The Standishes – Family Life on the Road

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@littlefamilybigjourney (Instagram)

– Tell us about yourself

We are Tom, Meghan, Ivy and Little Tom, a family of four who live full-time in an Earthcruiser as we begin our journey around the world. Our purpose in traveling is to welcome new ideas & explore new places with open minds and open hearts so we may learn, grow and improve. We seek to live simply and with less; to cherish & pursue relationships & experiences rather than ‘things.’ Above all, we seek to make the world a better place through positivity, love, patience, and service.

We spent the past decade founding, growing, and selling a manufacturing business and investing in real estate along the way. Beginning our journey in the Earthcruiser is a transition to a new phase of life where our goal is to be present parents to our children and experience as much beauty as the world will allow.

We’re currently piloting around the Western United States with plans for Baja in Fall 2021 and Europe 2022.

– What led you to EarthCruiser?

It’s been a lifetime process of discovery in terms of which vehicle meets the current needs of our family. In short, the EarthCruiser encompasses the best of off-roading and comfortable camping/living off grid. It all started when we were toddlers, both having parents who enjoyed trips traveling in camper vans during the 1980’s. Some of our earliest memories involve scouting for campsites and stoking warm fires with family. Fast forward 20 years later and having lived next to the world famous Rubicon Trail, naturally we gravitated toward heavily built jeeps for tackling the local rock trails. We learned the fundamentals of vehicle recovery, choosing lines, and self-reliance while deep off the beaten path. This phase also provided an opportunity for learning how to wrench on a vehicle, weld, and design proper suspension geometry when building an off-road vehicle. As we got older, our interest in traveling further became more important than local technical trails, and thus the transition to camper vans. We went through periods of having a 4×4 sprinter van (which was a little too light duty for our off-road interests), and most recently a Ford E-Series 4×4 with a Sportsmobile pop-top and a custom interior we fabricated in our garage. The Ford was a great vehicle in many ways –it was solid, had a heavy-duty drivetrain, and short wheelbase — however, as we added two kids to our growing family the van became a little too small for long-term travel. The Sportsmobile pop-top is nice, but it didn’t provide the cold weather insulation and space needed for comfortable living. Both of the former are major advantages we see in the Earthcruiser platform. Personally, we feel that most camper vans when fully outfitted max out the gross vehicle weight rating and become more prone to breaking drivetrain parts on the trail, along with less than ideal handling characteristics. The Earthcruiser, being based off a medium duty truck chassis, is out of the gate much more suited to the weight needs of a camper buildout and can do it with much larger water and fuel capacities than the van segment. 

– How do you use your EarthCruiser?

For our family, the Earthcruiser is a full-time house and deep forest exploration vessel! We use the EC to travel long distances to new places, on the pavement, then into forest service roads, and finally we search for trails of medium technicality (for a jeep) which translate into harder technicality for a 12,600lb 4×4 house.

– Why do you think it’s the best option out there?

The Earthcruiser is a perfect balance of size, capability, storage, and amenities. In terms of size, it is 21.4 feet long and 6.75 feet wide, the rig does amazingly well on tight trails and also in busy cities. It’s an incredible design, having nearly 14 feet of living space on such a short vehicle. Recently in Utah while driving to a bucket list destination we encountered long deep sand tracks with juniper trees overhanging onto the trail. Our friends traveling in a heavy duty International 4×4 extended cab truck with an 18-foot box and 46” tires had to skip the trail due to size concerns. The EC floated through the sand and avoided the many overhanging trees and bushes which rewarded us with incredible photo opportunities and an empty parking lot for camping at the destination.

– Tell us about a favorite trip in your EarthCruiser.

The Earthcruiser is still very new to us. We’ve been living in it full-time for six months and so far it’s been one giant trip which is really just beginning. Most recently we traversed north through Arizona and Utah during the beautiful spring season with a high percentage of the miles logged being off-road. We camped within feet of the edge of the Grand Canyon, hiked tall slot canyons with minimal crowds and rode world class mountain bike trails. The Earthcruiser allows us to get a little further off the beaten path than the rest, which has meant minimal crowds and unspoiled sights. 

– What is a favorite feature?

There are so many to choose from, and once you start poking around an Earthcruiser you realize the incredible amount of purpose built features and thought that has been put into the vehicle. Many of the design features could only be the result of decades worth of Overland travel, which founders Lance and Michelle and their talented staff have done.

Some favorite features are; locking drawers and high windows for security when traveling internationally, shower/mud room in the entryway for space saving and ease of keeping the house clean, water recirculation to extend the most precious resource when off grid, sound deadening in cab, fiberglass/foam core construction for strength, insulation and protection against condensation damage, and torsion free sub-frame for longevity of the house when traveling over rough terrain.

One of our most favorite features is the Earthcruiser suspension system. It’s shockingly smooth on and off road. After letting some air out of the tires, you can literally bomb down washboard dirt roads and for a vehicle of this weight, it’s like riding on a cloud. The leaf springs have been properly matched to the weight of the vehicle and the large diameter shocks with remote reservoirs help dampen the bumps so well. 

– Do you have a favorite type of terrain or geographic area you like to take your EarthCruiser?

We prefer the deserts of the southwest and the tree covered forests of the Pacific Northwest. Mostly we like to be where there’s good weather and new roads to explore. Good weather to us is powder for ski touring in the winter, or spring moisture in the deserts, or mild summer temps at high mountain lakes.

– Do you have any dream trips planned?

Currently we’re gearing up to send the EC on a boat in 2022 to either 1) Northern Europe, or 2) Australia/New Zealand. If you have interest in following our journey around the world with two kids, you can find us on Instagram @littlefamilybigjourney.

– Have you ever taken your EC international/overseas?

Not yet…. very soon though 🙂

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