The Squealing Tire

Tire Talk from the Experts at Discount Tire Company.

The Squealing Tire - Tire Talk from the Experts at Discount Tire Company.

Petrol Eyewear Giveaway

Petrol Eyewear Giveaway


Discount Tire and Petrol Eyewear have teamed up to give away TEN pairs of Petrol Sunglasses.   

How do I enter?

Entering the Discount Tire Petrol Eyewear Giveaway is easy! From Thursday, Aug 29th to Monday, September 30th submit your photo (must be taken by you) of your favorite road, track or trail for your chance to win a pair of Petrol Bondi Sunglasses.  Entries can be uploaded to Instagram with hashtag  #YourJourneyStartsHere or they can emailed to  Please include the name of your favorite road, track or trail with your submission. If you choose to enter your photo via email please title the subject of your email “YourJourneyStartsHere”and include your name, address, and phone number in the body of the email as well.  

When does the Petrol Eyewear Giveaway start and end?

Photos must be submitted between August 29th and September 30th, 2013.  Deadline for entries is midnight Monday September 30th, 2013. Winners will be contacted after Monday September 30th, 2013.

What will the winners win?

Ten lucky winners will be randomly selected Friday September 30th, 2013 to win a pair of Petrol Bondi Sunglasses.  The winners will be contacted directly through Instagram or by email, see official rules*** below.

Petrol Eyewear - Bondi

Petrol Bondi Sunglasses

“Developed by automotive enthusiasts and endorsedby professional race car drivers, Petrol Eyewear offers superior driving optics designed to increase depth perception, sharpen vision, reduce eye fatigue, and protect the wearer from harmful UV and high-intensity visible light. Our passion and focus is driving, but within our collection you will find styles suitable for most any pursuit where a high-quality polarized lens is essential.” – 

How will the winners be selected?

The winner will be selected at random. One entry per person.


Entries! The latest “#YourJourneyStartsHere” Petrol Sunglasses Entries Submitted Via Instagram:

Additional Email Entries:

Harlan Ky OHV Park  by JWhver

Harlan Ky OHV Park by JWhver

Dahlonego GA By Adam S.

Dahlonego GA By Adam S.

CA120 through Yosemite National Park by Brian C.

CA120 through Yosemite National Park by Brian C.

Leopold Lake Park by James J

Leopold Lake Park by James J.






Douglas Creek, WA by  Jeff S

Douglas Creek, WA by  Jeff S.

Rooster Rock on the Swamp Lake Trail by Connie S.

Rooster Rock on Swamp Lake Trail by Connie S.

Mary's Peak in Benton County, Oregon by Johnny M.

Mary’s Peak in Benton County, OR by Johnny M.

Baby Lion's Back, near Moab Utah by Craig U.

Baby Lion’s Back, near Moab Utah by Craig U.


Road to Lake Michigan in Pentwater, Mi by Sarah A.

Rd. to Lake Michigan in Pentwater, Mi;  Sarah A.

Snelling Highway in Central California by Sam S.

Snelling Highway in Central CA by Sam S.

Mike S. Road Unknown

Mike S. Road Unknown

Rt129 aka "The Dragon" by Mike L.

Rt129 aka “The Dragon” by Mike L.

GreenHorn Creek trail head by Mike F

GreenHorn Creek trail head by Mike F

Talladega by Mike D.

Talladega by Mike D.

Summit Racing Motorsports Park by Michael C.

Summit Racing Motorsports Park by Michael C.

Fox to Hugg Hollow by John K.

Fox to Hugg Hollow by John K.

Iron Range Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area in Gilbert  MN. by David W.

Iron Range OHV Rec. Area Gilbert MN. by David W.

Mine Rd, South Hill area in KY by David C.

Mine Rd, South Hill area in KY by David C.




The Road to the Marina by Tim S.

The Road to the Marina by Tim S.









































***Official Sweepstakes Rules: 0Sweepstakes is open only to legal residents of the fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia over the age of 18. All employees of Discount Tire/America’s Tire and all associated agencies and each of their respective affiliates, sales representatives, distributors, licensees or agents (all of the foregoing, together with Sponsor, collectively referred to as “Sweepstakes Entities”), and their immediate family members (spouse, parent, child, sibling and their respective spouses) are ineligible to participate in the Sweepstakes. One entry per person. Grand prize winners will be contacted directly.  Only 10 people will win.  Winners will receive a Pair of Petrol Bondi Sunglasses not to exceed $100.00 in value.  All entries must be submitted by 12:00pm Pacific time September 30th, 2013.   All applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations apply. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. Entry into the Sweepstakes constitutes your full and unconditional acceptance of these Official Rules. Discount Tire is not responsible for any inappropriate content posted on Instagram.  Instagram is not affiliated with Discount Tire.  NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.  A PURCHASE WILL NOT IMPROVE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING.

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Driving With Your Eyes Closed – Blink of an Eye

Driving With Your Eyes Closed

The Blink Of An Eye

Petrol Eyewear - Bondi

Petrol Eyewear – Bondi Designed by Automotive Enthusiasts Endorsed by Professional Race Car Drivers

We demand a lot from our eyes while driving.  We depend on them to see where we are going and to help us judge distance.  We depend on our eyes to read street markings, lights and road signs.  Our eyes enable us to watch out for hazards, pedestrians and animals.  We expect our eyes to focus on the distance in one instant and then refocus on our dash, our radio and in our mirrors in another instant.   The amount of information that our eyes see and allow us to process while driving is truly astonishing… but what about what we don’t see while driving?  What do we miss when we blink?

