Destination4x4.com start up

I own and operate a website called Destination4x4.com.  I started the website about two years ago with the primary goal of keeping my website skill set at a cutting edge of website development.  My past projects include a lot of LAMP based database driven content and custom built shopping carts.  During my time doing web development it became easy to fall upon past skills, knowledge bases and technology, however the results continued to be profitable.  Several years ago, my career path was changed rather dramatically.

I lost a job of 15 years which I loved, and found myself looking for work for the fist time in over a decade.  Fortunately, my job search did not last long and I found myself working in the Gaming Industry here in Nevada.  As new opportunities presented themselves, I was quick to prove my worth and began to flourish in my new job.  However, I could tell that my old skill sets were being diminished as time went on.  As much as I love my new job, it is not a creative endeavor.

To address my own personal needs I decided to start Destination4x4.com.  The site combines several personal points of interest: off road and back country driving, 4x4s, camping, hiking, photography, exploration, history  and website technology.  The primary purpose to personal continuing education, but as an additional side effect, the problem solving and research that I already conduct for my own trips, now has an outlet and can be branded to a property that I own.

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Alabama Hills, CA

The Alabama Hills, near Lone Pine, CA.

Located near Lone Pine, CA the Alabama Hills are an awesome spot to visit and explore.  Large boulder formations erupt from the ground and create a maze of canyons, trails and roads.  This feature in itself, is more than enough fun to justify a trip to this area, however add to the equation that the Alabama Hills has appeared in more Hollywood movies than one person can name and you have the perfect combination of terrain and nostalgic history.  The Alabama Hills are featured in many “Western” movies and is the birth place of the Lone Ranger and Iron Man.

A final punctuation mark is the Alabama hills are located in the foothills of Mount Whitney (14,505 ft), the tallest mountain in the lower 48 states.

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Allendale’s Roger That

Ryan and Rooger.
Best friends, Ryan and Rooger passed out after a long day in the Jeep.

Last year, Heather and I decided that it was time to get our son Ryan, a dog.  He had been asking for a dog for a while now.  Sadly, it seems that a little orange cat is not enough fun for a rambunctious three-year old.  Before I met Heather, I used to have a black Labrador, Schnaaps.  Schnaaps was a great dog and the first animal I owned that was properly trained and a really good friend and companion.  As a result, all other dogs that I own will be compared to Schnaaps.

When Ryan was born, for a variety of reasons I will not go into, Heather and I knew that he would most likely be an only child.  We knew that at some point he would probably end up getting a dog for Ryan to play with and keep him physically safe.  Periodically, we discussed different dogs and breeds and we continually returned to the Labrador Retriever.

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Chuck Box – Part 2

Painted and completed, with the Jeep behind it.
Painted and completed, with the Jeep behind it.

I finally complete the chuck box or camp kitchen. Constructed from 3/8 inch plywood, the chuck box is 17″ x 27″ x 22.5″.  All of the joints are “glued and screwed” using butt joints.  The entire construction is filled, sanded, and painted with a desert camouflage color scheme.

The top of the chuck box is hinged with a shelf, to allow the cook to get access to the stove.  The top shelf has four holes for the stove legs to securely hold the stove in place during transport and use.  There are two large hand holds cut out near the top to easily allow someone to carry it.  The hand holds also allow the propane connector to pass through and attach to the stove, so someone could use the stove in place.

The front is hinged and folds down to provide a work surface.  The front may be placed in the upright position and held in place with magnets to hold it out of the way as needed.

Inside, the chuck box has a large storage capacity.  The top section stores the stove, and all the supplies required for the stove, in addition to some marshmallow roasting sticks.  The middle section stores cooking utensils, serving utensils, plates, cups and bowls.

Cooking gear
The expanded check box stores a lot of cooking gear.

The huge bottom section can carry a 8 quart dutch oven, nested 12″ frying pans, two pots, coffee pots, and washing bins.  In addition, we can store paper towels, cooking oil, soap and still have room for extra supplies.

The chuck box fits perfectly in the back of our jeep wrangler, along with a 6 gallon water bottle, ice chest, and food box.  The only issue, is that when the chuck box is filled up with gear and supplies, it can be rather heavy.  With the weight, comes strength, and the jeep does have heavy duty springs to carry the load.

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Chuck Box – Part 1

As a lifelong outdoors man, I have hiked, rafted, backpacked and camped across most of desert southwest.  As such, I have learned very well what I do and don’t need when I leave the city. I am perfectly happy finding a clearing just off a tail and setting up a campsite.  A few years ago my wife and I purchased a four door Jeep Wrangler JK which we use quite often to go on day drives.  The challenge is load and organize all of our gear and carry it in a medium size SUV.

My goal is to build a chuck box, or camp kitchen, which is a simple box to store all the kitchen supplies needed for a successful camping trip.  The chuck box needs to balance strength, weight and most importantly for me, size.  The chuck box needs to contain all of gear and would enable to set up our campsite in no time.  I am hoping to keep it small enough and lite enough that I can easily move it with no help.  The Jeep 4 door Wrangler does not have a large about of cargo space especially for a family of three and a yellow Labrador.

I have several goals:

  1. I want the chuck box to fix in the back of the jeep with the back seats usable.
  2. The box must contain all of our cooking gear,  including a stove, pots, frying pans, dutch oven, plates, utensils, cleaning supplies, etc…
  3. Everything is carried securely AND  organized in such a way that it keeps down the noise potential when driving on the back roads.
  4. The box needs to be light weight yet strong enough to survive the pounding of camping, ‘jeepin’, etc…
I will post photos of my camp kitchen when I have some time to take them.

 

 

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