Fj trailersummer2016

S.J. Hollist

Mapping Crew - Arizona

I've been writing for TrailsOffroad since August 2015. Before that, I had been off-road in places like central and northern Utah, east and west Texas, and central and northern Arizona. I've even driven off-road on an island in the Caribbean (the one time I've driven a Jeep off-road).

I joined TrailsOffroad because it combines my three favorite hobbies: Off-roading obviously; I've also been blogging for most of my life - even before it was done on the internet (ever heard of a dial-up BBS?) - and even wrote a political column for for a few years; I also have experience with building websites and promoting on social media. These experiences made writing for Trails Offroad a good fit for me, and I've been enjoying it very much.

When I'm not working at my IT job, or playing with my kids, I go on runs with a group of people who like to collaborate on, and run my own online marketing and web content company (my wife calls it my hobby business) The Rotisory Foundation (named after a BBS I used to run back in High School and College before the Internet became overwhelmingly popular).

I'm a big Toyota fan. I've owned two 4x4 Tacomas, an older 4x4 Toyota pickup, and I'm now on my second FJ Cruiser (the first was a TRD SE 6 speed, that I got rid of after my twins were born).

You can learn more about my adventures at

My Builds


This is an April. 2006 built, 2007 model year, Toyota FJ Cruiser, in Black Cherry; named The Purple People Eater.

  • I bought it stock in 2013 with a stock e-locker, 2011 revolver wheels, a bull bar, and crappy tires.
  • I then added an A-TRAC button and did a wiring hack to make it work with the e-locker on.
  • I put in a HAM radio for communication, but also have a portable CB in case it's needed.
  • I upgraded the suspension with Trail Teams OEM suspension (no lift yet).
  • I then blacked out all the ugly silver trim not only outside, but also on the inside of the rig.
  • I installed OEM rock rails (ditched the Predator side-steps that were just getting smashed on the rocks).
  • I had the front body mounts chopped so I could fit 285/70/17 Cooper Discovery ATP tires on the Method Race Wheels I won at the 2014 Off Camber event.
  • For off-road lighting I have a 42" light bar mounted a Ricochet Off-road roof rack air-dam, eight LED rock lights, and a couple old fog lights on the bull bar I had laying around from a previous vehicle that is now burned out.
  • The Roof rack also holds a Hi-Lift Jack and a shovel that will eventually be accompanied by a combination ax and sledgehammer.
  • I also have a tablet mount for recording GPS tracks and displaying maps, some other electrical add-ons, and a car DVR for recording video.

I'm now focusing more on a trailer build up that is based on a M101A3, and plan to get it looking somewhat similar and color matched to the FJ Cruiser. So far I have matching wheels and tires, and electric breaks for which I installed a 7-pin plug on the FJ.

I'm accepting offers for sponsorship on the FJ and the Trailer.

Recent Trip Reports

Casner Mountain Trail 07-23-2016

Knowing I needed company to satisfy the permit requirements, I decided to [make an event]( of this. I ended up with nine vehicles, and about twenty people showing up for this awesome adventure. We started out at the [Pick-N-Run Shell Station in Kachina Village](,+Flagstaff,+AZ+86001/@35.0898404,-111.6895925,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x872d9a8d05f39eb1:0x8d5a86eadc3ad1eb!8m2!3d35.0898404!4d-111.6874038?hl=en) - Exit 333 off I-17- to fuel up, talk about what to expect, what channel to communicate on, and hand out some swag I had collected form a few vendors and clubs, including: * [Bivouac Camping Trailers]( * [Restop]( * [The Thrive in Life Book]( * National Forest maps and information on the trails * Someone from [The Jeep Mafia]( was also there and added to the pile. We had four FJ Cruisers who were all a part of the [AZFJ Non-club](, three Jeeps, and two Land Cruisers. Somehow we all managed to get along just fine. We started out on some well grated dirt roads that took us along FR 237 through Fry Canyon on our way to 89A. We then headed up some mild switchbacks along FR 535 to get up into the forest just north of the Mogollon Rim. We stopped at Fry Lake along FR 536, which was more like an marsh full of cows and beautiful yellow flowers. We then hooked up with [FR 231]( (also known as Woody Mountain Rd. to the north, and East Pocket Road to the south), which took us to FR 231B. This was a truly rocky road that eventually hooked us up with 538D, and onto 538. This took us south along [Jerome Road]( that eventually hooked up with Casner Mountain Trail. Figuring out how to unlock the gate was a little confusing at first, as the lock was hard to open, and then we had to figure out that the chain also made it's way through a tongue inside the metal cylinder that keep the gate closed. Once we got it figured out, we headed through, locked it behind us, and where on our way up the mountain. The views on the way up were nice, but it wasn't until after we had found a nice place to stop for lunch that we truly learned the real beauty of this off-road trail. Both Sycamore Canyon and Secret Mountain are full of beautiful red-rock landscapes and awe inspiring views. Seeing them from on top of Casner Mountain made them even more spectacular. Even the four wheeling got more exciting the further south we went. While none of it ever got too technical it still had some exciting moments and we drive along the top ridge of the mountain, and eventually down some steep sharp switchbacks. Both of these offered even more incredible views of the valleys below. Finally, a few of us heading onto Greasy Spoon afterwords for some more challenging off-road driving. I would definitely recommend anyone who enjoys off-road trails for their ability to see things most other people never do, you have to come to Sedona, Arizona at some point in your lifetime. While your there do everything you can to get a permit, or go along with someone who can, to take this amazing off-road trail.

Broken Arrow 07-22-2016

It was a bit warm, but the clouds help keep the sun at bay. The trail was as beautiful as ever with the red rock formations and the pink jeeps. Being a well maintained trail, thanks to the pink jeeps, it hasn't changed much in recent years. Being a Friday afternoon, the trail was otherwise empty, leaving it all to myself to enjoy in a quiet peaceful environment.

General Cook National Recreation Trail 07-22-2016

The trail was fairly dry for most of the run, but still had some unavoidable mud. Some of it was obviously from the recent rain storms, while others are part of Copper Creek runoff. Some parts of the trail are slightly more eroded and if allowed to continue will likely make for some more challenging four-wheel drive off-road fun; especially on the big hill that is getting looser and rockier. I also had to move a few Prickly Pare Cacti out of the way to avoid driving over them. They seem to line the side of the skinny long hill, leaving you with not choice but to go over the larger of the loose rocks. Splashing through the water and mud was lots of fun, but spraying it out of the fenders and wheel wells was not.


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