I recently received a new pair of driving sunglasses by Petrol Eyewear and in a roundabout way they inspired me to wonder…  How much of our driving is done with our eyes closed?

What if I took vehicle speed, time and distance traveled, average blink rate and blink speed… could I figure out a total distance driven while blinking?  Hmm… Here’s my interesting (but likely useless!) findings.

First, according to Wikipedia the average human blinks about once every 6 seconds and that blink lasts for 100-400 milliseconds (average 1/4 per second).  There are many variables that effect blink rate and duration, but for our purposes I’ll just use the nice tidy 1/4 second duration for calculations.

Our Daily Commute in the Blink of an Eye

DailyCommute Traveling to work in the blink of an eye

How much of your morning commute is done with your eyes closed?

A 1/4 of a second doesn’t sound like much, but what does it equate to for the average driver on their daily commute?  Well, let’s say our morning drive takes about 15 minutes and we average about 35 miles per hour.  At 35 mph, you’ll travel almost 13 feet in the time it takes you to blink! That’s slightly longer than a standard 2-door Mini Cooper!

Now, consider the 10 blink per minute average from Wikipedia. In the 15 minutes it took us to complete our drive we would have blinked 150 times. That means that we spent over 1/3 of a mile (about 1920 feet) WITH OUR EYES CLOSED!!!

Our Road Trip or Weekend Getaway in the Blink of an Eye

Phoenix to San Diego in the Blink of an Eye

When driving from Phoenix, AZ to San Diego, CA the average driver blinks over 3,100 times.

What about  a summer road trip?  About 3 times per year I take my family to visit my sister and her family in San Diego.  Google estimates the drive to take about 5 hours 15 minutes and its aroud 360 miles.  Using Google’s estimates we’ll average about 68.6mph and at this speed, we’ll travel 25.2 feet every time we blink.  That’s just shy of the length of a standard UPS truck!   By the time we arrive in San Diego, after blinking 3,150 times, we have just missed over 15 miles of our trip because our eyes were closed.

What does a blink of an eye mean to professional race car driver?

In racing, the blink of an eye can mean the difference between winning and losing.  Let’s punch some real world numbers for three different professional motor sports; Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, Best in the Desert Racing and NASCAR.

Pikes Peak  International Hill Climb in the Blink of an Eye

Pikes Peak Road to the Summit

Would you drive 1/2 mile of this road with your eyes closed at an average speed of 70mph? – Doug Siddens would.

The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb challenges drivers in a race against time as they sprint to the finish located at the summit of Pikes Peak over 14,000 feet up.  For everyday visitors the road to the summit is a leisure 20-35 mph scenic drive.  It starts in the tall pines and slowly climbs up above the tree line. Eventually, after 156 turns (many of which are switchbacks) you arrive at the summit.

PPIHC 2012 Doug Siddens

Doug Siddens travels over 25 1/2 feet per blink at 69.84mph during the PPIHC Race.

In 2012 Doug Siddens raced a home built Polaris RZR and finished the 12.42 mile race in a class record time of 10:40.669.  This means he averaged 69.84 MPH and traveled over 25.6′ each time he blinked.  After reaching the summit Siddens had just driven over 1/2 a mile of the steep, switchback mountain road with his eyes closed!  I have driven this road myself and considering the conditions… I think I would want to tape my eyes open if I were to race it.

Best In The Desert Vegas to Reno Race in the Blink of an Eye

Best in the Desert Vegas To Reno 2013 Race

How many blinks will it take driver Mel Wade to pass the wrecked competition on the left?

In an opposite ecosystem, desert racing can also yield some interesting conclusions.  In 2013 Mel Wade of Off Road Evolution took on the longest off road race in the United States, the Best in the Desert Vegas to Reno race.  This race is a 548 mile long endurance sprint through desert terrain connecting Las Vegas and Reno, NV.  Maintaining speed in this race is very difficult but Wade was able to reach a top speed over 95mph and, after considering all pits and on track repairs, his average speed was 30.14mph.  After the checkered flag was waved, and the dusted had settled, Wade’s finish time of 18:11 meant that he had blasted through over 22.6 desert miles with his eyes closed.

NASCAR Nationwide U.S. Cellular 250 in the Blink of an Eye

2013 NASCAR Nationwide U.S. Cellular 250 - Brad Keselowski Win

Brad Keselowski drove over 10 laps during the U.S Cellular 250 with his eyes closed.

As I round the last corner in my motorsports calculations I decided I want to go fast and turn left just like Discount Tire’s NASCAR Driver Brad Keselowski.  In 2013 Brad Keselowski won the Nationwide U.S. Cellular 250 at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa.  His total race time was 1:56:58.  During the 218.75 mile race Keselowski averaged 112.211mph.  This means that every time he blinked, Keselowski traveled an average of 41.1 feet!  That is almost 2 1/2 NASCAR car lengths. (think about that next time you watch a race) After the checked flag had flown Keselowski had driven 9.12 miles of the race with his eyes closed.  Considering the Iowa Speedway track is .875 miles long this means Brad Keselowski had driven almost 10.5 laps…. WITH HIS EYES CLOSED!

