the gnarwhal is SOLD

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UPDATE – 9.22.13 – we’ve sold both the gnarwhal and the truck. Please stay tuned to see what we decide to conquer next!

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With mixed emotions, we are placing the gnarwhal for sale. Our family is expanding and we’re looking forward to gnarling up a larger rig to meet our growing needs into the future. Please visit this page for links to the gnarwhal updates we posted about in the past.

FOR SALE – contact us at thegnarwhal.com@gmail.com

This is not your average Four Wheel Camper, it’s a custom restored 1998 Ranger II Four Wheel Camper (comparable to the Eagle). We started working on the camper in 2012 and are finishing projects every day. Most everything has been completely torn out and replaced.

As you can see in the photos, the gnarwhal fits perfectly on our 2008 double-cab long-bed Toyota Tacoma. Please contact FWC for fit on other vehicles. The truck is also for sale separately – contact us if interested and we’ll send you the details.

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NEW COMPONENTS (~1 yr old)

  • FWC door with screen
  • FWC composite lift panels
  • ATC side liner (with storm flaps)
  • Arctic Pack (removable insulation)
  • Camper siding (NUDO polymetal)
  • Aluminum edging
  • Wood floor pack
  • Reico Titan mechanical jacks
  • Steel jack extention plates on front
  • Yellow outside light (passanger side)
  • Smart light 1000 black (rear)
  • LED flood light (rear)
  • Sears platinum marine group 31 AGM battery
  • 120 watt solar cynergy solar panel
  • (2) Blue Sea 12 volt sockets
  • Blue Sea fuse block
  • All new wiring
  • 1″ insulation throughout
  • Suspa lift assist struts
  • 2 inside lights
  • Fantastic 3-speed fan (in\out)
  • 6 switch electrical panel
  • Morningstar Duo remote solar charge controller (room for 1 more battery)
  • New marine headliner fabric
  • Roof rack
  • Reinforced tie-down bolts
  • Interior wood paneling
  • Shelving on driver side
  • Plastic storage bins for shelving unit
  • Wood platform storage dolly
  • Other….

Click through the photo albums below for more detailed images. Comes with everything you see in these photos (except the truck; including jacks, 2-inch memory foam mattress, wooden storage dolly, battery, plastic bins, sweet custom chevron curtains…).

OUTSIDE PHOTOS

INSIDE PHOTOS

Contact thegnarwhal.com@gmail.com with any questions. FYI – we are located on the central coast of CA. Local pick-up only.

family camping – can’t go without… (part 2)

time for kids to be kids (✪ Toulumne Meadows, Yosemite National Park)

playing with dirt back at camp

rest days – when the going gets tough – just take a day off from driving! (no photos were taken AT ALL – we spent 2 unplanned days in Park City, UT enjoying hiking from the hotel and swimming in the pool – we made an effort to not get in the car at all. Prior to this break, Finn had a couple of very bad nights of sleeping – he had what we now know are night terrors. Everything we read said to focus on getting quality sleep – so that is what we did. We changed our plans so we could do what was best for our little trooper.

somewhere familiar and comfortable for little one to sleepŸ – we bring along the pack n play and Finn sleeps in there – BUT, he learned to crawl out on this trip so we’ll have to change things up next time. (✪ Yosemite Valley)

back at camp

a sturdy, comfortable (for parent and kid) hiking pack  - we upgraded to a Deuter Kid Comfort III while on this trip. Finn is getting heavier (30 lbs) and was unhappy in the Kelty pack we owned – we are so super happy with this new pack. (✪ Lembert Dome, Yosemite National Park)

hiking up the dome!

When all else fails, go swimming! We were lucky enough to camp in Yosemite along the Tuolumne and Merced Rivers. We spent several hours paddling through the rivers. (✪ Yosemite National Park)

pants are off!

