“You’re driving through Mexico, are you crazy, it’s so dangerous, you might die.” This is a common response we receive when telling people about our upcoming travels through this unaccustomed country. My usual response entails something along the lines of, “Really. What do you mean? Have you ever been there?” This is traditionally followed by an answer of, “Nooo. No, I’ve never been there.”
In the overlanding community, it is a fact that Mexico stands out as a major highlight of any Pan-American adventure. This is mostly due to the country’s abundance of culture, incredible food, warm people, and one cannot forget that it’s great on the budget. As these parking lot conversations arise before your departure, attempt to just nod and smile. Don’t be rude. You know the real deal. You did your homework.
What's better than taking the Toytec SEMA Tundra into the desert for a photo shoot?
Over the last 10 years Toytec Lifts has strived to become the top name in lift kits and accessories for Toyota Cruisers, Trucks, and SUVs. Like many other great success stories, Doug Gosh started Toytec as a part time gig in his garage. Today his company occupies thousands of square feet of warehouse space in Northglenn, Colorado and ships well over 300 packages full of custom lift kits, parts, and accessories every day.
Toytec has been a part of our extended family since 2008, when we started FJC Magazine. In fact they were our very first advertiser and have supported our efforts in nearly every issue (January 2008 being the only exception). We’ve tested prototype parts, spent time with Doug and Sarah at events around the country, and have come to call the entire Toytec family our friends. I figured it was high time we show off a little about what Toytec does to keep thousands of Toyota enthusiasts fully modded up and ready for adventure.
A cool breeze lifted itself up from the deep canyons that stretched out below us as our casual group of adventurers arrived at our first destination just beyond the southernmost borders of Utah’s Canyonlands National Park. The notion was simple, drive Land Cruisers (and a Jeep for good measure) on a backcountry route skirting along the southeastern edge of Canyonlands, in search of indigenous sites left behind by the Anasazi.
The Anasazi, sometimes referred to as the Ancestral Puebloan (though referred to here as the Anasazi for simplicity sake) inhabited the American Southwest from as early as 6500 B.C. to as late as 1600 A.D. Primarily found in the areas the group was exploring are a variety of Basketmaker and Pueblo Era sites which would be characterized by cliff dwellings, pottery sherds, rock art, arrowheads, stone tools, and other lithic scatter. As the group exited the vehicles after a few hours of dusty, dry, rocky, and barren backcountry roads each set off to find a spot along the rim to experience the view stretching out beyond us. We had arrived.
Let’s face it; no matter how hard you try you are going to get dirty when out in the field. As well as baby and wet wipes work for a couple of days, nothing beats an honest to goodness hot shower to clean up and feel ‘civilized’ again. I chose to go with the Helton Hot Shower kit from Cruiser Outfitters to provide on-demand hot water for our showering needs. Always one to tinker, I chose to not use some of the supplied components and, instead, created a custom setup that seems to be working better for my needs.
How often do you hear an event described as “Epic?" Each time I speak with someone, the last event they attended was the best event ever. They may have even described it as “epic." Is it possible for an event to transcend the epic status and, if so, what’s the next level?
I look forward to any opportunity to travel in the mountains, especially with a few good friends. Event or no event, sitting around a campfire long after the sun has set is one of the most rewarding aspects of adventure travel. Campfires have the ability to invoke a primitive comfort inside all of us. The dancing flames, orange glow and inviting warmth can do wonders for your soul.
Entering the night, the two 5.7L vehicles had no issues lighting their path. Team 8155, Canguro Racing hit the switch on the eight ARB Intensity LEDs and soldiered on. Meanwhile, Team 8199, TRDPro uses more traditional Hella HID lighting. Both are effective in piercing the total blackout of the Baja night.
There wasn’t the violent surge of the vehicle as one might expect. There was a subtle thump of the rear tire that signaled something was wrong. A quick inspection proved a flat tire, further inspection the spare tire was also flat.
With the light rain turning to snow they jumped into action. In an already cramped single-cab pick-up they couldn’t huddle together, and the steel of the rig would only rob them of precious heat. While one quickly collected firewood, the other two set about making a shelter from a tarp found in the back of the truck. Soon the three were bundled close, as a roaring fire projected heat under the small tarp. The next morning a passing truck stopped to help. They survived a night where temperatures plummeted into to single digits and light snow filled the forest.
47 years in the making, the Baja 1000 is a race known to enthusiasts and laypeople worldwide. Running a brutal 1275 miles from Ensenada to La Paz, the 2014 Baja 1000 is open to just about every vehicle type imaginable, and everyone from the trophy trucks to the class 11 VWs pays the same entry fee. This year we are fortunate enough to have a stowaway on board. Land Cruiser editor, Daniel Markofsky is embedded with Team #8155, Canguro Racing, a Stock Full team racing a 200 series Land Cruiser. Growing from strong root in the Land Cruiser culture, the 200 series was a perfect fit for the crew.
As many of you know I was a long-time holdout, not wanting to ditch my trusted cooler and ice for a 12-volt fridge freezer. I am stubborn and, even as the number of cooking classes we began teaching increased, did not think I needed a 12-volt fridge. It was not until my good friend Josh stopped me and said, ‘What are you doing?’ that I really took a step back and thought about our setup.