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Blog/Vlog Docs

Why I Switched from Tesla Model 3
Already completed the Blog.
Want to discuss top 5 reasons I made the switch:
Added Charging time on Long Trips
Needed something more capable for Colorado Exploration
Autopilot vs other companies
Phone to Car experience
More Space
Did like
driving experience, being able to charge at home, comfort
Hyundai Tucson Review
2023 Tucson
Purchased in Dec of 2022 and have about 13000 miles on it. Have takes several cross country trips through the Rockies. Limited
Purchase experience was just ok. Loved the sales person, but dislike how the dealer does business
Things I like:
Love the Infotainment system. Carplay and Android auto are great in this vehicle. Bose sound is good. 12 inch display is easy to see and use and I can see it clearly with polarized glasses, which is not true of all cars
Not wireless yet though
Driving features
Driver Assistance is generally really good, but does sometimes slow/break for no reason
Love the Blindspot system in the mirrors
Could do without the cameras showing in the driver display
Excellent headlights, though I get flashed a lot on low and with the automatic high beams
360 degree camera is clear and very good for parking or on a forest road.
Generally comfortable. Seats are a little on the hard side, but high driving position, heated/cooled seats and heated steering wheel are all great.
Has seat memory too. Wish the side mirrors adjusted with that feature
Solid utility and space
Good Ground clearance and decent forest road performance as well.
Will be using it as a light overlander for the next year or so
Looks nice both outside and in.
Things I don’t like:
Engine and Transmission is underpowered. The hybrid or plug-in would be better. Dealer wanted $5000 over MSRP for PHEV and $2000 over for the hybrid. We were not willing to pay for that.
Transmission. Every Huyndai I have ever had just struggles between being underpowered and having a strange shifting issues. If it’s not in Sport mode the car just doesn’t like to move at all and trying to overtake anyone or merge in California traffic is not easy to do. Further, in the mountains the car really struggles. I have had it twice cut power and tell me the engine is overheating for about 15-20 secs going up mountain terrain, even thought the gauge reads fine, the it suddenly resets and is fine. We also had an issue with a break overheating on the downhills one time.
Also have a break issue that we’ll need to get checked out at th next service.
Gas mileage is so so. It can be amazing over 30 on the highway or horrible around 18-19 in town. Mostly I’ve been around 25 mpg combined over that 10000.
The roof rack is very disappointing. We wanted to add a roof top tent, something other vehicles in this segment can do an our car came with the roof racks. But I spend hours looking online and even contacted the dealer to find out if the roof could handle a tent with people. I could mount the tent, but that would take the entire dynamic load. There is no listing for the static load of the rack system and no listin for the weight that the roof can handle. So we have yet to add a tent.
I could do without the sunroof or and the blindspot cameras as well.
But were going to put this to the test over the next year as we do some overland camping even without the rtt.
What is Overlanding

