The LandYacht: Land Cruiser Field Report – Western Kansas

First things first, the air conditioning has finally been repaired on the Land Yacht. The leaky evaporator core was removed by myself and a friend. The “new to me”-used core was installed and everything bolted up exactly as it should. It’s amazing to have cold air blowing through the truck again.

A while back, I found a group on Facebook. Not the kind of politically-infused hot bed of a Facebook group, but a group of mostly like-minded people who’d rather be outside exploring their surroundings than at home on the couch. The group is called Konza Overland. Overland is a fancy name for slightly off road vehicle camping. It’s been happening for years, but now we have a cooler name for it.

Kid 1.0, Kid 2.0 & myself recently took a whirlwind tour of Western Kansas with some of the members of the group. Brett & Amanda navigated the whole trip with their 1999 Toyota Land Cruiser with hidden winch. We were joined by Kyle & Kathleen with their Fire/Rescue 2015 GMC Sierra and Steve and his son with their winch-equipped 2011 Jeep Wrangler. Also along on the trip was the Land Yacht, our 1994 Toyota FZJ80 Land Cruiser with its stock (for now) suspension, BFGoodrich K02s and Cobra CB Radio. Everyone was equipped with a CB to aid group communication, while Brett & Kyle both could bust out the HAM radios if we needed them to (we didn’t this time).

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Land Cruiser Field Report: Where the Buffalo Roam

Christopher Tracy September 21, 2017 Featured, Road Trip

American Buffalo is actually a misnomer. The bison that used to roam the Central Plains are not closely related to the Buffalo (Cape & Water) of Africa and Asia. They are in the same family of hoofed mammals, but not close enough to be called buffalo. Just like how the West Indies are in the Caribbean and no where near India. Same shit, different time period.

We’ve all seen the billboards along the highway. Exotic Game Reserve. We’ve laughed at the idiots who take videos of monkeys ripping off their wipers and ostriches leaning in windows to steal their snacks. I have never had any interest to visit one of those tourists traps. But when your kid is massively interested in animals, you begin to make different choices.

I still refuse to visit the exotic game reserve in the area, but I am down for introducing my boys to more of the natural wonders in the Midwest.

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The Land Yacht: Field Report on the SM-65E Atlas ICBM Silo Site #4

First step after deciding that you’re going to start exploring your surrounding area is researching what’s around you.

Moab, the Rockies and even the mountain trails back East are not close enough for the quick weekend trip with our limited equipment. So, I started looking for a trip that would intrigue my family as well as allow us to get out and explore a little, but still be nearby.

The options for a quick trip in the Midwest can be limited, but there are some geographic and man-made landmarks of note to check out. The Ozark Mountains are there, but with the long holiday weekend approaching they were flooded with “lake traffic”, so they’re out. The Sand Hills of Central Nebraska are slightly out of range at six hours away by interstate. Little Sahara State Park in Northern Oklahoma is five hours away also by interstate. A side goal to the Land Cruiser disconnecting the boys is exploring our surroundings, trying to discover new sights, and taking roads we wouldn’t normally use. Interstate travel is out, until we’ve explored more of our local area. So where did we go?

There is a decommissioned intercontinental ballistic missile silo an hour and a half away. It can be navigated to using Google Maps, dirt roads, and was the destination for our first family, no-electronics outing.

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The Land Yacht: Teaching my kids to forget about their devices with the help of a Toyota Land Cruiser

If you’re of a certain age, you remember Looney Tunes. Most of us do. Something new had to happen in those cartoons every 7 minutes to keep kids’ attention. Whether it was the anvil falling on the coyote or the rifle exploding in the nimrod’s face, something had to change.

I taught middle school for a decade; I did my time. With the advent of video games, seven minutes is an eternity for a kid’s attention span. The new standard is that something new must happen every 7 SECONDS or they lose interest… Or least it was three years ago, it’s probably even less now.

I can remember a time when we didn’t have video games. I can remember having to grab multiple books from the library because we were leaving on a family road trip and we didn’t have a TV and VCR in the minivan like the Joneses. At least we had a minivan.

My three sons have no memory of a time without personal electronic devices. They can’t comprehend spending hours staring out the side of minivan. What can I do to find a solution to keep my kids interested in more than just birds who are angry or a mouse, his mouse girlfriend and his racecar friends (this one is new and not too terrible)?

Yes, I could be one of those parents who constantly controls how much “screen” time their kids get. But I’m not. It’s exhausting to endlessly “hawk” your kids to make sure they’re not watching the TV, the laptops, their Kindles, the extra smart phone or staring across the backyard into the neighbor’s living room. Sorry, if I don’t live up to your expectations of parenting. We have ground rules and limit their time, but we need more solutions than that. The technology isn’t going anywhere. Unless Skynet does happen, then we’re doomed anyway.

My favorite times as a kid and strangely as an adult are when I am completed disconnected. No phone, no computer, no Wifi, nothing. It’s quiet, calm, tranquil. It’s bliss.

Don’t have a panic attack while you read this on your mobile device/laptop. I’m not saying it’s all evil, but all the time on your device probably isn’t the best for your self-esteem and emotional health. Smarter people have written articles about that stuff.

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