Final thoughts in the Blink of an Eye

Now, the reality is that we blink only about one time every six seconds.  One could argue that during our blink we can still see to some extent until our eyelids are almost all the way shut.  Perhaps, my accumulative calculations might be able to be cut shorter.  Anyway you dice it,  its still fun to think about.

I’m pretty excited to have a new pair of sunglasses to try out.  After a deeper look into the brand, Petrol claims their optics “increase depth perception, sharpen vision, reduce eye fatigue, and protect the wearer from harmful UV and high-intensity visible light“.   If their sunglasses do indeed improve the performance of my eyes and reduce eye fatigue,  maybe I’ll blink less while driving and get to see more of what I have been missing.

Petrol Bondi Sunglasses Reviewed by

Enter to Win a pair of Petrol Sunglasses


2013 FJ Summit – California Pass and Corkscrew Gulch

2013 FJ Summit- California Pass and Corkscrew Gulch

For my last ride during the 2013 Fj Summit I joined Eddy on the California Pass and Corkscrew Gulch.   Eddy and I rode in his Toyota Tacoma Pre-Runner.  Eddy was running one of the newest tire additions to the Discount Tire catalog; the Pro Comp Xtreme MT2 in the LT 285/75R-16.  He had them mounted on a set of Level 8 Motorsport’s Guardian Wheels.

Pro Comp Xtreme MT2  LT 285/75R-16

Combining California Pass with Corkscrew Gulch is an awesome way to tour through the San Juan Mountains.  They are both scenic and there are a couple of fun technical spots along the way too.  The sign at the trail head recommends high clearance four wheel drive vehicles with a short wheel base.  Eddy’s Pre-Runner is only 2 wheel drive but his rear locker and new tires should help him get through the trail. (I hoped.)

California Pass/Corkscrew Gulch

A short time into California Pass we made a brief stop to check out some old mining buildings.  There was even some old tracks that were used by mining cars.

Old mining tracks

Old Mine on California Pass/Corkscrew Gulch

As we continued, the trail guide came on the CB saying there was a mother bear and cub in a small clearing ahead.  As soon as I heard this I bolted from the truck to try to get a photo of them. Unfortunately we were too far back in the group.  By the time I huffed and puffed to the front of the line the bears had already gone into the trees. I waited and watched for them until Eddy caught up to me, but no luck.

Here is a photo of the place where the bears were spotted.

California Pass/Corkscrew Gulch

Back on the trail, we hit a junction where the trail splits.  One direction will take you to Poughkeepsie Gulch and the other will take you to California Gulch.  We steered left and continued on California Pass toward California Gulch.

Toyota Tacoma Pre-Runner with Pro-Comp Xtreme MT2 tires

Falken Tire was also on this trail in one of their Toyota Tacomas, shod with Falken Wildpeak A/T Tires.

Toyota Tacoma, shod with Falken Wildpeak A/T tires.

The waterfalls beside the trail looked very inviting.  I wish I had brought a fishing pole, however, with the bears in the area, we might not end up being the only ones fishing.

Waterfall on California Pass/Corkscrew Gultch trail at the 2013 FJ Summit

As we exited out of the treeline there is a fun obstacle at the start of the switchbacks.  The old FJ in our group put on a show by lifting his front wheel high off the ground.

Old FJ wheels up

Eddy didn’t let that intimidate him in his 2 wheel drive Tacoma as his Pro-Comp Xtreme MT2 tires didn’t even slip as he went up the obstacle with ease.

Toyota Tacoma Pre-Runner with Pro-Comp Xtreme MT2 tires

The view of the lush green foliage on the treeless mountains was beautiful as we continued to climb.

lush green foliage

As we were nearing the top of this part of the trail we saw some old mining buildings off in the distance.  There was also a sign depicting some of the history of this area.  It seems the old miners used to call mules and burros the “Canaries of the Rocky mountains”.  They called them canaries because they could hear them braying from miles away.  Their noise would let the miners know they were close to a village.

Beautiful view on the California Pass/Corkscrew Gulch trail

We kept up a steady pace through the switchbacks as we were heading to another old mining town just a little further down the trail.

Green Mountains

As we pulled into the old mining town of Animas Forks it was time for lunch.  As we enjoyed a little bite to eat we couldn’t help but wonder how difficult it must have been to haul in all the lumber and equipment to build the mines and villages. Back in the late 1800’s they didn’t have all the fancy equipment and plush tires we have now.

Old mining town on California Pass/Corkscrew Gulch trail

Old mining town on California Pass/Corkscrew Gulch trail

Once again it was a perfect time to get a group photo while we had everyone together.

Group photo on California Pass/Corkscrew Gulch

Of course I had to get one more jump shot to make it a perfect trip.

Group jump shot photo on California Pass/Corkscrew Gulch

We saw lots of other people at this stop.  There were lots of side by sides and ATV’s parked along the road.

ATV's and side by sides on California Pass/Corkscrew Gulch trail

As we continued on, California Gulch laid out a carpet of green grasses in front of us.  Maybe this is why it got the name “California”?…  Eventually, the scenery started to take drastic change and the green grasses gave way to rocky, rust colored mountain tops.

 The scenery was making a drastic change from a carpet of summer greens to rocky, rust colored mountain tops.

The scenery was making a drastic change from a carpet of summer greens to rocky, rust colored mountain tops.

