Holiday Greetings Off-Road

Greetings from the road less traveled.  Another Christmas quickly approaches the Last Great Road Trip clan. This will be our most recent Christmas yet!

We made it through another year without wrecking the blue bunny, despite our best off-road adventure efforts. Hula Betty continues to live the life of an iconic dashboard bobble doll, wiggling her way down the road under a new set of prayer flags. Despite her new found Zen state, she still gets mad when we leave the driver’s seat up.

The guys explored the hills, deserts and beaches of Baja Mexico. While the peso made delicious meals cheap in Mexico, the rocks, dirt, cactus and endless whoops cost us a pair of rear shocks. This was our navigator’s introduction to wheeling. Although we’re pretty sure the seat got a little soiled when we popped his off-road cherry on the first washed out section, he still swears it was the best time since the old days of our Yellowstone road trips.

What the flight out to the 2011 FJ Summit lacked in entertainment value, the Metal Tech party made up for in reunions with old friends and even a few new ones. Wheeling the orange Metal Tech rig around Ouray gave us a big case of suspension envy that now has a growing pile of new parts showing up in their shop with our name all over em.

Who can forget the adventure that never was… The WABDR showed us why you wait until summer is in full swing if you don’t want to spend the day digging rigs out of the slushy snow. But the huckleberry pie, shakes and burgers in Trout Lake brought us back for a second try. If at first you don’t succeed wheel, wheel again. Take two on the WABDR found us completing two 200 miles through some of the most beautiful and remote areas of Washington.

By the time Black Friday came around we were back at it in the Tillamook Forest with the NWFJCC. The trails may not have been as dangerous as shopping the pre-dawn Walmart sale for the last pair of retro Air Jordans, the friends, weather and trail conditions made it a great day to behind the wheel.

In our on-line adventures, our friend count on Facebook and Youtube continues to grow. We still can’t believe anyone would find all our adventures worthy of following but we’re as excited as a convention of shoe salesmen at the site of a Vegas stripper pole every time someone adds us on-line.

We are thankful for another great year of off-road adventures and the support our friends and sponsors have given us.  Without folks like Mark and LT at Metal Tech, Beau Jaramillo over at Amsoil, and the guys from Discount Tires much of this would not be possible.

Yes Virginia there is a Blue Bunny and Hula Betty does exists. This will be the best holiday season of 2011 and as the snow falls, Last Great Road Trip wishes you and your family a happy holiday and great 2012.

All I Want For Christmas

What would the holidays be without endless website and magazine Christmas gift lists to send Santa?  Since we take the road less traveled, we prefer to strategically slip our off-road adventure Christmas list into the pages of Hula Betty‘s Cosmo.  We also like to drop subtle  reminders to her about how all our off-road adventure skills and gear will save lives when a meteor the size of Kansas comes hurdling towards earth and we need to escape into the mountains to avoid Armageddon.  In case Bruce Willis fails to save the planet, we are prepared.

It’s not like Hula Betty took the hint last year, but in keeping with tradition here is our new Christmas wish list.

  1. Pelican Flex-Neck LED flashlight – This light has a magnetic base which allows the lite to attach to metal surfaces and 15″ flexible neck that directs bright LED light in any direction. Map reading, working under the hood, or helping you rummage through a duffel on a dark and stormy night this light will deliver 7 hours of burn time on two AA batteries.
  2. Winch line extension – Getting unstuck can sometimes mean running a line out beyond the length of your winch’s capacity.  Having an extra 50 foot extension handy can be the difference between continuing on with your adventure and a long hike out.
  3. Anything Metal Tech – If you own a Toyota Land Cruiser, FJC, 4Runner or Tacoma these guys should be your new best friends. High quality products engineered from the ground up to protect your rig and service that never ends. Bumpers, sliders, tube doors and roll cages are just a few of signature Metal Tech items on the Christmas wish list.  (don’t tell Hula Betty, but there is growing pile of stuff at their shop with our name on it)
  4. LuxuryLite cot –  When your adventure keeps you on the trail for days and nights on end, a good night’s rest is a must. While the young Turks can sleep on the ground, old bulls know the value of a cot that keeps your tired bones off the rocks and supports you head to toe. The LuxuryLite cot is lite weight and compact enough for anyone to bring along regardless of how you travel.  This one really goes out to  our Dual sport bike friends where space is at a premium.
  5. Off-road Trail Tools wheel chocks – When gravity isn’t your friend, you’ll want a good set of wheel chocks to keep your rig stead fast on pavement or dirt. Unlike most others, these chocks fold up into a very compact form factor to stow away neatly and then quickly deliver stability when needed on just about any surface.
  6. Contribution to BlueRibbon Coalition – Doing something for others is what Christmas is suppose to be about. The BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC) champions responsible use of public lands and waters for the benefit of all recreationists.  When others are trying to shut out motorized use of public lands, the BRC is working hard to secure, protect, and expand outdoor recreation access and use, for all.
  7. Zarges storage case – Being self sufficient on an off-road adventure requires a lot of gear that you need to store. Zarges aluminum containers allow you to organize and transport food, recovery gear, cameras, kitchen equipment, first aid supplies, clothing and everything else safely out of the elements. Their design, protects your gear from dirt, rain and grim when its traveling on the roof or pulled down next to your camp overnight for easy access in the morning.
  8. Subscription to Overland Journal –  If you’ve read our website top to bottom (you did right) and you’re still looking for inspiration for your next adventure, this is the magazine for you. The journal is about exploration. The journal covers long weekend trips, gear reviews and 10,000-mile expeditions across every continent in the world. And as a bonus the photographs filling their pages are worthy of placement in the finest main street galleries.
  9. Magnetic spice tins – Meals on an off-road adventure are more than just calories. A good meal around a camp fire at the end of a day exploring is the thing culinary dreams are made of. A dash of Indian cumin, a pinch of pink sea salt, a bay leaf, a measure of rosemary, sage and just a hint of  Madagascar cinnamon will turn any meal into a gourmet dining experience. Magnetic tins keep all those spices securely at hand.
  10. Primus Power Ignitor 3 – A good lighter is a big advantage when it comes to starting a fire, camp stove or indulging in fine a cigar after a long day on the trail. This lighter burns at 1300°C  and is as close as you can get to weather proof.  And while the Primus ignitor will help you get your burn on. You might want to ask for water proof matches and a flint stick for back up.

Not sure whether I’ve been naughty or nice this year but come December 25th (Christmas morning, not Christmas eve) we’ll find out.  And regardless of what is under the tree, I’ve already received my present this year.  Back in January, Hula Betty didn’t blink an eye when I asked to go on our Baja Off-Road Adventure…  She just said “be careful, have fun and comeback in one piece.”  You can’t ask for a better present than that.