Category Archives: Events

Events Fraser Island MAXTRAX

Exploring Fraser Island With The MAXTRAX Land Cruisers

There’s few who know Fraser Island better than the inventor of MAXTRAX, Brad McCarthy—he literally wrote the Dirty Weekends guidebook to exploring the island, so it’s no coincidence that the 4WD paradise is the spiritual home of MAXTRAX.  The 75-mile long sand island sits off the coast of Queensland, a few hours north of Brisbane, and there isn’t a single foot of pavement on the entire island. If you want to explore here—you’re going to need 4WD, and eventually you’re going to get stuck in the island’s infamously soft sand. Aside from areas shut down for conservation on the island’s Western beaches, you can drive from the very southernmost point all the way around the northernmost point at Sandy Cape, all the way up the east coast—and you can check out the island’s rainforest center on the sandy interior tracks that often lead to pristine freshwater lakes.

As you might know, we’ve been busy tweaking, validating and proving the the brand-new MAXTRAX Xtreme—the ultimate traction board with replaceable metal teeth. Aside from getting in some beach time over a weekend when the US team was in town, this trip to Fraser Island was dedicated to putting the Xtreme through extreme situations in an effort to get the product to fail. It’s important that a MAXTRAX product is 100% validated before it hits the market, and that’s why we test our new products in the environments where they’re actually going to be used, and by the time the Xtreme hits the market later this year, it’ll have done multiple Simpson Desert crossings, tackled the Kimberley, taken on a slice of the Canning Stock Route, and have been beaten up on our local beaches to make sure it’s the best it can be.

We’re huge cruiser fans, and pretty much all our testing is done from behind the wheel of a Landcruiser. We’ve built a bit of a reputation in Australia for being a company that takes it to the next level with our trips and our trucks (we’re not a stranger to bringing out the chainsaws to get to places people haven’t been in a few decades). For this Fraser Island adventure, we busted out the entire fleet, including our absolutely-insane 6WD turbo-diesel V8 200 series, our 4WD 200 series, and Ben’s 76 coil-sprung converted 76 series.

The 6WD is one of the most-unique trucks in Australia, built by Brad for extreme long distance desert touring in places where there are no tracks. It’s surprisingly nimble for such a long vehicle, and it’s almost like cheating when the tracks get soft. I keep telling Brad that he’s a guy who’s really, really tired of getting stuck.

There’s no bridge connecting Fraser to mainland Australia, so you’ll need to get a barge or ferry to the island, our team likes to use the barge at Inskip Point, which is not only the shortest crossing, but also the most flexible. Just buy your ticket and show up when you’re ready to cross. 

Soft sand aside, it’s the tides that are most likely to get you stuck. There’s about a dozen points on the island where depending on the level of the water, you’re going to have to wait to get through.

This black rock is called “coffee rock” and it’s essentially prehistoric compacted sand from the bottom of lake beds when the ocean’s water level was lower.

See that grey stuff ontop of the beach? It’s rock from underwater volcanos near Vanuatu.

The S.S. Maheno is a slowly degrading and rusting shipwreck on Fraser Island

It’s a must stop spot for 4WD’ers to take a picture when they’re on Fraser Island

Indian Head is one of the few places where you’ll need to head inland to continue driving on the beach.

Since there’s no tide to compact the sand, these bypasses can be incredibly soft as they get chewed up traffic.

Ngala Rocks is the most-infamous bypass, as it’s only passable during low tide, and it’s the only way north to Sandy Cape (the northernmost point of Fraser Island).

Plenty of throttle, and a set or two of MAXTRAX to back you up is the only way to get through.

Unfortunately, yours truly had to break out the MAXTRAX as he was a little shy with the skinny pedal on the Brad’s 200 series.

But there’s no doubting that waiting for the tides and getting stuck in the sand is worth it when you get to the dunes near Sandy Cape.

After camping at Sandy Cape, unusually high tides weren’t exactly in our favor for the North Ngala Rocks, which you can usually drive through without issue, so we had to take a seldom-used bypass track.

We used the 200-series to break the track, which took a few runs, again because yours truly didn’t want to break the boss-man’s truck.

Oh shucks, I’m stuck again. To be fair, it was way steeper than it looks in this photo, and we were the first to go through in quite a while.

Lucky it gave us some additional time to test the new MAXTRAX Xtreme. These are pre-production boards.

With the replaceable metal teeth of the Xtreme, you can be a bit more aggressive on the throttle, which is perfect for situations like this where you’re stuck in soft sand on a steep incline.

The interior tracks are often overlooked, but they present some unique challenges with plenty of freshwater crossings.

I decided to take the wheel of the 6WD for the interior tracks, and once the 6WD engages and the twin-turbos spool up, it’s like hitting the easy button.

We were rushing to the last ferry, with such beautiful beaches mixed with four-wheeling, who wouldn’t want to stay until the last second?

After we took the Inskip Barge back to the mainland, we decided that we weren’t finished, so we decided to continue heading south on Rainbow Beach towards Double Island Point. The tides just allowed us to get through the coffee rock at Rainbow, which is one of the most-common places you see people with drowned 4X4s in Australia.

You can just make out the colored sands in the background.

With over 300 miles of sand driving in 4 days, we were rewarded with beautiful light and an epic sunset.

Have any questions about Fraser Island? We’d be happy to help—shoot us an email ( or send is a message on Instagram (@MAXTRAXHQ).

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Events Land Cruiser FJ55 pig party san juan mountains

Pig Party 2017

IMG_0769It never fails, work will be dead and boring until I need to leave and Wednesday June 14 was no exception.  I had a 7 hour drive ahead of me and hoped to bug out by 2 or so to get the majority of the trip covered before the critters came down from the mountains…but here I was pulling out at almost 4, right when rush hour was beginning to ramp up.  Fortunately, traffic wasn’t near as bad as it could’ve been and with it being the middle of the week campers wouldn’t be an issue, it was just the locals dead set on doing no less than 5 mph under the speed limit.  I finally made the turnoff outside Telluride around 10pm and traffic was very light and I missed all the construction mess, so I fired up the Rigid LEDs and tried to make up some time.  