Overlanding Expo

Overlanding Buildout Series

Hiking in Colorado

Hiking In the Bay

Glassparency Review

Leaving the Bay
Hey, BeninBeta here, and today I’m going to talk about why I’m happy to leave the Bay Area in California.
I’ll talk about how we got here, what’s good about the Bay and why I’ll be happier in Colorado. Before we get into it, hit the subscribe button and if you find this video interesting please hit that like button too.
How we Got to Cali
My wife and I lived our first 40 years in Wisconsin and that is where all of our family and most of our friends are. I worked as an educator and then as technology coordinator for a school district and then a small university in Wisconsin. We had a great life in Wisco, nice house and neighborhood and everything was very affordable. But both Misty and I were getting tired of the fairly brutal and long winters in Wisconsin. We had visited Colorado a couple of times and really liked that area and often thought that would be great place to retire of move to if there was an opportunity.
Since i worked in technology I applied now and then for different positions and one in 2019, a company offered me a position, but it was in Mountain View California. We had been to that area several times, and while we liked it we knew it was very expensive. But in the end we decide to take the shot, thought at first Misty had decided to stay behind too see if I liked it. It didn’t take too long after day after day of me video calling while walking the dog in Aug and Sept and a couple of visits along with Wisconsin experiencing a terrible rainy winter before Misty was on her way out too, after having snagged a new job as well. We both made big leaps into very different roles as well as to a new place where we didnt’ know anyway. The biggest issue was COVID for us as it shut the Bay down for 2.5 years only a couple of months after we moved. That likely impacted our experience here too.
So why would we want to leave the bay area then? Let’s start with what’s good about California.
First as I mentioned already the weather, south of San Francisco at least is pretty fantastic if you love sun. You can generally guarantee that it’ll be sunny and 65-85 pretty much everyday from April to November. The winters are mild, but can be rainy, which we experienced this year, 2023.
Compared to Wisconsin, the outdoor activities suited us much better. We love hiking and the foothills around the Bay are great to hike year round. Plus you get a little elevation which was hard to find in Wisconsin. Along with that you have amazing outdoor spaces like Muirwoods, Big Basin (we were able to hike that before the fire), the Santa Cruz coast, John D Grant State Park, Almaden Quicksilver (our local favorite, Yosemite, Sequoia, and Pinnicles are all close by from 30 mins or less to about 3 hours. So we have really enjoyed that. The ocean is nice too though we’re more mountain people.
There are a lot of things to do here and may great coffee shops, cideries, breweries and restaurants too. Though we found it hard to sometimes find restaurants that met some of our dietary preferences and we have found better options in Colorado for most of those as well. we tend to prefer nature the quite over the city in general so that may be why we didn’t find as much as we could have.
Air Travel to and from the Bay is very easy so that’s a huge plus when we wanted to other places or when someone came to visit.
Being able to drop to just one car was pretty awesome too. Public trans is pretty great in the Bay and we live walking distance to many of the places that we shop.
The last one I’ll mention is the diversity of people here. I really learned a lot about other cultures and enjoyed meeting people from a diverse background especially during the first few months before the Pandemic.
That's about it where I’d draw the line of what we liked.
Why am I glad to be leaving the Bay?
One of the big reasons would be what Colorado offers us that we don’t get here, but that might be another video.
Firstly. though since I arrived here with our Dog Rue, we have both suffered from pretty chronic allergies. When I’m in the Bay I generally have a plugged left ear the entire time I’m here and am always itchy. Rue is worse though she has had several skin infections, and suffers from Red itchy skin becuase she has contact allergies and she seems to be allergic to contacting California. We have lived in two different cities and both continued to suffer. We both are on allergies med and she gets a monthly shot while I take drops. We have to wipe her feet and private parts after pretty much every walk and bath her weekly. In Colorado those issues really subside.
I think alot of that is due to point number 2. It’s generally just dirty here. I can just taste dirt when we walk outside and everything get filthy if you leave the windows open. The air quality can get pretty bad, especially during fire season, but when we wipe Rues feet after a walk theyr’e just filthy. Again they are not like that in Colorado.
I would also mention that while I love the sun, I also like season’s and miss fall and even a little bit of winter, both of which we get in colorado, and still get 300 days of shine. So that’s another one for me.
Now to some bigger issues.
People. While I have met some great friends here, all through work, people in general are kind of jerks here. When we hike the majority of people don't acknowledge you at all, even when you greet them. We miss that midwest nice for sure. If a stranger is nice to you here they probably want something from you.
Further, there is a lot of homeless people here, but the issue is not that there are alot, it’s that people don’t care even when they say they do. If the government tries to setup housing people whol own homes here, which tend to be on the wealthy side will protest and really just want them shipped some where else so the problem will never go away.
That leads me to the last two reasons.
Traffic is terrible here most of the time. It was amazing during the pandemic, but if you don’t leave early on a weekend to get somewhere, you’ll probably sit in traffic. Forget going somewhere during the week. Add to that crazy people and motorcycle laws that allow them to split lanes and it’s just insane. One time we were riding with a friend and there as a guy actively trying to get rear ended. He kept pulling in front of different cars and smashing his breaks. What is that?
But the number 1 reason is cost. The cost of everything here is just insane. Taxes super high and for what? Car registration super high, gas, ridiculous, and groceries are high too. But the worst one is housing. The median home price here is 1.68 million dollars. Rent for a decent place that takes large dogs in $4000 for a 1-2 bed apartment and for a townhouse 4500+. And being from Wisconsin we just have a tough time with that. We cannot afford a house for sure and don’t want to pay that amount for.a nice place to live. if you don’t have a large animal, it’s much less expensive but we didn’t want to give up our dog.
So there you have it.that’s the good and and bad about the bay area from my perspective. Was it worth moving here? Yes we needed that push to figure out where we wanted to settle and to prove we could adapt to different jobs, so I’m grateful for the opportunity, but I’m ready for the next chapter.
Thanks for watching and I hope to see you next time. Remember Die with Memories not Dreams! See you next time!
Channel Intro

