June 13, 2013

Getting Off The Grid



Very few of us in the world ever have the need for a special purpose vehicle.   It’s pretty much a given for the daily driver to pull quintuple duty as a kid taxi, a grocery-getter, a weekend warrior, a hay hauler, and a moving van crammed with every useless possession from your buddy’s apartment.  For the majority who need to widen the useable range of their vehicle, it’s usually a change of the tires for more traction or a suspension upgrade for better handling, comfort, and performance.  But a small group of people out there meander through their days with a nagging itch, a kind of mind-controlling parasite that overtakes synapse control and reminds the host that they should be doing something else right now at this very moment; more rewarding, more fun, more exciting.  Not next week, but NOW.   For those tortured but able souls, a goal is implanted into their mind and sometimes the end result is nothing short of incredible.  
Enter Barry, a self-made entrepreneur with a penchant for adventure and a passion for landscape photography.   His treks have led him down almost every un-named road in America, down to the capes of South America, even to the frozen shelfs of Antarctica (for the geographically challenged, Antarctica is the pure white continent on the very bottom of the globe).  Barry, knowing that a successful trip relies solely on the equipment you choose, needed a rig that could not only get him to the most remote areas of the planet and back again, but it also needed the ability to haul all the requisite tools, supplies, sundries, survival gear, and gadgets in one mobile platform.  The overlanding that Barry enjoys brings him up close and personal with some of the world’s most awe-inspiring natural formations, monuments, and native flora and fauna; it was imperative for him to find a suitable donor vehicle that would lend itself readily adaptable to his needs and requirements.
No stranger to building an Expedition vehicle, Barry settled on the quite capable and rugged Dodge Power Wagon with its hydro-formed frame rail, built-in Warn Winch, burly AAM axles loaded with Lockers, and the potent Hemi engine.  Hoping for out-of-the-box performance, he soon realized the limits of his stock truck.   Power Wagons were never intended to carry a full time Camper and a thousand pounds of fuel, water, food, camera equipment out into the Badlands or the Outback and the shortcomings became evident on the first adventure.  Needing some serious surgery, a quick search for Dodge Suspension had Barry in Carli’s install bay and discussing with Sage the various needs of his laborious project.   Soon, a Dominator 3.0 System with Long Travel Airbags was being bolted up underneath while Deaver started on a set of custom springs being groomed for a full-time life of pure hell.  


Barry was soon on his way to the wide open trails of Arizona and the rich red hues of Utah’s Hoodoos.   The camper’s higher center-of-gravity and ancillary support equipment were finally kept in check due to the total control afforded with the King 3.0 Dominator shocks.  Barry’s new expedition digs were now a solid footing for him to intentionally get lost in the middle of any random continent, in any given terrain.   His new home-away-from-home is the ultimate tool in the arsenal of any photographer; from the copious storage and auxiliary support gear, to the heavy duty suspension that allows him to get to any location with unhindered access;  this Power Wagon is delivering everything Barry wanted out of a turn-key Expedition rig.
We fell in love with Barry's Power Wagon immediately but honestly we were humbled when we read this exemplary note from Barry himself: 

Sage and Team,

I want to thank you for providing such excellent products and excellent support. Having come from the professional audio industry and being a passionate landscape photographer I am experienced in both the design/manufacturing and use of high performance/high quality gear. The hallmark of truly professional products is that it inspires confidence and enables higher levels of performance. My Carli Suspension has delivered this in spades.

Having built two expedition overland trucks and traveled 10's of thousands of miles on backroads and trails in the last few years, I can say without hesitation that Carli Suspension has been the single most worthwhile upgrade to the vehicle that I have made. The reason is that the Carli Suspension has increased both vehicle performance and capability while reducing operating fatigue. It has raised both my confidence in driving the vehicle and comfort while in traveling in it. Whether I'm making high speed transits on the interstates, blasting down dirt roads or crawling over technical terrain, the ride is composed, compliant and in control. If I were to describe the feel I would call in sinewy- not harsh and not sloppy but a well controlled and well modulated with lots of articulation and stability - The articulation is unbelievable. Now I don't always drive fast but sometimes there are a lot of miles to cover and not much time to do it. It is nice to know that when I need to make tracks, I can do so with complete confidence and a sense of joy. Having owned many high performance German cars over the years I was surprised to feel the same level of performance and sophistication, albiet for a different mission. Now, I can't imagine owning a truck without making this upgrade.


For me, reliability is paramount. Since I generally travel the back country alone, the chance of getting stuck due to a component failure carries serious consequences. This suspension has taken incredible abuse without a hitch- like flying off of whoops on power line roads and rapid transit over primitive trails. For an empty truck this may be no big deal but my rig when fully loaded and carrying camera gear, back up parts, tools, clothing, food, spare fuel and 25 gallons of water can weigh in at excess of 10,000 lbs. Not one single problem has been encountered.


My Dominator 3.0 has also withstood two accidents without anything more than a deformed bushing. In the first case, I hit an unseen 24" boulder with my right front tire while rolling down a trail looking for a path to cross a canyon. (I know, I should have been looking at the road and not the canyon!) The steering wheel got wrenched around about 100 degrees and the alignment was seriously wacked but, amazingly, none of the suspension was damaged. More recently I was broadsided by a car traveling 50 miles an hour. Thankfully, half the blow was taken by the front axle which helped save me and the truck. The impact shifted the axle about 3" to the right and wiped out most of the stock front-end components but much to my amazement only a few bushings on the Carli suspension system were damaged.

If I sound like an enthusiastic owner, I am. As the saying goes, your experience may differ but based upon MY experience I wouldn't hesitate to recommend a Carli Suspension to anyone interested in quality and performance.


Barry Andrews,
Co-Founder QSC Audio Products,
Co-Founder Visionary Wild,
Wanderer/Photographer















 The snap-shots that Barry is providing are proof positive that his truck doesn’t get to hit the snooze alarm;  every time he hops in the cab it’s Code 3 with Barry at the helm en-route to the next epic backdrop.   We look forward to seeing more stories from Barry and the bag of tricks his Power Wagon is delving into on a routine basis.