Day -17 – The Big House

crandonIn off roading there are some places that call us home.  Moab, Utah.  Rubicon Springs, California.  Baja, Mexico.  Crandon, Wisconsin.  There are many others we love to spend time at, but if you are chasing mecca, these are the top four.

Moab offers a four wheel drive friendly environment, all the way around.  From the hotels and restaurants to the folks who live there, we may not all enjoy the same things, but we all want to be outdoors enjoying the beautiful red rocks of the area.  Easter Jeep Safari is my one, for sure, event there…and then we steal any other time we can get.

Rubicon Springs is a four wheel drive trail that has been around for a century, there is a way in and a way out.  Neither is easy, but if you have some skills, you can make the trail without breaking.  Each year in July we try to attend Jeepers Jamboree there and enjoy our time away from cell phones and all the other stresses of daily life.  It is really hard to stress when someone else if providing your meals and entertainment.  Great trail.

Baja is one of my favorite places, twice a year we find our way across the border to the streets of Ensenada and often times further south.  SCORE International hosts two races we enjoy, the 1000 in November and the 250 in early March.  It is awesome to be part of a race team in the wilds of Mexico, and the food!  I just can’t say enough about the fresh food we get to eat when we go.

Enter Crandon, a small northern town in Wisconsin, in the offroad race scene, it is referred to as The Big House.  2014 marks the 45th year of the Crandon race course, started and managed by a committee, we got to spend the day with them today.  These are the movers and shakers in this small town, they showed us everything.  I am so looking forward to going back there for a race day, what a trip that will be to finally make it to the Big House.

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Day 188 – Moab

ejs jeepWe’ve spent the week in Moab, Utah…mecca for all things with wheels.  This week is Easter Jeep Safari, so the place if filled with…you guessed it, Jeeps.  Not just any four wheel drive, in this case, it is brand specific, Jeeps are everywhere.  On the trails you can find a few Toyotas, a few purpose built vehicles, but not so many compared to the Jeep.

We have a friend in Moab who has a little spread, a 1600 square foot house with a 2000 square foot shop and lots of yard.  This is where we’ve been parked.  Grandpa’s Garage is the host to many of the industry parties that are going on.  Raceline Wheels, Dana, Spicer, Superlift, Genright…and others, hosting parties right in what is now our backyard.  We are parked at the driveway, so we’re claiming it too.  It’s a great week to talk to anyone you might know in the industry.  Most of these people I’ve known for a while and since I’ve never really been awestruck by people or personalities, I forget to be impressed by them, until someone comes along who is.

Enter my friends from Austin.  They are here to race with us on Saturday so we invited them in to the Raceline party on Thursday night.  A few introductions here and there and all of a sudden, there are smiles as big as the sky in Moab, stars twinkling from eyes, it’s pretty impressive to see.  “I got to meet JT Taylor!”  The look on my face must have said, “so?”  I forget that JT is one of the true American badasses.  He is an OG13; races Baja, races everywhere, there are Youtube videos devoted just to JT.  I know JT because he gives great hugs and has an awesome smile, we’ve eaten tacos together in Ensenada.  In my world he’s another racer boy.  Of course, I love all the racer boys, but I hadn’t identified JT as different from the others.  My friends sure did though.  It was heartwarming to see them meet one of their heroes, someone who put our style of racing on the map.  I need to remember that we all need heroes, thanks JT for the reminder.