novice go-cart racers

Race Cars, Dreams and The Open Road

vista cruiserIt’s hard to tell when wander lust first imprints itself on our soul. Maybe it starts with a favorite childhood story about a faraway place or a family road trip that sparked the desire to roam. For me it all began with the Vista Cruiser. hula betty is the pit crew

As early as I remember, my family had an Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser station wagon. From the impressionable age of five and for the next ten years my brothers raced quarter midgets. This meant summers were spent traveling cross-country in the Olds to nearly every state in the union, my dad often driving through the night to get us to a quarter mile race track. At the races, my brothers and I would sport white, pit crew jump suits with cool blue side stripes. My brothers would then don full leathers in 100 degree heat and race for the next two or three days.quart midget racecar prep

While the boys raced, I discovered America. By day, I explored deserts, Mt. Rushmore, the Rocky Mountains, Smokey Mountains, Ohio River, Mississippi River, Hoover Dam, Las Vegas and the Colorado River. By night driving across the immense empty spaces of the central plains I laid face up gazing toward the sky through the angled glass of the back window. Speaking astronaut with my brothers, we watched the stars; often falling like rain in the sky. When we tired of staring off into space, we peered into Brother in quarter midget race carthe edges of the pitch black two lane highways in Montana, Nebraska and Wyoming as hundreds of eyes stared back at us. We spied bob cats, coyotes, rabbits, mule deer, skunk, fox, and raccoon. We were the generation dumb enough to get out of the car for a closer look at a road side bear in Yellowstone on our way to old Faithful. We were children in a then child un-friendly Las Vegas where we peeked through the well-guarded, adults only doors of the HoJo to watch Willy Nelson perform to a room that seated less than 50.

brother at race lineThese summer pilgrimages, wrought with overheated radiators, truck stop meals, pit dust and little kids driving fast pint sized cars imbedded in me the desire to drive… freely exploring the open road. The races took me to places where people were not like me and I liked them anyway. It born in me the need to see places that aren’t home, exploring and comparing them to what I know as familiar. These days as I continue forward in my travels around the world, I can’t help but look back to where the desire to explore started, at the Pigeon Inn where a little oval shaped ¼ mile track expanded my world by thousands of miles.

fj cruiser rubicon trail rock crawling

Did You Hear the Big Rubithon News

Mark By Rubicon SignWhere can you find hundreds of Toyota 4x4s racing from across the country to parade seven miles like a herd of turtles? What will draw seemingly sane people to put themselves and their rigs in harms way to attend? What is celebrating its 25th anniversary, brings together Toyota 4×4 clubs from across the globe and is guaranteed to leave you wanting more.

What’s next for us?  We want to stay on the west coast and add some hard core wheeling to our off-road adventure calendar. And for Toyota guys like us, it’s the 25th anniversary of the Toyota Land Cruiser Association’s (TLCA) Rubithon.  Three days on the Rubicon trail will bring us to the “Springs” where the TLCA will hold two days of partying and wheeling.  We’ll be leaving Loon Lake on June 18th and running with the Toyota FJ Cruiser group led by Mark and LT from Metal Tech 4×4.

On this run we wont be just one of the wheelers.  We’ll be driving cleanup to help out rigs in the rear and ensure no one gets left behind.   This will also be the first event that Last Great Road Trip helps out by sponsoring one of the raffle prizes.  By providing a little sponsorship love, we hope to give back to a sport that has provided us with more then just weekend fun.

This off-road adventure will be Brad’s first all out, hard core wheeling experience.  As navigator for our Baja off-road adventure and the UTBDR Brad worked tirelessly to keep the team on track.  The Rubicon will test his pucker levels and spotting skills as well as provide him with plenty of opportunities to video tape the toughest seven miles of Northern California’s most famous county road.

In the next few weeks the team will be readying the rig, selecting gear and prepping to bring our on-line fans every exciting moment of this next last great road trip.