Why I Created My YouTube Channel, BenInBeta

Welcome to my channel, BenInBeta! My name is Ben and I created this channel to share my experiences with trying new things and living life in beta.
I've always enjoyed exploring new tools and products, whether it's the latest tech gadget or a new hiking trail. I believe that life is an ongoing experiment and that we should never stop learning or trying new things. That's why I want to share my experiences with you, to inspire you to try new things too!
In addition to trying out new products and tools, I also love spending time outdoors. Hiking is something I do regularly and overlanding is something that my wife and I are just getting into. There's nothing quite like the feeling of being out in nature, exploring new trails and discovering beautiful scenery.
Through my YouTube channel, I hope to share my experiences with you and inspire you to embrace your own inner adventurer. Whether you're interested in trying out a new product or exploring the great outdoors, there's always something new to discover.
I enjoy watching many other channels on YouTube just as I’m sure you do and I learn so much from those videos. As someone who has worked in Education for the passed 20 years, I enjoy helping others learn and I hope you enjoy the videos I produce.
Thanks for joining me on this journey, and don't forget to hit that like button on the vides you enjoy or find helpful, leave a comment to let me know what you want more of and what questions you might have and subscribe to my channel, to stay up-to-date on my latest adventures!
Keep embracing your inner beta tester, die with memories, not dreams, and I'll see you in the next video!

First Overlanding Trips
Trip 1: Failed Launch
Learned a lot about my vehicle and that it could handle many of the roads and terrain where we could get started Overlanding. Lots of cars and full campsites. Went on a Saturday afternoon.
Trip 2: First Success
First time with Misty and 4th of July Weekend. 1 am, got started late in the morning
Planned a bit more ahead of time using Trials Offroad and Gaia to decide and try Pike National Forest Near Deckers.
All the sites were full and we stopped and ate lunch at a pull off. After that we drove a few miles more and came across a dispersed campground. No facilities, just a bunch of sites. Got all setup and a family with kids setup pretty close to us. Glad that they were out there, but they were loud.
Took a walk with the dog up an offshoot road and found another site, that was farther away from everyone else, but there were signs that only high clearance vehicles and the trail was a little more difficult.
We decided to go ahead and move camp and the Tucson made it without any damage, but that was definitely near the end of it’s capability.
The new site had great views and was more private, but still near the campground area. Lot’s gunfire, broken glass and fireworks made it less relaxing, but we got a great fire going, and enjoyed ourselves.
After a nice hike we relaxed by the fire and headed to bed in the back of the Tucson with Rue.
This trip we used our two backpacking thermarest pads and the car was not super level and we didn’t sleep well at all. this experience led to our exped purchase which is much better. Since we didn’t sleep we got up early made coffee and headed home.
We also learned that while our backpacking stove can work, something a little be bigger would be better
the table I picked up at Sam’s club for $30 worked great
Rue’s bed was very dirty needed a better solution for that.
Water storage of around 5 gallons would probably be good for 1-2 nights with Rue along.
Trip 3: Awesome, but make a List

Kakadu Shower
I recently purchased and then returned the Kakadu Outback Shower from Kakadu USA. While it has a lot going for it, I ran into some issues and realized that it might be more than we needed for our overlanding needs. We’ll be trying out the Geyser Shower in the future. So here’s my first product review on this channel. Please let me know what you think, like the video if you find in interesting or helpful, subscribe to the channel, and share the link.

