26 Hours, 14 Minutes, 32 Seconds
There are those who dislike taking long road trips. There are also those who find them to be a relaxing and freeing experience of solitude. I am the latter sort. I spent just over 26 hours traveling from Orange County, California, to Farmington, New Mexico, to attend the 2007 TTORA (Toyota Territory Off-Roaders Association) TakeOver event. The nearly 800-mile-long drive doesn't take 26 hours, but I took my time, stopping to see a friend in Phoenix and stretch my legs and eat something other than gas station snack foods. Much of the drive was spent along Interstate 40, which parallels part of historic Route 66. The scenery shifts from the bustling highways of Orange County to the desert and the wide-open spaces of northern Arizona.
Farmington is located at 36 45.6N, 108 11.23W, which is in San Juan County. When the area opened for settlement in 1876, immigrants arrived from Colorado, Utah, and Texas to find work as miners, farmers, or cattle raisers. Subsequently it became occupied by the Navajo, Ute, and Apache peoples, whose descendants still live there. Spend time walking about the town of Farmington, and you'll quickly see the heavy influence of Native American culture throughout.
Aside from this being a work assignment, I was looking forward to spending time with my good friends in the TTORA. The TTORA is the largest Toyota-based club in the world, with chapters in nearly every state in the U.S. Each year, the club holds its TakeOver event, changing the location year to year. The trails of Farmington provided outstanding terrain for this year's event; some would even call this place a sort of mini-Moab because of the slickrock-type formations and amazing vistas. The TTORA has such an impact on Toyota's off-road market that typically there is a Toyota and TRD representative at TakeOver each year. Besides TakeOver, members of the TTORA enjoy access to the club's many other adventure outings (you should see the giveaways at these events!) and to its popular online forum.
I had another great time with the TTORA gang and will definitely be sitting shotgun on the trails with them again soon. In the rare moments when I wasn't enjoying the trail action, conversation, and excellent barbecued food, I managed to snap a few photos for you. Enjoy.