Words & Photos: Rodney Wills
What was it?
The one-year anniversary of the RECON G6 Challenge + travel story to and from.
Where was it?
Final destination: Cotton Wood Park in Sparks, Nevada
When was it?
Day of event: Saturday December 3rd, 2011 + day before and after.
What was it like?
Temp / Weather – Day of Event:
From a low 21º to a high of 34º degrees Fahrenheit across the sunny day.
LOTS OF IMAGES TO LOAD – PLEASE READ THE BELOW STORY AND GIVE TIME FOR IMAGES TO LOAD FOR BEST VIEWING PLEASURE!
FIRST: CONGRATULATIONS TO BRIAN PARKER & Family, Brad & Cole Bailey and StuartG!!! And all the RECON SUPPORT TROOPS!!!
I know we have already posted a G6 BDAY Report, but this is my personal report with a bit different approach and twist. Yes, there will be a LOT more G6 BDAY BASH IMAGES so adventure along with me over the course of three days!
The RECON G6 Challenge “Birthday Bash” presented by Axial Racing; was the celebration for some 15-events that RECON Crawlers administered for the 2011 calendar year! OUTRIGHT IMPRESSIVE!!!
The RECON G6 Birthday Bash held in Cotton Wood Park of Sparks, Nevada was the celebratory event for the massively successful one-year anniversary of the RECON G6 Challenge. It is easy to say that this single event series has changed the game of R/C with a formula that spread across the globe – all in one year! And this is just barley scratching the surface as the G6-Train has been on a closed course loop around the western region of the USA! Yes, we would love to put this event on the road and travel around and spread the gospel of how much fun R/C can be. All in time…
Some call Brian Parker and the RECON G6 Challenge ingenious, some call it madness, some even curse it while out on the trail [all with a smile and a grin of corse] but we have all come to love Mr. Brian Parker; the mad scientist of trial course and obstacle prop design that challenges drivers and equipment, not just physically, but mentally as well. Beyond anything or any way that we have ever seen!
We wanted to personally join the Birthday Bash to say thank you to both Brian Parker and the whole RECON Crew and and especially ALL THE PARTICIPANTS!!! So, I’m sitting in sunny Southern California in the middle of the largest wind storm in 60 years looking at Reno’s low temperatures ranging from 14º to 19º degrees and thinking I need to test out some winter camping gear and this being the perfect time to do so.
Parker knows we are shipping him some prizes for the participants and is calling Brad “Bender” Dumont as Parker keeps seeing the brown truck drive by his house but not stopping. The whole time “we” [Brad and I] know that I will be driving up so there will not be a brown truck delivery to the Parker residence. Just a couple of days before the event, I finally break down and tell Brian I will personally be coming as Parker is way worried knowing it is now way too late for a brown truck delivery or even a purple & orange parachute. I tell Parker its coming in the sand colored 80 Series Toyota Land Cruiser better known as the ADV80 sled.
Its a good 9-hour drive from Irvine, Ca to Reno, Nevada. The two most popular ways to travel up to Reno is either up the west side of the Sierra’s through Sacramento and over the Donner Pass into Reno or east of the Sierra’s up highway 395. The 395 route is the most scenic and I actually looked forward to making this trip as this is the larger portion of the trip we make up to the AWCC event at Cisco Grove as well. Spectacular scenic views!
Through Expedition Portal’s forum I found out about a campground local to Reno that allows tent camping and open year round. Yes, even during the snowy periods! Davis Creek Campground is located in Washoe Valley, Nevada, within 30-minutes from downtown Reno/Sparks so perfect for what I was trying to do. You may think this is all madness, but I have a plan, plan is to stuff in some short quick adventures while traversing HWY 395 from Southern California to Reno Nevada without adding on major travel time AND testing out my winter camping gear. Plus, I’m constantly scouting locations… you know, epic scenes to shoot photos and videos for our product line; SCX10′s, Wraiths, XR10′s and the EXO Terra Buggy!
So let the solo road trip begin!!
Real EARLY IN THE AM Friday morning!
Do you remember those Apple computers that where frosted clear with color bezel? The 1998 iMac made influence an a lot other household products, such as this clock that was given to me by Ryan Hill who worked with me on our magazine called TMRm’zine. We did the whole magazine from my tiny tiny two-bedroom 1-car garage. The whole staff was up in my house! It was an awesome time and this clock reminds me of those amazing times and experiences my wife and I had – every day! Insert Soundtrack: Public Enemy Timebomb.