As we crest the summit we could see the Lake Como down in the valley.  We were also able to see 2 other FJ Summit groups coming out of the Poughkeepsie Gulch trail. What a breath taking sight.

Como Lake.

We continued on and took Hurricane Pass where the elevation is 12,730 feet. From there we dropped into Corkscrew Gulch.   I love wondering what is around the next corner and once again, the trail turned into a narrow and steep switchback trail that ran next to the majestic rust colored mountains.

The California Corkscrew trail goes over Hurricane Pass where the elevation is 12,730 feet


Eddy was showing us what his Tacoma Pre-Runner was capable of.   With some finesse and accurate tire placement he continued along the trail with ease.   Here he is lifting a rear tire for fun.

Toyota Tacoma Pre-Runner with Pro-Comp Xtreme MT2 tires, rear wheel up

As we hit the tree line we knew the highway back into town would be coming up soon. It was kind of sad because this meant the 2013 FJ Summit‘s end was also near.

As we came back into town the local fire department was doing a benefit car wash to help them raise money for their department.  Eddy thought it was a worthy cause so he jumped in line.

After a good soapy scrub down each vehicle was rinsed with a blast from a couple fire hoses.

Discount Tire truck washed by firemen

After getting ourselves cleaned up as well we headed over to the main tent to celebrate the last night.  There was an awesome raffle after dinner and everyone gathered to try to win something.

Discount Tire Raffel at the 2013 FJ Cruiser Summit

Discount Tire Raffel at the 2013 FJ Cruiser Summit, tickets

The Discount Tire crew started off the raffle by giving away a few sets of tires and wheels along with a host of other goodies.

Discount Tire Raffel

Winner of Discount Tire raffel

Some of the people bought LOTS of tickets to improve their chances of winning.

Winner of Discount Tire raffel

Winner of Discount Tire raffel

As the vendor give away was winding down the crowd was getting weary.  It had been a long but very fun week.

Matt (one of the FJ Summit Committee members) took the microphone for final announcements.  After thanking everyone for their courteous participation he asked that everyone please line up on the main street starting at 5:30 AM tomorrow for a photo shoot.  There were a few groans from the crowd because of the start time but this had become a tradition.

Matt (one of the FJ Summit Committee members)

After another short nights sleep we showed up for the group photograph. It was a fun time to mingle through the crowded streets lined with FJ’s. I spoke with many new friends I had made during the week. It is amazing to watch all the tricked out FJ’s being lined up as the town of Ouray closes off their main street for this event.

2013 FJ Summit Group Photo

The Falken Tire big rig closed off the street for the end of the line.

Falken Tire tractor trailer rig

Here we are for one last group glamor shot.

Discount Tire group shot in Ouray 2013

Discount Tire would like to sincerely thank all the participants, vendors and promoters for your unbelievable support during this years FJ Summit.  We heard countless stories from you about your great experiences in our local stores and online.  We appreciate each and every one of you and will continue to work hard to earn your business.

Remember to take the time to enjoy this beautiful and free country we live in, appreciate your families and buy all your tires and wheels from Discount Tire. Your journey starts here!

Here are some additional photos from this ride.

Ouray group meeting for ride California Pass/Corkscrew Gulch trail FJ Cruiser California Pass/Corkscrew Gulch trail Ouray sceneryDiscount Tire Tacoma with Pro Comp xtreme MT2 tires Couple on the trail California Pass/Corkscrew Gulch trail Mining equipment FJ Cruiser happy on the trail Falcon Tire Tacoma California Pass/Corkscrew Gulch trail California Pass/Corkscrew Gulch shelf road RZR on California Pass/Corkscrew Gulch trail ATV on California Pass/Corkscrew Gulch trail Discount Tire and Falcon Tire at lunch FJ Cruiser happy on the trailFalken tire guys on the trail Mining equipment Beautiful view on the California Pass/Corkscrew Gulch trail Beautiful view on the California Pass/Corkscrew Gulch trail Beautiful view on the California Pass/Corkscrew Gulch trail Beautiful view on the California Pass/Corkscrew Gulch trail Falcon Tire TacomaNatural bridge near Ouray CO car wash at the 2013 FJ summit car wash at the 2013 FJ summitcar wash at the 2013 FJ summitFalcon tire rigDiscount Tire guysDiscount Tire Raffel at the 2013 FJ Cruiser Summit eventDiscount Tire Raffel at the 2013 FJ Cruiser Summit event Discount Tire Raffel at the 2013 FJ Cruiser Summit event Discount Tire Raffel at the 2013 FJ Cruiser Summit eventDiscount Tire Raffel at the 2013 FJ Cruiser Summit eventDiscount Tire Raffel at the 2013 FJ Cruiser Summit eventDiscount Tire Raffel at the 2013 FJ Cruiser Summit event girl with dog at the 2013 FJ summit

Video: Teraflex Trail Review – The Rubicon Trail

TearFlex- Rubicon Trail Review

The Rubicon Trail – Teraflex Trail Review

The Rubicon Trail is one of the most iconic 4×4 trails in the United States.  It’s a Jeeper’s dream trail and its at the top of many 4×4 enthusiast’s bucket lists.  The Rubicon Trail is located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and runs approximately 16 miles from the gold mining town of Georgetown, California to scenic Lake Tahoe.  It can be run in either direction.

