I got started camping when I was a kid. A small kid - as in, I have memories of camping when I was three or four years old - and I have no idea if that was my first camping experience. But this wasn't the kind of camping I do today - not by a long shot. Rather, it was the same kind of camping that everyone did way back in the old days: car camping, in a campground. We had an old blue Chevy Malibu station wagon, and we'd load it up with all of our gear - a big old tent with poles that seemed as thick as a child's arm, a Coleman propane stove that you can still buy a variant of today, a white gas Coleman lantern, a big green Coleman cooler (that I think my dad still has!), and of course a charcoal grill and our fishing poles.
Over the years, I loved the time I spent outside. Wandering. Fishing. Seeing the glory of grand vistas (though, as a kid, I probably complained about the hikes to them). Still, from the time I went to college until 2016 or so, I didn't do a ton of camping, and I wasn't into offroading at all. I mean, don't get me wrong - I loved the idea of it, and it was always fun to go to my uncle's houses (in the woods) and drive their Jeep CJ6s and whatnot - but I wasn't offroading the Tacoma in any way. Rather, I was living life - the important thing to me at the time.
I poured myself into my work at a great job, into buying and completely remodeling my first home, and into setting myself up for the future. I was using the truck for "truck stuff." Then, in 2016, everything changed. Now I get out camping (and ideally offroading to get there) whenever I can. "All the time," is probably how my family would describe it. While it's not quite that much - though, I am lucky enough to spend 75-100 nights/year in the wild - I can't complain in the slightest. I'd still say I'm a novice in this space... or maybe only a bit more than a novice. Definitely not an expert. But - as I hope is clear by now - I love learning and using my hands, so this is fun for me.
The stories of my adventures started as a way to let my family know what I was up to. They still are, really. And, after several years of doing it, I hope they help to inspire others to research places they want to see, and then get out and explore as well. It's an amazing world out there!
Just a few of Dan's adventures:
* Spent his 100th night in Death Valley National Park
* Got out to explore some part of the western US at least once a month (usually twice) for the last 12 months.
* Hiked Panamint City and nearly froze in overnight temps of 27°F (Note: 10/10 he would do again!)
* Made several new friends that he initially met on the trail - either as a recovery or just running into each other in the middle of nowhere.
* Was the first 4x4 to run the entire WYBDR when it was released in 2022
* Was the first 4x4 to run the entire UTBDR in 2023
" Off-road is freedom, friendship, and fun. Getting out into the wild, adventuring into the unknown, and experiencing the spectacular beauty of the world around us isn't everyone's idea of fun, but it is mine. I'm going to keep doing it as long as I can - searching for new discoveries and grand vistas. Living and capturing the moment with the people I love. And, as long as it's enjoyable, writing up stories so that others who love the same thing - but for one reason or another are unable to see the places I do - can enjoy them as well." -- Dan, Adventure Taco*
*Editor's note: In this case, the word 'Taco' refers to the short common term for a Toyota 'TACOma', although we hear Dan likes the tasty folding kind as well.