Farewell U1300L


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The Experience

The day has finally come to see my trusty Unimog 1300L drive away in the hands of another.  After 15 years and untold tens-of-thousands of dollars of repairs, paint and mechanical upgrades, the truck has been sold.  Both Kathleen and I shed a few tears at the thought of its departure and our emotional reactions were much stronger than either of us expected.  But, we both agreed that selling the truck was the right decision.

The basic issue was the lack of air conditioning in the camper.  After our extended east coast trip last year we both agreed that having a/c was an absolute requirement.  Adding a/c to the mog's camper would have been a big deal and caused us to examine alternatives.  In the end, we decided that a somewhat bigger platform was the correct solution.  We were aware that the new platform, in this case a Mercedes 1017A, would not be able to take us all the places that our old mog would go, but it would do the vast majority of them.  So, we purchased the 1017 and completed the build out.  Once the 1017 was complete, there was no reason to retain ownership of the mog.  Plus, our neighbors were getting tired of looking at my stuff in the cul-de-sac in front of my house.  So, the only reasonable solution was to sell the vehicle to somebody that would use it in the manner that it had been designed.

In the end, the first person that saw and test drove the vehicle purchased it.  At the time of writing this page, he is in the central valley of California headed north to his home in the metro Seattle area.

On reflecting about the mog, I thought it would be useful to assemble a "best of" set of photos of experiences that we had with our truck.  The photos below span 15 years and were taken in a variety of places in Mexico, U.S.A. and Canada.  Enjoy.

The photos below are what we saw.

The photo I got in the mail in response to a query about a 1300L for sale in the Seattle area.  Based on this photo and conversations with the owner, we flew to Seattle to view the truck.  In the end, we decided this was "the one".  We purchased the truck in 1996 and it was shipped to me in San Diego on an 18-wheeler.

Inspecting under the hood prior to a test drive.  Note my balding head, but still with SOME hair!  1996.

Kathleen saddles up for her first test drive of the truck. 1996

On a summer road trip in 1997, we headed to Moab, UT.  Above, we chug up the Moab Rim trail which is very, VERY scary.

We also drove over Gemini Bridges with the truck.  1997.

Big ledges were really no obstacle to this truck.  1997.

At the end of our Moab trip we came by Lake Powell and ended up having to do a deep water crossing on Bullfrog Creek after a flash flood.  The fellow on the other side of the creek declined my offer to tow him accross and he sat there for hours.  1997.

In 1998, we returned to Moab, UT to the Easter Jeep Safari.  Above, the 1300L on the Hell's Revenge trail.

Four Wheeler Magazine wanted photos of the rig for an upcoming issue.  Golden Spike Trail, 1998.

Later in 1998, the OM352A diesel motor decided to go on vacation.  Number 5 & 6 cylinders were toast, requiring a rebuild or replacement.  The costs were about the same, so I opted for a new motor, straight from Mercedes.  $12,000 and 6 months later, the truck was better than new.

My good friend Kai did the work.  And a ton of work it was; it required tilting the cab to remove the engine as well as a number of other actions.  1998.

Once the rebuild and associated actions were completed, we got back in the saddle and hit the trails.  Sandstone canyon in Anza-Borrego park, 1999.

The photos taken at Moab the previous year finally found their way into print.  The above scan was from Four Wheeler Magazine.

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2000 was our first crossing of the Altar Desert.  The dunes in the Altar are massive and provided huge challenges to us even in our Unimogs.  We did the crossing with a U900, U1300 and a U1500.  The desert kicked our asses.  Above, we make camp on the first night.

The mog proved useful in supporting our Musicmatch company camping trips.  Above is the Fish Creek Dropoff in Anza-Borrego park.  2000.

Sometimes, the mog was used to perform more menial tasks such as hauling our toys to the sand dunes.  Glamis, CA 2000.

On another excursion into the desert, we had to rescue this Hummer.  He had driven on a flat for many miles because he did not have a spare.  When the belts in the sidewall fell apart, the tire turned into a flail and was damaging his fenders.  So, we used our rear winch to literally rip the tire off the rim so he could drive out on the steel rim.  2000.

Back to Moab for Mogs at Moab 2000.  The photo above is the Devil's Crack on the Moab Rim Trail.  Very scary.

Moab always provides challenging high-angle sandstone.  Hell's Revenge trail, 2000.

I did it for the very best reason: I could.

The mog is not a small truck.

The mog hates it when I ask it to do menial chores like pulling my 411 mini-mog.  Monument Valley, 2000.

After pulling out a vehicle in Borrego.  2001.

