It nearly 50 years ago in January 1967 when the first official SEMA show debuted under the grandstands of Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. At the time, the show featured 98 booths and approximately 3,000 attendees. It was not until 1977 when SEMA moved to Las Vegas where it’s been growing rapidly ever since. Today, the four-day event attracts more than 140,000 attendees and over 2,400 exhibitors from all over the world.
It’s back! After a year-long hiatus, while the team at Toyota tinkered away in their lab, the 2017 model year is bringing back the TRD Pro Tacoma. I am sure, if you are anything like me, that when Toyota announced the package earlier this year you poured over the release with a fine-tooth comb to see what goodies would be included. Although the updated Tacoma flagship brings with it several factory-installed upgrades, keen observers will have noticed the Bilstein shocks and struts found on TRD Pro Tundra and 4Runner were replaced with new TRD-tuned equivalents from Fox.
Feeding off the success of the previous year, the annual Lone Star Toyota Jamboree hit another homerun with over 500 people in attendance. A total of 320 Toyota Trucks and 46 sponsors made for a spectacular event at Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area OHV Park, including “a raffle surpassing $50,000 in value” according to organizer Chris Gray.
1)Blind Man’s Bluff where driver is blindfolded and completely dependent on the passenger serving as the co-pilot.
2)Rock Garden Crawl where distance accomplished determines the winner for each tire size classification.
3)The return of the Timed Obstacle Course where going airborne can be to the driver’s advantage.
It was a very emotional time for longtime Jamboree organizers after learning a long time Toyota Trail Riders club member and Jambo attendee, Angie R., was having a rough time in her fight with cancer. The Jambo staff had already chosen breast cancer combatant organization called Women Rock, Inc. as the recipient of charity contributions, and had raised $7888 for their efforts. Upon hearing an update during the raffle from friend, Butch Baker, of Angie's fight, the Toyota crowd came together and raised an additional $3000, including a $1000 donation straight from Jamboree itself, togo directly to the Rushing family! Several raffle winners even donated their items back to be auctioned off for money to be donated. It was heart moving and emotional time to see this outpouring of support. In total, Women Rock raised $10,958 at the 11th Annual Lone Star Toyota Jamboree!
The dates for Jamboree next year are May 4-7, 2017. If you have not yet visited the giant BMRA off-road park in the eastern Piney Woods of Texas, shoot for next year by attending Lone Star Toyota jabmoree. You don’t want to miss this great event.
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Last week I managed to capture a couple of test flights with our new drone. All the video was edited & processed on the iPad. Always a good day in the Tundra :)
What an amazing 2016!
Our final issue of the year, and it's amazing =)
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Every year we see plenty of amazing trucks at SEMA Show (See the Fall 2016 issue for our full coverage). Also every year, we're impressed with the Toytec Lifts trucks!
In their effort to complete the trail that they could not during their Alaska / Yukon Series, Expedition Overland has released three videos covering their Return to the MacKenzie.
Ok, so this is more of a 32,000 and some change update, but 30K makes a better title :) Angie & I have been publishing Toyota Cruisers & Trucks, along with the previous incarnations of the magazine, for nearly 10 years now. In that time, I have known two basic truths. First, I never know exactly where the next adventure will take us. Secondly, our 2015 CrewMax Tundra has all the capability our family needs but also includes a level of utility that no other vehicle can come close to matching.
Ive talked about the value of a true pickup truck in previous articles, so I wont belabor the point. Much.
This truck is...amazing.
At 30,000+ miles we have literally done everything with this truck. The Toyota marketing term build anything is not lost on our beloved Tundra. Weve built, pulled, hauled, wheeled, and explored quite a bit in the first 18 months of ownership. Yet as 2016 started I wondered....what else can she do?
Modifications in the past six months cant match the breadth of our initial build up (See our Fall 2015 issue for our previous build article), but the little tweaks weve added have helped round out the truck in terms of utility and convenience.
Earlier this year I did some major electrical work on the truck. While I didnt install a second battery, Ive been able to make use of our ArkPak Battery system via a custom mount in the bed of the truck. This runs the bed mounted fridge perfectly and provides easy access to 12v power.
In the cab, I installed the Yaesue FTM-400DR ham radio, mostly for APRS and on-trail comms. I also added a Uniden 40CH CB radio so I can chat with...others. The CB uses a passenger side mounted 2 Firestik while I added a 1/4 wave Diamond Antenna on the drivers side for the ham.
A 1200 Pure Sine inverter is hard-wired to the battery and mounted under the drivers seat. I added a custom 12V/USB/DC readout box as well. This setup makes it easy to monitor the trucks battery and provides in-cab access to full-time power.
Since I've become increasingly involved with a certain Australian mapping company (Hema Maps is also an advertiser in our magazine), I added a Samsung tablet for regular mapping apps, as well as a Ram iPhone mount to the windshield. The suction cups on these mounts have held up perfectly on all but the hottest of days. A Karma Go WiFi puck rounds out the front-dash to provide nearly full-time internet access to any device within range. Finally, the crew over at Ellis Precision fabbed up a custom TCT shifter for the truck. The billet aluminum knob is a huge upgrade over stock.
On the outside of the truck, we ditched the nice-but-boring stock headlights & tail lights in favor of a nice setup from Anzo USA. The LED tail lights are nice & bright, with a black style that give the truck a more aggressive appearance. In the front, we opted for a similar set of black projector U-Bar headlights. Theyre DRL compatible and look great on the TCT Explorer!
