The Fort’s Trail Team ended our 2017 “Season” with one of our favorite events in the TLCA lineup… Southern Cruiser Crawl (SCC). SCC has been a “must” event for our group since our first time venturing to Hot Springs Off Road Park in 2013. It’s a mix of old and new trucks, great food, lots of friendly faces and most importantly… It’s a great off road park.
The event has been building year over year… What started out as a small club event for Cottonland Cruisers has turned into a nationally recognized destination. Forts Trail Team has been there to watch some of that growth. Our first year at SCC was three years ago and we brought two trucks. This year, we had a fleet of six trucks from Central Illinois caravan down the 8 hour drive south. Our 2001 Tacoma dubbed “300” amazed us once again by showing its durability in trouble free operation on and off the trails, not to mention the drive to and from Hot Springs.
Fall in Arkansas this year was hot. Normally when we do SCC it’s a nice warmth in the sun, but when in the shadow of trees or in a valley… Its cool air. Combine that with the first hints of fall in the tree colors… And it’s nearly the best time of year to be there. This year… It was lot of dust and a heat everyday. Highs during the days closed in on 90 degrees. We are breaking a sweat… Add to the dust from the truck in front of you and you suddenly feel like it’s Mojave Road all over again! In all honesty, high 80’s while in the shade are not bad. If you haven’t been there, Hot Springs Off-Road Park has lots of shade. Every rolling hill is covered with trees and we are deep in these canopy all day. Rarely do you find yourself in the wide open sun.
The event is centered around this park… And it would seem that three years of hitting these trails would make the event a casual drive. But that’s not the case. We brought some new people with us, so that is always a thrill. We did manage to find some new trails, which I did not think was possible! And, we did some “Night Wheeling” and managed to get backwards on one of the harder trails in the park. It was a constant adventure!
One notable highlight was when “300” got stuck. It all happened when its over ambitious driver, Fort’s Maintenance Tech Hunter, decided to follow a line that the rock crawling buggies had just ripped through. Watching the recovery was just fine for the rest of us… We got to see a show from a world famous truck. Marlin from Marlin Crawler pulled up and rescued the Tacoma with ease. Lots of pictures were taken and lots of jabs have been thrown at Hunter since. All that was missing was popcorn!
The camping was a highlight as well… As this picture below will illustrate. Camping with new guys is always an adventure when they have not prepared their gear! Somehow… This one sided tent was able to sleep two guys for three nights!
This year, as In years past we have used the KOA in Hot Springs that is just five minutes away from the event. They have great shower facility and it’s a quiet atmosphere to retire too after running trails all day. We found out on day two that their breakfast is a pretty good deal as well. Bonus! KOA’s have all levels of service. They have small cabins, RV Hookups and tent space. We all tent camped. KOA’s have always been a great value for stops when travelling the country, and this one in Hot Springs is on our good list.
Mother nature gave us our final wakeup call on Sunday. The driest of weekends always ends with rain. (Because, what fun would packing your tent up be if everything was dry?) At 6am Sunday morning… And big storm front moved through and made sure everything was soaked.
Southern Cruiser Crawl happens in October… It’s on the Fort’s Trail Team to-do list every year. If you want a fun, end of the year, 4 wheeling romp… This is the one to do. Let us know if you are interested in going as we always have room for more folks. Its also worth noting that this event is made for every type of wheeler; Buggies to stock trucks can have fun here. Food is provided every night and it’s a big party afterward. The KOA does book it’s cabins pretty far out in advance… Otherwise, you can plan this trip around the event registration later in the summer.
Beware though… One trip to Arkansas for this and you will always want to go back!