all the fires raging about in Colorado...

For getting up to the Mountain Hold where Mike had his base there we had some challenges.

The Oregon Kid was coming in by bus on the Friday (following an epic 30 hour trip!) which initially meant we’d be going all in one vehicle. That would mean not much space for gear.

Our luck turned though as MMM managed to secure the use of an old pickup to go up there with.
It was an old battlebus of a pickup but it just kept on truckin’.


We’d be going up as a convoy now and we’d be able to take with us everything but the kitchen sink!

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Tyler Danann
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