At about the same time that I finished building the bed in my Tahoe (more on that over here), the world was plunged into a pandemic that resulted in almost everything shutting down and everyone staying home. As some one with an autoimmune disease, I was happy to stay at home and do my part to stop the spread of the Coronavirus. Unfortunately, this meant I had to scrap all the spring camping trips I had been planning to take but that doesn't mean I didn't get some use out of my rig!
I researched a lot of radios before I landed on this Sony head unit. I was strongly considering getting something with the ability to install a backup camera, which is the one feature newer cars have that I really wish I had in this, but I just couldn't find any options that fit might budget and wouldn't require any actual modification to my vehicle. The main feature I wanted was Bluetooth capabilities and this allows you to connect two phones and switch between them. Perfect for a couple who plans on taking a lot of trips together! Before I get into the actual trip, I want to point out a couple of upgrades I have made since my last post. First is the radio; I purchased a Sony MEX-N5300BT from Crutchfield which included everything I needed to install it in my 2006 Chevy Tahoe. I was also able to purchase a kit which would allow me to retain the steering wheel controls for the radio. It was important to me that the new radio was still pretty close to the OEM unit in terms of form and function but you could save some money if you don't care as much about this.
Another addition you can see in this image is a digital thermometer I bought to monitor the temperature in the car. While not totally necessary, my Tahoe has an OEM thermometer to measure outside air temperature and I was curious what the temperature is like on the inside. Turns out, it retains heat pretty well on cold nights! It was also a total coincidence that the thermometer I purchased fits so nicely in the cubby under my new radio. Finally, the last addition in this image is the small level in the bottom right corner. Again, not super necessary, but I bought these stick on levels to measure the tilt of the vehicle, mostly to ensure I'm not sleeping on a weird angle. I ended up sticking this one here on the dash to measure left to right, and another that is oriented lengthwise to measure forward to backward.
A little back story here; as many of you know, 4/22 is Earth Day but it also just so happens to be the day my partner and I started "officially" dating just 5 short years ago. One of our first anniversaries, we decided to celebrate our milestone and Earth Day by going camping somewhere together. That year we went to Hocking Hills, the second year we graduated from Ohio University (so we couldn't really take a trip), the third year was Zion National Park, and the fourth was Valley of the Gods. For year five, we wanted to continue our tradition but we also wanted to be safe and respectful in regards to the Coronavirus outbreak.
Then we realized that the Bonneville Salt Flats were just a short distance away and there was no way we would run into too many people out there! So it was decided, we packed up the Tahoe and headed out to the Flats! However, before you head out there yourself, be sure to read up on the BLM website as camping on the actual salt flats is not allowed. Luckily, there is an abundance of BLM land around the Salt Flats that is available for camping.
Here we are west of the Flats, setting up camp for the night and preparing to make some dinner. Not pictured: my partner and our two dogs who are off running around in the vast emptiness.
I learned from my first expedition that a table is an absolute necessity when your camping vehicle really only has a bed and storage space in it. At some point, I plan on purchasing a camping table that is a bit easier to setup and teardown but for our spontaneous trip to the Salt Flats I just brought the table from our patio! Here you can see the storage bin in full use with various food items, utensils, mugs, a towel, etc. We also brought a cooler for this trip since we would just be there overnight and planned on eating everything that needed refrigeration.
Most of our evening on the Salt Flats was spent enjoying time away from our phones so I didn't take too many pictures and it was actually very refreshing. Especially considering all of this Coronavirus pandemic stuff that's been going on, it was nice to take a break from the devices and get out under the stars for an evening.
By sheer coincidence we happened to wear very similar outfits on our outing, sorry. I wanted to share this photo, however, because you can really see the salt. The Salt Flats are very rough and hard, which was surprising to me. It also tastes extremely salty (don't ask me how I know). Anyway, that was our overnight trip to the Bonneville Salt Flats! I wish I had taken some pictures of our sleeping situation to share with you. It turned out that our older Border Collie mix loved sleeping on the front bench all night and our younger Border Collie mix slept comfortable between us on the bed. Even thought the bed is about the size of a full mattress, I was extremely comfortable this way and felt like I had plenty of room. It definitely beats our backpacking tent and pads we used to always sleep on!
One final thing I wanted to share, when we got back from the flats, my partner wanted to contribute to our camping Tahoe in some way. One of the things she spends a lot of time doing is making various things with macrame like plant hangers and wall tapestries. So here's a picture of a little macrame pennant she made for the truck! Thanks for reading, please check out some of my other posts, and if you have any questions for me; feel free to ask in the comments!