While the majority of 4×4 enthusiasts may rate the Rubicon Trail as a 10 today, other more hardcore 4-wheelers will rate it a mere 7 out of 10 in difficulty.  Take a ride with Dennis Wood from Teraflex as he reviews the Rubicon Trail during the 2013 Jeep Jamboree.  Wood shows us the ins and outs of the trail today.  He also shows us how the trail is quickly evolving and recalls video footage from some of the most well known obstacles on the trail from just 2 years ago (2011).

Along with some excellent Rubicon Trail video footage, Wood also gets a chance to speak with trail veteran Mark Smith from the Jeep Jamboree.  Smith tells us that the first Jeep Jamboree was run almost 60 years ago and its main objective was to encourage tourism in the town of Georgetown.  Little did he know that the Rubicon Trail would become the famous trail that it is today.

With the help of the Jeep Jamboree, 4×4 enthusiasts and 4×4 clubs of the past and the future,  the Rubicon Trail will remain as one of the greatest 4×4 trails in the United States.

Ride along with Dennis Wood as he reviews the Rubicon Trail.

2013 FJ Summit – Black Bear Pass

2013 FJ Summit – Black Bear Pass

July, 2013 Ouray, CO: The sky was clear for day 2 of the FJ Summit in Ouray Colorado.  Our Discount Tire team was anxious to get going for another fantastic day of trail riding and I was very excited to be spending the day on Black Bear Pass. 

Today, Cary and I met at the Ouray Mining Park for the Discount Tire sponsored trail on Black Bear Pass.  The trail guides first went over some of the safety precautions and checked off all the drivers that were signed up to make sure everyone makes it through the trail.

Drivers Meeting for Discount Tire Sponsored Black Bear Pass Trail Ride

Cary and I tried to do this trail 2 years ago with another group during the 2011 FJ Summit but were stopped at the top of the summit by snow.  That year, the trail was closed through July – which was later than normal.

After the quick drivers meeting we were off and running.  It didn’t take long before we came across our first, and second waterfall for the day.  



The elevation for the start of this trail is just over 11,000 feet.  There was water running down the rocky trail just before making it to the summit which is 12,800 feet. It was a good spot for everyone to test the wet traction of their tires.  Cary’s Nitto Trail Grappler tires, which are mounted on Method Racing NV Wheels, did great.  His tires never missed a beat on the steep, slick, rocky face.  They are an impressive tire to say the least.

Discount Tire heading to the summit of Black Bear Pass

Climbing to the Summit of Black Bear Pass

There were two Toyota Tacoma trucks from Falken Tire along for the trail ride.  Both trucks were running Falken Wild Peak A/T tires and both made the climb look easy. 


At the top of the summit there was a slight dusting of snow from the night before.  The view from up here is outstanding.  You can see the trail off to the right.  It winds its way down into the cut of the mountains and then drops into the town of Telluride.

Summit of Black Bear Pass

We took a short break here.  It was a perfect place to line everyone up for a group photo.

Black Bear Pass

Since everyone was together I also took the opportunity to snap a photo of all the people on our trip.


Of course, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take a group “jump shot” as well.

Fj Summit 2013 Black Bear Pass Group Photo

The colors were absolutely stunning as we started down towards Telluride.  At this point the narrowing trail turns into one way traffic (down) only.

Black Bear Pass 2013 During FJ Summit


We saw a few Marmot’s along the top part of the trail as well.  Can you find the Marmot in this photo?

Marmot on Black Bear Pass

There was a spotter at the start of the switchbacks that asked everyone to get together for a safety talk.  He said he would be at the first obstacle to help if the driver wanted it.  He went over the hand signals that he would use to safely navigate drivers through the steep narrow rocky terrain.


With everyone lined up, the procession started down the mountain.

Black Bear Pass looking down at Telluride

Cary’s Nitto Trail Grapplers had no problem finding grip on the steep downhill part of the trail.


Near the top, after a sharp 3 point turn, there is a beautiful waterfall that crosses the trail.

Waterfall on Black Bear Pass



Everyone gathered up after the falls for a look at the city before heading down the very steep switchbacks of Black Bear Pass. 

switchbacks on Black Bear Pass

The city of Telluride was starting to get closer in my view finder.


As we progressed down, everyone in the group teamed up to help spot each other down.  The narrow switchback corners were very sharp and difficult to see around.

switchbacks on Black Bear Pass

Discount Tire On Black Bear Pass

The guys from Falken Tire did a great job navigating down the switchbacks.  Their longer wheel base required them to back up a few extra times but they had fun doing it.

Falken Tire on Black Bear Pass


Narrow Switchbacks on Black Bear Pass

About half way down there is great view of Bridal Veil Falls.  This is a huge waterfall that seems to drop into the trees.  At 365 feet it is the longest free falling waterfall in Colorado.  I would love to have a chance to see the view from inside the building at the top but it is not open for the public.  Seeing it makes me also wonder what the waterfall sounds like from inside the house.  What a view.

Bridal Vail Waterfall on Black Bear Pass

Bridal Vail Waterfall on Black Bear Pass

At the bottom of the trail and the edge of Telluride we all gathered together for one last time.   This was the end of the Discount Tire sponsored Black Bear Pass ride for the day.   From here, we opted to continue back to Ouray on the Ophir Trail while others decided to stay and enjoy some time in Telluride.


