by Pamela Nelson
When I first entered the offroad community no one was sure what to make of me. I was single, not interested in dating or finding a husband and a burlesque performer to boot. Strange to say the least. My shows were normally on weekends, as were our trail runs, and it was common for me to roll in looking like last night’s show just ended. On one occasion I was performing at the Edmonton Burlesque Festival on Saturday night and had a trail run west of Calgary the next day. I had told the offroad group, “If I’m not there by 8am, roll out without me.” I performed in the show, went to the after party, filled up with fuel at 3:01am and drove back to Calgary stopping for a quick nap along the way. I pulled up to the trail head at 8:00am, still covered in glitter, wearing fancy clothes and shoes that were not acceptable for offroad use. A quick change of clothes and I was ready to hit the trails.
I met some fine members of our local community who were most helpful in showing me the ropes, providing training, teaching the do’s and don’ts. I was out on my first trail run with this group in my stock 2011 Tacoma, which had tires that had no business being on a trail; new tires and suspension were on the way but hadn’t arrived yet. It did not take me long to enhance my paint with some custom Rocky Mountain pinstriping. I earned the respect of my peers choosing lines that they didn’t see at first. In one such spot a spotter was set up to get me through, but I waved him off as I knew what line I was taking, and he was standing in the exact spot I needed to place my tires. I tackled that stretch like a seasoned veteran. When I was asked how I knew that line would work I said, “Have you heard of Talladega Super Speedway? Enough momentum and you’ll stick.” It was said that would likely be the preferred line for the trucks from that day forward.
That one corner lead to a stretch of V-notches which lead to a lot of three-wheeling earning myself the nickname “3 Wheel Queen”. As we climbed the mountain in our trucks we came to a technical spot in the trail where there is a rock you must drive over on one side and a tree on the other. The other side of the tree was a long way down. My trusty trail lead and spotter got me through this section with ease and I continued to the top of the mountain where the view was stunning to say the least. I ate my lunch and pondered what was taking everyone so long, so I walked back down to find one of my trail mates in a predicament. He was between a rock and hard place, also known as a tree, with one wheel off the side of the mountain. I watched and learned as the recovery took place, but a question ran through my head that I needed an answer to. I asked my future friend, Anthony, how did I make it through this? His response, “I would love to answer your question, but we’ve been asking ourselves the same question all day with every obstacle.”
That same 2011 Tacoma has taken me many places. From the Foothills of the Northern Rocky Range to Baja California Sur, Mexico to participate in the Baja 1000 and some custom desert pinstriping. North to Alaska traveling about 80% of the AlCan Highway and the entire Dempster Highway to Tuktoyaktuk, ending the drive with a splash in the Arctic Ocean; meeting so many new friends and seeing so many wonderful places along the way. It hasn’t been without its ups and downs. Funny thing is, it seems with every obstacle whether it is an offroad trail or a hand that life has dealt, I always manage to land on my feet and handle it with all the grace I can muster, which sometimes is not much, if any at all.
We all spend so much time, effort and money building our trucks to be capable of the purpose we have in mind regardless of whether you run trails, race in the desert, overland, rock crawling, or whatever gets the heart rate going. I’m sure we have all sat around talking about all the money spent and how often we’ve jokingly mentioned selling our spare organs on the black market to pay for mods. One discussion that I have never participated in was the “What would you do if you had to start again?” On October 29, 2018 that question became my reality.
I had just returned from the race in Laughlin, NV and was out for an evening drive, enjoying some truck therapy, when suddenly my world was flipped upside down, literally. I rolled my truck. Luckily, like a cat, I landed on all fours and came out mostly unharmed. I didn’t even break a window and drove the truck halfway home. The damage was too much and was written off. My 2011, with so many memories, is now gone and I’m now building another Tacoma with hopes to be on the trail again real soon!
Posted by: Dulcy Rojas