PermaLink Travelling the Maritimes08/01/2018
Truck Stop
Overnight at a Truck Stop in New Brunswick. We had the ferry to Grand Manan to catch.
The whole trip is documented in our Maritimes 2018 travel journal. Starting with 4 nights on Grand Manan, next stop in Amherst Shore and 3 other Provincial Park Camp Sites in Nova Scotia. Continue to Cape Breton Island and Prince Edward Island. The trip went flawless but not at all eventless. Lots of great places.
PermaLink All the light we need from Rigid06/30/2018
The latest addition to the Jeep is a roof platform and better off-road lights. Back in 2016, we had to drive back to Whistler at night, kilometers away on unassumed roads. Heavy rainfalls left boulders on the road too big to just roll them away (or over). That was the moment where our urge for off-road lights was born.
Light Upgrade Before we head east to the Maritimes this summer and then back home via Esker Lakes Provincial Park in Northern Ontario, we decided to make some upgrades.
1. Roof Platform from KargoMaster
2. Off-Road lights from Rigid
3. Limb Lifter home made
The plan is to carry the spare tire from our Prolite Camping Trailer and two bicycles on the roof. We have to get as much weight off the hitch as possible. The two Propane Gas Tanks mounted on the tongue of the trailer increased the weight by over 30kg.
All these changes are part of our master plan to travel the Dempster Highway one day soon we hope.

Read the whole story . . .
PermaLink Finlayson Lake, Nipissing05/20/2018
Victoria Day Long Weekend. Until a few weeks ago, the lakes up North were still covered by a sheet of ice. The leaves on the trees here in Mississauga just started to appear about two weeks ago. Time to get out of the city and breath some fresh air.
We left Friday afternoon and arrived at Marten River Provincial Park in record time. It seems that the weather forecast discouraged many people from heading north.
After speaking with the Warden at Marten River, he pointed us to McLaren Road, about 5 km south from our camp site.
We left after breakfast and headed south on Hwy 11. After the Rock Pine Hotel and Restaurant we turned west into McLaren Road. The surface is hard packed gravel and in good condition.
Finlayson Lake McLaren Road
This first impression is misleading. There will be scratches in the paint, the road to Finlayson Lake was built for ATVs and Snow Mobiles.
About 2 km in, we took the "Finlayson Lake North" road according to a tiny signs posted on the tree.

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PermaLink Dashcam continuous recording03/03/2018
The story goes like this: We went shopping - we returned to the Jeep. Somebody hit the Jeep and left. Bumper and flare damaged. Insurance does cover the repair, but it is frustrating.
We do have a dashcam installed, but when the Jeep is parked, it does not record. I was looking into a time-delay circuit to keep recording for about two hours AFTER the Jeep is parked. My calculation was that this would cover most scenarios and not drain the car battery.

I gave up on the time delay relay and settled with a battery pack. It charges with an USB connector and it has a USB-out to power the dashcam. The USB-out port runs for about seven hours and then turns off, this is a built-in timer and I didn't find a way to overwrite. Running the dashcam on the power pack drains about 50% of the power. It works as expected and we could even jump start the Jeep if there is ever a need. The unit was on sale at Canadian Tire for $110 and it is small enough to fit into the glove compartment.
Eliminator Power Pack

And now about the dashcam.
Read the whole story . . .
PermaLink Battery Isolator02/15/2018
Battery Isolation Solenoid We found out the hard way that the trailer will 'suck' the car battery dry when left connected. The connection on the 7-pin plug supplies constant 12 volts to the trailer. So the trailer battery keeps charging and charging and charging.
We had three instances where the Jeep almost didn't start. Once back home, the research started. To make a long story short, we needed a way to disable the charging when the Jeep alternator was not providing power (=engine not running).

There are some rather expensive solutions out there, but we settled for the cheapest and simplest way, a relay. That's what this clunky 'solenoid' is, a simple relay.
I found this solenoid at 4 Wheel Parts for $21.
The big connectors on the side are battery-in and battery-out (to the 7-pin harness). The smaller connector goes to a wire that supplies power when the engine is turned on. The wiring is simple and I will follow up with the gory details once I don't have to freeze my fingers off in this cold.

