All Change

It has been many months since my last post.  Those of you that read that post may realise why I have waited so long to continue updating the blog.  I now feel it is time to continue with articles about the Ranger.  It is at this point I must warn you that this will be a long post 😉 

img_3159Over the last few months many things have happened that have made us revisit our plans for the Ranger.  Initially we planned to fit a streamlined ‘demountable’ camper back.

We flew to Geneva and drove to Rando Espace 4X4 in France to view the Gazell.  We spent a few hours looking at the unit (in a snow blizzard) and talking with the company owners.

The unit was very well thought out, but there were a few ‘compromises’ that we needed time to consider.  The ‘foot room’ between the bed and the roof was quite limiting for my size 10 feet, the sink’s shape and proximity to the door would take some adapting to and the width of the door was a bit narrow (or maybe we were too wide 😳 ).

It was at this time we heard the worst possible news, about Josh, and so it was put on ‘hold’.  As time passed we realised that, although the concept, design and construction was good, the cost of this unit (to our specification) was way too high and so we decided not to proceed.

And so the plan was to fit a canopy and create an updated version of Matilda using a ground tent.  An order was placed for a RSI Smart Canopy through Tuff-Trek  along with a 270 degree awning and sides and one of their ground tents.

24412681979_9b78751eda_hThen came Iceland!

Firstly a weekend doing the full tourist ‘thing’ in a SuperJeep, in a coach and on a boat.  Seeing the spectacular Northern Lights on three separate nights.

This trip re-energised our love of this country (we had driven here in 2014 with the Land Rover and spent 12 days exploring the country) and convinced us that we have to visit again, properly with the Ranger.

In parallel with all this (over the last three years) I have been slowly building the equipment and skills needed to run a commercial photography business.  In July I took the step to change career and follow this path full time.

I know this is rambling, but I will get to the point eventually 😐

We had planned to take the Ranger to Namibia in May.  For many reasons this didn’t happen, but linked with this Belinda paid for a day photographing wild cats with a top wildlife photographer  (the excellent Peter Smart).  During this day Peter suggested that I consider combining my love of Overlanding with my Photography business.

Timg_3417his started a new chapter with my business, our trips and the plans for the Ranger.

So a ‘recce’ trip was planned and I flew out to Iceland for fours days to test the concept we have in mind.

I hired an Isuzu D-Max (the nearest thing to a Ranger I could find) and took two ‘strangers’ from a photography forum to act as ‘customers’.

4 intense days later (minimal sleep, small tent, thin mattress, lots of driving, snatched meals, etc. etc.) and the idea was a winner :mrgreen:

The concept will be to spend several weeks (up to ten) in Iceland, pick customers up from the airport, drive them up mountains and through rivers to visit and camp in stunning, photogenic locations, erect their tent for them, cook their food and generally act as guide.  After 7 day we will return them to the airport with lots of exciting memories and full SD cards!

Now we have to equip the Ranger to carry 4 people (in comfort), camping equipment, food and drink as well as a lot of photography equipment.  In addition it has to cater for my needs as a  commercial photographer for the rest of the year.

Unfortunately there has been a delay with the canopy, but I hope that it will be fitted within the next two weeks, along with the awning.  I shall be writing about this as soon as it happens and we hope to be trying out the new Tuff-Trek tent and awning at the Adventure Overland Show.

We now have many ideas, but the concept of bringing together my work and ‘hobby’ is really exciting.  I will then need to think up a way for updating 3 different blogs; this one, the one on the specific Iceland 4×4 tour page and my main photography business page.  At the time of writing, this article, both those sites are still being developed.

One Comment

  1. Good on you Ralph! Great to see you back in action and with a new direction after your families turmoils. We have discussed in the past, but I have only 4 weeks ago, abandoned my Land Rover desires and got a Toyota Tacoma (I’m now permanently in the US). That kind of canopy is exactly what I was looking for, not one of the fibre glass ones that are common over here. I look forward to your next post.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.