And The Winner Is…

First of all I would like to thank the academy, my parents, my friends, all the readers, the guy who cuts my hair, the kid down the street who mows the lawn, our mailman, my favorite sister-in-law, Hula Betty and all the people who work so hard behind the scenes to make this web site possible….

Ok, so we are not curing cancer here and until someone does end bigotry and hatred in the world this might not be all that news worthy…  But over at Trip Base they picked the top blogs and sure enough Last Great Road Trip was a finalist…  here is the inside scope.  Here is the write up:

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The award is a mark of prestige which is only afforded to the blogs that score highly when our judges review them for selection. The award is a sign that a blog succeeds greatly at what it does and surpasses all expectations, thereby indicating it as a veritable bastion of quality and information.

Americas Awards Category
The Americas (both North and South) are physically large places and so too is the blogosphere that the best America blogs inhabit, so our judges had their work cut out for them in selecting the winners in this category. These blogs have been chosen for the overall combination of style and substance that interact in such a way so as to each create a unique blog that readers will want to return to time and time again. Judges looked for content that was both interesting and informative, but also noted if the blogger could back up written content with visual media such as maps of the Americas or of their respective travel routes and destinations, as well as videos and pictures to accompany their travel stories or information.
Award Recipients 2009

  • 1st http://someone else
  • 2nd http://someone else not us
  • 3rd http://someone else not lastgreatroadtrip.com
  • 4th http://other people’s blog not ours
  • some more stuff that is not us and than
  • Finalist http://www.lastgreatroadtrip.com/

Sure we didn’t win…  but just being nominated is what is important right?  Just like taking your sister to the prom or kissing your grandma good night…  it’s just not the same as winner…  We’ll be working on our competitiveness issues in therapy next week.

Michelangelo Never Painted In The Rain

Art is amazing… It inspires, confuses, questions and touches people is ways they can’t explain.   Some seek out their art in churches, others in museums and galleries and some in private collections.  On my road trips and off-road adventures, I look for it outside, on the road and away from the crowds. Whether it is Buddhist sand art, sand castles on the beach or back alley tags, out door art speaks to me.  And one of my favorite forms is building murals.  The older the building, the older the mural…  the better.

I don’t know what it is about the art on the side of buildings but it seems to be alive. Maybe it’s the quest since usually you need to hunt for it in back parking lots, alleys or off the beaten path.

But building murals are not often shiny and new. Rather after years of ware and fading, the textures seem to tell the story of life.   The brilliant colors that once adorn the building become tired under the grind of daily life until its spirit begins to peal and crack.  However when you look closer, you see it is the aging tears in the paint against the texture of the building that gives the work its depth and sense of maturity.  You realize the art has stood against the elements and won.  The art is not fading, it is wearing its battle scares as a badge of honor and what looks like blistering and cracks are really welts taken in defense of its place in the sun.

Sure that is a lot to read into a an old building mural, but isn’t that better than thinking you really should smoke camels.

Art is everywhere and the next time you’re out on the road looking at a building mural, snap a picture and send it to us at off-road adventures on Facebook.  We can’t get enough.

Toyota ’10 Model Year FJ Cruiser

There appears to be an encore year for Toyota’s flagship off-road truck, the FJ Cruiser.  Rumors of its death may have been premature as Toyota releases it’s “What’s New ’10 Model Year” lineup notes. And would you believe it… the FJ Cruiser is in the line up.

With more horse power, little better gas mileage and a Trail Team Special Edition the 2010 FJ Cruiser looks to continue the rugged off road capabilities that made the legendary Land Cruiser lineup one of Toyota’s best.

But the news is not all daisies and love. The iconic Voodoo Blue color scheme is being retired. And while the Voodoo Blue color makes the rig look like Papa Smurf, it has always been one my favorites, always stands out in a crowd. It will be replaced with Army Green for ’10.

And although we have to say bye bye voodoo, we are pleased that the Toyota FJ Cruiser appears to hold favor with off road enthusiasts, SUV consumers and Toyota alike.  Who knows we could learn to like Army Green!

You can read more on the FJ Cruiser and a few other Toyota rigs in the Toyota ’10 Model Year Lineup notes.  W can neither confirm nor deny the existence of the Toyota lineup notes for this model year… however we can confirm that 2014 is slated as the last model year for the iconic FJ Cruiser.

Big Breath, Hold It… Hold It…

Ok, Let it out…  and breath.  How to change your Toyota FJ Cruiser’s engine and cabin air filter.

When your rig can’t draw in the fresh air it needs, your engine runs less efficiently, gas mileage plummets and horse power evaporates.

The easiest way keep your engine running at peak performance is to regularly check the air filter and change it when it becomes filled with dirt and debris.

Depending on where you live, how you drive and where you take your rig off-road, your maintenance schedule including the engine’s air filter can change.  At a minimum, the air filter should be checked with every oil change and replaced (or cleaned if its a reusable filter) every 8000 miles.

The lessor known and often over looked cabin filter should also be replaced.  A dirty cabin filter can contribute to the pollution circulating inside the rig and place an unneeded stress on the air condition unit which may work over time trying to cool the interior.

Luckily for FJC owners, the factory engine and cabin air filters on the FJ Cruiser are one of the easiest maintenance items to perform.  Each takes only a couple of minutes and with a little on-line shopping, filters can run less than $10.

Starting with the engine’s air filter the steps are:

  1. Lift the hood, locating the air filter housing and the two clips that hold it in place.
  2. Flip the two clips open releasing the air filter housing and allowing you to pull it away from the engine and exposing the air filter inside.
  3. The filter, although fitting snugly inside the housing, lifts directly out.
  4. After pulling out the old dirty filter, simply drop in the new clean one into the housing.
  5. slide the housing back into place and re-secure the clips holding the air filter housing to the engine.

That’s it. Your done.  Really…  Two minutes tops and your engine will thank you, it can now pull in all the air it needs to achieve the most effective air fuel mixture creating the combustion that will power the rig at peak performance.

Now that you mastered the engine air filer and are on a roll it is time to move to the interior.

  1. The cabin air filter is hidden behind the glove box. Remove the glove box by unclipping the hinge pin and than pressing in on the sides of the glove box as it lowers down past the stoppers.
  2. The cabin air filter is inside the fan housing that is now exposed.  By pressing the two clips on the face of the fan housing will you can remove the filter tray.
  3. Remove the old filter from the tray and replace it with the new one.  The filter is flexible and will slide under the retaining clips on the tray.
  4. Place the filter tray back into the fan housing
  5. Replace the glove box.

That is all there is too changing the cabin air filter.  And depending on how dirty the filter was, you should notice an improvement in the air flow the next time its hot and you need turn on the AC.