And beside this solenoid installation, I'm still waiting for a time delay relay that will keep the dashcam and other accessories charged after the engine is turned off and the key removed. I hope to be able to install both at the same time.

PermaLink Algonquin Park Mew Lake Camp Site02/09/2018
Location : On Google Maps
Winter Camping February 2018
It was time to go Winter Camping. After all, I had to live up to the Eat - Jeep - Sleep motto. Temperature was around -8C during the day and -15C during the night. And beside having a good time, one of the primary reasons for the trip was education. I needed to know if the tent, sleeping bag, insulation mat, food, cooking and everything else perform to my expectation. The short answer - Yes.
Read the whole story . . .
PermaLink Esker Lakes Provincial Park08/27/2017
Location : On Google Maps
We spent five nights at the park. Our site had electrical hookup to run the toaster in the morning. And since we were connected to the grid, yes, we ran the small heater one night. Could have done without it but didn't feel the urge.
We were lucky enough to get yet another site with lake view. The site #54 was overlooking the eastern part of the Panagapka Lake and part of the Sausage Lake.
And guess who we met at Sausage Lake?
Click the image to launch youTube video >>>
Launch YouTube
We didn't get a cell phone signal at our site. About 30 meters down the road we were able to connect to a tower and make phone calls, get emails and post some pictures on facebook. Posting pictures was a very lengthy exercise that tested our patience. This Temporal Rift was only 5 meters wide. Definitely a site we'll keep in mind for future trips.
Esker Lake View from our site
We learned a few things about glaciers from way back when this area was covered by a 2 km sheet of ice. As a result of the ice that moves and grinds rocks, a lot of sand was deposited here. But more about that later.
The park is about 600 km north from Mississauga and can be reached in one day with plenty of stops to make the trip pleasant. It starts on Hwy 400 from Toronto and then follow Hwy 11. Located about 35 km north of Kirkland Lake, a small town with all the stores needed to refill the cooler - or spend a rainy day exploring the towns history.

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PermaLink Nagagamisis Provincial Park07/24/2017
Location : On Google Maps
Nagagamisis Provincial Park Site 32
We spent three nights at the Nagagamisis camp site. Lake front property, the view was spectacular.
For all the Provincial Parks we visited, this is the most awe inspiring place so far. Many sites were occupied by seasonal permit holders. Their trailers were decorated with dim LED lights and Canada flags. Seating arrangements were finished with carpets and flower pots. They all used solar panels to keep their batteries charged and the lights going all night long.
We try to stay humble and didn't get flower pots yet


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PermaLink Finlayson Point Provincial Park just south of Temagami07/23/2017
Location : On Google Maps
Temagami
On our way to Nagagamisis, we stopped mid-way at the Finlayson Point Provincial Park just south of Temagami. We spent one night and left the exploring of the lakes and trails for another day.
Not so with Temagami, a small town just north of the park. We couldn't miss the beautiful train station which also serves as information desk and craft store.

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PermaLink Installing the roof rack06/23/2017
We needed a roof rack for our canoe before we're heading north this summer. The Marten River trip was clearly an experience which we don't want to repeat. Without going into too many details, the short version is "slippery roof surface". The pads that clamp on the canoe have no grip on the Jeep roof. Rain and/or dust combined with the wind on the highway will shift the canoe - End of this story.
So, we were looking for a rack that can hold a canoe now and a second spare tire, two 20 liter gas canister and the canoe for future excursions. That is a combined weight of about 150 kg.
Kargo Master Congo Pro

A rack with a basket is not an option for the following reasons:
  • A basket makes the high roof even higher by 6 or more inches. Lifting a canoe, spare tire or gas tank to a height over 6 feet and 6 inches is a challenge even for my stature.
  • The basket rims don't seem to have the same rigidness as the other rack components. Strapping a canoe to them defeats the purpose of a sturdy rack.

