Stories and photos of our 2002 Land Rover Freelander SE

In 2002 it came time to replace the aging but still very dear 1985 BMW 325e.  It was a hard decision but several factors intervened.  Because of retirement, our needs for transportation had changed.  No longer commuting but doing projects, hauling things and taking trips was the focus.  A short list of needs/desires arose:
In short, a small SUV.  Considered Escape, Liberty, Freelander, RAV4, CRV, VUE, and Tracker.  Drove Liberty and Freelander.  No contest.  Besides, I remeber the movies of Land Rovers I saw as a kid, driving across the Serengetti trailing a cloud of dust.  That appealed.

Our Freelander at home.

Trips and other photos

First trip out fall 2002.  We treked the 20 miles over unpaved but well graded roads to Chaco Culture National Historic Park for two days of camping and hiking.  No off-roading here but the car handled beautifully on the gravel road.
Spring 2003 and a road trip through Nevada, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona.  Here a little back country in Arches National Park

A visit to our land in Colorado which we hadn't seen for about 20 years.  It was still there!
The little car is dwarfed by the sand dunes of White Sands National Monument. 

Lassen 2004
September 2004 finds us on a sightseeing trip to Northern California through Lassen Volcanic National Park, Lava Beds National Monument and Cow Mountain OHV Recreation Area.  Here we stop to contemplate Mt. Lassen before hiking to its 10,500 ft summit.
We camped two nights at Lassen and two nights at Lava Beds.  Here is our camp at Lava Beds.  Since it was after Labor Day, the parks were fairly deserted.
Lava Beds 2004
Cow Mountain OHV Park
On the way back from Lava Beds, we checked out Cow Mountain OHV Area near Ukiah.  We stuck to the easy trails but still had a ball "wheelin" the Freelander.  In this shot, the flat part of the road is visible behind the car and I'm climbing up about a 30 degree slope.
Since it hadn't rained all summer the trails were very dusty.  It took nearly three days for me to get the Hippo cleaned up, washed and waxed!  The car performed flawlessly on this trip of more than 1200 miles over interstate highways, winding mountain roads, forest service roads and OHV tracks.
Cow Mountain OHV Park
Hole in the Rock road
In October 2004 we took a two week camping trip across California, and Nevada then across Southern Utah.  As part of that excursion, we drove the Hole-in-the-Rock road in Escalante Grand Staircase National Monument.  We got a late start to the HITR and because the weather was threatening, we didn't want to camp too far down the road.  This picture was taken at our turn-around point about 4.5 miles from the end of the road.
Next day, we went over the Burr Trail to the Waterpocket Fold road within Capitol Reef National Park.  Burr Trail is paved until it reaches the park and then becomes graded dirt.  There is a wonderful set of switch-backs where the road drops 800 feet in half a mile.  Here, we stopped to photograph the yellow cottenwood trees in a small canyon along the Burr Trail.
Burr Trail
Island in the Sky
After visiting Glenn Canyon National Recreation Area, Natural Bridges National Monument, and Hovenweap National Monument we turned North to the Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands National Park.  There we camped for a couple days and drove about 20 miles of the White Rim Road.  This picture was taken at our turn-around point with Airport Tower in the background.
November 2004 finds us on our first excursion to Death Valley National Park with the goals of 1) getting an overview of the park; 2) hiking some of the canyons and 3) running a few of the many 4X4 trails.  Our first trail outing was to Marble Canyon.  This picture was taken at the end of the canyon where we had lunch.  This trail is quite easy all the way to the end.
Marble Cyn
Trail Canyon #1
Next day, we broke camp and drove part of Trail Canyon off the West Side Road south of Furnace Creek.  This trail turned out to be much harder than advertised and we turned around after about five miles.  This picture was taken on the way out where we stopped to take in a panorama of the valley below.
On the way out of Trail Canyon, the road crosses the a wash.  It is several car-heights deep and steeper than it looks here. 
Trail Canyon #2
Teakettle Junction
After moving our camp to near Scotty's Castle, we ventured down Racetrack Valley Road to Teakettle Junction where we stopped for a rest and a photo shoot.  The road to the Junction and on down to the Racetrack is graded dirt with a wash-board surface that is bone-jarring at any speed.
Departing from Teakettle Junction to the East on Hunter Mountain Road, we went through Lost Burro Gap and up the side road to the Lost Burro Mine.  This road was rough, steep and nearly washed out in spots.  We made it OK though by stopping once in a while to scout ahead on foot.  During lunch at the mine the wind came up and clouds began blowing in thus ending our Death Valley explorations, at least for this visit.
Lost Burro Mine Road
Nevada March 12, 2005
March 2005.  We joined the Nevada 4Play Off-Roaders on a trek to the ghost towns and mines in the Shoshone and Paradise Mountains southeast of Fallon.  We had eight vehicles, good weather, fine company and great adventure!  Here I'm exiting the "pit" where we had the opportunity to scale slopes and challenge moguls.  Later we ventured down a shelf road through snow and mud with several vehicles getting stuck and recovered.  An excellent day overall.

Here are some more off-road trail reports and pictures:

Crandall Peak Trail - May 28, 2005
Baltic Ridge Trail - June 26, 2005
Frank Raines OHV Park - July 16, 2005
Sierra Buttes and Gold Valley - July 25, 2005
Corral Hollow and Slick Rock Trail - Aug 20, 2005
2005 Desert Odyssey - Oct 10-17, 2005
King Solomon Mine, NV - Feb 11, 2006
Hollister SVRA - Feb 18, 2006
Lava Beds Camp - March 11, 2006
Nevada Copper Belt Tour - April 1, 2006
Project Shoal and Pointsettia Camp Tour - April 2, 2006
Virginia City, NV - May 13 & 14, 2006
Wonder and Jackpot, NV - July 8, 2006

Maintenance and Modification History

Our Freelander has been a very reliable vehicle.  Much credit is due to Land Rover Redwood City who have performed all periodic service and some warranty work.  Pictures of the modifications made to the Freelander can be found HERE.  Below is a summary of the mods and maintenance:

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Updated  3/31/07