We arrived on Thursday evening to the smiling face of Zazou(Jacques) at the steps of the Wilson Lake Inn. We made arrangements on the pre-run to share a suite as base camp for the weekend. After some last minute changes my rig was loaded with schwag from all of our sponsors.
The event started Friday morning with registration at the Rocky Mountain Terrain Park. Eric and FJTeddy were eagerly awaiting everyone’s arrival at the front gate as the Toyota Trail Team set up for the event at the pavilion area. Will, Ahmed, Garrett, Jimmy, and Dennis were revved up for a weekend of wheelin'.
First up was a tough run which was led by Will from the Trail Teams (TT) and Joe (a roofing contractor from the area) with a badazz, big time modified Chevy S-10. He was familiar with the trails, since there was no available trail map. Our Group included Will(TT) with FJ in NEPA, myself, Zazou, Ahmed and Jimmy (TT) in the TRD Taco. We encountered a slippery slope right off the bat that caused us to take a detour onto some more forgiving trails. Many of the trails in the park are very raw. We returned around lunch to regroup and welcome some more registrants.
After a break for lunch and some trail talk we began our second run. This group included Joe, Will, myself, Stoney, a four runner, an 86 mini Toyota pickup with about 30 gears locked front and rear, a Discoverer, and some older model Range Rovers including a diesel that was unstoppable. Unfortunately all three FJ's had to winch up the first incline which was extremely steep and embedded with round boulders that made the hill look like a cemetery.
The other group went on a first timer feeling out your rig trail run with Garrett from the TT. After a day of some hard wheelin' we sat and caught up with some old friends and were introduced to some new ones. Friday night it rained cats and dogs. A few people were camping but managed to weather the storm. It definitely rained hard enough to change the trail conditions significantly.
There were two runs on Saturday. Both took us out to the surrounding wilderness. One run led by Will was a 100 mile trail run through the forest and our run wound up being basically the same. The first leg of our trip took us through the Maine pines into a large clearing with a tranquil pond. Everyone hopped out and took in the scenery. Upon returning to the park we were greeted by Mark from Superwinch who gave us an in depth product presentation with a Q&A that followed. Thanks to Superwinch for their participation in the event. After some lunch prepared by the John Steele(owner of RMTP) and his crew we ran miles upon miles of old and fresh fire roads and logging trails. The scenery in New England in early fall is breath taking. We all returned to the pavilion area for a good old Maine Clambake with lobster, steamers, mashed potatoes, and corn on the cob as a reward from a long day on the trails.
After dinner everyone gathered for the big raffle. Donations were made by ICON Vehicle Dynamics/KLM Performance who sponsored the event shirts, Superwinch, Rough Country, Titan Canada, ProComp,Trd parts (Toyota of Dallas), Rasta, Ellis Precision(FJoel), Magnaflow, Mile Marker, Warn, Spidertrax, Interco Tires,4x4 group buy , Got Cruiser, Toyo Tires. Thank you to all of the sponsors whom without we could not have had such a great event. The highlight of the raffle was when FJinNEPA(Mike) won a 3" Rough Country lift for his rig and then a set of 9" ProComp lights to follow it up with! Everyone was excited for Mike. Congrats! Again we had torrential rain on Saturday night rendering the trails downright nasty. Washouts and mud everywhere. I opted to stay back as my rig was loaded with a new Superwinch EPi9000, my recovery and tool boxes, and all the weekends luggage. Two Trail runs left, one difficult, led by Garrett who had Danielle, an assistant to the marketing director for Toyota North America, as a passenger who had to catch a flight soon after noon. They returned after finding the trails to be more than a handful.
The second group led by Will(TT) would leave at 9:30 AM for a three hour tour that turned into a "WinchFest" as just about everyone in the group need to be winched . This group of about 12 rigs were on the trails until 6:00PM Sunday evening enduring a grueling battle with the Maine mud. With only minor carnage, with the exception of a broken rear differential on the Trail Teams TRD Taco, everyone made it out safely. Thank you to the all of our sponsors and the Toyota Trail Team for making this a memorable event for all that attended and to John Steele of the Rocky Mountain Terrain Park for having us. Wheel On!
Special thanks goes to the park staff and guides!
Article by Peter Braatz