While awaiting the splash of our new FPB, we have acquired an enhanced photographic tool: a Toyota 4-Runner. To get a head start on the learning curve of what this beast is capable of and what we should avoid, we turned to off-road aficionados Mary and Scott Flanders. The Flanders are compulsive photographers, who circumnavigated aboard their Nordhavn 46, Egret.
We spent a few days in Moab, Utah with the Flanders, working our way up the ladder of difficulty. We learned about “airing down” our tires for better traction and a softer ride over less than optimal road surfaces, how to maneuver over and around various types of terrain, and a host of other useful tips.
Occasionally we’d stop and enjoy a meal.
The purpose of this exercise is to get ourselves into position for better photography. Taking the road less traveled can offer multiple rewards, such as the tonic provided by the photo above after four hard hours driving.
We look at the 4-Runner and its over-sized tires, four wheel drive, low gear ratios, and disconnectable sway bar the same as if we were on a boat. We’ve got the ability to wander in search of a perfect photo, with the capability to get ourselves out of situations that could trap a less well endowed vehicle.
The rewards so far have been substantial. Like this healthy looking coyote in Death Valley.
Flowers are not something we would associate with Death Valley, the lowest place in the Northern Hemisphere as well as the warmest and driest (less than two inches/50mm of rainfall per year). But the spring holds promise.
And while our previous SUV could take us to some of these places, it was never with the peace of mind that comes with the 4-Runner. This in turn tempts us to be more adventurous. Rather like a well designed and properly fitted out yacht gives its owners the ability to look past the mundane and towards the fulfillment that comes when you find your dream.
The Flanders are one of only a few cruisers who have circumnavigated on a motor yacht. That they did so leaving the five Southern Capes in their wake is remarkable given their craft of choice. Scott and Mary have a website, which is chock full of interesting stories and practical advice. Check it out at nordhavn.com/egret.