    After reading comments about the wind noise of racks, the Kargo Master Congo Pro had practically no serious complaints and has a rating beyond our load capacity.
    When we picked up the boxes from Just Jeeps, we learned that it is a very snug fit inside the 4 door Jeep. The rails are actually a one-piece metal tube and only fit diagonally into the Jeep. The trailer would have been a better solution.
    Installation is simple:
  • Does not require drilling.
  • Uses some very odd sized hex screws. I had to sand down a key to size.
  • There are plenty of Youtube instruction, so no need to repeat them here.
  • When ordering accessories such as cross bars, the Kargo Master Congo Pro has all 2 inch tubes, the Congo has smaller tubes. The cross bar connectors are specific to the model.
  • Follow the instructions and do not tighten any screws until the whole rack is assembled.
    Wind noise from the raw rack without attachments are minimal but noticeable. Once the canoe is strapped to the rack, it will be noisy. But that's a given and accepted.
  • Kargo Master Congo Pro

  • PermaLink Marten River Provincial Park and Rabbit Lake excursion05/19/2017
    Location : On Google Maps
    Marten River Provincial Park Camp Site 99
    Victoria Day Long Weekend, perfect opportunity to get outside.

    PermaLink Towing a camping trailer with a Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited04/28/2017
    The Jeep has a towing capacity of 2000lb, the Prolite Mini 13 camping trailer is around 1500lb when loaded and is equipped with electrical brakes.
    The Jeep DOES NOT have the tow package installed, so this is the standard, unmodified Sahara 2013 model. I already installed the hitch receiver to mount the bicycle rack and connected the 4-pin electrical adapter at the same time. The Prolite Mini trailer uses the round 7-pin connector. The MOPAR 7-pin wiring harness was not really designed for a brake controller and needed some minor adjustment. The Brake Controller is from Tekonsha and sits on the dash.
    Jeep Wrangler Sahara 2013 with Prolite Mini 13
    This setup works great but has a few flaws.
    1. The trailer sits very low. I decided to lift the trailer by about 2 inches.
    2. The 100lb load on the hitch (Tongue weight) pushes the Jeep down by more than one inch.
    To lift the Prolite Mini I went back to the factory in St-Jérôme, QC.
    To level the Jeep I installed the Air Lift 1000 Load Assist Spring Kit.

    Getting the parts and the installation was straightforward.
    Read the whole story . . .
    PermaLink Day trip to Poison Mountain BC, I think?08/01/2016
    The plan was to start from Moha, about 40km north-west from Lillooet and drive to the 'Big Bar Ferry' that crosses the Faser River about 100km north of Lillooet.
    The scenery is absolutly breathtaking. This is the Bridge River just north of Lillooet.
    Bridge River in BC Naturally, we missed the Moha turn the first time and started the trip later than expected.
    The road is all gravel and mostly in good shape. Much later we encountered the 'negative speed pumps' or Water Bars. Most of them about 1 meter wide and 30 cm deep. Unless you slow down to a crawl, you loose the axle.
    Read the whole story . . .
    PermaLink Mesh Grille to protect the radiator from bugs06/16/2016
    One of the first upgrades on the Jeep was the addition of a mesh screen to keep the bugs from clogging the radiator. You can buy a mesh screen insert for $80 or more, or spend less than $20 to have one with your own personal touch. We decided to use red as the colour when adding features, so the quarter inch galvanised wire mesh got a red Tremclad treatment. It actually gives the grille a sophisticated look, hiding the cooling pipes and mounts behind the reddish screen. Bug Screen
    I used plastic cable mounts and glued them with a special plastic glue inside the grille. The wire mesh is held in place with cable ties. Search for "Jeep Wrangler DIY Grille Inserts" and you find different options on how to mount the wire mesh. If I have to do it again, I may not even use any mount points. Just fold the wire mesh 2 times around the edges to give it some stability and it will stay in place due to the snug fit.

    The mesh grille does work! After a 14,000 km trip across Canada and back (Ontario to British Columbia), the mesh was like new. One winter in Ontario with all the ice and road salt, the mesh was like new. The picture above is actuall from June 2017, more than a year after installation. The bug-fest below was taken in summer 2016 in Winnipeg. Bug collection on grill

    This is a 2014 Jeep Wrangler Sahara 4-door with automatic transmission. As I found out, there are actually two radiators behind the grille. A full size rad for engine cooling and a half size rad for transmission cooling, the smaller one is just in front of the big one. When you are traveling with a camping trailer you notice that the Jeep transmission was not designed to pull 700 kg. There is enough power under the hood, but the transmission shifts like mad. It is absolutely critical that the transmission cooling works at full capacity. If you find no other reason to have a mesh grille, that is the ONE.
    But we all know "it looks so cool"
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