We had another unbelievable day on the trails.  We made some new friends and Cary and I finally got to finish Black Bear Pass.

Black Bear Pass is not an overly technical trail but it will certainly test your nerves.  The views, crisp waterfalls and three point turns on this very narrow trail are a must experience for everyone. 

Here are some additional photos from this outstanding trail ride.

 Missed our coverage of day 1 of the 2013 FJ Summit? See it here: 2013 FJ Summit Poughkeepsie Gulch

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FJ Summit 2013 Poughkeepsie Gulch

FJ Summit 2013: Poughkeepsie Gulch

July,2013 Ouray CO: This was the first official day of the 7th Annual FJ Summit event and everyone was anxious to get the ride started.  Chris and I ran the Poughkeepsie Gulch trail in his old school FJ-40 that he nicknamed The Great Pumpkin.

We met at Ouray Mining Park for the drivers meeting before heading south of town to the Poughkeepsie Gulch trail head.  

GP 005

The start of the trail quickly climbs in elevation.  Some of the crisp morning views were absolutely incredible with the waterfalls running along the canyons beside the narrow road.

Waterfall on Poughkeepsie Gultch trail at the 2013 FJ Summit

There was a booming rain storm the day before this ride that left a few good size puddles along the trail.  Chris couldn’t resist testing out his Cooper Discoverer STT tires.

FJ 40 going bumper deep in muddy water

This was the biggest puddle of the day.

FJ 40 splashing through water on the Poughkeepsie Gultch trail

FJ 40 pushing water

Around every corner was another fantastic view.  The terrain changed from deep woods to a large meadow with huge mountains cresting amid the cool blue sky.

FJ's winding through the woods

On the Poughkeepsie Gulch Trail

FJ 40 glamor shot

We were almost half way into the trail when we came upon another FJ Summit group that left ½ hour before our group.   We found out that one of the FJ’s was having trouble with his front drive axle.  A couple of the guys in the group were laying under the FJ trying to figure out what they could do to fix the problem.

Fixing an FJ Cruiser on the Poughkeepsie trail

They assured us they would be able to take care of the problem one way or another so we continued on towards the obstacle known as “The Wall” that was only a few miles ahead.

FJ's on the Poughkeepsie Gulch Trail

FJ Cruiser happy on the trail

FJ Cruiser driver waving

There was another decked out FJ-40 on the trail with us.  The Great Pumpkin and its friend looked great together.

Two FJ 40's on the Poughkeepsie Gultch trail

FJ 40 having fun

A short time after passing the early group we ran into a spot with some large boulders.  Its fairly easy to get high centered if you choose a difficult line.  Thankfully, our group only had to pull 1 vehicle that got high centered on a rock.   A cement colored FJ with strong tow strap saved the day.

Black Cherry FJ Cruiser

Cement FJ Cruiser pulling a Black Cherry FJ Cruiser

As the maroon FJ was being pulled backwards it rolled a large pointed boulder into the middle of the trail.  With a little man power, the boulder was moved off to one side.

Musceling a rock off the trail

The rugged FJ-40’s made quick work of the small rock garden thanks to the grip from his Cooper Discoverer SST tires.

FJ 40 in the rocks

FJ 40 off camber

FJ 40 wheeling on Poughkeepsie trail

The Copper Discoverer STT tires worked excellent in the sharp rocks as well as the mud.  Chris gave the sidewalls a workout and they held up great.


As we started our climb above the tree line we were are all anxious to get to “The Wall” on Poughkeepsie Gulch. 

scenic view of Poukeepsie gultch trail

Just as we were getting close Chris had trouble with The Great Pumpkin.  It popped into neutral and would not go back into gear.  Chris worked and worked on the shifter even bending it slightly trying to get it into gear.  Nothing worked.  There was a guy in our group that was a mechanic that came to our aid but the old FJ would have none of it.  As a last resort we tried pulling Chris’s FJ up the hill to see if it would unlock the gear box.

FJ 40 winching

It was a good effort but nothing worked.  Since we were out of options we decided that Chris would roll down the hill to a spot where there was a turnout so he could park his vehicle.  We then grabbed all our gear and started walking up the hill to see if we could jump in with someone else in our group.

Looking for a ride on the Pookespie gulch trail

Thankfully, we met Josh and his mother and they invited us to ride along with them in their new Four Runner with upgraded Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tires.   I have to say I was happy to get in their vehicle as hiking up the hill carrying a bunch of gear in this altitude took my breath away.

4 Runner on the trail

By now the group we passed had caught up to us and we had a rather large caravan from here to “The Wall”.

When we arrived at the Poughkeepsie Gulch wall there was still one vehicle from yet an earlier group winching to the top on the left side of the trail.  Our trail leader (Jimmy Buffet) headed off to the right but was unsuccessful.  He then attempted the left but again was stopped by the rock face.  He decided to use the winch point at the top to winch himself up rather than hold up the group.

FJ Cruiser getting ready to winch on Poughkeepsie Gultch trail

There were vehicles trying to go up the left and right at the same time.  I wasn’t sure which line to watch until the white FJ-40 lined up on the right.  It took him a couple of tries to get the correct line before he went right up without any problems.

FJ 40 up The Wall

Just after him another FJ came flying up the right rock face wheels in the air. I swear I heard him yell “Yeee Hawww” as he flew to the top.