Mini 4 Pro After 5+ Flights: Still Worth It and Lessons Learned
What’s up everyone, BeninBeta here and I have about 7 or so flights with the Mini 4 Pro under my belt so I wanted to give a few more impressions of this drone as well as a few lessons I have learned as a brand new drone pilot.
Lets start with a few lessons I think are important for new drone pilots.
Be sure to plan prepare before you head out.
Update your firmware so that your drone is on the latest version. This should help ensure you have the best experience possible.
After doing that be sure to check your settings. I thought I had everything set for my first flight, but found out that I was in photo mode, and I was just taking pictures instead of video until I figured that out . I have also found that after updating the firmware sometimes settings are reset to the default. Ensuing that everything is set correctly before you head out might be the difference from getting the a great shot or missing it
Use the B4UFly app, it’s extremely helpful, especiallly for someone new to identify where you can fly, as well as going through a preflight checklist and creating a flight plan. This app is pretty well done which is less the case for the FAA website.
The FAA rules around drone flight can be difficult to understand. I had lots of great comments from many different viewers, thanks for that by the way, and there were many different opinions on part 107 especially. As a product person, I feel this is an area where the FAA could do a better job in being clear about what the rules are, but many other government sites and rules are the same and that is unfortunate. That being said, you should use the resources on the site to determine where your flying fits in the scheme of things.
Takeoff and landing can be more of a challenge than you might think. It can be hard to find a spot to launch and land your drone that is flat and won’t coat the drone in dirt and dust, which is the enemy of any electronic device. I have had a few minor incidents with this one, where the Mini 4 Pro wouldn’t take off because of a piece of grass and another where the only place to land was on top of my car and the drone slid into my shark fin. Luckily there was no damage either time. However, some viewers commented that you can get a portable landing pad. I did pick one up from amazon and I’ll give it a review shortly, but it was helpful.
Kits are nice, but not necessarily needed. While I definitely recommend the controller with the screen as it’s super easy to use, has a great screen and allows you to continue using your phone for other things, If you are don’t have the extra money for the kit with that controller or for the fly more/fly more plus. That is just fine. I have been able to use my drone the first several times with the one smaller battery it came with. However I think this does depend on how you plan to use your drone. Generally, I’ll take about 5-15 mins of video in a location and then move on to another one, and I have just plugged the drone in to charge in between flights. And that has worked. I have been worried when it was pretty windy and the battery drains much more quickly if it’s windy, but I have still gotten the shots I wanted. All that being said, a multiple and larger battery is definitely helpful and a good upgrade if/when you are able to that.
Practice is important, and Remember to Hit record! More than once I have forgotten to hit record on my flights and have not captured anything from the drone. I did remember to record on the controller though, but the lesson here is practice flights are important. This way you get used to the controls, understand what all the buttons do and on screen indicators show and to help you realize if you are recording or not. One example of learning how things works is with using features like Mastershots or Quickshots which because they are different modes mean you have to stop recording video. These modes will automatically start recording when you activate them, but if you want to record after using one of them you need to hit record again. It’s also important to practice using those special modes to understand the space and angles the drone needs to complete these automated shots. But once you get the hang of them, you get some really fantastic shots.
So is the Mini 4 Pro still worth it after several flights?
First, If you are thinking about picking up a drone, it’d be awesome if you used one of the links in the description or on my website, . You won’t pay any more so even if you are waiting for a black Friday deal, it’d be awesome if you used one my links to help me keep making great videos. And if you like this video if you found it helpful, subscribe to the channel and share the video with others you think might like it.
So is it worth it? It’s unbelievable the shots you can capture with a drone and the MIni 4 Pro makes them easy. That being said while I have not used a Mini 3 or Mini 3 Pro I think if you picked up either of those as your first drone, you’d still be more than happy with the results, but the Mini 4 totally worth it and DJI really knocked it out of the park with this one.
I hope you enjoyed this video, thanks for so much for watching, remember to live your life in beta and I’ll see you next time!