As oncoming traffic approached, I went through the procedure of shutting lights down, waiting until they passed, fighting the night blindness, and flipping lights back on. About the fourth time, I was just reaching down when something caught my eye.  A quick swerve got me around a rather unamused female elk.   A few miles up the blinding lights revealed a small deer long before a necessary swerve.  An accident this close to my destination would suck.
Just before 11pm, I turned into the Cayton Campground in Rico CO and immediately recognized the rolling gypsy wagon Mel Lowe was towing behind his wife’s 100 series.   We chatted for a few minutes, Mel explaining that he didn’t have time to work some kinks out of his FZJ55 in time for the trip, before I headed off to bed.  
Thursday morning was temperate and calm, but the best part was awaking to the views.  In the campsite next to me was Megadoomers black death pig.  Across from me was Pablocruises beautifully restored pig.  Next to him was Jmacks big blue Cummins powered pig.  A walk to the pit toilets up on the top of the hill took me past FJ55-100s sick Toyota 2UZ pig and Riderjgs’ clean green pig.  Before long, fj55tlc and his big yellow pig rolled down from the other section of the campground, then Abqcruiser and Scrapdaddy. Pigs were coming out of all the crevices.  Two rigs were missing though.  Word had come through ‘MUD that Bobm had lost a clutch slave in Kansas City and Gordobe had blown a head gasket pulling out of the scorching heat of SoCal, but both were still planning on making it.
We spent far too much time chatting so start was late, but eventually we headed up Bolam Pass just outside of the campground. Within a couple miles, Megadoomer started having issues.  His computer wasn’t adjusting to the altitude causing the Chevy to sputter under any load. He decided his best bet was to head back and see if he could get it working properly.  A little bit later, word came back that FJ55-100 was having issues with his rig intermittently shutting off, a issue he’d been trying to track down for a while, so he was going to drop to the back with the two non-pigs to prevent holding up the main crowd.
As FJ55-100, Mel Lowe and myself played catch up, word came over the 2m radios that they had found snow.  We rolled up as Jmack was making repeated attempts at beating a path down.  Eventually all the pigs were through and we headed on.  Then we came to the next snow section.  Fj55tlc had the biggest pig, rolling on 37s and he would try to beat a path though, but it was tipping him hard and he was sliding off line so out came the shovels.  That would create a high center so the rigs would go through in order of height, tallest to shortest to shave the snow down. In the meantime, Mel Lowe broke out an old Polaroid camera.  A classic camera to capture the antics of classic rigs.
We conquered drift after drift after drift, occasionally having time to watch the guys up front, FJ55tlc, FJ55-100, Voodoocruiser, and Jmack as they worked through the deep sections while the rest of us worked on getting the stockers through.  Occasionally, a strap would come out for a pig rescue.  Nothing like a pig helping a pig to bring a proud tear to your eye.  Almost every rig was on the end of a strap at one point or another, but everyone was proud to be conquering the trails in their fine swines.
We made it to the top where the front group had just extricated a Jeep that had come up from the other side, and we stopped for a lunch break, only now realizing it was not lunch time but past two o’clock.  We’d been having so much fun we didn’t realize that we weren’t making miles like we needed.   We had the potluck coming up in a matter of hours and people needed to get cooking, plus were all anxious to get an update on Bobm and Gordobe so we headed back the way we came.  
Most of it was easy going but one long snow drift grabbed a hold of Riderjgs pig and wouldn’t let go, so out came a quick strap.  Pablocruise gave it a bit of throttle and was through.  I was next and decided to blast through it but 3.5 tons at 45psi in the tires can bounce pretty good and no matter how wide the shelf road is you always think you’re closer to the edge than you are.  I let up on the gas in a moment of panic.  Had I stayed in it , I would’ve been fine, but now I was hopelessly mired.  Fj55tlc ran up a hill to a high tree and wrapped my tree saver around while I prepped the M15000 on fat bastard.  The winch struggled harder than I’ve ever seen and there were some hard pops, but soon I was free. I pulled up to give Mel Lowe room to blast through in the hundred, but ended up having to back up and strap him through the evil white slop.
The potluck was a massive spread of pulled pork, pork chili, tri tip, smoked pork, pork posole, bacon chocolate chip cookies and more, with a predominantly pig theme.  We eat our own.  Although we apparently don’t eat enough because we had plenty for the next couple nights. Bobm and his co pilot Remy1974, managed to make the trip from New Hampshire just in time for the potluck, but still bad news from Gordobe.  First it was a blown head gasket, but that had gotten fixed Wednesday, then he was having fuel delivery issues, he never made it out of California. 
Friday, FJ55-100 was going to chase the electrical issue that had been tormenting him for a year, but everyone else saddled up and we headed for Ophir Pass.  No snow on this trail meant we should make decent time, but every cruiserhead knows what happens when you get a group of us together.  Every stop turned into an hour long chat and inspection of rigs and modifications and you can’t pass up the cool places for group photos which means more chatting and comparing of mods. When you have what is probably the largest gathering of pigs in this century, it’s five times worse.  It was after noon when we finally rolled into Silverton.  
Some split off to find shade, some went to a local bbq joint to enjoy more cannibalism, and some went shopping.  While waiting to gather up the crew to head to the next trail, a white 80 popped to curb and pulled in to drool over the collection, Shane “adventuremobile” Fuhrman, another mud memeber,  lives in Silverton and is renovating an old inn, the Wyman Hotel, and couldn’t believe what he was seeing on the way back to work.  
We left the mountain tourist town and headed for Corkscrew Gulch and altitude that might cool us and the pigs down a bit, but the steep climbs were hard on the pigs.  One had vaporlock symptoms partway up and the time spent getting him back up and running  was enough to stall out another swine.  The first made it up the hill, but Hank the Tank was forced to hitch a ride on the end of a short strap behind the 100.  The v8 and ATrac of the modern Cruiser tried hard and got Hank the Tank all the way up, but they weren’t quite enough for a last little rise and soon Voodoocruiser had to back his big green Illinois pig down to put an extra strap on the rigs.  Once at the top, a swarm of gearheads broke out tools and had the air cleaner off.  A small hammer and starting fluid and it was up and running again, in time for another group photo.  
Our plans for a third trail, were quashed by our lollygagging, but we’d had a great day and it felt good to get back to camp. It felt better to pull in and see another pig had arrived.  Mtnyota was at FJ55-100’s campsite.  That made 12 pigs, 4 from Colorado, two from New Mexico, one from New Hampshire, one from Idaho, one from Missouri, one from Utah, one from California, one from Illinois, plus pig owners who’s pigs couldn’t make it from Colorado and Florida, along with a future pig owner from Maine, a 60 owner from New Mexico tagging along, and spouses and family galore.
We enjoyed left overs from the potluck and cold beers over the campfire, but not for long.  The day had worn everyone out and our beds were calling.
Saturday we all awoke to a welcome sight.  Lucky number 13!  Gordobe had finally prevailed and rode in around midnight, five days after he left southern California.  Unfortunately, I had an emergency and had to leave, so I wouldn’t have day three on the trail.  Bobm and Remy1974 had bugged out a little before me to begin their four day drive home, vowing that next year would be on the east coast and everyone else vowed to make it to Pig Party again.
BHCC Black Hills Cruiser Classic Events Minnesota Toyx4s

Black Hills Cruiser Classic 2016

The Author collected as much common sense as he could muster – and broke out the winch.

