NUCLEAR 4X4 2023 Recap 7/8-7/9

NUCLEAR 4X4 2023 Recap 7/8-7/9

Whoa! What a wild ride of a weekend!!  NUCLEAR 4x4 was amazing!!

We packed the XJ, the Tanto Trailer, and ourselves and hit the road Saturday morning, not too early which was a nice change of pace.  Having extra time before leaving was surprisingly refreshing and allowed for a much more relaxed departure.  The drive was smooth although the XJ does not like to pull anything except its own weight!  The trailer isn't heavy but its a brick behind a brick so not very aerodynamic in any sense.  We arrived right on time and were greeted by the wonderful staff of Byron Motorsports who welcomed us and directed us to where to go set up camp and then where to head for event activities.

We set out up the hill to pick a place to set up camp in the woods and quickly came across the perfect large flat spot for our friends Jason and Jessica to set up with their own XJ next to us.  Camp setup didn't take long, we have the process down pact now with the trailer being really well packed and convenient for setup and breakdown.  Awning, check! Camp bathroom, check! Camp kitchen, check! Firepit, check! And that's all she wrote for camp setup!

Off we went to set up the event tent and table for our display near the obstacle course, mud pit, and food truck!  The weather couldn't be better, mid 70s, breezy, with partial clouds.  The tent provided excellent shade and went up quickly, worth the investment since our 1st event the weekend prior.  This will be an awesome addition to our setup and may even get some use at camp, gotta love dual purpose gear!  People started rolling in and we began telling about our products to anyone who was curious.  Handing out cards and stickers is my favorite part.  The day was busy and the taco truck was amazing, I have never had such an authentic quesadilla with fried queso, so good I want one now...

Throughout the day we watched people attempt the obstacle course and even enjoyed some mud tossing in the mud pit, I got nailed in the chest with a nice fat glob of wet dirt, didn't mind one bit!  Lots of people got "turtled" at the top of the obstacle course at the exit as it was quite steep with a tight breakover.  The obstacles themselves were not easy either, some found out the hard way with some broken parts before they even got a chance to get on the trail, I felt really bad for those guys!  Later in the day some big boy XJs showed up and crawled up the obstacle course as if it was gravel...I loved seeing that!  Gives me inspiration for what our XJ can grow up to be one day.  The tent stayed up until 8pm when everyone started getting amped up for the night runs.  We broke things down, put away the goodies, and got ourselves to camp for a quick break before the night ride.

The night run was probably my favorite part of the weekend.  I have never ridden in true darkness like that, only at dusk with still some daylight lingering so it was a totally new experience.  There were a lot of vehicles lined up for the medium trail night run, we were towards the end but it didn't matter once we were in the woods because everyone was slow crawling it...traffic everywhere!  The trail was tight and twisty with some challenging climbs and dips.  I have never been on any of these trails so having hit it in the dark for the first time was a new experience!  After some successfully navigated tight turns where the Jeep ahead of me kept reversing to make them, I decided I was going to try to run the WHOLE trail without reversing and it turned out to be a fun challenge.  I "nudged" 1 tree with my front bumper a little bit but it moved out of the way easily and nothing happened to either party so I consider it a successful mission!  We were on the trails for about an hour which was awesome!  I can't wait for the next night run.  We stayed up a little too late chatting it up after that but sleep was good in the cooler temps!  The camper is amazing as always, so comfortable.

The next morning started bright and early with plenty of sunshine and bright blue skies.  I moved from our original spot down to a spot under some trees next to a few other tents and decided that I would go on a trail run first thing in the morning before beginning working the tent at the event, since most everyone was really there to ride trails before doing anything else, I figured the morning would be the slowest time at the tent, which turned out to be true!

