Arizona Meet Up

One of the things you might have noticed reading through our posts is that I reference other Instagram accounts a lot. That’s because on all of my dog based travels (and some non-dog travels) I meet up with different locals that I met because of Instagram. This past November, right before Thanksgiving some of my regular Instagram friends arranged a huge group camp in Arizona. We, and by we I mean the 15 plus humans and 20 plus dogs from at least 5 states, met up at a free primitive campsite that had room for all of our cars. Whenever camping somewhere remember to get the appropriate permits. We did need permits. But they were free and there were quite a few “experts” who could tell use what we needed.

Living in California, AZ is not far from me. So I took off later then I should have, the way you do when you under estimate the amount of time it takes to get somewhere. I took the turn off to the campsite right around sunset and drove down the 2 mile dirt road until I saw the mass of cars parked out in the middle of nowhere. It was a little rough on the dogs arriving late. Mine were hyped from being cooped in the car, and getting to a location with sooo many dogs that they didn’t know that well, but it all worked out. One of the important things to realize is that all dogs have different comfort levels. Mine like to play loud and rough. Which puts other dogs on edge especially in the dark. So the husky click that developed stayed away from the dogs that just weren’t digging the noise. It may not look like it. But these two loved playing with each other. Silly huskies and their teeth.

We hiked the Peralta trail in the morning. Storm went off with one of her favorite people, Dave from @longhaultrekkers, and Frankie stayed with me. The trail itself was challenging for me and super rocky. So, Frankie and I ended up way behind the group, not making it to the top. Luckily we had the company of a new friend @gypsygyrl and her pup. I’m sure Frankie could have made it to the top. But it wasn’t going to happen, the views all along the way were gorgeous. So, it didn’t feel like we really missed out. It’s super important to listen to your body when hiking and not risk injuring yourself out in the wilderness. For this trail my ankle just couldn’t hang, and I thought better be safe rather then sorry.

We went back for a bit of a rest at the campsite after our hike. The car ride back demonstrates just how tired the pups were after our drive, camping and a hike.

Well Storm was sleepy. Frankie was still ready to go. As always.

With that in mind we trekked to the Salt River with the group right around sunset. The views did not disappoint. Arizona sure knows how to put on a show at sunset.

Look you can see our friend Gretel, from @youdidwhatwithyourweiner basking in the golden glow of sunset with Frankie and Storm.

If you are ever looking to bring your dogs to Arizona, especially the Superstition Mountains, check out our friends in Instagram @trustyourtrail and @remdawg.the.tripawd. They definitely made this large dog meet up possible.

Jeep Renegade Sleeper Platform.

Today we are taking a break from reminiscing over our PNW adventure to share our Saturday project. Jeep Renegade sleeping platform. Since we have a lot of road trips planned, including a lot of overnight stays at some campgrounds. I thought it would be easier to be able to sleep in the car instead of having to set up camp and break down camp for one night. But the Renegade is not the biggest of Jeeps. It’s classified as a sub-compact SUV which means my dogs can sprawl out in the back. But I can’t, at least not without a little bit of work. So an idea was born to extend the back of the SUV for sleeping. But how? After much research. My dad and I used this post on the Renegade forum as our guide.

I wanted a removable platform that could easily be stored in the cargo area of the Jeep in instances where I needed to have more people then dogs in my car. A rare circumstance but it does happen. So we stuck with the 3 panel platform.

After gettin my dad on board. He’s a great craftsman and has all the tools. He tallied up what we would need for the project and we were off to Home Depot. We made a few changes in the supplies based on availability and adding more stability. And for just over a $100 we were set to start building. But first Frankie had to weigh in and see if she approved.

When building you want to always measure twice and cut once. And we stuck with that motto.

First we cut the two back panels to 37×24.

Then we cut the last panel to 37×22 with a 10×7 cut out for the center consul.

The support framing was cut down to 5 pieces 37 inches long. 4 pieces 21 inches long. 2 pieces that were 20.5 inches. 2 pieces that were 10 inches. 2 pieces that were 13.5 inches. And one 7 inch piece. We used 1.5 x 1.5 inches daring strips for the framing. We used a total of five 8ft pieces.

Then we built the frames.

Now we built the frames. To do this we drilled a guide hole in the connecting points. Glued them together. Then used a 3 inch screw to hold them in place.

Then glued on the MDF. And then remembered be had to notch out the frame so the steel support beams could be slid through when the platform was extended. So we removed the top. Wiped of the glue. And used a router to make the notches. (Twice). The third time we finally remembered to notch out everything first.

At this point Storm decided she needed to check on the progress and make sure we were measuring twice and cutting once. And using all proper safety equipment like safety goggles.

After notching out where the support steel would go. And attaching the MDF. We added brackets for additional support where the notches had been placed.

We added support beams to the center of the back two panels that were 34 inches long with the notches for the steel supports to the center.

At this point we had all three pieces. We had checked to make sure they fit in the car.

So it was time to carpet the pieces. Which was a bit tedious. But worth it to help prevent scratching in the car. We used spray adhesive and staples to attach the carpet.

Then we added the hinges.

And measured to get the right height for the legs on the back platform. For us a 2×4 worked perfectly and my dad had plenty of scraps lying around for us to use.

With that the platform was finished. To have it all the way open you need to move the front seats all the way forward. Then move the seat backs forward. I have also just opened the back two sections so the pups have their space in the back.

The pups approved.