Our cover and new featured editor is none other than Ryan Millen, of Millen Adventures. You may have seen Ryan around Baja, Taupo, and other various off road races. Well, he shares some of his Baja passion with us in this issue. Jim from Tacoma Mag has some great coverage of Cruise Moab, Beau Johnston from Living Overland shares some TrekPak tips with us, and Tomas from MyFJCruiser.org shares his Hole In The Rock Experience. We have Mudfling #7 coverage, Overland Expo 2013 coverage, and much more. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the July 2013 issue!
Until next time, Tread Lightly, Stay the Trail, and HAVE FUN!
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I was very stoked last May for my first trip to Moab & the 2013 Cruise Moab event! The drive to get there was an eventful journey all on it’s own. I-70 was closed due to a blizzard and accidents so we decided to go through Buena Vista, Montrose, and get back on the freeway at Grand Junction. Finally, we got off of the Interstate and made our way down highway 191 and into Moab. The scenery along the way was unbelievable to say the least. Driving past the entrance to Arches National Park set the scene for what was sure to be an epic adventure.
We actually drove right through town, turned right at McDonald’s and out Kane Creek Road for about 15 minutes. With this being my first trip to Moab, I wanted to camp somewhere with a truly Moab feel. We set up camp in a BLM area that was surrounded by shear walls and views that were simply amazing. Not a bad place to camp for my first trip to Moab for sure!
You may have seen some of our livestream of the build we accomplished last weeked. I’ve been told that the audio was sub-par so please accept my apologies for that. This build went pretty much as expected and I can’t wait to try out the heater later this summer and into the fall, I really think it will make a huge difference (especially for the little explorers) in the CVT RTT on our Manley Trailer.
At $1231 directly from Adventure Trailers, this kit saves you $550 over the fully assembled Hot Box portable heater. If you have a little skill with hand tools, are comfortable with a little electrical and propane gas work, and have about 4:15(ish) to complete the build, this may be the perfect kit for you. Plus by saving that kind of dough you’ll be able to buy printed copies of FJC Magazine for the next 13.75 years ;)
Both spring and fall vacations in recent years have lead us to adventures in the southern part of Utah. For spring of 2012 we chose to venture out to Hole in the Rock Trail on a solo trip. Going solo adds another level of challenge to a trip like this. Break something and it gets a lot more complicated and Hole in the Rock is known for causing problems.
Hole in the Rock Trail is part of a Mormon immigrant trail that runs from Escalante, Utah to Bluff, Utah. The entire route runs for 180 miles, however what we today call The Hole in the Rock Trail is just a small segment. The trail is named for the place where the San Juan Mission of Mormon Pioneers constructed a descent to the Colorado River to the east side of what is now Lake Powel. This trail is evidence of the hard work and determination of the Mormons to establish additional settlements in their chosen home of Utah.
Over Memorial Day weekend, the FJ Bruisers, a non-profit off-roading club in the mid-Atlantic, held their seventh annual spring event, MudFling, at Rausch Creek Off-road Park in Tremont, PA. Despite the chilly weather and occasional blustery winds, everyone had a wonderful time, enjoyed some great trails and food, and some even went home with a few great raffle prizes.
The abundance of WWII US Army surplus vehicles in the Philippines where I was born and raised got my taste of the offloading (make your own road as we call it back then) activities.
Our town is near the longest mountains range in the country- Sierra Madre mountains, highest peak at 6,069 foot and the main industry when I was growing up is logging because of the abundant growth/supply of the Narra tree - a hardwood, which is purplish, is termite resistant and rose-scented.
The Overland Expo this year turned out to be quite the adventure for my 3 year old and I. You see, my lovely wife (and our Editor) Angie was planning on joining us at the event, and even spent three days in Ridgway to break up the trip a little (that’s a very good idea when you’re 7 months pregnant). Unfortunately, Angie got called back to Colorado Springs to work at the last minute, so it was Brenden & I for the rest of the journey.
Not wanting to fight the influx of campers like we did last year, we arrived at Mormon Lake early on Wednesday – to a completely empty field. It was actually kind of nice have a little freedom of movement to stake out the FJC/Tacoma camping area in advance. By noon on Wednesday, we had the Manley Explore model setup and ready for the event. We were able to spend a good bit of time exploring the grounds (Brenden is a budding Overland Rider with his Strider bike), and helping others get setup when needed.
We often find ourselves pulling into camp late at night, or pulling to the side of the road, needing to make dinner. We built our drawer system specifically for this task, providing storage for our stove and cooking equipment. While the setup has worked well over the years, it was disorganized and we often found ourselves pulling multiple items out to find the item we needed. Our cooking arrangement was chaos and we needed to make a change.
Seeing our lack of organization, TrekPak offered to step in and help get our kitchen drawer organized. After starting in 2012, the Denver based company has developed a line of customizable inserts for hard-sided cases, photography backpacks, and is now branching into the world of overland travel by providing custom drawer inserts. Their design utilizes a foam padded insert that can be cut and pinned into a limitless number or organization solutions.
I’ve been asked many times why I go down to Baja. I’ll be honest, it’s really hard for me to put into words why I love crossing the border so much. We’ve all heard how dangerous is it is in Mexico, but Baja has a special allure that keeps drawing me back. It’s simple freedoms, strong pull of history, and mixture of terrains create a love for Baja that only those who have seen can truly understand.
My love for Baja began with trips as a kid to chase Ivan Stewart with my dad in the Baja 1000. Then, ten years ago, I strapped myself into a race car. The first three years I drove a Wide Open Buggy with Centrix Financial. Then early in 2006, Toyota approached my Dad and I and proposed racing, the then new, FJ Cruiser. We went on to finish second in our first outing with the FJ. Speed Channel made a documentary about our experience called “Two Roads to Baja”. I raced that FJ in Baja for a total of three years. I never quite got a chance to taste victory, but I learned a lot! I think one of the things that I enjoyed the most, was how challenging racing Baja is. It’s not the type of place that you can show up and win straight away. It takes years of experience and preparation.
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