A New Vehicle Build – Starting the Journey Over
I’ve owned my original 2016 4Runner Trail now for almost four years. This is the vehicle that started everything. I originally bought it because I wanted a true 4x4 after struggling in some snow with my previous AWD SUV (granted, that SUV had summer sport tires on it that weren’t designed for snow). I needed a bit more room, too, and had started running some rougher forest roads getting to hiking spots. I figured the 4Runner would do all that nicely. Little did I know, buying that vehicle and taking the 4wd 101 class with the late Scott Fields would change my life... but I’ve covered that story in a previous blog post.
It is a beautiful summer morning, a few small clouds, light breeze, not too hot yet. I’m sitting in my 4Runner, engine idling, 4low lit up on the dashboard. I’m third in a line of 4Runners, one Tundra, and one Jeep. Ahead of me a tall instructor, Director of Training Mike Morrison, leans into an open window, chatting with the driver, our teammate Scott, talking him through the first obstacle that lies ahead. Our teammate Greg is in front of me in his recently purchased 4Runner, and our owner Jeff behind me in our work Tundra. Our crew is about to begin the obstacle course of the Overland Expert’s (OEX) 4wd 101 class.
Our team took third place in the Southern Expeditions Overland Challenge this past weekend!
Three days, 900+ miles, 31 hours of "engine on" time, six winch recoveries, two off road parks, vehicle damage for the whole team, and tons of fun.
Thank you to the guys with Southern Expeditions for setting up a great event!
Our prototype skids took quite a beating over the weekend, but held up great, and our prototype roof racks proved to be very solid on the rough trails! We couldn't be happier with how our parts preformed.
Our trip started out just on outside of Charlotte city limits where we met up with team Apex Overland before heading through Georgia into Alabama.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve spent a decent amount of time looking at blogs and forum posts about amazing off-roading trips out West – stories of running the famous trails in Colorado, crawling around Moab, maybe getting lost somewhere in Idaho or Montana for a few weeks.
Here on the East coast, it seems almost like a dream; we just don’t have the same vast open deserts and mountain ranges that exist out West. Most people don’t think you can do a similar kind of trip on this side of the country, but there are quite a few little known routes one can take that can feel almost as remote as the Western trips. I had the chance to run one of them with one of our friends, Alan, this past October – the Georgia Traverse.