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Before I really get into blogging our trip, I wanted to give you a little background on Luna.

Luna is our 1993 Toyota 4-runner, formely known as Rafie.

When we started looking for a vehicle for our adventure, Cory's sister and brother-in-law offered to sell us their much loved 4-runner that they affectionally called Rafie. We jumped at the opportunity and it was win/win for both of us. Cory and I got our adventure vehicle and his sister's family knew their well loved truck was going to stay in the family and have a new life.

In the months leading up to Baja, Cory did several upgrades and modifications to the 4-runner. At some point I will get him to sit down and write out everything he did and we will post all of his build pictures. He documented much of the build so we could pass along all we learned in the process.

One of the bigger things we did was to remove the back seats. In their place, we built a flat platform for the dogs with storage underneath. Also, we added a custom drawer system for storage of all of things we needed to bring. We added our roof top tent (RTT) with annex and awning. There are also lots of little things like winch, maxtrax, lighting and storage for extra gas/water.

You will see our vehicle has two modes: travel and home base. Travel mode is when everything is all folded and packed up and we are able to be mobile and move to our next destination.

In home base mode we fold out our RTT, zip on the annex, pull out our awning and set out our camp kitchen. In home base mode we can stay comfortably in remote locations for very extended periods of time.

Once we had most of the build done, I mentioned wanting to give the truck a new name, something to make it feel more like ours. Cory wasn't so sure about naming a car, but I reminded him most of the overlanders that inspired us also named their vehicles. So, he humored me and said I could think of some names and we would see. As the truck is all black it had me considering something along the lines of Sirius Black, but it was also big and heavy with all our gear and that made me think Hagrid. (can you tell we are Harry Potter fans?) I finally decided we should start our trip and see what stuck once we got going.

On our drive across the U.S. we quickly noticed we were referring to the truck as "she" and "her" without even realizing it. So now I knew we needed a female name. As our trip progressed, we narrowed it down to three names, of course all Harry Potter references. They were: Bellatrix, Raven (short for Ravenclaw), and Luna Lovegood. Bellatrix was elimanated right away because we figured we would shorten it to Bella and that reminded us too much of a pet name. We finally settled on Luna and it seems to have stuck. I also like how in Harry Potter no one expects much of Luna and she always surprises everyone. Thats how the truck was for us, there were many things we weren't sure she could do and she always pulled through for us!

I have to say I was extremely surprised how much Luna grew on me. I have liked a lot of cars I have had in my lifetime but never have I had the type of sentimental attachment I now have for Luna. I know Cory feels the same way. When you take such a big trip and your car is your transportation, your home and your safety, you can't help but feel something.

So as we post, you will notice many pictures of Luna... I have a slight obsession with photographing her. I hope through our upcoming stories and photo posts you all will come to love her as much as we do.

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