Since this was my first year at the event I really wasn’t sure what to expect. As primarily an FJ Cruiser guy, and with a pretty exciting announcement coming, I was nervously excited when I rolled up Friday afternoon. “Cruiserville” was just beginning to buzz as several of Greg Millers personal (non-museum) Land Cruisers were lined up for the Show & Shine. After meeting up with Kurt Williams to verify it was OK to place TCT Magazine magnets on his 78 series, I tooled around a bit waiting for dinner to happen.
There were plenty of great cruisers already on display. 40, 55, 60, 70, 80, 100 series; several FJCs made the trip, a few Tacomas, and even a Jeep or two (I know). While the major group of cruisers was set to arrive Saturday, this was a pretty good cross-section of Land Cruiser history. Well, that’s what I thought until I made the trek ¼ mile down the road to the LCHM.
Wow doesn’t even begin to express the feeling when walking into the otherwise unassuming building. There’s no large sign out front saying “here are all the land cruisers”, just a simple entryway into a good sized building with a few garage doors. Behind those doors though, is truly LC Mecca. The earliest model on the floor is thought to be one of the first 20 series Land Cruisers to enter the US. It’s very much ‘OEM’ and hasn’t been restored in any way. From there the museum steps through LC evolution. Several 40 series are restored to impeccable condition, including the newest example, Greg’s recently purchased FJ45L, which is a 4 door 40-series originally produced in Brazil and restored by TLC. The floor does include a 2012 TTSE FJ Cruiser, with factory stickers and shipping material still attached. It’s unlikely that FJC has been driven on a public road.
One of the highlights of the event for those interested in Overland Travel was the presentation Greg Miller gave on Expeditions 7 after dinner Friday. He went through several stages of the adventure with highlights of all the team has experienced. While some people at the event saw this as a ‘rich guy flaunting his money’, I really think the idea behind E7 is what’s most important. To paraphrase Greg “My favorite memories have been created in Land Cruisers enjoying activities I love with people I love”. That doesn’t sound like flaunting to me, it sounds like a father using his good fortune to share his passion with his family.
Clearly this amazing event (for me anyway) wasn’t about the show & shine, rock crawling course, or even the classes (which were excellent, by the way). This event was about a pilgrimage. While most of us will never make it to Japan where the Land Cruiser was truly born, we can make it to the mecca of modern land cruiser history. We can make the trek, at least once, to the only place (that I’m aware of) on the planet that houses nearly every model Land Cruiser ever produced. Whether you make it in 2014, 2015, 2016, or every year, plan your trip to the center of LC Universe. You won’t be disappointed.
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