OK, here's a quick trip report. After extreme social distancing and boondocking in AZ and NM for 5 weeks in March and early April, including some isolated spots deep in the Kofa NWR, we abandoned ship and drove home to Maine in mid-April. We had begun our trip before the pandemic madness began, and were responsibly isolating while we hoped for the situation to improve, but it became increasingly challenging to safely re-provision, with more land and facility closures.
This was an extended 9,000-mile shakedown cruise for our new Fleet shell and 2019 Ranger, both of which performed flawlessly. Last fall we spent 6 weeks cruising from Maine to Arizona, testing the rig in a variety of settings. We left the rig in Phoenix for three months, and picked it up in early March for phase 2 of the trip.
The FWC systems all ran perfectly, the new Ranger handled jeep trails as well as highway speeds comfortably, ranging from 15-21 mpg depending on headwinds and the amount of low-range jeep trail adventuring versus highway cruising. The Main Line Overland mod to our stock Ranger suspension (replacement of stock springs with Dobinson multi-leaf springs) seemed to handle the Fleet weight very well when off-roading. We only experienced occasional slight camper oscillation in very rough terrain, which we might address in the future with some air bags, but for the most part the setup is working well.
The return 4-day cross-country drive was uneventful but challenging, with traffic consisting of 90% trucks on the interstates, plentiful gasoline, decreasing options for boondocking and stealth camping, and very few restrooms open. A strange experience to be on the road in these times, but we're relieved and happy to be home.
I posted a couple of videos on Facebook that show the truck handling some terrain with the FWC: