On January 4, 2015, I met up with a group of people in Las Vegas for a fun day of off-roading while on my Papa.Bravo.Fourteen road trip.
Before heading out there, I made contact with Tyler via Facebook. He is a member of Vegas FJ Cruisers, which I follow on Facebook. I gave him the dates of when I would be in town.He was kind enough to organize an M&G/off-road event on Facebook. I was really excited about heading out there, and eager about meeting everyone.
The Vegas FJ Cruisers are an outgoing and active community. I had talked to several of their members through Facebook even before leaving on the road trip. They were always extremely helpful and quick to answer any questions I had. If you live in the area and aren't familiar with them, but want to learn more about them, please click here:Vegas FJ Cruisers
It was a bittersweet departure for me when I left California. I was eager to arrive in Vegas and meet up with everyone, but that meant leaving my Grandma, Mommy Baker, and other family members behind. I pulled out of the driveway early on the morning of January 4th. I made the journey through southern California to Las Vegas in about six and a half hours.
I arrived in the Vegas area early, so I decided to do a little urban exploring before meeting up with everyone. This was the first time I had been outside of the airport in Las Vegas, therefore I was anxious to see the sights. Even though it was early in the morning, there was a good bit of hustle and bustle going on in the city. I think I saw 17 Elvis impersonators, a guy covered in silver paint, and a dolphin!
Around 9:00 a.m., I met up with everyone in a Lowe's parking lot. Tyler did a fantastic job at organizing this event. We had about 15 vehicles show up. It was nice to finally meet all of the people that I had conversed with via social media. Everyone was charismatic, and went out of their way to make me feel welcome.
I always enjoy being surrounded by FJ's and like-minded people, so I knew I was in a good place. Right away, it felt like I was meeting up with friends who I had known since I was a child. It was immediately obvious for me to see how close and family-oriented the Vegas FJ Cruiser group is.
Those of you familiar with the Vegas FJ Cruiser crew know that I don't need to elaborate on this. Those of you who do not know, here is one example of how awesome their members are.
Since I bought the FJ, I have collected grille badges. I was admiring the Vegas FJ Cruisers Club grille badge when I was approached by Carleen. She and I started talking about our rigs, their club badge, and the Vegas area. Without hesitation, she removed her grille badge, and gave it to me!
I was speechless when she handed it to me! She insisted that I keep it. It was a simple gesture of true kindness that I'm sure she did not think much of at the time. But to me, it meant a whole lot, and I was taken away by her generosity.
I immediately mounted it on the grille of my FJ! I wish I had more than just a few BakesFJ stickers to give her.To this day, every time I look at that badge, it reminds me how kind Carleen and the rest of the Vegas FJ Cruiser group are, and how much I enjoyed spending the day with them.
People are a reflection of the group they associate with. Her genuine kindness is a testament to how remarkable the Vegas FJ Cruiser crew is.
Ok, enough of the mushy stuff...
We left the parking lot of the Lowe's and headed to Cold Creek, NV which is located west of Las Vegas. From there, we turned off of the highway, and took a gravel road/trail that would ultimately lead us to Wheeler Pass. While on our way there, we ran into some wild horses . It was the first time I had seen horse in the wild, and from what I was told, that is common for that area.
Before hitting the trail, we pulled off and aired down.
A short time later, we started on the trails. Once we hit Wheeler Pass, we took a break for pictures and to talk. We hung out there for about 45 minutes or so. Before heading down the mountain, we followed the trail until we hit a large camping area where we stopped again for pictures and to talk about out rigs again.
Side note: If you don't know me, I love my FJ, and I love talking about it!
From there, we took some very exciting trails that allowed us to really use the skinny pedal, and hit speeds of 55+ MPH. It was dusty, but luckily, I was the second vehicle in the convoy.Tyler had a rear dust light that helped me see him...most of the time.
There were a few moments where I wasn't sure where he, or the road was. Thankfully, I have seen the movie "Days of Thunder" many times in my life, so I knew to speed up and drive through the smoke, or in this case, the dust! When in doubt, use movie logic!
Once we finished running the trails, we met up in the parking lot of an auto parts store where we aired up, took pictures, and of course, talked about our rigs.
Even though my time with the Vegas FJ Cruiser group was short, I had a blast, and can't wait to head that way again! Thanks again Tyler for organizing this event! Also, thank you to everyone who came out. Lastly, a special thank you to Carleen for the grille badge.
Till the next time we all see each other on the ol' dusty trail…