Can you spot the Differences?

This is our current rig set. How does it compare to the previous, familiar rig?


Yes, we know they are facing in different directions. We know one is in fertile Florida green land and the other in Arizona Desert. But what else?

Yes, Snowflake is dead – Long live LANDR!

The Demise of Snowflake.

Last March in Tucson we had been to shoot the very “out of place” Northern Jacana (Jacana spinosa) and were heading on I-10 to another birding spot and just before we exited “BANG” and I fought to keep control of Snowflake and pulled off onto the shoulder. We had been “rear-ended”. Needless to say Snowflake was a write-off.

Some pictures of the damage:

And as they say in films “You Should See The Other Guy”

A teenager driving his mother’s car at what must have been 90mph (we were doing 60) – his first words were “I didn’t see you”. Fortunately another car pulled up, said that he was weaving in and out of lanes at a very fast speed and gave us their phone number.

Then we discovered that we had a problem. We needed a new 4×4, HCV to replace Snowflake. We had 3 months before going to Britain for August and September and found out that we could not rent a car with a tow hitch receiver but we still needed to move the trailer separate from Tigger!

We visited the local Land Rover Dealer (previously used to service Snowflake). After agonizing over our situation, we test drove a new Discovery and were very impressed with its “off-road” capability. However there was nothing in the East coast or West Coast docks that came near to our requirements (Arizona Dealers do not tend to include Cold Weather packages) and we would be paying thousands for features we did not want. So we moved on to a Defender. Royal Land Rover said that they would have a Defender order spot in two weeks – so we spec’d our new car due for manufacture in August and delivery in September. In the mean time they suggested we purchase one of their traded in vehicles (a Toyota RAV4) and they guaranteed a buy back price at the end of July.

To keep the excitement going Royal sent a link to the ship transporting our Defender so that we could check progress. At first as it approached the Bahamas we thought an East Coast dock, but then we got to see it queue up for and pass through the Panama Canal. It was very cool!


So this is LANDR as specified and ordered by us.

LANDR and El Capitan
LANDR in Yosemite Valley
LANDR in Yosemite Valley
LANDR at Half Dome

We picked it up in Tucson on the 6th October – and just love it. The ride is phenomenal. Smooth, quiet, great acceleration and excellent cornering. So comfortable! So quiet!

We have booked ourselves the full day Land Rover driving experience in Carmel, CA in January and should be fully primed to use LANDR off-road.

So when we bump into you next (figuratively speaking) we can show you LANDR. We do plan a month or so in Death Valley NP in the New Year. Last time we were there with Snowflake, just before we left, we discovered a book in the visitors’ centre 40 Off Road and High Clearance Vehicle tours. We managed to squeeze in two tours. So we have a lot more to do.

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Our Plan for the rest of 2021

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Our Current Intentions for 2021

Updated 1st April 2021 NO JOKE!!!!

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Recent Photography Blog Post

Finding the Western Screech Owl

Photograph of Western Screetch-Owl Megascops kennicottii from San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area, AZ

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Our New Trailer

Our Present to Tigger.

As you have seen in our photos of TIGGER, we put SNWFLKE on a flat bed trailer, which we call The SLED, to limit the wear and tear on our Land Rover. After 7 years of pulling The SLED (both Merlin and Tigger) with some 87,000 miles, we decided to make life a little easier for Tigger (and definitely us!) and bought an aluminium trailer by ALUMA which is much lighter (some 1,500 lbs).

Of course the change had nothing to do with the fact that the two ramps that SNWFLKE used to get up on the trailer weighed about 40 pounds each. Funny how 40 pounds seems much heavier now than it used to. The new trailer tips at the back so that SNWFLKE can drive right on and then settles back to level. We know TIGGER will appreciate this when we are next climbing mountains. And for us no more Heavy Lifting!

Louise makes it tilt
Louise drives on
Release the lock, ready for straps!

And that is all there is to it! Going to need a new picture for the Header now!

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