Introducing Denny Farraday

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I can’t even remember the first time I saw an Expedition Vehicle, anymore.  It seems as though it’s been a goal to find our way into one of these rigs for eons.  I came by RV travel naturally and rather early, I rode home from the hospital in my grandparents Holiday Rambler back in 1981.  I fall asleep to the rumble of diesels from years of riding in that Motorhome or the truck and 5th wheel that followed.  My best childhood memories involve spending the night parked at the beach in California or driving through the Dakota’s in the camper.  When Ben and I bought Nellie, it only seemed like the natural progression, though honestly back then, I never saw us taking on the full time lifestyle as we have.

Only when we sold Nellie, did I realize how attached we had both become to her.  The memories from our married years that are attached to Nellie abound.  We didn’t just travel with Nellie, we lived life with Nellie.  She was our shelter, not only from the weather, but the storms of life.  In the end, she played an integral role in the progression of our life and our DREAMS, and we couldn’t help but come to think of her as part of the family.

Nellie is amazing and we love her still, but the reality is she couldn’t go where we are going and she knew it as well as we did.  She’s since found a new loving home and is leaving Alaska this Fall yet again to carry her new family on their next life adventure and endeavor.

That just about brings us to present day, and the whole point of this post...to introduce you to the new rig, Denali Faraday.

So we might as well start with his name.  I’ll admit I didn’t really want to name this truck Denali, after a decade in Alaska, it seemed cliche, but Ben basically wore me down, LOL.  Just kidding, I came around to the name, as I thought about what it would represent on a global scale.  Secondly, I agreed to it because Ben agreed to calling him Denny for short after Denny Dugquet on Grey’s Anatomy, not because I love the show (although I am a fan), but because I LOVE Jeffrey Dean Morgan who played “Denny.”  Faraday came after we moved in.  It turns out when you put the blackout shades in place, little Denny blocks all internet and cell phone signal, so we jokingly say he’s a Faraday Cage, though we think it’s highly unlikely we’d actually see any benefit in an EMP.

Anyway, Denny is built on a 2007 Mitsubishi Fuso FG140 chassis.  He doesn’t require DEF fluid or Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel and 2007 was the last year Mitsubishi made a truck without these requirements, so we bought the newest possible vehicle we could without needing DEF fluid and ULSD.  The cab of Denny is quite comfortable with plenty of creature comforts, like A/C and power windows and locks.  The seats offer a surprisingly comfortable ride and it fit the requirement we had of having at least three seats.  The cabin on the back is 13 by 6.5 feet and let’s just be honest, it’s TINY!  The box was built by a horse trailer company in Georgia and the interior was completed by the first owner and then upgraded by the seller we purchased it from.

The truck has 40 gallons of fresh water (we’d like to double that) and a 15-ish gallon gray water tank.  We have 520 watts of solar, three AGM batteries (soon to be upgraded to Lithium) and a 2,000 watt inverter (we’d like to add a generator for backup).  The entire vehicle is single source fuel with a Diesel engine, stove and hot water heater, that also circulates water to heat the cabin and the engine when needed.  We have a wet bath and a cassette toilet with which we are still leaning to be friends, although the shower has amazing water pressure!  In terms of layout, we have a 36” dinette, a 60” kitchen area and a true queen size bed which is an absolute God send and insanely comfy!  I’d love to redo the upholstery as well as the wall color, countertops and cabinets.  The fridge currently resides under one side of the dinette and the freezer under the kitchen countertop.  The best thing we can say about that is, it’s a great diet plan bc you think twice about opening the dinette to get into the fridge, but it keeps the food cool or frozen and it’ll do just fine for now.  We installed a 12v TV/DVD player over the bed because it’s the most comfortable place to sit in the rig and serves the dual purpose of bedroom and living room.

 

As I write this post we are one week shy of three months in Denny.  Every week I find gets better as we figure out how to better organize or store our things and how to convert Denny into a rig for full time living.  We’ve added quite a few storage solutions, organized and reorganized cabinets until things fit just right and about once a month we re-evaluate what we are carrying with us and decide if there’s anything we really don’t need after all.  Moving into Nellie full time was honestly a bazillion times easier than moving into Denny.  20 feet makes an insane difference, literally we gave up more space than we kept.  It’s definitely challenged us in new ways both individually and as two people who love each other for better or worse and there have been some “worse” days in Denny, some days when I’ve thought “maybe Shelby and I should just go home” and probably some days when Ben has wished we would, but with each reorganization and each new compromise we find ways to embrace the space and love each other even if my bag “is the size of Massachusetts” and even when he wakes up and yells at the stove while I’m still trying to sleep.  In the beginning we agreed that the alternative was to backpack around the world, so anything that we could bring beyond the backpack was a bonus, so we try to keep it all in perspective and recognize the awesome opportunity and privilege this vehicle affords us and to remember that aside from each other,  a place to lay our head and a few clean shirts are really all we HAVE TO HAVE.

 

I remember the first time we came home to the house in Alaska after living in Nellie for seven months, I was so overwhelmed by the amount of space and stuff we had, so I can’t even imagine what it’ll be like after living in Denny.   

We're excited to welcome a new family member into our lives, because much like Nellie, we have no doubts that Denny will play an integral role and the memories of our life during this period will be intertwined with memories of Denny.  He seems to be just as ready as we are to embark on this crazy, exciting and thrilling endeavor.