We’ve learned it’s less about what you bring and more about rolling with the adventure. Our recent 21-day trip with our 21-month old was tough, exhausting, challenging …

favorite photo from the trip

… while also being fun, hilarious, and fulfilling. We wouldn’t trade these memories for anything.

family shot at Olmstead PassClick here for part 1.

summer western road trip

gnarwhal was there

Here’s another photo bomb because we haven’t gotten around to posting about this trip. We drove just over 3,000 miles covering pieces of 5 states – California, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming. We visited 4 National Parks (Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Great Basin, and Yosemite) and did a combination of hotels (for work) and camping (for fun). All in all it was an awesome, exhausting, fun-filled 21-day adventure!

trip picsHighlights:

- week visiting friends in Salt Lake City

- Grand Targhee Bluegrass Festival

- float down the Teton River with good friends

- Tetons and Yellowstone

- unpictured rest days in Park City

- Great Basin NP – bristlecones and camping up at Wheeler Peak campground if you can!

- Yosemite – Toulumne Meadows for a couple nights – then down into Yosemite Valley for a couple more with more good friends!

 

road tripping with a toddler

We have been blessed with a child who tolerates road trips. Either that or he’s decided that or it’s not worth fighting mom and dad who love to travel by car. I don’t know if it was something we did early on or if we just got lucky. I said tolerates, not loves, car trips. I know he enjoys parts of the trip while loathing others. Here are several ways we have learned to make road trips more enjoyable for all involved.

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1 – Make sure everything is on hand

This is probably the most important. Have everything within arms reach. I am writing this assuming you are driving with another adult passenger. In our family, I am typically the passenger so I know where all the goodies are stored. We recently purchased this Mountainsmith modular hauler for the back seat.

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source

It fits next to Finn’s car seat so he can reach into the cube nearest to him and I can reach the others. Each cube holds either toys, snacks, or his clothes and diapers. The other important thing is to know where everything is. There’s nothing worse than having to take off your seat belt to reach behind your seat to try to find that little thing you’ve just got to have.

2 – Fun, interesting, healthy snacks for all

We bring a small cooler in the cab of the truck with us. We put things like cheese sticks, carrot sticks, ready to eat fruit (grapes, apples, strawberries, apricots), cheese quesadillas, and yogurt packets in there.

We also stock up on dried fruit (he loves unsweetened mangos from TJs and fruit leather), snacks size packs or small ziplocs filled with crackers (PB crackers or animal cracker like snacks), granola bars, pretzels, regular crackers, and maybe some homemade cookies. Don’t forget the water bottles too. We throw a couple nalgenes in the backseat (within reach) as well as his water bottle.

3 – Tried and true toys

It’s true that road trips are no time to leave the favorite toys at home. We’re sure to bring along his plush ladybug with pull cord to make it vibrate, travel doodle pad, board books that he can’t destroy, toy cars, and anything else that he’s into at the time. Finley isn’t attached to anything (blanket, stuffie, etc.) but if your child is, obviously bring that item. We do take his blanket with us just in case he wants a little piece of home.

4 – New, special, car-only toys

These toys are pulled out when the going gets rough (we hit traffic, no where to stop, can’t find a campsite). Recently we tried these reusable sticker pages:

vehicle stickers

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The stickers were great but Finley couldn’t pull them off himself so I had to pull each one off and pass it to him. This worked for a while until he got frustrated with with the pages… It bought us about 20 minutes while in LA traffic. As he gets older I think these will be a hit. He can even stick them all over the car and they won’t leave behind a residue.

On our most recent trip we broke out the iPad for the first time (he’s played with it at home before but never alone). We set the iPad up using guided access so he would have to stay in a particular app. You click the bottom button 3xs and enter a passcode so the iPad stays in the particular app – you have to set this up under settings. This does not prevent pop ups from coming up.

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The following are some of his favorite apps – by favorite, I mean he’ll play with them for 5-15 minutes each. Our son is ~21-months old.

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I really like the Firefighters ($1.99), Little Town (free), and Animal Circus (free) apps (red circle). They are basically one scene with ~20 different areas that you click on to make it do something – like the firefighter saves a cat from a tree, the bus picks people up and drives through town, the elephant eat peanuts.

We bought two books (Things that Go and Goes Camping). The first one he loves, the second one is okay.

I Hear Ewe is free and has been a long time favorite.

Peekaboo Barn is great and Peekaboo Fridge is okay. Both $1.99 I think. We have not purchased Peek-a-Zoo but we have the free version that is a few scenes.

