*notcot in travel , 18:40

NOTFZJ80: Test Trip, Big Bear II- 08.27.14

map0.jpg The NOTFZJ80 Project is being sponsored by our friends at AutoNation: America’s largest auto retailer with 270 stores selling 33 brands nationwide backed by industry-leading policies like SmartChoice pricing and no-hassle money back guarantee. They are helping us turn our 1996 Toyota Land Cruiser into an overland adventure rig to go discover inspiration off-grid! Follow the progress here as we build up to our first trip.

So for Part I of the NOTFZJ80 Test Trip, we focused on Camping… in Part II, it’s time for off roading! And in this case, we decided to explore the Forest Service Roads around Big Bear further and really put the NOTFZJ80 through its paces. So from paved roads and highways… we headed down Forest Service Roads to find our campsite. They varied from paved to dirt to rocky… as we used the yellow post sites as an excuse to weave our way through the mountains as we checked out a few more spots, we arbitrarily picked service roads to explore! The result? everything from easy scenic routes to steeper routes… super steep rocky routes… weaving from peeks of lake views… through once burned forests starting to get lush with new growth… coming across a surprised family of deer… and more! Most importantly? It was fun, relaxing, and the NOTFZJ80 handled like a tank! you can see our route on the map above - the X is where we camped, and the rest is where we wiggled before popping out in Fawnskin. Take a peek on the next page…

First spot we got cell service back… along with beautiful views of the lake! offroad1.jpg

Much of the road trip Bucky’s nose didn’t stop wiggling… sniffing everything imaginable! offroad2.jpg

Family of deer! Adult and two juveniles as surprised to see us, as we were to see them. offroad3.jpg

Lots of dirt roads carved into the edge of the mountains… offroad4.jpg

I wonder how long this Pacific Crest Trail sign has been mounted! offroad5.jpg

Forest Service Road 3N08 is apparently “More Difficult” and has some fun steeper/rockier sections… offroad6.jpg

Somehow none of my iPhone pictures from the car made it feel quite as steep as they were in reality! offroad7.jpg

We had to hop out and strategize in a few spots to ensure a good path through… but the Land Cruiser handled amazingly well! offroad8.jpg

Gettin’ a little dusty… offroad9.jpg

Amazing to see the burnt out forests and extremely lush growth where snow melt has been flowing… offroad10.jpg


So many winding roads ahead… offroad12.jpg

On we go! offroad13.jpg

And a few hours later, when we popped out back at Fawnskin hungry and heading back to LA… we stopped off at Deep Creek Drive-In for the “Best burgers on the mountain” - and they were delicious! postdriveBurgers.jpg

So while phase one of our NOTFZJ80 build has pretty much come to an end (well as much of an end as any project car can really come to…) it’s now officially camping and adventure ready! And this is really more of a beginning than an end, with the real question being where shall we head NEXT? What adventure beckons… and is there internet?

I also just want to take a moment to say THANK YOU!!! to some of the amazing brands and people who have instigated, supported, and helped us with this crazy, spontaneous, inspiring dream build the last few months… Thanks to AutoNation, Jonathan Ward and the team at TLC, ARB, BF Goodrich Tires, Front Runner Outfitters, and Warn, Slee Offroad, and MAXTRAX! Here’s to some amazing adventures and inspiration to come!

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