Toyota fj cruiser splashing muddy water

Falken Rocky Mountain ATS Review… Be Brutally Honest!

falken tires fj cruiser rockThe folks over at Discount Tire asked us to put a set of Falken Rocky Mountain ATS to the test and then be brutally honest in our review.  It’s a tough job but somebody has to do it!

Every tire carries a wealth of information…  the industry’s own version of truth in manufacturing.  To make informed tire choices you need to understand the ABCs of the tire industry.   A quick read of Discount Tire’s tire dictionary will give you a big leg up when comparing tires.

Some tire facts of the Falken Rocky Mountain ATS we tested: LT285/70R17D1 121S B

  • type- light truck
  • size – 285/70/17
  • construction – radial
  • plies – D (8 plies)
  • load – 121 (3,197 lbs)
  • speed rating – S (up to 112mph {don’t try to test this one})
  • temperature grade – B

In order to run these tires through a real world situation we opted to have the guys at Discount Tires mount up our 285/70/17 on stock rims with traditional lead weight balancing.   Our rig is part hard core 4×4 trail rig, part overland explorer and come Monday, daily driver.   That means these Rocky Mountain all terrains need to balance performance across all sorts of driving conditions.  The first thing we noticed is these tires look good on the rig.  Rugged, multi-angled grooves and blocked tread with a 50,000 mile warranty… But can they dance when the when things get a little dirty.

To us, all terrain means dirt, rocks, mud, hills, washboard gravel and water.  In order to tackle all these conditions we aired them down to 25 psi and hit the trails of the northwest.  On loose dirt and rocks where gravity pulls downhill, the tires maintained a grip on the ground without sliding, allowing our gears to work their magic and keep the rig motoring under control down the hills.

falken rocky moutain ats total chaos long travelOne of our favorite thing is to bomb down the old logging road (not so closed course and definitely not a professional driver). Opening it up on the gravel, the Rocky Mountain ATS’ felt confident as we zipped through the corners and raised a little dust.

When you think 4×4 adventures and off-road driving, climbing over stuff in the way is usually what comes to mind.  We motored over to the rock garden in order to see how the Falken tires held up to the boulders.  Even with mud all around, the all terrains grabbed and climbed up rocks as they contoured to the obstacles allowing us to keep a controlled forward momentum.

With all the dirt it was only a matter of time before we looked to wash off the rig and the north west has plenty of puddles to “clean up” in.  The tire’s aggressive tread design shed water and found traction in the mud below letting us make a big splash on the trail.

After a day of wheeling trails, we can honestly say Falken’s Rocky Mountain ATS are a strong tire capable of living up to its all terrain designation.

falken rocky mountain ats turning on top big rockAnd what about daily driving?  We put 2,000 miles on these tires in a short two weeks.  Think four trips from Seattle WA. to Eugene OR…  Hula Betty just started university.  The rig covered wet high ways, worn down city streets  and pot hole filled back roads.  With that much travel, we appreciated the smooth quiet ride and sure footed grip, especially at 70+ mph on the wet pavement… Have you driven I5?  It’s a high speed trucking route where cars are allowed as long as they stay out of the way.

Balanced on and off road performance along with daily driver comfort makes Falken’s Rocky Mountain ATS a good choice for anyone interested in a tire that will play hard on the weekend and show up for work come Monday.

Guess our first impressions of the Falken Rocky Mountain ATS were right… Who Knew.

bowl chorizo sausage stew

Hungry Man Off Road Adventures

bowl chorizo sausage stewA big part of our off-road adventures is getting to camp in the middle of no where under the stars.  Years ago that would have meant a staple diet of Top Romen.  Since then we’ve stepped up to more gourmet fair.

There are lots of high quality ingredients that can be pulled together to make a gourmet one pot meal without resorting to expensive dehydrated pre-packaged backpacking meals or raiding the Army Surplus for cardboard tasting MREs.  A few simple tricks and you can create a favorite dinner of ours, spicy black bean chorizo chili.

  • 1lb ground Mexican chorizo sausage
  • 1 egg
  • 1 quart spicy black bean soup (we like Pacific Natural Foods)
  • 16 oz canned black beans
  • 12 oz frozen corn kernels
  • 4 oz can of diced mild chiles
  • hand full of diced Nopalitos cactus (try Nopalitos – Tender Cactus by Dona Maria)
  • spices (this is just a suggestion…  we like it spicy…  keeps the mosquitoes at bay)
    • dried minced onion to taste about 2 tablespoons
    • dried garlic flakes to taste about 1 teaspoon
    • ground cumin to taste about 1 tablespoon
    • ground oregano to taste about 1 teaspoon
    • fresh cilantro to taste about 2 tablespoon
    • ground chipotle to taste 1/4 teaspoon

Pre-trip food prep makes gourmet meals on the trail much simpler and manageable when the light is fading and you’re hungry.  Start by finely chopping the cilantro.  In a medium mixing bowl lightly beat the egg.  Add in the cilantro and chorizo kneading it all together.  Keeping fresh ingredients from spoiling on the trail takes nothing more than a small cooler and a  source of cold.  Put the sausage mixture into a zip lock bag…  and FREEZE it rock hard, it will be its own source of cold.

Dice up the nopalitos and place them along with the rinsed beans, corn, and chiles into a zip lock bag and freeze it as well.  Put the remaining spices into a zip lock bag (no you don’t need to freeze the spices).

On the morning of your off-road adventure pull everything out of the freezer and put it into the cooler (don’t forget the spices).  By the time you reach camp that night and are ready to cook dinner, they should be thawed out…  put a couple of cold beers in the cooler and you wont need ice to keep everything cool.

Cooking it all up…  We do this all in one pot over a camp stove.  If you’re adventurous you can try it over a fire.  In a pot over medium heat brown the sausage.  You can drain the grease but why…  everyone knows camp food has no calories, is healthy and good for you…  no matter what.   Once the sausage is browned, add the bean soup, corn, chiles, beans, and nopalitos, along with the spices.  Allow it all to simmer for 10 minutes or so stirring every once in awhile.

Serve it up in a bowl with blue corn tortillas chips.  That is all there is too it. A great one pot meal that will make you a rock chief with all your friends on your next off-road adventure.

Serving tweaks:

  • Top a little crumbling cheese, Queso Fresco or Panela
  • Serve over cooked brown rice
  • Line bowl with a corn tortilla and server chili on top
  • Dab of sour cream on top