Back to the Altar Desert in Sonora, MX.  This time with REAL tires.  These tires were so wide we had to remove the fenders to use them.  They did not work very well and were later sold.  Above, Kathleen does her best Vanna White impression.  2002.

Like I said, tires did not perform very well.

2003.  Back to the Altar Desert for another flogging session.  This time on tires that actually work in sand: XM-47s.

Not stuck, just resting for a photo opportunity.

A narrow canyon near Calico, CA at MogFest 2003.

Kathleen drives down a steep dropoff in Fish Creek Canyon in the Borrego Desert.  2003.

Back to the Altar Desert, this time with a better bumper ornament.  2003.

Actually stuck and taking the "strap of shame".  2003 Altar Desert.

A sphincter tightening downgrade in the dunes.  2003.

Back in Borrego, Kathleen pilots the 1300 through a narrow canyon.  2004.

Deep into lower Baja Sur, the mog was photographed outside of Iglesia San Ignacio.  2004.

I had to tow a buddy's trailer after his daughter broke her arm and he had to evacuate her back to the U.S.  We continued north with his trailer and met him in San Diego.  2004.

Back to the Altar Desert, this time in search of fame by being the first group to reach the Confluence at 32N114W.  Above, Kathleen pilots the 1300 through soft dunes.  2005.

Pine trees at Laguna Hanson, Baja California Norte. 2005.

Near Los Pinacates east of the Altar Desert, Sonora, MX. 2005.

Kathleen preparing to dent my rear tool box at Calico.

Kathleen negotiates a tight squeeze in one of the canyons at Calico, CA. 2006.

The 1300 gets a hard-sided camper.  This event changed everything.  2007.

Test driving the camper in Borrego.  2007.

Preparing to set up camp.  Sea of Cortez, Sonora, MX. 2008.

Winching out of a snow bank in southern Utah.  2008.

A steep downgrade with broken transmission mounts.  Lake Powell area, UT.  2008.

Repairing a failed hub assembly, Helena, MT 2008.

Pucker Pass, Moab area, UT.  2008.

Guadalupe Canyon hot spring, Baja Norte. 2009.

El Paso mountains near InyoKern, CA. 2009.

U1300L vs. Ice Explorer, Alberta, CA. 2009.

Unimog vs. derelict car. 2009.

Unimog vs. skidder.  Fairbanks, AK 2009.

As far north as you can get by open road: Deadhorse Camp, AK.  2009.

Roadside repair of hole in oil pan.  Lake Eklutna, AK.  2009.

Working mog vs. vacationing mog.  Yukon Territory, CA.  2009.

Waiting for a ferry near Haines, AK. 2009.

Glacier Camp near Hyder, AK.  2009.

Mog vs. MAN.  Near Hyder, AK.  2009.

Reaction ferry on the Frasier River, BC, CA.  2009.

Ad hoc air hose repair near Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, CA.  2009.

Repairing the clutch flex line in Wenatchee, WA.  4 days waiting for parts.  2009.

Where the hell did the road go?  The whole road was washed out.  West Central Oregon, 2009.

On our way to Guadalupe Canyon in Baja California Norte.  2010.

Hog hunters checking out the mog.  Near Gonzales, TX.  2010.

Getting ready to party in the Everglade with some fellow moggers.  South Florida, 2010.

On Daytona Beach, FL 2010.

Mog vs. Grave Digger.  Southern Shores, FL 2010.

RV park camping in Lubec, ME.  2010.

Another hub failure.  Northern New Jersey, 2010.

Mogs on the Blue Ridge Parkway, NC 2010.

Repairing another hub failure, La Junta, CO 2010.

Mog and 1017A.

Putting the mog to work getting the new living quarters.  Colorado Springs, CO 2010.

Music Pass in the Sangre de Christo range, NM 2010.

Campground near Grants, NM.  2010.

Oracle Ridge, Santa Catalina mountains, Arizona.  2010.

1017A in service mode and U1300 preparing for Overland Expo.  I put the 1300 up for sale at the show.  2011.

Trailer prepared to get loaded with tires.

The mog is saying goodbye to the 1017.

The deal included a set of XM-47 tires and support equipment.

Scott, new owner, with Kathleen.  We both shed a few tears as Scott drove away.

Doing this page was a little trip down memory lane for me.  I had my mog for 15 years and we have been all over with it.  Frankly, until I did this page, I had forgotten how many places we have been and the good times that we have had in it.

I have every confidence that the good times will continue with the 1017A and hopefully it will provide us a few more creature comforts.

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 Copyright Bill Caid, 2011