Likes, Dislike, and We’ll Sees
Comfort great seats very adjustable including 4 way lumbar. Hot heated steering wheel and seats and decent cooling too.
Drivability. The Tacoma has plenty of power, smooth acceleration and solid braking. I’m not wanting for more power at all. It’s easy to pass people, get on the highway and climb hills. Misty also commented on this.
Ride quality is very good and so much better than my 2001 Ranger! I did lower the pressure in my AT4Ws and that made the ride better on those tires. The stock tires were solid from the beginning.
Cameras are very good and very clear. Lots of different angles and I’m excited to try them on the trails too.
JBL system has been better than expect and sounds great for what I listen too. Others have not had the same experience though. I also really enjoy the fake exhaust/engine noise that Toyota has added. It sounds good, even Misty commented on it sounding good.
The cabin is quiet. The road, engine and tire noise is low overall. It’s better than the non premium models. I do like hearing the turbo now and then too.
Wallet key. Love that I don’t have to carry a regular key and it works perfectly every time.
Overall Tech. Love the 14 inch screen it’s very high resolution and easy to see and use for Android Auto/Carplay Also love the Offroad Tech. It’s easy to switch modes and between 2 and 4 wheel drive, though if your are stoped you do have to move a bit to get 4 hi to kick in sometimes. The mult-terrain modes at least with deep snow is very good. Digital Rearview mirror is better than I thought it would be. It really helps to see behind you.
Love that there are physical controls for all of the important things. It makes using the vehicle intuitive and easy.
Software issues: The driver display doesn’t like to keep your settings and you have to hold ok before you can readjust it, making it hard to do when you are driving. Android auto sometimes just doesn’t come up when you start the vehicle. Have seen in forums that this is an issue with Carplay as well.
Digital Key/Connected Services I tried the digital key and when it worked it was really nice not to have to even carry the wallet key, but it rarely worked. I sometimes couldn’t open the doors and often couldn’t start the truck without have to take out my phone and open the Toyota app. Further after looking at the manual, if your phone can’t contact the Toyota servers it won’t work at all. This is very poorly designed. It also requires a subscription to work. Hyunda is doing this right now and adding keys to Apple and Android wallets which is a much better way to implement the digital key and... no sub.
Along with that the toyota app likes to notify you about everything so I pretty much turned off all of the notifications
Payload. I am disappointed in the 1200 lbs payload of the Tacoma. given we are using it for overlanding have even another 100 lbs would be great and there seems to be no good reason why it can’t be more. The heavier hybrids will supposedly have a higher payload and that just doesn’t make sense. I have to give it to Ford, they did a great job on payload. 1500lbs in the Lariat FX4 is awesome. Even the Raptor has 1300 lbs of payload. Some of the GM models have a decent amount, but the higher trims are more in line with the Tacoma.
18.2 gallon gas tank. It made 0 sense to remove 3 gallons from the tank with only a 1-2mpg gain overall.
Automatic Door Locking. I had thought that when a driver walked away from the Truck, the doors were supposed to lock automatically. There is a setting for auto door locks. But what this setting actually does is just relock the doors if you unlocked the doors, but didn’t open the door. That’s pretty much useless to me. I can see it being potentially beneficial to people who street park, but it would have been more useful if the doors lock when you walked away.
We’ll Sees
Gas mileage. The Truck says 14.8 so far But if that’s the case, I’ll should be empty at this point. 14.8 X 15 gallons (18 gallon tank, 3ish for a reserve) is 222 miles I have over 200 miles on it at this point, mostly city and a good deal of idling playing with features or shooting videos as well as some playing in the snow. So I’m hoping a reset on the next fillup will make that more accurate.
Software Fixes: I’m hoping Toyota will figure out some of these software bugs and iron those out.
Rear seat / interior cargo room. So far it’s been fine. Even with the dog in back we were able to get Misty’s luggage in the cab. We haven’t had more than 2 people and a dog.
Rear bed power. I still have yet to test out how this will work for overlanding and it may not be quite good enough or even work for longer trips.
App: I have not used it much. I don’t really remote start my vehicles and I’m not sure I’d pay for any subscriptions once the trials are over.

There are no rows in this table

1985 Ranger
1995 Taurus
1999 Saturn LS
2001 Ranger
2002 Saturn
2003 Pilot
2006 Mazda
2007 CRV
2010 Insight
2012 Elantra
2012 Jetta
2013 Subaru Legacy
2105 Impreza
2017 Audi A4
2019 Santa Fe
2021 Tesla
2023 Tucson (Current)
2012 Civic (Current)

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