FJ Cruiser up the wall wheels up

Well now it was time for Josh to show us what his new Toyota Four Runner could do.  With a valiant attempt on the right wall he almost made it to the top only to get high centered just before clearing the obstacle.

Toyota 4 Runner high centered

After backing down Josh went for the left side line.  This turned out to be a bad choice as his rear bumper got caught and was drug off.  I was looking at his mother and she said with a smile “Oh well, I don’t mind.  Now I can upgrade the bumpers”.  Wow, how cool is that to have such an awesome mother?  She not only took her son to this event but she didn’t even get mad at him for causing some damage to their new vehicle.

Toyota 4 Runner stuck at the wall on Poughkeepsie trail

Toyota 4 Runner pulling the bumper off on Poughkeepsie Gultch Trail

After everyone in our group had made it past the wall on the Poughkeepsie Gulch trail we continued on and eventually stopped at Como Lake for lunch.  This was a perfect time for me to snap some photos of our group.  The jump shot photos are my personal favorite.

FJ Summit group shot at Como Lake

FJ Summit group jump shot at Como Lake

It was starting to rain so we all loaded up and headed back on the trail.  From this point it is only about 6 miles to the main highway back to town.

Como lake along Poughkeepsie Gulch Trail

The view of the lake as we climbed the steep switchback trail to the top was amazing.

scenic view of Como Lake

As we came over the top of the mountain for our final decent to the highway the red colored mountains looked beautiful against the cloudy sky.  I spoke to one of the local guides in town the first night we were there and he said the red color was caused by a volcano many years ago.  He said there are 4 mountains close together that erupted.

Red mountains on California Corkscrew trail

We made it all the way back to our condo thanks to the generosity of Josh and his mom.  Later that afternoon we were able to recover the Great Pumpkin and get it back into gear.   Special thanks for Josh and his mother for letting us hitch a ride. 

Here are some additional photos from the Poughkeepsie Gulch Trail ride:

Waterfall on Poughkeepsie Gultch trail at the 2013 FJ Summit Lunch with Discount Tire at the FJ Cruiser Sumit 2013 on Poughkeepsie Lunch with Discount Tire at the FJ Cruiser Sumit 2013 on Poughkeepsie begging for candy Black FJ on Poughkeepsie Toyota 4 Runner high on trail Black Cherry FJ Cruiser on trail Cement FJ climbing the wall Black FJ climbing the wall People at the wall at the 2013 FJ Cruiser Summit event Black  Cherry FJ climbing the wall Trail ride White FJ at the wall Green FJ on Poughkeepsie Flowers on Poughkeepsie On the trail Off camber FJ FJ stuck on Poughkeepsie scenery on Poughkeepsie


How To Make A Tire Swing: Drill, Cut, Sew and Burn?

How to make a Tire SwingDrill, Cut, Sew and Burn? – How To Make A Tire Swing

Tire Swing Challenge (part 3)

If you want to know “How to make a tire swing” you’ve come to the right place.  An old tire, some strong rope and a tree is really all you need to make a traditional tire swing but you’ll need a few more items if you want to make one of these Unique Tire Swings.  After challenging each other to a tire swing build off Don, Matt and Travis came up with some not so traditional tire swings that are sure to make your neighbors jealous.   Don’s “Tire Sling” may be the most fun to swing and spin around in.  Matt’s “Tire Fighter” demands all of the neighborhood kids to pile on and Travis’s “Comfort Lounger” will let you kick back and remember your favorite summer nights.

So how do you make one of these awesome tire swings?  Don, Travis and Matt, show us how.

How to Make a Tire Swing

How to Make a Tire Swing  Don's Tire Sling How to make a Tire Swing: Don’s “Tire Sling”

Don’s simple “Tire Sling” will have you and your kids twisting, spinning and laughing the day away. You can build one of these in about one hour and for under $20.00.  Click here to make your own “Tire Sling”.


 How to Make a tire swing Travis's Comfort Lounger How to Make A Tire Swing: Travis’s “Comfort Lounger”

Travis’s “Comfort Lounger” invites you grab a cold beverage, kick back, and enjoy the summer afternoon.  In about 3 hours and for under $20 you too could make your own “Comfort Lounger”.


How to Make a tire swing Matt's Tire FighterHow to Make a Tire Swing: Matt’s “Tire Fighter”

You don’t need a team of Star Troopers in order to build Matt’s “Tire Fighter” but you will need about $40.00 and around 3 hours to make it.  Blast your kids into outer space and make a “Tire Fighter” of your own.


Why did our editors decide to build tire swings?  Click below to get caught up on Part 1 and 2 of their Tire Swing Challenge.

Tire Swing Challenge: Building an Awesome Tire Swing (Part 1 of 3) 

Tire Swing Challenge: Unique Tire Swing Concepts Revealed (Part 2 of 3) 


How to Make Matt’s “Tire Fighter” Tire Swing

Matt's Tire Fighter

How to Make a Tire Swing: Matt’s “Tire Fighter”

Ready for battle, Matt’s “Tire Fighter” aims to shoot down Don’s “Tire Sling” and Travis’s “Comfort Lounger”.  Matt’s appropriately named Tire Fighter design was inspired by Darth Vader’s Tie Fighter Advanced X1.   Hang one of these in your front yard and all other tire swings may run for cover.