In June 2016, I attended Bill Burkes Advanced 4WD training course in the mountains west of Denver, Colorado. During the two day event, we took the Tundra (the largest vehicle in attendance by a long shot) through difficult, narrow, and winding trails. It performed beautifully with no body damage to report. That trip really showed me what the Tundra + Toytec BOSS Suspension is truly capable of.
That trip was also the maiden voyage of the new TCT Minnie, a 24 Winnebago travel trailer thats our new condo on wheels. While a departure from our old Manley ORV trailer tent setup, with two young children in tow, the Minnie has allowed us to explore Colorado more than ever. The big 5.7L V-8 provides plenty of power to pull the 6,000+lb trailer, but a supercharger would be very beneficial <grin>.
At FJ Summit X last month, the TCT Explorer tackled Mineral Creek, Engineer Pass, California & Corkscrew Gulches, and Imogene Pass. The big red truck took everything we could throw at it and came out smiling. Angie lead an amazing group of women over the Mineral Creek -> Cali/Corkscrew trail run and everyone had an amazing time!
While I know 4Runners, Land Cruisers, FJs, and Tacos are generally the favorite for Toyota Adventure & exploration, Ive recently noticed a trend toward full-size vehicles. Unless youre into hard-core rock crawling, the power, room, and utility of the 2.5 Gen Tundra cannot be overstated. It continues to be the perfect all-around truck for our family, and I look forward to many more years in the TCT Explorer Tundra!
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Five years ago, the Tacomas and Company group started “a Moab adventure created by wheelers for wheelers” later to be called Rock Therapy. The gathering is based on their love for Moab and wanting to pull together other likeminded Toyota enthusiasts to help strengthen the off-road community. With the help of hard working volunteers, loyal attendees and generous sponsors who have shown a common goal to help build relations around the off-road community, Rock Therapy 2016 was again a huge success and will continue to be a must-attend gathering for the ever growing Rock Therapy Family.
In an effort to provide a memorable experience for the attendees, Rock Therapy’s platinum sponsors stepped up to host two nights of dinners for those who could make it back to camp at Area BFE. Toytec Lifts, Bay Area Metal Fabrication, Pelfreybilt Off-Road, All-Pro Off Road, Low Range Off Road, CBI Off Road Fab, InSain Fabrication, and Cascadia Vehicle Tents each pitched in to make sure the hungry wheelers did not go to bed with an empty stomach with backyard style BBQs both Friday and Saturday night.
Unlike years past, the carnage during Rock Therapy 2016 was on a much lower scale. Less carnage meant more time spent on the trails for all attendees, sponsors and volunteers. Many of the sponsors and volunteer trail leaders took out attendees on the trails to show off the variety of trails that Moab has to offer. Rock Therapy has encouraged attendees over the years to mingle with other attendees to form their own groups to roll with each day which has helped to strengthen the Rock Therapy Family and build relationships that last for years to come.
A concept that Rock Therapy has pushed over the years is to get the sponsors out and enjoy themselves alongside their many loyal customers. Gold sponsors, SDHQ Off Road, and Trail Toys were both in attendance this year showing off their incredible Tacoma builds. Cliff brought his 2008 Tacoma that is built to handle high speed desert passes as well as crawling through the rocks with the best of them. Cliff was able to show off the truck’s true potential during the annual Dunes run on Friday night.
Nathan had his 2011 flatbed Tacoma out to his the trails in fashion with his newly installed crawlbox and always impressive travel gained from a Chevy 63 swap in the rear. Trail Toys also brought another game changer to this year’s Rock Therapy with the addition of a limited run of Rock Therapy 2016 glow in the dark patches.
Also in attendance this year as sponsors was Trails Offroad spreading the word on their new web-based nation-wide trail knowledgebase, Hefty Fabworks showing off their new line of aluminum bumpers on their Toyota fleet, Brute Force Fab dominating the trails in Billy’s solid axle beast of a Tacoma on 42s, Adventure Offroad Fabrications displaying his solid axled 2nd gen overlanding Tacoma and Front Range Off-Road Fab with their 1996 4Runner with an 8” 30 spline IFS swap rolling on 37s.
Saturday night came too soon this year as attendees did not want memorable times to come to an end. However, the sponsors were able to pull together some amazing items again this year to giveaway and help raise some money to support two amazing organizations that have done so much to promote the off-road community over the years. Stay the Trail Colorado over the many years has encouraged the responsible use of the roads and trails that are open to motorized recreation in Colorado. Although their focus is primarily in Colorado, their message is one that should be spread all over to help us keep trail access open. Area BFE helped to rethink what an off-road park should be with their 320 acre recreational park. Open to a variety of outdoor activities including many iconic off-road trails and camping with unmatched views of the La Sal Mountains, Area BFE is open to the public 365 days at no cost to the public.
On behalf of all those in attendance, thank you to all those who helped to put this amazing gathering together and to the generous sponsors mentioned above as well as Addicted Offroad, RCI Offroad, Rokmen Offroad, Anti-Dark, Toywerx, Rorck Apparel and IH8MUD. Without your efforts, Rock Therapy would not be what it is today. See everyone next year!
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Summer 2016 Issue: