Travel with dogs – #1 prepping the truck!

Yikes, I started thinking about packing today – for a three month trip with two dogs to the Northwest from the Southwest. I drive an older 4Runner and bring tent camping gear and no, not the trailer I’d mentioned over winter. I sold it, partly to fund this trip, but mostly because it was simply too heavy for one person (me) to move around. Since the dogs just licked their feet free of cactus thorns and watched me huff and grunt, I soon realized they would be no assistance. Off went the trailer, or atleast I have a deposit and the fella is coming back in two weeks time with the balance. I have 7 weeks 5 days until I leave. Not that I’m counting. I’ve also just published my fifth book, BRING A CHAINSAW (and other stories from my solo travels) so I’ve been keeping myself busy you could say.

Well, back to packing. I started going through my lists, notebooks, maps, and camping gear this afternoon, until the winds hit 20 miles per hour just as I was about to unroll the tent and respray with a waterproofing layer. I gave up and came inside. I’m not overwhelmed, today anyway, no today I’m excited.


I’ve been going back and forth emotionally about taking such a long road trip as it’s been a while since I went away for that amount of time like this, camping in the boonies, finding dispersed camping sites, lakes, rivers, free camping in the mountains and ocean beaches. Sounds good, right? Yep, it does to me.


The truck is my priority. It’s a 95 4Runner, kind faded from the sun here in New Mexico, but solid and since I bought it, we’ve replaced the tires, shocks, coils, and transmission and transfer case. It should be good right? Yep, that’s what I’m thinking but to be safe, I’ve set up an oil change this week and in a month a full check up including brakes and to look for any possible issues that would derail my trip.

For the truck, I started with a tool kit.

  • Gerber knife
  • electrical tape
  • splice connectors
  • 2 types of screwdrivers
  • metric wrench set
  • ice scraper – well, you never know! I am heading into some mountains first.
  • large adjustable wrench
  • vice grips
  • fuel filter
  • pair of latex gloves
  • basic socket set
  • blue silicone gasket goop
  • extra spark plugs
  • zip locks
  • duct tape
  • bottle jack and all the parts. (Note: make them accessible. Once I had a flat, the back of the truck was filled with camping gear, the dogs were restless and the traffic relentless. Now I have all the flat tire accessories in one compartment I won’t be blocking.)
  • Quart of oil
  • brake fluid
  • coolant
  • ATF transmission fluid
  • power steering fluid
  • jumper cables
  • a handsaw
  • WD40
  •  and an air compressor. (Again, it’s now an essential as last summer when camping near Stunner Pass in Colorado, I had a super low tire one morning and having the air compressor made all the difference.)

I’m not sure what else I should pack? Any suggestions? Please leave a comment below, thanks!



2 thoughts on “Travel with dogs – #1 prepping the truck!

  1. Thanks, this is great! Maybe bring some flares and a triangle in case you break down? Definitely extra water. Keep it up.


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