Thrill on the Hill 2012

Thrill on the Hill 2012

2012 Thrill on the HillAs the hot days of summer start to fight the cool evenings that speak the forever tale of fall. It is once again time for the New Mexico gathering of FJ’s “Thrill on the Hill”.

It’s hard to believe it has been a year already since our introduction into the FJ community, and it all started with the purchase of a used VooDoo blue FJ Cruiser. Our FJ (Abby) was intended to be a tool used as means to depart from the hustle and grind that is our life, as so many of us often need. What was unexpected is the persona this particular FJ Cruiser has seemed to take on. It could be the warm introductions of new friends, the explorations of magnificent landscapes, or the feeling of relying on our FJ to carry us back to the comforts of home. Whatever the cause, it is hard to deny that wherever our ventures take us; Abby is there, just like that weird neighbor kid that would always winds up in the background of family videos.


So naturally we find ourselves captivated by the camaraderie of fellow FJ owners. Thrill on the Hill is just that; it is a chance to gather with friends and to celebrate the passion for our unique vehicles. The event is filled with days of exploring the Lincoln National Forest in all aspects, admiring the scenic views as well as the technical challenges of Upper Pendleton and coyote canyon, and absorbing the historic abundance from Fort Stanton to the Rio Bonito Petroglyphs. Evenings are reserved for good food tales of the day’s accomplishments, sponsor presentations and amazing giveaways.

Friday is generally the day everyone arrives at Camp of the Tall Pines, outside Cloudcroft, NM. There is something to be said about traveling in a convoy of FJ’s if only for the looks you get from the poor lifeless saps that have yet to realize that the answer to life’s questions is in an FJ. A mandatory drivers meeting is held that evening to remind everyone of driving courtesy, welcome new comers and veterans alike, then discuss all the possible trails for the following days. It is also the first chance to gaze in wonder and excitement at the vast giveaways that the sponsors were gracious enough to supply. The sight of which is almost enough to cause a giggling fit much like the ones I had as a chubby kid on Halloween.

Saturday opened with the groggy morning ritual: stagger out of the cabin in an attempt to find the restrooms only to be traumatized by a very unexpected large horse standing on the cabin porch, gazing into the back window of Abby obviously thinking of purchasing an FJ of his own. At 6:00 a.m. a horse on the porch might as well have been a grizzly bear with a flame thrower because it invoked the same response. I can only assume this particular horse had never before seen a 6’4” 300 pound mostly asleep man barge out of a door because we both had the same responses. When I was done screaming off into the woods like an eight year old, no longer having a need for a restroom, I decided it would be best to keep it simple today and stay on a light trail, and maybe some exploring in the small town of Cloudcroft. The evening was filled with excitement of the live band (The Strange), games among friends, talks of recent modifications to our FJ’s to include the easy time we had with the installation of our ToyTec Ultimate Lift, and of course good food.

Sunday started calmer with a picturesque route and gentle hike to the Rio Bonito Petroglyph Rock. The Mogollon people left galleries of mysterious images chiseled on surface of this large and surrounding stones. From there our group wound through the seldom traveled and often forgotten roads leading to the town of White Oaks. With more residents in the cemetery than populating the town, it clings to existence as a living ghost town. The Cedarvale Cemetery in White Oaks is the resting place for several important people in history. Deputy Sheriff James Bell murdered by Billy the Kid and Susan McSween, the queen of cattle country and a known supporter of Billy after her husband’s death in the Lincoln county war. Sunday evening is always bittersweet as it is the last evening to spend with our FJ family until next year. Enjoying good barbeque, the band, and reminiscing about the weekend’s adventures.

Thrill on the Hill was once again an incredible gathering. Brandon and all the gang at Desert Sun Motors do a fantastic job at organizing this event. We are already looking forward to next year’s event and we will be there in Abby the FJ.

You can read more entertaining anecdotes from Brett, Amanda, and Abby the FJ at

More Photos!

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