In May of 2016, at 18 years old and still a senior in high school, my brother and I set out on our first major overland trip – a trip I had coined as the “New England Loop.” A trip that would, as Steinbeck put it, absolutely take me. In 4 days I covered over 700 miles of New England, starting in Massachusetts, heading north into Vermont, right up to the border of our friendly northern neighbors in Canada, east into the White Mountains of New Hampshire, into southern Maine, and finally back to Massachusetts.
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So I wanted to provide an AAR (After Action Report on FJ Summit) because I know a lot of people would have loved to go, and between this and TaCo Rock Therapy I think the best Toyota events happen within 3 hours of each other in Moab and Ouray.
I’ll preface this by saying I was incredibly on the fence about going. I tried to register originally for the event, but got on the wait list within 30 seconds. Registration is brutal and I didn’t find out about being on the wait list until mid-april. I signed up thinking worst case I could sell my ticket.
How we evaded the weather still eludes us, but I guess it was well deserved after our Utah trip a few years back. We hit pavement days before the bottom dropped out of the sky and our home was an island amidst all the flooding. Matter of fact, we were snoozing in Mojave when the first drops began to fall at home, and they never quite caught up with us.
The dull ringing of the air raid siren woke me, I reached for the sound but only found my pistol on the nightstand. My groggy eyes blurred the dim rectangle screen of my iPhone. I pressed the vague outline of “snooze” and sighed deeply.
Those of you who may have read, “House of the Gods” my Tepui roof top tent review will remember the issues I pointed out with the optional Kukenam annex. To name a few, the door was behind the ladder making the entrance a pretty good squeeze to get in. In order to remove the annex or install it, you had to unbolt the ladder and it had no floor, but was otherwise a useful place to get dressed and such in privacy and out of the weather.
The word Tepui [te’pwi] means “house of the gods” to the indigenous people who inhabit the Gran Sabana. Table top mountains or mesas found in South America especially in Venezuela and western Guyana, these mountains can tower up to 1000 meters above the forest floor below. Because of the significant difference in altitude from the surrounding area, they are known as “ecological islands” having a very different climate from the ground forest… Among these, is Mount Kukenam…
It is hard to say how many times I have seen the movie, “Dante’s Peak” in the 18 years since it’s release. While a bit on the ‘cheesy’ side, the one thing that keeps me coming back is the modified Suburban with what I have come to refer to as, the “Lava Snorkel”. Watching Pierce Brosnan fumble around to get the rig into 4 wheel drive while already floating down the river, is hilarious… But, he finally engages it, and the big red Sub emerges from the river unscathed and running like a champ because, “it’s okay… this rigs got a snorkel”.
Communication is the primary force behind all movements of our modern life. Whether it’s to call your grandmother and wish her a happy birthday, or to confirm coordinates for a bombing run, communication is at the forefront of every development of our history.
I like good stuff. Its pretty much as simple as that. If someone is willing to design a product that can take a beating and keep on ticking (see what I did there?) Im going to take a interest in in it. Beyond that I use my stuff, every day. Function and Form have to be two parts equal for me, as everything has its purpose in my stable.
Leather is unique. It’s kind of hard to describe how cool it is, especially when its well made. Look at Steve McQueen, he wore a leather jacket all the time and he was just a badass. Hell, you could have a total piece of shit in your possession and it would still be cool, because its leather. That said though, the coolest pieces of leather are hand made, whether it be with overgrown sewing machines or through the physical labors of our digits: someone still made it, someone cared.