Aug. 15, 2018


Almost 3 weeks and $4,000 later, it’s back. New head gasket and heads, radiator, starter, steering rack, timing belt and small other things.


Aug. 7, 2018


The iPhone macro let me down, but the drivers side head had cracks on all three cylinder valves. More money into the Taco.

Aug. 6, 2018


Today it’s been a week since the Taco went to the shop.


I stopped by to get an update and visit the truck ; )


I had a small head gasket leak that caused misfires on cold starts. Time to fix it before it got worse. I also blew my steering rack while off-roading earlier in the month, so that is getting fixed too. I can’t complain, the truck has almost 300,000 miles, and has served me great for a lot of adventures.

July 7, 2018


Heading home… packed up camp in the rain, lunch in Asheville, dry stuff at home. In all, in 8 days we drove 1160 miles, spent 3 days with more than 11 hours away from camp, including one day we never drove on a paved road, hiked to 4 waterfalls: a good vacation!

July 5, 2018


Nemo Tunnels near Wartburg, TN – I mentioned to James and Elizabeth the abandoned railroad tunnels and that was all it took for this to be a goal….


I know you are supposed to wade through water when off-roading first, but today was a just go for it… I created a large bow wave and the water never reached my door seals, so¬† it was all good right?


Tunnel #24 is just about a 1/2 mile long. When we left back through it, twice I had to back out when we ran into another truck in the tunnel!


the 2nd tunnel to explore is a walk through and across from some VERY busy tracks… it was a little scary with my daughter and truck that close to a fast train….. the 2nd train to come through in 20 minutes, just missed us doing a 3 point turn!




July 4, 2018


Kodak seems nervous about this stream crossing?


After a slow morning, doing camp chores and cleaning up from last night’s 1am hike off Max Patch. Today was all about running Hurricane Creek.


Our two Tacomas. I don’t have a picture or dash cam video, but James said he thought I might flip my Taco today… there was a ledge that was off camber and as I started my second attempt up, my back right wheel fell into a hole, causing my drivers front to lift way up…. I knew enough as I felt it to stay on the gas, and the truck came back down fairly hard… James said he and Elizabeth just looked at each other in their truck and said “wow” – I then spotted James through with a better line, but he still lifted a driver’s front tire a couple of feet!

July 2, 2018


The day started with a drive through Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, a mistake that will never happen again (way too touristy for me) to get to Cades Cove, a neat history filled loop, including this working grist mill.


Just a bear along the road, it was not interested in us at all!


James works on figuring out electrical gremlins, after thinking of complex problems to solve, sometimes the simplest answer is correct… a bad cell in his battery.


James checks how badly I am beating him at an English style pub in Gatlinburg.

June 25, 2018


Dropped the Taco off at Mid-State Toyota for new upper and lower ball joints… since I had time, I looked at the new TRD Pro Taco – $43k, so $800 for repairs on a truck with almost 300,000 seemed much better – keep running my little red Taco!