Driving to Tooele (Too-ILL-uh) for the first time, I had no idea what to expect. Located in the next valley west of Salt Lake, Miller Motorsports Park rises out of the myriad of farmlands and cookie cutter sprawl. Enter the main gate to this 85 million dollar megalith of concrete, asphalt and steel and you are as likely to see individuals as you are entire families engaging in every form of motorsports imaginable. You will find go karts, supercars and bikes galore circumnavigating the four main paved tracks. At this point you are wondering how your dusty, creaky and less than speedy Land Cruiser will fit in and more importantly….where you will pitch your tent. You navigate to the back corner of the course and suddenly it all makes sense.
Over the last 10 years Toytec Lifts has strived to become the top name in lift kits and accessories for Toyota Cruisers, Trucks, and SUVs. Like many other great success stories, Doug Gosh started Toytec as a part time gig in his garage. Today his company occupies thousands of square feet of warehouse space in Northglenn, Colorado and ships well over 300 packages full of custom lift kits, parts, and accessories every day.
Toytec has been a part of our extended family since 2008, when we started FJC Magazine. In fact they were our very first advertiser and have supported our efforts in nearly every issue (January 2008 being the only exception). We’ve tested prototype parts, spent time with Doug and Sarah at events around the country, and have come to call the entire Toytec family our friends. I figured it was high time we show off a little about what Toytec does to keep thousands of Toyota enthusiasts fully modded up and ready for adventure.
A cool breeze lifted itself up from the deep canyons that stretched out below us as our casual group of adventurers arrived at our first destination just beyond the southernmost borders of Utah’s Canyonlands National Park. The notion was simple, drive Land Cruisers (and a Jeep for good measure) on a backcountry route skirting along the southeastern edge of Canyonlands, in search of indigenous sites left behind by the Anasazi.
The Anasazi, sometimes referred to as the Ancestral Puebloan (though referred to here as the Anasazi for simplicity sake) inhabited the American Southwest from as early as 6500 B.C. to as late as 1600 A.D. Primarily found in the areas the group was exploring are a variety of Basketmaker and Pueblo Era sites which would be characterized by cliff dwellings, pottery sherds, rock art, arrowheads, stone tools, and other lithic scatter. As the group exited the vehicles after a few hours of dusty, dry, rocky, and barren backcountry roads each set off to find a spot along the rim to experience the view stretching out beyond us. We had arrived.
Let’s face it; no matter how hard you try you are going to get dirty when out in the field. As well as baby and wet wipes work for a couple of days, nothing beats an honest to goodness hot shower to clean up and feel ‘civilized’ again. I chose to go with the Helton Hot Shower kit from Cruiser Outfitters to provide on-demand hot water for our showering needs. Always one to tinker, I chose to not use some of the supplied components and, instead, created a custom setup that seems to be working better for my needs.
How often do you hear an event described as “Epic?" Each time I speak with someone, the last event they attended was the best event ever. They may have even described it as “epic." Is it possible for an event to transcend the epic status and, if so, what’s the next level?
I look forward to any opportunity to travel in the mountains, especially with a few good friends. Event or no event, sitting around a campfire long after the sun has set is one of the most rewarding aspects of adventure travel. Campfires have the ability to invoke a primitive comfort inside all of us. The dancing flames, orange glow and inviting warmth can do wonders for your soul.
Entering the night, the two 5.7L vehicles had no issues lighting their path. Team 8155, Canguro Racing hit the switch on the eight ARB Intensity LEDs and soldiered on. Meanwhile, Team 8199, TRDPro uses more traditional Hella HID lighting. Both are effective in piercing the total blackout of the Baja night.
47 years in the making, the Baja 1000 is a race known to enthusiasts and laypeople worldwide. Running a brutal 1275 miles from Ensenada to La Paz, the 2014 Baja 1000 is open to just about every vehicle type imaginable, and everyone from the trophy trucks to the class 11 VWs pays the same entry fee. This year we are fortunate enough to have a stowaway on board. Land Cruiser editor, Daniel Markofsky is embedded with Team #8155, Canguro Racing, a Stock Full team racing a 200 series Land Cruiser. Growing from strong root in the Land Cruiser culture, the 200 series was a perfect fit for the crew.
As I chat with Justin Robbins about the frame in front of us, I’m reminded of the scene in Days of Thunder (don’t hate) where Harry Hogge (Robert Duval) is speaking to the frame of his latest race car creation. Justin is a lifelong Cruiser lover and his passion for building amazing trucks permeates this not-so-little shop in eastern Colorado Springs. While we’ve known about this project for quite some time, seeing it rise from an aging 80 Series, a shiny new aluminum body, and parts strewn about brings this vision a little closer to reality.
Just because we're all home from SEMA 2014 doesn't mean we don't have more for you!
While our full coverage & analysis will debut in a couple of weeks in our November Year In Review issue (subscribe free), Phillip & Bob have a few more shots to share from Friday at the show as well as our Photo Shoot Saturday Morning