Yes, I am walking out the front door at 4:17AM on the Friday before the event. The 66° is the inside temp. I want one of those temp gauges for the outside, but you know how that goes… I just never deem it necessary and usually just door the open-door litmus test. The clock Ryan gave me will stay on my wall for as long as it keeps running and its liable to stay on the wall even after it stops working. It is a piece of plastic, built by someone I do not know, given to me by a dear friend and holds memories of moments in time… remember that the next time you are looking at your Axial rigs, bits and pieces working together, making memories – moments in time. Insert Soundtrack: Pink Flyod Time.
The 80-Series TLC is purring and ready…
With 203,415 on the clock:
I bought and paid $2,800 for this 1992 FJ80 Toyota Land Cruiser with 160,000-miles on the clock in July of 2008. I intend to extract every pennies worth out of it!
From my house it’s just a blur of continuous neighborhoods [all of Southern California is nothing but continuous neighborhoods] until you hit the Cajon Pass and then over to highway 395 at Victorville, drive past John Schultz house and contemplate a early ding-dong ditch or some type of something to let him know I drove past. I will just text him later, but you know how it is on the road, your mind wonders and you wish for more time to hang out with friends, family and such. You do a lot of contemplating. Road trips alone are GREAT! Insert Soundtrack: James Brown Slaughter’s Theme.
This is where I turn my radio off, partly due to static or lack of interest and I do not have a iPod plug in. Go figure for someone who use to work/live car audio! Imagine this view for three days straight… This is what it is like to drive across the little state of Texas. Being from Alabama to living in California working in various industries all of which have had shows in various states… I have driven across the USA a few times!!! Insert Soundtrack: Black Caesar Sportin’ Life. It’s another piece of music touched by James Brown.
Randsburg has a cool living ghost town. Next up Ridgecrest..
Almost to where HWY 395 meets the 14 FWY. I like how my truck is trowing a big shadow and it looks like the ADV80 has big ears. I laugh and keep driving. The foothill of the Sierra’s are in front of me.
The sky is filling up with clouds:
And that can be a bit concerning… But it was just one of those moments to see some sun trickling through the clouds touching the mountain peak in the background. Note, if I had a big lens I would stop and set up the tripod and get all artsy-fartsy with it, but I just keep driving and snapping along. Had I stopped I would have most likely missed the whole shot – the whole moment! It is those “moments” that make the difference in a hundred shots of the same place or thing.
I stop in Bishop and check out this little “Yamy’hammy” YSR50:
SO CLEAN! And they where street legal with license plates and the whole nine! Speaking of license plates… look at this little gem! Flat tracker with a LICENSE PLATE!!!
Sorry to sidetrack, but I grew up around motorcycles and there is no hobby shop in Bishop.
But they had snow blowers!
On previous trips, I’ve seen this little dirt road that cut around the corner into a great wide open landscape that just invites you in. On that previous trip I almost got buried in the snow with no one around for for miles.
Here is that one such time:
This time the road was clear and I got to drive back up into the hills!
I find a trail:
I travel back quite a ways and the trail has a gate and snow.
But the side trip was not a waste as it had some epic views.
I head back down the moutain road and the 80-Series picks up the pace:
I’m having rally flashbacks! Insert Blackalicious “Chemical Calisthenics” soundtrack as the Falken High Country tires howl in the wind spitting rocks across the bottom of the truck making that sound that is oh’so familiar in a rally car – rocks slapping metal! A dirt road that flows for eight or so miles gets the adrenaline flowing! Back onto the controlled and crushed rock of the 395 tarmac.
Mono and Topaz lakes blur by at the whopping slow speed of the 80-Series in-line-slow-six. But its a Cruiser, it says so right there on the badge on the back, so when you are behind one – excuse is stated. I need a bumper sticker that says, “CAUTION – This slow truck turns off for unmarked dirt roads”
I arrive to Davis Creek Regional Park campground in Washoe Valley, Nevada
The next side trip is on foot as I found the Discovery Trail at the back of the campground:
Parker! Are you seeing what I am seeing!?!?!?! WOW! That is the most information I have EVER SEEN for a trail!!!
OK, so on the trail I come across this little water fall:
These are the Christmas trees that escaped the farm and are hiding out.
So you are hiking along alone… thinking, thinking about a little sticker I saw back at camp, on a brown box:
This sticker is on the brown box in which you are to place all of you food and toiletries aka: BEAR BOX! So, with such a sticker and with such a box there has to be a real purpose for such. Your mind weighs heavy. When you’ve grown up your whole life and the biggest things you run up on in the woods are 1,000lb. wild pigs or a 8-10 point deer. Not so bad when armed, but that was a different time and place. Things are different now and more rules forces us to deal with things in a different manner. So, you have to clear your mind and just be smart about your person.
Not to switch gears, but to actually assist in awareness is this awesome book, The Complete Walker IV.
It’s the only book that I have read more that once and is actually set up in a way to be a guide or directory too. It sits on my bedside and I can open it at any page and enjoy reading its contents, yes, it is that awesome! It is authored by Colin Fletcher and Chip Rawlins for the forth edition. Since it’s first printing in 1968, the words of Colin Fletcher have been credited with starting the backpacking industry and the book christened as “the Hiker’s Bible” by Field and Stream magazine.
Best place to find a copy is to go onto alibris.com and search “The Complete Walker IV” Alibris is great for finding used and out of print books and has a wish list function.
OK, with getting my mind off of being food, its time for food!
My little Jetboil PCS Stove is awesome and lightweight! These stoves are designed for the backpacking community and I’ve used it far more than just backpacking trips.
“The Axial Racing SCX-10 line up, the Dingo and the Honcho are the Official Truck of the RECON G6 Challenge. And for good reason, right out of the box, they are G6 rated and proven to complete stages and bring a driver back to G-Central after an awesome adventure.”
- Brian Parker / RECON G6 Drill Sargent
Saturday morning I pack up my camp and head on into Reno to find Parker and the RECON G6 Crew:
Parker is looking the the Abominable Snow Man, just in natural wood camo print to blend in with the lower elevations.
Parker likes to give demonstrations so he shows me how well his camo blends in:
If it where not for the red hoody, we would totally not even see Parker laying on the ground here. This is truly the level Parker goes to in setting courses. This happens to be right in the middle of this massive thorn bush.
This guy has his own celibration action going on… Must be his trophy from that UKC Coon Hunt Championships. Blue Tick or Treeing Walker? I grew up hunting a Walker myself back in Alabama.
Everyone knows the the ruff-n-tuff rowdy bunch is the working class and came to DO WORK!
They came to party as evident with the BOOM BOX blasting a 90minute Maxell Metal Cassette Tape with Down Under’s Men At Work mixed with Village People’s YMCA.
This TUFF GUY lets loose a BIG FART and everyone LAUGHS and its PARTY ON LIKE ITS 1999!!!
The tuff guys and gals…
Take a moment for the National Anthem. Its was a duet featuring Brian Parker & Whitney Huston.
No, this is not a miss-placed image…
This is a part of the RECON G6 Challenge – Survivor Skills Section. Participants would arrive to this skill section and stop their rig, pick up a small particale of either dog or cat food and place into the slingshot and take two shots at the pie plate on the wall for bonus points. I asked Parker about the food and he said it was safe and also would add an extra element to its flight pattern as the irregular shape would curve during flight. Parker is so purposeful and thoughtful.
Hmmmm, Tires with tape…
From the Wraith Goes To The Baja 1000 Blog Post.
Here we have a step-by-step demonstration:
And that my friends is how the Ultimate Wraith Explorer finesses through a visually challenging but minor obsticle as he was the first driver through this section of trail. Once the trail gets cut then, the following participants have a little bit of an atvantage with a trail to follow.
How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
The amount of wood that woodchucks would chuck on a given day varies greatly with the individual woodchuck. According to a Wall Street Journal article, New York State wildlife expert Richard Thomas found that a woodchuck could chuck around 35 cubic feet of dirt in the course of digging a burrow. Thomas reasoned that if a woodchuck could chuck wood, he would chuck an amount equal to 700 pounds.
Some say it depends on three factors:
The woodchuck’s desire to chuck said wood.
The woodchuck’s need to chuck the aforementioned wood.
