Trip Report: Justice WV to Boone NC
This trip was the Season Opener of the 2015 year, so we knew it had to be epic….what better way to start out than to invite some new (and old) friends along for the ride. We have done several videos and a few PS (pre-season) trips but this officially marks the beginning for us. We were fortunate enough to have a great group along with us on this adventure. Stay tuned for the videos (notice that video was plural) they’ll be coming out soon!!
Gist of the trip:
When we started planning this trip we wanted to make our season opener something to remember, and I think that we did just that. As we travel deeper into Appalachia we found new challenges, and our team’s talent began to shine almost immediately. We began our journey in Justice WV, where we met up with Jason and Matt A. (owner of Blue Ridge Overland Gear). We also invite Joe along again and the gang from 4xFish (Matt and Caitie) and Venture4wd.com (Chris and Brandie) accompanied us as well. Also along for the ride was our old friend from Season 1, Rick Stowe and of course Jason, Jeremy and I from Team MSO. The goal was to hit the trail starting out in Justice and end up in Boone, NC where we would spend one last night before heading our separate ways. We are calling the expedition “4states4days” and we covered 400 miles of back country roadways and some pavement along the way.
We traveled through parts of West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee before reaching our destination in Boone, NC. We had a great time with these guys/gals and they all brought their own energy to this trip which made it that much better. Matt A., more than demonstrated his expertise on the trail, directing us through some of the most challenging sections we have faced yet. There were definitely numerous times we felt that we might lose a vehicle early on in our journey on the first day. We also hit a point on the trail that we all felt turning around wasn’t an option, even if we wanted to, as we couldn’t get back through the obstacles that we had already overcome. We ate some good food and filmed more "Backcountry Cooking" as well on this trip. We had some killer campsites and some unusual visitors, a group horses came in to check us out...you don't see that often.
The next to last day of the trip we hit a great swimming hole and then went into Boone and met up with the owners of Lost Province Brewing Company for an interview and then had some great pizza and even better beer!
What we learned:
We know our equipment is solid and all the modifications were worth it. We learned that Maxtrax and our Warn Zeon winches are our best friends, and the ARB USA Bull Bar Bumper rounded off the trifecta to get the job done. We found out that some good team work with a great group of people is key to the success of the trip. Matt A. is a wealth of off-road wisdom and was responsible for helping get us through a really tough section of trail toward the beginning of the trip. The Land Cruiser is still a beast…..it made it through terrain that I still can hardly believe, course Matt A. was driving so really there shouldn't have been any surprise there. We learned that there are times that you have to winch from the front of the vehicle and the back…at the same time! The gang from 4xFish taught us that you should always bring a shovel or digging tool with you on a trip. Chris showed us his driving skills in the Cherokee, getting past the toughest obstacles....and making it look easy! We learned that a hammock at camp is another key item, I will personally bring one from here on out. Jason brought them in the past, but seeing Rick camping in one and Chris and Brandie lounging in one around camp really confirmed it.
I highly recommend bringing new friends, and old ones, on trips as they make the experience that much more memorable. We will definitely incorporate a shovel into our tool bag from now on as they can be instrumental to success. This was a challenging and awesome experience, one that I wouldn’t trade for anything. I think that if you are inclined to get out and explore there are a lot of offerings throughout Appalachia. Just spend some time doing the research and picking the brains of those who have been there before you head out, and then go have your own adventure. Oh, don’t forget to keep an eye open for our first of two videos that we will be making from this trip, coming June 24th, along with a “Back Country Cooking” episode. The second video will be out later in July. I leave you with this thought, when you look back at at your experiences what would you like to see…..I think it might be that you did something memorable, not that you put in time at the office or on the job. Get out and make some memories, whatever they may be!!