Team name: Jimahajer
Team Jimahajer starts in in Pismo Beach, California before heading to the serene mountains of Nevada, then onwards to waterfalls of Utah, and past the Coconino Forests in Arizona.
Gear that got them through
Things to keep in mind:
The desert temperatures vary from as high as 120°F to as low as 10°F. There are stormy skies with high winds that whip about, then there is the hot desert Sun beating down without a single cloud in sight. Sometimes, both scenarios happen at a single location, in a span of a few hours. Tepui Tent Insulator was our best friend when the temperatures dropped
Always be sure of fire safe zones. California and Arizona, for examples, have lots of fire restrictions. Fire permit may be required.
Line of communication. Remote areas mean no cell phone signals. Unless you’re very good at morse code and able to throw signals with your lights at each other (which none of us on Team Jimahajer are), a set of radios come in extremely handy. We used Midland radios and SpotX.
Try to spot your routes on the map in advance, including alternate routes. Terrains can sometimes change in a matter of hours. A trail we had passed was suddenly blocked when the storm knocked a tree over. We had to find an alternate route out.
Know the bodies of water. Our trip encountered both fresh water and salt water. Make sure to note where the vehicle can be rinsed off after entering salt water to avoid rust.
Understand different terrains and how the vehicle behaves on them. The routes go through dirt, rocks, snow, ice, and lots of sand. Virtually limitless amount of sand.
Speaking of sand, we tried using a snowboard down the sand dunes. The snow wax works poorly. Apparently, there’s sand wax that works better. Snowskates did not work at all and just sank. It was a hard climb back up the dunes.
Yeti cooler. It really kept our ice frozen for days, even up to a week in cooler ambient temperatures. Definitely beats having to suddenly stop mid-journey to go back into town to replenish ice supply every other day.
Kuhl jackets are very light, yet surprisingly warming. The thin layering helps with mobility while worn and packs away very nicely (which is key to living with space limited to your vehicle, no closet at home)
Pack in, pack out. Leave no trace.
To recreate the journey that Team Jimahajer, put aside the expected and embrace the unexpected. It happened fast. On November 8, 2018, Butte County Camp Fire burned down Tim and Jaz’s home in Paradise, California. They grabbed what clothes they could stuff into their FJ Cruiser and escaped with their two dogs, Wy’Lee and Bacon.
Without a shelter over their heads, and no real destination in sight, the duo and their dogs figured they’d need to camp for an undetermined amount of time. Tim and Jaz weren’t ones to be defeated by a fire. Despite having lost almost everything, they most importantly had each other. They also shared a dream of exploring the country. Instead of being devastated by their situation, they decided to make the best use of it and fulfill their dreams. By an odd series of events, they were not tied down to a house to maintain, jobs to go to (their workplace was
also lost in the fire). If they were going to be forced to camp, they were going to make the best out of their situation. They decided that in a very strange, twisted sense, they were granted freedom to an unexpected vacation from the usual expectancies of life.
In order to fulfill their dream, the duo sent out a SOS via social media in search of a roof top tent for sale.
Their SOS spread fast across social media. 500 miles south of Paradise, Felixx was lying in the comfort of her bed when her phone rang with a notification. As soon as she read the message that came through, she shook her partner Chris awake. Chris took a glance at the phone as Felixx held it out. He nodded. “Let’s do it.”
Chris and Felixx, who co-own a garage that specializes in building overland vehicles, had a Tepui Explorer Series Kukanam 3 on their flagship Toyota Tacoma. As much as they loved their Tepui tent, it was used for a luxurious hobby of camping in remote areas over weekends, while Tim and Jaz needed it for immediate shelter. Chris and Felixx reached out to the Paradise duo, offering to donate the roof top tent. Tim and Jaz drove 15 hours down to La Habra in Orange County, CA and the Tepui Explorer Series Kukanam 3 was transferred off the
Tacoma onto the FJ Cruiser.
When Tepui announced the Endless Adventure contest, Chris and Felixx knew instantly whom they wanted on their team: the Paradise duo, who were truly on an endless adventure with no real destination or timeline. And so, Team Jimahajer’s Endless Adventure began.
First in line was the national forest that everyone in California talks about: Yosemite, home of the giant sequias and falls. The giant national monumental spots followed, such as Moab and Bryce Canyon in Utah, with the immense stones that have adorned the areas for millions of years. We were able to find petroglyphs left behind by the people who had lived
centuries ago, when the national parks were homes instead of popular vacation destinations.
Team Jimahajer turned back to California towards Butte County as the Paradise
survivors sought peace, but ended up in Southern Californian desert known as Death Valley.Like its namesake, Death Valley was unforgiving. During the day, the hot Sun scorched without a single cloud coverage. At night, rough winds howled. The team pushed eastwards in search of a change of scenery: water.
The team found themselves near Las Vegas. Lake Mead and the Colorado River
greeted them with refreshing bodies of freshwater. The sight of water brought joy to the dogs as well, who were tired of burning their paws. Chris and Felixx’s puppy, Tacoma (named after their truck) leaped immediately into the Colorado River, showing off his best dog paddle.
The two families moved southwards down the Colorado River and reached Arizona. In Arizona, they made their way to Coconino National Forest. But it was time for Chris and Felixx to return home and to work, pushing pause on their trip. Tim and Jaz, however, continued on and upwards towards the Grand Canyon, and further up to the Vermilion Cliffs of Marble Canyon. Like its namesake, the beautiful marbling of slickrock lined the millions-years-old canyons. The Paradise duo pushed onwards the steps of the Grand Staircase, eventually pushing past Utah and into Colorado.
The Paradise survivors trekked their way back to California afterwards to reunite with the Orange County halves. The two families met again in Oceano Dunes of Pismo Beach to continue their adventures together, accompanied by a few other friends. Snowboarding down the sand dunes, collecting sand dollars, and sharing laughters, the team was whole again.
Team Jimahajer had originally planned to make their way out to Arizona again to explore the Coconino National Forest better, but due to an unexpected turn of events, Tim and Jaz found an opportunity to head to Washington state. Chris and Felixx could not accompany them so far up north as they had to return to their garage. The Paradise pair still continues their endless adventure in Mount Rainier, no timeline binding their journey.