It has been almost six months since the last time we wrote a new article here, since the official end of our epic journey. But believe it or not, not one day has gone by without thinking where would be our next destination. Here in the Maldives and with extra time in our hands after work, we found new inspiration to start working on our next trip. “11th North to 55th South” is our new Overlanddiaries exhibition.
The idea probably started the last day of the last epic journey but the actual planning is slowly getting formatted. A distant dream is about to become true. This time we will travel with Voukefalas II in all of South America and as you can understand, something like this needs some serious planning. (A rough sample of our route is already up in our TRIPLINE).
Everything though must be done in the right order and for now we are dealing with the equipment we need this time for our new car. We started planning by looking into what we overused and what we didn’t use so much in our previous trip. With that in mind, we are evaluating the condition of our equipment and we are deciding what to upgrade and what new additions we will have to consider. At the same time and although it’s not officially calculated, we keep our budget in mind. Equipment can be very expensive and has to be carefully picked in order to have real value for their money. We finally came up with the following that we need to work on.
- -Security. As this is a major priority for us, we have already equipped our car with special tin windows that can keep out the eyes searching to snatch valuables, as well as in the extreme case of breakage, this system has the ability to hold back a bit more. Add to the above our alarm and the fact that our drawing system also locks. That way we are looking to increase our chances to get away with minimum impact.
- Bull Bars. We are considering the additions of front and back bull bars but we still haven’t found anything compact in order not to add more weight on the car but still protect the body from any major crashes. So for this one let’s say it’s on process.
- Engine Performance: A snorkel is also among the things we are considering to add as it will ensure us that only clean air keeps our diesel engine up and running.
- Suspension system and drift lockers: We have decided to stay with the ones Toyota comes from the factory. Our off road perusal would not be that extreme and the existing ones are in perfect working condition.
- Tires: We will all terrain instead of the off road ones for the same reason as above. This topic will also be reviewed later.
- Electrics & Solar Upgrades: Energy was an issue in the epic journey as we needed power to run our appliances. So in this trip and as we plan to free camp more, we will set up an independent solar powered system that will not interact with the car’s starting battery, it will constantly run our fridge and water pump and it will power the rest of our electrical appliances. During our research, we came up with the following specs for our needs in power: One Trifold solar panel of 200W will be combined with a 120 Amp deep circle battery with an addition of an in-car kit, in order to have the alternative to use the car’s power in the cloudy days when the panels will not produce 100%. All of the above will be connected via a high quality regulator and we are even thinking of adding a DC to AC charger to our set up.
- Living Space Upgrades: Roof top tent, drawing system, awning, water system, refrigeration are all areas we need to improve as they all are necessary. We are working on adding in the back of Voukefalas II a permanent drawing system as it will give us much more organized space to have the many bits and pieces that used to float here and there in our old car. An extra addition to this system will be a water tank permanently mounted between the second row of seats and the drawing system. We are working towards a 40-liter capacity, with a water pump connection to it, so we can have an outdoor shower. On the top of the drawing system we are now lookinginto installing a slider with a new 50 or 60-liter fridge (still on debate) because the small fridge we used in the past always needed additional of ice in order to keep up with the heat of Central Asia. This compact unit will fill up almost all the space in the back of Voukefalas II. We call that area dinning and chilling area and it’s where our kitchen and outdoor set up will be. The rear seats will be used as previously as a living area and it’s where all of our personal items will be stored.
- Roof top tent: We are now researching to upgrade to a hard cell one that would provide us better protection from the tropic long rains in South America and will improve the aerodynamics of the car.
To be continued………………
P.S. All pictures you see here are from our Epic Journey 2014-2015