What started The Trail Reaper
This whole thing started two and a half years ago. I had been rock crawling with my Jeep for six years at that point, tackling increasingly tougher trails. The desire to run some of the hardest trails in the nation, like Johnson Valley’s Hammers, began to push my Jeep’s capabilities to the point of failure. I had attended King of the Hammers for the past 6 years by that point and had run some of the trails like Sledgehammer, Turkey Claw, Crowbar, the Johnsons and so on. It became abundantly clear, I needed to step my Jeep up if I wanted to complete all the trails the Hammers had to offer. I had three goals for my Jeep which I used to guide the build. First, I wanted a Jeep that could complete most or all of the headline trails in the Hammers. Second, I wanted a Jeep that could handle the desert whoops at speed so it didn’t take me all day to get from one trail to the next, and most of all I wanted a Jeep that could make it up the infamous Backdoor obstacle.
So I started figuring out how I wanted my Jeep to perform, then started collecting the parts to make it happen. My Jeep is a 2006 Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited that had a 6” Nth Degree Lift, ram assist steering, Chromoly axles (RCV in front), Dana 44 axles, lockers, geared 5.13, 4:1 Roc Track transfer case, on 36” Irocks. I decided I wanted to go to full-width 1 ton axles, stretch the wheel base, switch to coilover suspension, change up the steering, and bump up the tires size to 40’s. I acquired some axles for the build and over the next year and a half, I built the axles. I picked up a new gas tank, blank rear side/corners to create the new wheel wells after the stretch, new steering, new front and back seats so there’s room for the whole family, and the acquisition of new shocks was the last part I collected before it all changed.
Then in the Fall of 2016 through a chance encounter everything regarding my build changed! My wife and I happened to meet the owners of Stone Coast Marketing. They have been a very successful marketing company representing multiple companies across the nation and have been making a move into the Offroad industry. They represent a few large offroad companies and after talking to them about my build and my desire to create a Youtube Trail Guide series, they felt my build was the perfect project to start generating a west coast content stream for them. So that’s when it changed and took on a life of it’s own. This build was no longer just for me, but now for all of you and the companies that were willing to help me bring this build to life. Adding the social media dynamic to an already challenging build has become a lot to manage with many moving parts. Although these new responsibilities were unanticipated, it’s been an amazing opportunity to meet new people and share what I love to do with all of you! With the help of Stone Coast’s Marketing Team, we created a website, Facebook page, Instagram page, and a Youtube channel. I wanted to come up with a theme that people would remember and “The Trail Reaper” was born.
I was tired of getting on Youtube to gather some information or get a feel of a new trail I was planning on running only to find crummy footage of some rigs bouncing around in the rocks not knowing where they are on the trail, if it’s the hardest section, or if my Jeep is built enough for the trail. The Trail Reaper is a Youtube trail guide series that gives the viewer a beginning-to-end breakdown of a given trail, highlighting all the best obstacles the trail has to offer, giving the viewer line recommendations though the toughest obstacles, important trail information, and minimum build recommendations to run the trail effectively. We will be covering trails all over the western United States. Places like Big Bear, Cougar Buttes, The Hammers, Calico, The Rubicon, Moab, and many more. So follow along with us as we tackle new trails and help you plan your next trip. Hope to see you on the trail!