We all have a trip of a lifetime that is on our bucket list. For Basil Lynch, that trip was something that incorporated his 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser – a trip from San Diego, California, to Purdue Bay, Alaska, and back.
Basil is an avid photographer and writer that covered his whole journey. Off-roading is nothing new to him; he has great memories of it from a young age. “When I was about 10 years old, my parents took me on a 4×4 tour of Moab,” said Basil. “I can remember sitting in the back seat of the Hummer laughing as we climbed steep hills and drove through water.”
“I don’t really have a single person influencing me, but it’s probably the entire overland community,” Basil continued. “There are so many unique people and vehicles. I’m always reading other overlander’s trip reports, trying to get ideas for my next big trip.”
Being prepared is the number one priority when heading out on adventures like Basil goes on. We had a chance to get more familiar with his vehicle nicknamed “The FJ.”
A Fully Loaded FJ Cruiser
Overlanding is the perfect combination of off-roading and being off the grid. “I was always pushing my FJ Cruisers limits trying to get out and take photos,” Basil explained. “So I guess my photography motivated me, I wanted to get deeper into the wilderness to take photos in remote locations.”
There is no particular vehicle that is the go-to overlanding rig. “The newest trend seems to be overlanding, which combines the outdoor world and 4×4 world,” Basil continued. “The best part about it is that you can use any vehicle. I’ve seen everything from school buses to Subarus.”
Basil bought the FJ out of a used car lot. He stopped by, test drove it, fell in love, and drove home with it. He has been building it for three years and has no plans on stopping anytime soon.
Plans for a new suspension, interior cargo storage, and a Dana 60 in the rear are all on the list of to-dos. Basil’s favorite part of the rig is the vehicle itself, and “That not many people build an FJ cruiser, especially to the extent that I have.”
This FJ Cruiser is loaded with aftermarket parts, which include a front suspension with Fox 2.5-inch extended travel coilovers with reservoirs, and a rear suspension with Icon 2.5-inch shocks with reservoirs and Toytec HD springs. Making sure that the vehicle has the right amount of traction are a set of 315/75R16 Yokomaha Geolandar AT G015 mounted on black 16-inch Level 8 Trackers.
All the work on the vehicle has been done by Basil with the advantage of knowing how to fix it if something happens on the trail. He has also done some modifications to help his expeditions, like a dual battery setup, Snomaster 80L fridge, and James Baroud Grand Raid roof top tent.
An 11,000-Mile Trip
For some, a weekend to the desert and back will do; for others like Basil, 43 days off the grid is more like it. The trip would allow him to enjoy many parts of the country and wild that some people never get to see.
“The preparation was finished for the trip, bags were packed, and the FJ was filled to the roof with gear,” Basil explained. “My brother, Sutton, and I left San Diego, leaving the beach behind and charging north towards Alaska.”
The trip did have its rough parts. “We were driving up to Glacier National Park, and I started hearing a weird sound,” Basil recalled. “There was a ticking sound coming from the drivetrain. We pulled over and discovered my rear differential had lost a tooth. We rolled into Polson, Montana and called East Coast Gear Supply, who I had gotten my gears from before. They were able to overnight me a new third member and have it delivered on the Saturday before Labor Day weekend. That Saturday, we were able to get the new third member installed in an AutoZone parking lot in under four hours.”
It isn’t always about the places, though. Sometimes, the people are a curiosity unto themselves. “One of the best things you can do while out on a trip is to talk to the locals,” Basil explained. “We were filling the gas tank just outside of Clinton, British Columbia, and I started talking to someone. He had mentioned how there was a trail that went around the back side of Highway 99 and dropped you back into Lillooet. We decided to give it a whirl, and it was so worth it. The trail wasn’t very challenging, just a long dirt road, but the views were amazing, winding through the mountains past huge farms.”
“Altogether, the trip was amazing,” Basil said. “My favorite part was just being able to drive up to the northernmost point in North America. It was insane sleeping under the northern lights. It was my first time seeing them. I don’t remember sleeping much that night. We just stayed up taking photos of the northern lights.”
Heading Out Into The Bush
With all of the adventures Basil has been on, there have been many lessons learned. “I used to go out with no spare parts, no way of communication without my cell phone, and no survival goods,” Basil said. “I now have a fully stocked vehicle with CB and ham radio, all of the spare parts I need, and food and water for seven days.”
“Go out and push your vehicle’s limits, but be safe while you do it,” Basil explained. “Don’t go and buy the most expensive lift kit or bumper right away. You just don’t know what you need until you’ve really used your vehicle.”
Be on the lookout next time you are out in the middle of nowhere; you may not be alone. Basil plans to continue to off-road his FJ and venture further out into the land of the unknown. To follow the next adventure, make sure you follow Basil’s website and Instagram.