The woodchuck’s ability to chuck the wood when it is a woodchuck
But this is all work of mister Truckee Beaver. So what is the difference between the beaver and woodchuck? Funny you may wonder: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20081013112042AAIltL1
This trail marker presented a nice little hidden gem challenge for the rigs. This SCX10 Axle-based tubber had its fair share of orchestrating a doable line.
This rather stock SCX10 Honcho seemed to have the magic with a little less orchestra. Maybe it was just a good ol’ bango and juice harp. This is the perfect example of why the RECON G6 Challenge is so awesome – its awesome because it does not matter how much money you have or the lack there of because it was spent on modified you rig.
Driving, the art thereof, can not be compinsated for with mechanical modifications. There are the basic modification that yeild additional reliabilty and then there are the USDA mods that most red blooded Americans o-so-crave and those actually require more ART and TALENT to drive! Build, tinker, modify all you want and you and your dog “Enzo” can watch TV on the Art of Racing in the Rain and its not going to actually make you a better driver. Time on the steering wheel is real time on the steering wheel. That is the real value! And do your PM’s! [Preventative Maintinance].
Then your trail buddy hands you your radio and he is now your true co-pilot! Or better yet, he really is the pilot and now you are just a monkey at the wheel.
Opps, back up… little more to the right!
BINGO!!! Just a walk in the park – PARKERS PARK!!!
Poor guy was sick as a dawg, monkey on his head, bandana over his eyes and and I bet that sounded like Santana’s Soul Sacrafice at the 1969 Woodstock. The sacrafice of health for a RECON G6 tells you everything you need to know… A: G6 = FUN! B: G6 = Healthy Vitamin C: Yea, I dropped another Soundtrack Insert on you.
Answer: A, B and C are all CORRECT!
The Michelin ZXL
It’s not just an ordinary tire… It is a tire to dream and desire about.. about six of them, four on the ground and two hung on a special rear tire carrier! That is my dream… But, here at the RECON G6 its just a tire in the dirt, an obsticle to drive over…
Here sat Rodney Wills, Marketing Director of Axial, high up on the hillside to observe the festivities.
And here sat the company issue media chase Hummer, stuck on the bottom of the hill. Some folks tried to help pull the rig to the hilltop, but it was not manditory, just a friendly favor.
After a quick splash of fuel, Team Swanson dropped into this gnarly rock garden that ran alongside a cliff that was a rather long drop if all went ooops. It required total attention or three lengths of tow-straps, most drivers only carry one:
This must be a righthand drive EU import of an American vehicle. Why? Becauase that is a 10-gallon yellow cooler in the passenger seat. He must have a little hose hook up to it to keep hydrated. And with that much liqued flowing through he is either taking a lot of 10-100 pitstops or using the Baja style external catheter
So its dark:30, it’s closing ceremony, fingers, ears, noes and toes freezing cold, Parker pouncing out names, prizes flowing and all had a great day and a great closer to the great year for the RECON G6 Challenge events! We all say our goodby’s and safe travels, happy holidays and all that good stuff and I put the ADV80 in the wind with my Jack Sparrow compass sent on homeward bound with a couple of side-trips in route.
I hate going to the same place twice unless overall conditions are different. I did the Davis Creek Campground last night and I had intentions on doing some scout-inspection of the Ridgcrest area of the California desert.
So I hit the road..
On down HWY 395 I cut off at Toms Place and wanted to see what was up there and came upon another mountain road that lead up the mountain:
And to what seemed like a nice size lake:
At this point I decided to head back down and save this road and adventure for another day.
Leaving Sparks, NV after the event put me just North of Bishop, Ca around 10:00PM and I was tired. I pulled off on a little side dirt roads to find a tent pitchable location.
I found a big powerline dirt road that traversed the mountain side to Bishop. Found a little cutoff road from there that lead me to a dead-end into a hillside with a 100ft dropoff. There was a nearby trailhead marker so I was hoping to make this the camping location.
The next morning I was expecting the sun to come blazing into my tent but due to being nestled back into a little canyon of sort, the ridge was blocking the direct sunlight.
This is the view from the tent window.
Today, my mission is to drive my Axial SCX10 Trail Honcho as far as possible up the Tungsten Peak Trail and see what I can see. I didn’t drive during the RECON G6 Challenge, but that does not mean that I don’t wish to participate. I too am a enthusiast. I’m nowhere near as hardcore as you guys, but I do like my R/C adventures, just a little differently than most.