The Author collected as much common sense as he could muster – and broke out the winch.

Reunions come in all shapes and sizes. Family reunions bringing large families together to, in some cases, meet and reconnect with distance relatives. High-school and college graduation reunions often accompanied by reuniting of cliques and offering an opportunity to compare job titles and baby pictures. And who doesn’t get a bit excited when their favorite band from their childhood puts aside differences and brings the original lineup back to the stage?

The Minnesota Toyx4’s, the brain child of a few Toyota pickup lovers in the late 80’s, was once the nation’s largest Toyota mini-truck off-road club lead out of the Minneapolis/St. Paul area of Minnesota. Lasting over 20 years, members of the club, as is often the case, grew up, moved away, got married, had children, and generally lost track of each other as four wheeling took a back seat to adulthood. Club members moved to other clubs, onto other projects and hobbies – from muscle cars to camping to children’s soccer clubs and the like. But club stickers still survived. Members occasionally ran across 90’s copies of the ToyxTabloid – the official newsletter of the once busy club – or entertaining pictures of “what we did then” and “can you remember when?”

Attempts at a Toyx4 Reunion ideas would pop up from a random person on a semi regular basis as social media offered an opportunity to reconnect (ToyxForum long since defunct). These ultimately resulted in gathering for breakfast, stopping by a car show or the once-a-year “hey! We’re back in town – let’s get dinner!” request from those who had moved away. But wheeling? A Toyx4 “event”? Always received with great enthusiasm, the event simply never materialized.

Jeremy from Crux Offroad demonstrates his unique ladders to get his 4th gen 4runner up Pinion Falls.

Jeremy from Crux Offroad demonstrates his unique ladders to get his 4th gen 4runner up Pinion Falls.

Enter Black Hills Cruiser Classic 2016 and a random social media suggestion that we all ought to attend. Unlike other attempts at a reunion, this one took. While the majority of (former) club members still hold down the fort in MN and Wisconsin, some drove in from as far as Tennessee. All looked forward to connecting. All looked forward to reminiscing around the campfire (unfortunately, no fires this year). Some folks just looked forward to “getting there” as they their travels proved more eventful than desired.
Dakota Territory Cruisers (DTC) once again hosted the BHCC out of Wild Bill’s campground outside of historic Deadwood, South Dakota. Wild Bill’s is a great full-service facility surrounded by beauty, complete with a creek running through the middle. Tech inspections started Wednesday, July 20 followed by a group welcome and drivers meeting that evening. Folks from all corners of the country arrived (and some from Canada), unloaded, settled down, caught up and made new friends. Three days of Trail Rides scheduled – with something for everyone – all lead and managed by the DTC volunteers. The event crescendo is an event dinner and raffle on Saturday night, offering further opportunity to connect and tell tall tales.

The Toyx4’s brought a variety of rigs. From the Woodmansee’s expedition-equipped 2nd generation Tacoma, to a number of FZJ80/LX450’s, to a relatively stock FJ40 and a Tacoma. Thursday morning, started the trail rides, and the first unofficial “official” Toyx4 Wheeling Event in many, many years. All piled onto the “Jake Bypass” trail, for some, resisting the peer pressure to go hard. Rated a 3+, the “Bypass” is Jake (rated 4) with the intent of taking the bypasses. A perfect start to a weekend, especially for those who haven’t been behind the wheel in a while. The group consisted of 15 rigs, large by comparison to th eother groups on the trails that day. Ironically, the group crossed paths with those running Jake and a few broke-off to attempt Pinion Falls and other obstacles. Peer pressure and all.

Greg Kemper eases his Lexus down the waterfall.

Greg Kemper eases his Lexus down the waterfall.

A day of familiarizing oneself with wheeling again, Friday found most of the members joining the crew headed towards Iceman. A 4+ rated trail, the group consisted of everything from beautiful IFS 4Runners and Tacomas to luxury, leather, A/C and Bluetooth clad LX450’s. A beautiful trail with many optional lines, a few bypasses and some areas to play, Iceman proved to be a great experience equipped with Ice cream provided by the Miller family.