We set out on the hard trail run, this time I was behind Jason, Jessica, and their XJ in a long line of Jeeps and Broncos...some brand new shiny Broncos!  The trail was immediately significantly harder than the medium trail, with a hard climb that required a good gas pedal bump to get up and over the root and rock stack 3/4 of the way up, followed by a hard descent and into a pucker inducing drop descent that made the XJ feel like it wanted to roll forward and over onto the roof....they thankfully did not do that and rolled it just fine.  New confident earned and learned.  The going did not get any easier.  We had a Gladiator ahead of us that was struggling making the turns and burns due to the long wheel base and we were having a good fun time not rolling our Jeeps left or right on the extremely off camber turns over logs and into ravines.  There was one section with offset mounds and dips which forced full articulation of the equipment and proved to be a bit of a challenge to get through for us both, took a bit of back and forth effort but we made it!  Both Jason and I partially lost our front fenders which we had to pop back on and continue.  We made it through!! It was a good ride and we gained some new confidence in our rigs.  From there we went to the mud pit to get our rigs a little dirty before I had to get back to work.  That mud run turned out to be a killer of my alternator...more on that later.  

The setup under the trees was nice and cool, but I had no traffic coming along.  One Jeep pulled up and a little boy came out not looking too good...and began to vomit near a tree.  I felt so bad and turns out he was car sick!  I ran to the XJ and grabbed one of my Hotwheels XJ "ducks" that I like to leave on nice XJs when I see them in the wild like people leave the ducks on Wranglers.  I ask mom if this would make him feel better and the boy's eyes light up and I think I may have made him feel a little better!  He said thank you so excitedly and embraced the Hotwheels cheerfully!  Win win.  I stayed in this spot a little longer and then decided to scout out a better location.  With time nearing 10:30am I decided near the concessions would be a good bet for lunch time traffic.  Turned out to be correct!  I immediately started getting attention and interest, lots of demos and stickers handed out.  A little pulled pork nachos for lunch hit the spot and I did my thing showing off the RadioPod mounts to anyone who would listen (without being pushy or annoying).  

The day got hot and the activity heated up as well!  I got to see some familiar faces from our first event the weekend prior and got to chat about upcoming events that we are invited to attend, so excited about this positive response to the RadioPod idea!!  I can't wait to do more of these!  Around 1pm it was time for the raffle, an exciting moment for us as we had a $50 gift certificate in the giveaway pile!  It was nice to meet the winner of our prize and get to chatting about our products and which offerings would work best for their needs.  

After the raffle things began to taper down a bit, people got back out on the trail rides to try the trails in the opposite directions, and I got to present our products to a few other interested parties.  When it was time to break down, things went quickly, and I was surprised to find a duck on the rock slider of the XJ.  This was my first duck!!  I was beyond excited even though I don't own a Wrangler and I don't know if I technically deserve/qualify to receive a duck, but I'll humbly accept it if I can!

Packed up camp and started the drive home.  Oddly enough, when I was heading back to camp after breaking down the event tent, my belt squealed really badly for about 10 seconds but when it went away I thought nothing of it since it did get a good dip in the mud earlier in the morning.  I hitched up and set out on the road.  A few minutes into the drive I noticed I had a "Check Gauges" light on and my battery meter was at 0!  I thought maybe something didn't boot up correctly when I started the vehicle so I was going to "reboot" it by turning it off and back on at the next gas station.  My IT fix did not fix the battery meter issue but the Jeep was starting and running fine so I thought something else was wet or not really important at the time and I carried on.  Towards the end of the drive I started having weird issues where the radio would turn off and restart immediately.  It took me a bit of thinking but I determined that I had a faulty alternator or something along the way that was not allowing the battery to charge while driving.  Luckily I made it home!  When I parked it in the driveway, I was no longer able to start it up again to move it again...the battery was totally dead.  I am 99% sure it needs a new alternator...which I am going to replace later this week!  Worth it anyway!

All in all it was an amazing event, a great experience, and additional fuel to my fire to keep doing this!  We are onto something good here!  Thank you Sean, Josh, Byron Motorsports, Jason, Jessica, and my wife and everyone else working the event for making this possible and for having us out there as a vendor!  We cannot wait to come back next year and I hope to come for the 2023 Nuclear Fall Crawl as well!
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