It’s still chilly in the shadows of the ridge as we set off to see what we can see:
I’ve had these gloves for a long time as I bought them to shoot photos during my trip to Rally Great Britian in 2001. It was raining and COLD and these gloves proved CHAMPION! A desert motorcyle riding buddy once told me to not let your hands get cold as they will hurt when I get older, he is in his late 50′s and so I see his troubles and listen.
That means I can pause for a break, loose a layer and grab some super-nutrition!
POP TARTS! I’m known for eating “cardboard” as my buddy ScottG calls them, you know granolia bars and such, but today I treated myself to something that I found in the cabinet at the house before leaving on this trip and stashed it into my backpack. SORRY KIDS!
You reach that spot…
NO matter how many times I tried, I could not get the truck up the crevasse even to the point of where I would roll the rig over it several times. I was trying to stay scale and then went full KOH-mode, I was simply at the limit of the truck and or the end of my talent.
Yes, I could have used a winch as this point. Its sitting on the work bench back at the office. I contemplate if the Wraith would have made it through this section. But this was it for the SCX10. No spots to drive around, no other route for passage. This is one of those moments where I could have easily HOG’ed it [Hand Of God] up the tricky section and move on. But, that is not my style. This is where I toss in the towel and chalk it up to be done another day, on another adventure and give it to chance that I come through here again, better equipped.
So, this is where I pack it up:
Literally. I put the SCX10 on my backpack. BUT, I wish to continue this little adventure for scouting purpose as the terrain shows signs of a promising valley ahead. I look back to take a moment to see what has been concurred this far! I was proud of my little feat.
And the ahead… I WAS SO CLOSE TO MAKING IT!!!
As I progress on my hike with the SCX10 on my back, I can see the valley ahead.
Again, I was so close! My heart was torn by the the beauty and the ferocious gagged rock.
Very strange – very cool rock formations to be seen up here.
I finally reach the little valley.
This area looks like an XR10 Playground Paradise!
After a bit of exploring this little valley, I see that the trails continues on up the next ledge and so I follow:
This only reveals more peaks and another large peak/ridge barely poking up in the background. Curiosity draws me forth…
As any good photographer would do, a self portrait in action. For scale purposes only:
One foot in front of the other, taking your time, slow and steady and it will get you there.
I think I am about to make a little summit on the Tungsten Peak Trail!
I see lines… I see driving lines…
And I see more driving lines… this rock playground is a r/c climbing mecca of a playground! This could make for a great pack in, camp overnight shoot session!
And oddity of rock formation.
I think about that big peak that was across from the peak I had climbed and know that I am not ready for a big backpacking trip. You know, like Mt Whitney.
Further down the road in Lone Pine…
My view is constant of the Sierra’s massive ridge. There is the PCT Trail that runs the length of it, actually it runs the length of California and beyond. Yea, dreams are what keeps us driven.
So I make it to the Ridgecrest / Jawbone area.
I run a quick scouting loop and up onto this little plateau. The sun is falling fast already,
but it never really gets overhead during the winter months.
I climb back in the rig and back onto the tarmac for the final journey home.
I’m still looking down every dirt road and scanning the horizon searching for what – I don’t know for sure, but I keep looking… in a wanderlust search for a new adventure.
When I find it, I will know…
The sun is going down fast. At arms length – four fingers is aprox 1-hour / each finger 15-minutes. See page 53 of the Backpacker’s Guide.
I’m coming into Corona and I see the last ridge I will cross and I will be home. That is my little Saddleback / Santa Ana Mountains and our Axial office sits on the other side as well.
From the peak of this mountain it is the ocean view. We do get snow on it and it is in Orange County, California. It’s my little quick adventure spot; be it afoot, mountain bike, motorcycle or truck and yes, even the R/C rigs have seen some action up there.
Mountain peaks are great for reflection and contemplation, but the only way you are going to get on top of one is to just get after it. You can read, talk and think about it all day and you will do that forever. But one day you just have to make a call to action and actually GO do it! GO! Find your adventure!
My first year working here at Axial has been an amazing time that has just flown by at light-speed!
GODSPEED TO YOU ALL – HAPPY HOLIDAYS and
MAKE LIFE AN ADVENTURE!