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Family Adventure FJ Summit Style: FJ Summit #7

Written by  Jim Akers
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2013 4Runners at FJ Summit #7The FJ Summit is no longer just for FJ Cruisers, that’s for sure and it was a great event as usual.  Attendance, enthusiasm, and the number of beautiful rigs were at an all time high.  I love the fact that, more than at any other event that I have been to, you see families hanging out and having fun together in one of the most breathtakingly beautiful places on the planet.  It was a lot of fun for the kiddos to see friends that they only get to see at these events as well.  The weather this year was a wild mix of beautiful sunshine to torrential downpours, with bits of hail thrown in for good measure. 

Even this did not hamper anyone’s enjoyment.  There were awe inspiring rigs of many different models this year.  Of course you have the FJ Cruisers, but this year brought out more Land Cruisers, 4Runners, Tacomas, Tundras, and even a couple Lexus GX470s.  The vendors were out in force again this year.  BajaRack was showing off their new FJ rack with the hide away light bar.  TRD Parts 4U had their FJ with the sun logo on the hood.  Addicted Desert Designs was introducing their Toyota line of bumpers.  Toyota TRD, Discount Tire Direct, Falken Tire, Ironman 4x4, Toytec and the rest of the usual suspects had their products on display between the rain showers.  Toyota unveiled their 2014 4Runner at the event this year and even brought three models to look through and touch. 

 

Thursday we spent doing a trail clean up run with Stay the Trail, the Ouray Ranger District and 10 fellow volunteers.

Friday we ended up taking all three of our rigs down Black Bear with a couple of the 4Runners that Toyota and TRD brought out.  What a beautiful day it was, except the traffic jam of an hour and a half at the top of the switch backs. It was a lot of fun having some riders along that have not experienced Black Bear Pass before.  Between Kevin from TRD Japan and my family, we were all in awe of our surroundings.  

Saturday was spent with the Toyota Marketing crew photographing, driving, and critiquing the new 2014 4Runners. 


Photo Shoot

Robert and I were invited to spend most of Saturday test driving the SR-5, Trail Edition, and the Limited Edition 2014 4Runners.  We were given the chance to do a photo shoot with them at many locations between Ouray and Telluride.  We took pictures and caused a traffic jam on the way up to Imogene on Yankee Boy Basin.  We stopped and took more pictures along Ralph Lauren’s ranch on Last Dollar Road as well.  I really like the new models  as they sat.  They were very “factory” yet very capable.  With the right suspension upgrades and maybe a little more power, this would be a formidable option for daily driver/off-road machine. 

TRD and their 4Runner

The TRD team brought a 2010 4Runner that they were testing products on.  It had a supercharger and modified suspension but I am still not sure of everything else that they have done to this 4Runner to make this a BEAST of a machine.  I can tell you; however, I want one!  In my opinion, they should make this a standard option for purchase off of the showroom floor.  It had a supple ride, on and off road and more power than I have ever seen without finding a V-8 under the hood.  There really is only one downside to what they built.  That is, I would have my driver’s license suspended within the first six months.  Ted and the group at TRD Engineering are definitely onto something with this ANIMAL of a 4Runner.


Camping

Tent camping the Ouray area in the middle of July is a bit of a gamble with the weather.  Apparently July is the rainy season in Ouray.  Both the CVT and the Ironman 4x4 rooftop tents stayed dry even though it rained every day in some form or fashion.  We had a camping spot this year in town and it was a blast.  It was close to everything.  A quick 5 block walk and you were just about anywhere downtown.  Robert and Kayla from Tacoma Magazine brought our Manley ORV Trailer with the CVT rooftop tent.  Brian and Justin from Under Cover Hidden Winch Mount System set up their tent; old school on the ground.  My wife, our daughter, and I had a blast in our Ironman 4x4 rooftop tent.  Camping with this group was a great time; from locals that stopped by for breakfast to some of the people that we met from all over the country.   We were not sure what we were in for when we booked a camp site instead of a room.  The reviews were not fabulous and the views were choked off because of the trees around us.  In an area like this and at event like this, how much time do you really spend at your camp site?  That being said, we will probably camp it again next year!  


Stay the Trail and Trail Clean Up Day

Almost everyone that enjoys 4wheeling here in Colorado knows about the group Stay the Trail.  Stay the Trail is a wonderful organization that encourages the “Responsible Use” of the roads and trails that are open to motorized recreation in Colorado.  If you have heard about Stay the Trail then you probably know their coordinator Sam.  Sam, along with Ranger Valdez of the Ouray Ranger District, led 13 volunteers on a “Trail Clean up Run.” It always amazes me; how people treat the world we live in.  I know that people are not perfect, but wow, some people should not be allowed in nature!  We found a spot where kids have their drinking parties; there were all kinds of empty beer cans and broken bottles.  We even found someone’s “used underwear.”  All in all, we picked up a few full bags of trash, met some really nice people, and it made us all more aware of the mantra “carry in-carry out.”  If more people would take one day out of their lives to spend it with a group like Stay the Trail, nature would be much better off.  Without the efforts of similar groups, we will only have more and more trails shut down and the lands that we all love taken away!  Thank you to Sam and Stay the Trail along with Ranger Valdez and the Ouray Ranger District for all that you do to protect our trails and the lands that we all love to explore!

It was yet another very successful FJ Summit.  Unfortunately, we do have to wait until next July (16–20) for Summit No. 8.  I have to say that everyone, including us at FJC Magazine, is looking forward to next year’s FJ Summit 2014.

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