The Avants Off-Road crew embarked on a grand camping adventure last weekend. The plan was set to meet at Safeway in Enumclaw and navigate to Funny Rocks then camp under the stars.

As we started lining up in the parking lot, it became clear that Toyota was the marque of choice — we had an 80 series Landcruiser (Nicholas/Maliea) and 3 first generation Tundras (Myself, Curtis and Drew). Then we had Michael’s supercharged Ford Ranger with long travel suspension and finally a 4WD VW Van complete with turbo diesel motor, owned by Crystal and Zach.

We passed out Avants radios (with our private frequency) to all participants and we hit the road!. We made our way into Rainier National Park and up into Chinook Pass stopping to admire the epic view.

We reached the trail, aired down and off we went. Forest road quickly provided some dips and small hills. Then gradually provided some great obstacles for folks to get their flex and get some roller coaster action over steep hills.

At this point, we got to our intermediate hill climb with some rock features. Curtis made his way up to the top and radioed down that it was clear for the next person. Crystal and Zach proceeded. Unfortunately, they hit a rather large rock on the way down and severely damaged their oil pan. Michael Smith from King County 4x4 Search and Rescue took lead on vehicle extraction. We broke Drew’s new Warn winch and gave a lesson in using a snatch block. With the vehicle turned around facing downhill, we were ready to make moves. I made my way down clearing trail in sections and relaying up that it was clear. Under sheer vehicle weight and using gravity, Crystal/Zach made their way down using gears to slow and a little extra weight into the brake pedal since no motor meant no power brakes.

We made it down and we sent some folks into town to get cell service. We called AAA and waited patiently. We snacked, had a few beverages and all rejoiced when the flat bed finally showed up.

With Crystal and Zach safely on their way, we set off into the night to find a place to camp.

We found a great spot and everyone proceeded to set up their tents/etc. Thunder clouds started rolling in so we made the most of the dry time. Scotch sampling was had, food was shared and re rigging sleeping situations happen. Team Avants wasn't going to let anyone get soaked. We even made a makeshift garage over Curtis’ leaking canopy.

The morning came and we hit the trails back to civilization. All in all, it was a fantastic adventure. Everyone came together to help folks when needed. And we all got a lot of great experience overcoming some pretty technical terrain.

Lance Hanson

Director, Avants Off-Road