Editor’s note: Karissa and Linhbergh are regulars in the automotive industry, which means they have plenty of experience with all the gear and equipment out there. But for their 1999 Mitsubishi Montero, they chose BFGoodrich® All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires for one simple reason: they wanted the best.
Karissa was born and raised in a small town in Texas. She grew up around her family’s car audio shop, attended car events, and was surrounded by the automotive consumer industry. She became heavily influenced by her older brother, and is also a huge fan of Japanese culture. Karissa began wrenching on cars at a young age and found herself behind the wheel of a fully built 1994 Mazda RX-7.
Linhbergh was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. He grew up immersed in the outdoors. Hiking in the mountains, days in the forests or on the lakes and the beach were all normal weekend activities in Northern California. He was never into cars growing up. But when he relocated to Los Angeles 15 years ago, he spent around 2.5 hours a day, in a car, commuting to work every day. The thought of wanting to love the car he spent so much time in became real! And thus, he got his first real car: a 1992 Mazda Miata. From there, it became an explosion of parking lot meets, track days, tinkering in the garage, weekend drives up the mountains, and exploring other car cultures. He, of course, started experimenting taking photos of his Miata with a point-and-shoot camera, which has blossomed into a decade-long career.
Fast forward to today, the JDM stayed strong with both Karissa and Linhbergh as they’ve added a 1999 Mitsubishi Montero to their garage. It’s nice to not always think about steering clear of potholes, and knowing that their vehicle is capable of clearing rocks on a trail is still something the both of them are getting used to.
The Montero came about because they realized how often they wanted to trade the hustle and bustle of the city for the solitude and stillness of nature. They started looking at Toyotas, but realized they were out of their budget. They started looking at alternatives, and fell in love with the look and features of a 1999 Mitsubishi Montero with its stock over fenders. The Montero offered them everything they had hoped for. It was rugged, reliable, cost effective, and looked so damn cool with a bit of dirt flung all over it.
One thing led to another and they started to modify their truck to suit their needs for living on the road. What was originally a simple point-A-to-point-B weekend vehicle became a full-fledged SUV to carry them, and their dog, out on a trail for weeks, and potentially months! Upgrades to suspension, tires, and adding an ARB roof top tent helped them be a little more comfortable while out in the bush. The installation of solar panels and a second battery helped supply their power needs for a refrigerator and the ability to work remotely wherever they may be.
“Working more than 10 years in the automotive industry has definitely influenced our choices in equipment and gear,” says Linhbergh. “You start to realize that paying money upfront really does go a long way. When you pay more, you get a much, much better product, and one that lasts a long time. Gone are the days of buying cheap modifications, or gear. We categorize ourselves as “heavy use” users of equipment, which means we put everything to use its absolute limit: tires, suspension, wheels, camera gear, tent, sleeping bags, hiking clothes, and cooking equipment all see pretty heavy, and sometimes extreme, usage.”
That’s what led them to choose BFGoodrich® All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires for their Montero. “Working in the automotive industry, you know that BFGs are the best in the off-road sector. KO2s are the quietest, best functioning, and aesthetically aggressive all-terrain tire on the market,” says Linhbergh. “We, of course, wanted the best.” (For the record, they run a 285/75R16 on a 16x8” +0 wheel.)
Karissa and Linhbergh have owned their Montero for two years, and in that time, they’ve put over 40,000 miles on it. “Long weekend getaways have been what our schedules allow,” says Linhbergh. “We spend much of our time up California’s infamous Highway 395 in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Living in California, we are blessed with an abundance of scenery. The epic coast lines along PCH, with its stunning views, never get old.”
The couple recently did a two-week trip to Utah and Colorado. Making their way east of California, they began to fall in love with the desert. They explored Zion NPS’ narrows, and Colorado’s vast network of OHV trails and parks. They’ve explored countless places which makes it tough to narrow down favorites, but Yosemite, Sedona, and the public land of Northern California and Utah rank at the top. For 2019, they’ve got even more in store.
“We plan to spend the New Year with friends in Baja, Mexico, and explore the whole peninsula. Throughout 2019, we hope to venture out further across the United States. In 2020 and beyond, our goal is to trek to Alaska, and eventually tackle the South American continent. Exploring southern Africa is also on the books!”
Follow Karissa and Linhbergh on Instagram at @gondirtin.