Saturday saw the Toyx4’s scattered a bit. Being the beautiful area as it is, folks had an opportunity to visit Deadwood, Leed and other historical areas while others spent the day on the trail, some hitting harder trails, others enjoying the beauty that easier trails offered. The crew came back together at Wild Bill’s campground for the traditional DTC event dinner – with great food, drink and desert. After everyone was satisfied with a dinner of steak and chicken, raffle tickets were held close as the Dakota Territory Cruisers raffled off everything from gift cards to Addicted Off-Road, to recovery straps, to a free entry to next year’s Black Hills Cruiser Classic.

One challenge of reunions is that many end and are put to rest for five, ten or even twenty years. While the Toyx4’s have long since grown up and moved out of the house, the 2016 Black Hills Cruiser Classic, while currently referred to as a reunion, will likely be rebranded “first annual” as plans for 2017 are already underway.

The beautiful drive to the trail. The author’s 1st Gen Tacoma stretching out on Jake. Greg Kemper eases his Lexus down the waterfall. Tedd Olsen drove is FJ40 all the way from Minneapolis to attend BHCC. Dave and Alex Woodmansee negotiate the rocks on Iceman, proving good you really can take it with you. The scenery from the trail is spectacular. A “sleeper” Colorado 4Runner navigates the trails. Equipped with lockers, 33’s BFG’s, Marlin Crawler behind the 5-speed and a TRD Super Charger, the owner proves that driver skill is critical. Kemper’s and Coffey’s post for a picture. Mike and Megan venture out site-seeing in Mike’s beautiful FJ40. “I always feel like… somebody’s watching me!” Jeremy from Crux Offroad demonstrates his unique ladders to get his 4th gen 4runner up Pinion Falls. Jeremy demonstrates the function of his Crux Off-Road ladders. Pinion Falls on Jake offer an opportunity to test off-camber comfort levels. The Author collected as much common sense as he could muster – and broke out the winch. Dave Woodmansee demonstrates the value of his All-Pro APEX rock sliders. There’s a trail here… somewhere... Dave sneaks his Tacoma through the Rocks. Thinking man... Dan grabs a ride across the water. Cave on the side of Little Johns. Rumored to be fairly deep (the author is a bit claustrophobic), it is a popular location for shenanigans. Always pass on the right. Little John – an outcropping of Hal Johns – offers opportunity to play on larger rocks. Jeremy lifts a tire on Little Johns. Perry negotiates the rocks in his “wife’s” 4th gen 4Runner. Nebraska farm truck – All-Pro SAS, Marlin Ultimate, 22re, 35” MTR’s and owner built flat bed. This truck performed flawlessly. Jeremy negotiates rocks. Who says IFS can’t wheel? Little John’s offered a number of opportunities to stretch the legs. The infamous Minnesota Toyx4 picture board, posing next to Kemper’s LX450, provides some visual history of the club. Originally put together for the Minnesota 4 Wheel Drive association, the board shows signs of wear… but the falling pictures give it character.
Bay to Blue Ridge Cruisers Events Fall Crawl TLCA Toyota Land Cruiser Association

BBRC Fall Crawl – October 26, 27 & 28 2012

The Bay to Blue Ridge Cruisers present their annual

Fall Crawl – October 26, 27 & 28 2012

Cove Campground – 980 Cove Road, Gore VA, 22637

BBRC is excited to bring their annual event home to Virginia. The Cove Campground has hosted private 4WD events for many years and has trails to challenge all levels of vehicles from stock to extreme.

The event is open to all makes/models of 4WD but is being insured through the Toyota Land Cruiser Association. Vehicles must pass a technical inspection. Details can be found here:

There will be a catered dinner Saturday Night by Mr. B’s BBQ (bring your own drinks) followed by a raffle. $65 Registration Fee covers event insurance, T-shirt, Saturday night meal ticket, 1 drivers raffle & 10 general raffle tickets. Additional raffle tickets are available for $1 each and additional T-Shirts at $15 each.

All fees associated with Wheeling and Camping will be paid directly to Cove Campground. BBRC is not responsible for paying Cove Campground for any day use or camping fees.

The Cove Campground Fees:

  •  Driver $25 per day
  •  Passenger $15 per day
  •  Camping $15 per person per day

Fill out the registration & mail with check by 10/12/2012 to:

Bay to Blue Ridge Cruisers, PO Box 575, Ashland, VA 23005






City:___________________________________________ State:_________    Zip:___________


Email:__________________________ Phone:____________________ Shirt Size:____________


Extra Meal tickets @$15 _______ Extra Raffle Tickets @ $1 ____________


Extra T-Shirts @ $15 _______ Additional Shirt Sizes__________ Total Enclosed $_____________



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