2011 Thrill on the Hill

2011 Thrill on the Hill

Thrill on the Hill 2011Of course you’ve heard of Thrill On The Hill (TOTH), the annual off road rally held in Cloudcroft New Mexico over the Labor Day weekend. It’s a family oriented event offering four wheeling opportunities for people of all skill levels, and you can’t forget great evenings full of Barbeque, a live band, and the occasional adult beverage.

As new comers to the FJ Cruiser community we were full of excitement, anticipation, uncertainty, and even a little hesitation to be heading to our first FJ Cruiser off road Rally. Luckily the anticipation of four wheeling and exploring one of New Mexico’s pioneer town’s soon pushed aside any concerns. We are so new to the FJ world we didn’t even know about the event until just five days before it started. Thankfully Brandon Burling and Rachael Lucero were great at getting us registered and were be able to get us in contact with Camp of the Tall Pines for lodging. So the rush of just a few days planning with their help worked out flawless, and just as efficiently as a well thought out trip.



We decided it would be more fun to find a few other FJ’s to convoy to the event with so I searched the forums and found Bob, Patricia, Rick, and Kelly and they were kind enough to allow us to tag along. They were reassuring that our mostly stock FJ Cruiser would fit right in and that there would be plenty for us to do out on the trails and they were an inviting and lively group. We had no way of knowing at the time, but they are the TOTH ‘celebrities’ if you will. So much so that Bob even has an Alien groupie that shows up year after year. What does any of this have to do with a FJ trip report? Well more often than not, Rallies and gatherings are a place to convene and a chance for us to share a sport and camaraderie for a vehicle we have come to respect and love. Though sometimes we may choose to show it by tearing it to pieces on a big rock, or in a little hole the size of Rhode Island, it is still a vehicle we all love.

We arrived at the Camp of the Tall Pines on Friday, checked in, and started getting to know people at camp.

There was the customary group photo and a drivers meeting to go over the following days trails. We decided that our first trail would be a mild scenic plus historic tour of the area lead by Chris Adams. This was an all day trip that took us through the beautiful towns of Mayhill, Cloudcroft, Mescalero, Ruidoso and Fort Stanton. All in the search of local history and historic sights few will ever find without a mountain goat and GPS. The trail even included the spot where Billy the Kid’s boss, John Henry Tunstall, was killed; which started the Lincoln County War in 1878. After an adventurous day we arrived back at the camp just in time for the fantastic barbeque, live music, and raffle. You’ve got to love the sponsors for helping out with such a great event.

Sunday took us to Valve Stem Alley, a fun trip close to camp by the town of Mayhill. The trail leading in graced us with beautiful views and fun mountain roads. A night of rain increased the level of difficulty for the drivers attempting the challenging section and made for an eventful show for the watchers. With patience, guidance, and skill, (some did have more grace then others) all who attempted it made it over the rocks then into and out of the hole.
Sunday night was again filled with great food and new friends. We came into TOTH new to the FJC world & people, and left with many good friends and a real love for this vehicle. Everyone was willing to help if needed, even if it meant taking parts off your rig to help another off the trail. After our first FJ event it was easy to see that people went for the 4 wheeling because of their FJ’s, but everyone was there because of the friendships.  We are already looking forward to next years event and we will be there in Abby the FJ.

More Photos!

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