I don’t love the talking animals but he does. Especially the owl (Talking Larry) that you can strike with lightning. A little too violent but I’m not sure he understands it – just likes the loud noise and flash.

Farm match and the piano are free and good too. I suppose it really just depends how old you child is and how much he’ll get into the app. At this point, the simpler the better for us while in the car. That way, he can play by himself in the back seat.

5 – Secret weapons

As a last resort we pack two secret weapons. A bottle of soy milk (yes, he is still drinking from a bottle – usually just one after he wakes up in the morning and occasionally another in the afternoon or evening if he asks for it). The second is a pacifier. He is still hooked on it at night and when on long road trips we let him have it. This is about to change because after we return from our upcoming 3-wk road trip – we are going to start Operation Pacifier Extermination. Until then – we use it in the car when he gets cranky. This usually leads to a nap.

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6- TAKE A BREAKS

Plan to take regular breaks – for the bathroom, to change a diaper, or just to run around.

Stop along the side of the road – pull off at a rest stop – find a day use park or beach. Don’t push it if you don’t have to. Remember you are supposed to be having fun right?

We’ve been doing a good job lately of looking up local parks and playgrounds. It’s amazing what a 15-30 minute break can do for everyone. Let your kid be a kid and run around. Plan to have a picnic lunch. If it’s hot out – stop into a McDonald’s with a playground indoors. We haven’t done this yet but it’s a good idea for our upcoming trip through the desert in August!

Here’s a video from a park visit while we were making our way through Santa Cruz a couple of weeks ago. Turn the volume down so you don’t hear me laughing so loud!

If anyone has thoughts or tips for car travel – please let me know! I’m sure things will change over time and things that work now won’t work later.

joshuatreebajamohave spring break trip

Okay. So I am probably not going to take the time to write about our 10-day road trip over spring break (back in March). It was an awesome, exhausting, fun, stressful, refreshing adventure. Here is a major photo bomb to show you a bit of it all!

We started at Gaviota State Beach and made our way to Joshua Tree National Park.

started on the coast - ended up in the desertSalton Sea to Baja California

spring break 20131Then we left Mexico and drove the Berdoo Trail back up through Joshua Tree

spring break 20132Another night in the desert near Joshua Tree followed by a drive into the Mohave National Monument and the Kelso Sand Dunes
spring break 20133Rounding out the trip with a walk into a lava tube and our last night of camping spent in the Mohave

spring break 20134Not pictured – the  nights we spent in a hotel on the border (ahhh the refreshing swimming pool) and in Las Vegas visiting friends at the end of the trip! We camped more nights than we stayed in a hotel so I’d say that was a success! Camping with an 18-mo old was a challenge but we’ve never been known to back down from a challenge:) Finn was a trooper and we learned a lot about what we can and cannot do with a toddler.

Big Sur weekend trip

We went for a lovely camping trip to Big Sur over the weekend. With no campsite reserved – we knew we’d have to get creative! These are the camp sites we like best anyhow! Quiet, solitary, no amenities, beautiful vistas…

view from camp

view from camp with the ocean in the background

There was even a great old oak tree that provided us with shade when we arrived.

enjoying carrots

enjoying carrots

We drove up Nacimiento-Fergusson Road from Kirk Creek Campground. At the intersection with the Central Coast Ridge Road we went NW (left) towards Corn Peak. We drove <2 miles on the decent dirt road and stumbled upon this lovely spot overlooking the mountains and ocean. There were ~4 other cars that passed us – likely looking for this spot as well. Several continued on so I imagine there’s also some camp sites further up.

The next morning we ate a nourishing breakfast of strawberries, watermelon, and cinnamon rolls – then hopped into the gnarwhal to go exploring.

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See the clearing on the ridge on the left in the photo above? That’s where this next photo was taken. This will be the camp site we seek out next time!

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view on out way down Nacimiento-Fergusson Road

Overall it was a great trip. We did run into a locked gate on Plaskett Ridge Road. It looks like there was a section of private property that the road ran through. We just backtracked our way down to Highway 1 and spent some time on the beach at the Plaskett Creek day use area.