JK-Forum Conquers Rocks to Riches Off-Road Presented by BFGoodrich
Let’s think about how conventional people get to Las Vegas. Well, for most folks in the U.S. and around the world there’s air travel. For those more advanced among us, there’s teleportation, but for the truly exemplary folks who frequent JK-Forum’s glowing web pages, any form of travel other than off-road is not a form a travel at all … it’s limited existence.
The folks at BFGoodrich understand this, so to celebrate the introduction of their toughest all-terrain tire ever, the All-Terrain T/A KO2, they decided we should get a group of enthusiasts together for a 160-mile convoy from Barstow, CA to Las Vegas, NV — all off-road, no less — because limited existence is for amateurs.
We named the event Rocks to Riches, and then we invited members from this forum and a couple of our other forums (namely Ford-Trucks.com and YotaTech) to join in on the fun. Toyota was nice enough to lend me a 2015 Tacoma TRD Pro Double Cab for the journey, and BFGoodrich was nice enough to give some of the participants sets of tires.
Our 11-strong convoy was led by a pair of experts who live and breathe adventure: Maka and Miro from MIROMAK.com. But before the overflowing fountain of adventure began in the wee-small hours of Friday morning, November 14, we had to eat, and so our convoy met at the famous Peggy Sue’s 50’s Diner 10 miles north of Barstow.
Breakfast at Peggy Sue’s was the perfect location to set the tone of what was to come for our off-road adventure. You know those desert diners you see all the time in the movies? Picture one of those, turn up the Hollywood knob on the mental image dial, and then add a dinosaur park.
That mental image manipulation is necessary because the decor is an explosion of classic TV and film memorabilia. Oh, and the dinosaur park? Yeah, they’ve got one. They call their collection of dinosaur statues the “Dinersaur Park”. And if things weren’t theatrical enough, here’s the kicker. To get to this place, you have to take an exit off the 15 Freeway called Ghost Town Road.
Like I said, this place really set the tone for what was to come because along our exploration into desolation, we’d encounter a ghost town and terrain so devoid of human influence, we may as well have traveled to a time when dinosaurs partied on the planet.
Escape from the Cell Signals
After stuffing our gullets with Peggy Sue’s good eats, we began our 36-hour journey off the grid. Most of that time was spent no less than 20 miles from the nearest cell phone signal. While being disconnected on the EMF level, I became more connected on the nature level. I realized two things while plugged into Mother Earth.
Firstly, taking the road less traveled allowed me to feel like I was discovering the planet all over again.
Secondly, the conventional route to Vegas on-road is so much like coloring inside of the lines. Forget that. In contrast, taking the unconventional off-road route transforms you into paint that Jackson Pollock would throw at the canvas. Placing yourself in the middle of the Mojave Desert’s beauty bombardment invokes a catharsis that only being a subatomic particle inside the ocean currents of Pollock’s mind can provide.
Thanks to the generous amount of fine artistry the Mojave Desert has on offer, our photographer James Donnelly was able to shoot the dickens out of our journey. Check out the great images across the several glorious galleries in this post.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Being immersed in nature is highly therapeutic. Feeling like you’re 50 million miles closer to the stars has a very positive impact on the soul, but I must admit: it was nice to get back to civilization, as the Instagram video below demonstrates.
After 28 hours out of cell service range, we’re back on the road. It’s nice to be back in civilization. #RockstoRiches #BFGoodrichTires @BFGoodrichTires A video posted by Manuel Carrillo III (@manuelcarrillo3) on
I am not a fan of McDonalds, but after spending 36 hours of interstellar travel on spaceship Earth, three full bags of fast food directly injected into the gut provides the grounding necessary for reentry into the real world.
A reentry celebrated by a bit of tire climbing.
Surviving one-and-a-half days bouncing through the desert like lottery balls in the air-mix machine called for celebration, thus putting the “Riches” in Rocks to Riches.
New York-New York Hotel & Casino welcomed us with open arms, off-road dust and all. After the requisite showering, we descended upon Gonzalez Y Gonzalez restaurant and bar inside the casino to load up our gas tanks with fine food and drinks.
The view from the hotel room at New York-New York
All in all, I’d call Rocks to Riches a success. All 11 vehicles in the convoy survived the journey across the desert, and the carnage was minimal. Alex909‘s JK suffered a punctured oil pan, but it was nothing that 38 minutes of J-B Welding couldn’t solve. Those 38 minutes of downtime also allowed me to take a literal dirt nap.
Thanks to stream fording, one of the classic 4Runners on the journey suffered an electrical hiccup, but our group’s elevated mechanical acuity got it up and running in no time. That’s teamwork for you.
Throughout the entire journey, I had a feeling of luxury knowing the vehicles equipped with BFGoodrich K02s weren’t going to suffer tire issues. After all, these are the tires that can survive a 10,000-foot drop out of an airplane.
We’re already in talks for a 2015 Rocks to Riches, which is sure to be bigger and better. For those of you who didn’t get to join the convoy, there’s a better chance you may be able to attend next year. While we all wait for this to come around again, you have a chance to win a set of K02s for your own Jeep.
Here’s the link to enter the contest.
Chime in with your thoughts on the forum. >>
images [James Donnelly, Manuel Carrillo III]