Sunday, May 1, 2016

Wild Tacomas

Ever since we went to South Dakota last year, Jesse has been itching to go back. We saw a lot as a family, but weren't really able to go hiking and camping as we might normally if we didn't have a kid with us. Jesse really wanted spend more time in the South Dakota country side so he decided to go back by himself. While I supported this, I wasn't entirely thrilled about him going alone so I suggested he ask his Tacoma friends.

When we bought our truck a year and a half ago I had no idea what it would really mean. I thought it was just another vehicle - one that we could haul things in. I've always been a truck girl, but I knew Jesse would drive it more than me. We bought a Toyota Tacoma for a number of reasons, but I had no idea about the Tacoma community I would get to know.

Jesse started following a Tacoma forum and this is where I discovered how much Tacoma owners love their trucks and want to foster their community. Soon enough, Jesse was having his truck worked on by another Tacoma owner and was giving back by helping others with their trucks.

At any rate, I suggested Jesse post on the Tacoma forum to see if anyone wanted to go to South Dakota with him and a bunch of guys jumped at the idea. He drove out in a caravan of 3 trucks and met 2 others in South Dakota. Plus, he brought another friend and his son.

They had a number of less than ideal things happen on this trip, but Jesse was happy with it in the end and is glad he invited these guys along. They left on a Friday and planned to stay in the Badlands. It took them far longer than anticipated to get there because one of the guy's truck kept overheating. Sadly, and ironically, it was the mechanic guy of the bunch. Eventually, they got to their campground, but his friend thought that he was going to need a new engine. At some point in the trip they decided to leave the truck at a gas station and move forward, but they knew something wasn't adding up and thanks to another guy Googling the symptoms they were able to determine the fix which was far cheaper than a new engine. And the best part was that he didn't have to leave his truck behind.

On Saturday, while they were stopped at a gas station, Jesse looked out onto the road and saw 2 motorcycles traveling together. Somehow they ran into each other and Jesse had to call 911. A helicopter even came, but he thinks that everyone was ok in the end. Scary stuff.

A couple of the guys were from South Dakota and were impressed with a couple of the spots that Jesse found for exploring. It sounds like they were able to find some great camping areas like the one below which was in a valley.

The next obstacle was when Jesse got stuck in the riverbed. This is where I was glad he had other trucks with him to haul him out.

I think Jesse's original plan was to do some hiking, but instead they did a lot of driving over stuff. Jesse realized that he isn't so much interested in doing that just to do it. He'd rather do it to get to somewhere cool, but it's really hard on the truck so he's not going to go hardcore off roading anytime soon.

One of the days they found a butte they decided to drive up and camp on. Turns out there were some signs that said they couldn't do so and would be fined $300. See the guys on the dirt bike and the 4 wheeler below? Those are the rangers who took my husband's information, but luckily did not fine anyone as the signs had been knocked over. So the guys had to find another place to camp, but at least had a cool view for a bit.

There was a little sight seeing done on this trip as well (see Mount Rushmore in the distance below, Needles highway, Sylvan lake, etc) and while doing so one of the guys almost got a ticket, but lucked out since the cop appeared to be a fan of the truck.

So they ran into a few obstacles on this trip, but over all had a great time. I don't know if the same guys will ever do something like this again, but it wouldn't surprise me if they did. I'm glad Jesse got to have this boy's trip. I would have loved to go to experience it and to photograph it, but at least I get to look at all these great pictures he took and remember what a great time we had last year.

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