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November's Truck of the Month - David & Cindy's Story
Off Road Tents' "Truck Of The Month" Special Guest Post
At Off Road Tents created the initiative of writing a guest post every month, where we feature serious overlanders, off-roaders and true outdoor lovers.
Anyone could be featured here. Every month we will be choosing a new person, based on votes (or "likes") they receive on our Truck of the Month post in out Facebook Group.
This way, customers, readers and followers will be able to read refreshing stories, experiences and tips from other people just like them.
By no means is this a sponsorship or we're asking anything in exchange, simply, if someone feels like it and others want to hear their story, then we publish it so anyone can read it.
This month we are featuring David Neck and his wife, Cindy Neck. A retired couple that decided they wanted to look for adventure and travel through USA. Even though they've encountered big obstacles, that has only made them stronger.
The Neck's Story:
Greeting from Alabama,
We are a retired couple that decided we wanted to travel the USA to Explore and find Adventure. We sold our home in Georgia and purchased a 30’ travel trailer to use as a home base and also rigged our tow truck for off roading and overnight stays away from home when necessary.
We started as most new explorers with the vehicle we had at the time which was a 2014 Nissan Armada. We purchased the least expensive RTT only because we weren’t sure if we would like this style of camping. After several short 3-4 day trips, we made a couple 10 day trips to Big Bend National Park in Texas. This is where we decided we loved the lifestyle and would plan on many more trips.
We purchased a 2019 F150 FX4 and moved our RTT over using an RCI bed rack for support. I went with the 12” height to keep wind resistance down as compared to the big block on top of our Armada. We upgraded our truck a little at the time with 2.0 Roush Coil Over shocks on the front and Roush shocks on the back along with Sumo Springs on the rear to level the truck and help with towing our travel trailer.
After several attempts to get out west and explore, the Covid Pandemic made us shorten our trips on two occasions. That’s when we decided we had enough experience and confidence with our vehicle and RTT to just head out without our travel trailer. The last item we needed for this trip was an onboard refrigerator and we worked that out using a battery separator and an extra deep cycle battery.
So, the reason I wanted to share all of this is because of importance behind the upgrades we all want to do on our vehicles to make us self-reliant on the trail and to keep us safe as we travel many times alone or not in a group.
We started with a two-wheel drive suv and did a lot of great trails and back-roads. I knew I wanted a 4x4 truck to continue our style of travels. Everyone knows that good tires are very important for reliable travels on and off road.
We worked in steps to get the things anyone should have to travel comfortably and safely. The only upgrade I hadn’t done and really wanted to do soon was add some extra lighting.
Our recent trip was from Alabama to Washington while making a loop through the country to see new areas we had missed on our last trip. The trip was amazing as can be seen by many of the pictures we took along the way.
Again, anyone who starts a trip knows that with the best planned agenda things will always change along the way and we have to adapt. Well, for us the kink in our plans came from all the fires from Colorado to California and back into Idaho.
We couldn’t do a lot of the things we planned do to heavy smoke. We also were at Yellowstone when the freak snow storm hit in September. The temps went from 72 in Jackson Hole to 29 in Yellowstone, all within hours. We didn’t open our RTT that night and drove on through to a nearby town to stay in a motel.
That happens and we will use that time to catch up on our clothes cleaning and online business. Things will change and you have to be flexible to adapt and take advantage of the situation.
The background of our situation and travel style is probably similar to a lot of families doing the same as us, and wanting to be self reliant while exploring our beautiful country. All of the ugrades we do to our equipment helps us to evolve and travel with limited resources, but enough to keep us safe and moving.
Our story comes down to what happened to us and how others may benefit from our experience.
We were working our way down from Moab to explore Needles and Natural Bridges on a beautiful sunny day in early October 2020. We had some great side trails and made all of our intended stops, but still had some daylight left.
We decided to drive to Lake Powell to see if there were any great camping spots for the night near the lake. After getting to the lake we decided it wasn’t what we thought and we decided to drive back out to the first town we saw in Colorado.
The highway out was about 40 miles and the sun set on us as we got near the end of the road. This part of Utah is Open Range, meaning cattle roam around freely to both sides of the highway. The road was very dark and my headlights seemed to vanish as they went off the sides of the road.
In an instant, I noticed a deer standing right on the edge of the road and nearly hit it. I didn’t like driving at night and we rarely did in our travels. I was driving much slower now due to the darkness and was very aware we could see more animals.
This is when I wish I had extra lighting on the front of our truck. In an instant, I noticed a reflective tag on the shoulder of the road and realized that was probably cows. I let off the accelerator and was moving to my brake when standing broadside in the road was a Black Angus cow in my view.
In a split second a loud bang and we were rolling blind down the highway and off the edge down a rocky embankment and into the cedar trees. Everything got quiet and we asked each other if you were OK.
The safety equipment in the truck worked and my only injury was a burn on my left arm from the driver side airbag deployment. What happened next is a long story in itself, but the lesson here for us was in the future we stick to traveling daylight hours or we add a good off-road lighting system along with our other upgrades.
Hitting an animal at night is very common in our western states and in places where they have Open Ranges, I will not drive at night again unless I have good vision ahead of me.
The trooper that worked our accident said three weeks earlier in this same location, three teenage boys were killed when their vehicle hit a deer crossing the road. He also said if I had been driving anything smaller that we probably wouldn't be talking right now.
Since the accident, we were able to get back into the same model 2020 F150 FX4 and with the same upgrades that we feel helped us maintain control of our truck after the impact and down the rocky embankment.
In the beginning as we looked at RTT, we didn’t know exactly how it would fit for us. I think we knew how we wanted to travel and seek adventure, and the RTT has made our travels exciting while always looking for the next epic campsite. Our travel style is not unique because we see so many folks out there exploring and finding new adventures.
Some rigs are more expensive and accessorized than ours and some are less, but we are many times in the same place enjoying the same scenery. It’s now a one size fits all, but more like go with what you have and upgrade when you want it.
We like to say Come on, let’s Explore NOW! Safe travels out there!
David and Cindy Neck