What you will need: Materials: (2) Large diameter tires  (1 for main body, 1 to cut for wings), (4) Eye bolts, (6) lock washers, (4) Threaded chain connectors (optional), (18) Large washers, (4) 10″ threaded bolts, (12) Nuts,  (1) 4′ PVC pipe, (1) Lug cover or hub cap, (4) Zip ties. Tools: Safety glasses, Gloves, Utility knife, Electric drill, 3/8″ drill bit, Jig Saw with appropriate cutting blade, Impact drill, and 3/8″ socket.

Matt selected (2) used 305/75R16 tires.  The large diameter would create a spacious base and the wide tread would provide plenty of mounting surface for the Tire Fighter’s custom wings.

Steps to Make Matt’s “Tire Fighter” Tire Swing

  • Matt started by gathering all the necessary hardware needed to hang his swing.

Tire Fighter Hardware

  • The first step before any construction could begin was to clean the tire thoroughly.  Michelin Man approves!


  • He then drilled large holes along the base of the tire to allow water to drain.  No mosquito breeding going on in this swing!

Water drain holes in Tire Fighter

  • Next he measured, drilled and installed the (4) 3/8″ eye hooks. Matt used large washers above and below the eye hooks and secured them in place.  He also added the threaded chain connectors.

IMAG0899Tire Fighter tether hardware mounted

  • Now it was time to build the wings!  Matt took a second used tire and cut out both sidewalls using a Jig Saw.

Tire Fighter Wings

  • He then measured the tire into quarters and cut two 1/4 diameter tread sections to be used as wings.


  • Next Matt drilled two holes at the center of each wing about 2″ apart. He also marked and drilled holes in his base tire so he could mount the wings.


  • He then installed the 10″ threaded bolts and used 8.5″ of 3/8″ PVC to space the wings out, away from the base.  While flat on the ground, Matt was able to align the wings and bolt them to the base. He then tested the durability of the hardware by lifting the tire by its tether.

20130716_200150_HDRUnpainted Tire Fighter

  • Next, Matt’s swing was ready for paint.

Painting the Tire SwingPainting the Tire swing

  • For finishing touches Matt drilled some small holes in the front of the base and then secured a nose cone (lug cap) with (4) zip ties.  Last, he attached 4 chains to the eye bolts (heavy duty rope or cable could also be used) and Matt’s Tire Fighter was ready for flight.

Completed Tire FighterMatt's Tire Fighter - Tire Swing



Completed Tire Fighter Tire Swing


How to Make Travis’s “Comfort Lounger” Tire Swing

Travis's Comfor Lounger Tire Swing

How to Make a Tire Swing: Travis’s “Comfort Lounger”

Grab an ice cold beverage, lean back and swing away the warm summer afternoon.  While Don’s “Tire Sling” and Matt’s “Tire Fighter” may have an upper edge when it comes to fun, Travis’s Comfort lounger certainly takes the lead when it comes to relaxing.  Make a Comfort Lounger of your own and mom and dad may fight over who gets to swing first.

What you will need:  Materials: (1) Large diameter tire (for main swing), (1) additional tire (any size for head rest), 25′ of inexpensive 1/4″ rope, (5) 1/4″x 2″ bolts, (10) Large washers, (5) Locking nuts, and your favorite color spray paint.  Tools:  Safety glasses, Mechanics gloves, Electric drill, 3/8″ Drill bit, Utility knife, Electric grinder, Metal cut off wheel for grinder, 1/4″ Wrenches, and Magic marker.

Travis selected a 305/45R22 for the main seat of his swing.  He hoped that the width would be wide enough for a comfortable seat and he hoped that the diameter was large enough so that his “lounger” would provide plenty of support.  He later selected a 305/30R20 tire to build his headrest.

Steps to Make Travis’s Comfort Lounger Tire Swing:

  • Travis first cut both sidewalls of the main tire a little more than 1/2 way around its circumference.  He then pushed the tread down into the center and cut more until the seat could be manipulated into the “J -shape” he desired.


  • After tying the tread in place, he then marked the tire and drilled holes that would be used to sew the tread into place.


  • He then clamped the tire together with a large C-clamp and sewed the tread into place using the inexpensive 1/4″ rope.


  • He then decided to give it a test run…

Comfort Lounger test ride0625132305

  • The test run was a success so he was now ready to add a headrest.  Using the smaller second tire(305/30R20), he first removed both sidewalls.  He then cut a 2.5′ length of tread to be used as a head rest.


  • After mocking up two different headrest options he settled on his second design.  He next marked and drilling holes for the headrest.  He then bolted it to the swing using (4) 1/4″ X 2″ bolts, 8 large washers and 4 locking nuts.

0723131840Installing the Headrest on the Comfort Lounger Tire Swing

  • For the finishing touches he decided that a “Comfort Lounger” couldn’t reach its full “comfort” potential without a cup holder and a patriotic paint job.  Travis used some leftover tread from the smaller 305/30R20 tire to craft a cup holder and with a little trial and error he came up with a creative solution.  He then busted out some rattle cans and pulled the entire thing together with some color.

0727131032Comfort Lounger Cup Holder0727131033aPainting the Comfort Lounger Tire Swing0727131111a

  •  After the paint had dried he bolted the drink holder to the swing using the remaining hardware and the Comfort Lounger was finished!

Comfort Lounger Cup Holder0801131945

Comfort Lounger Tire Swing


How to Make Don’s “Tire Sling” Tire Swing

Don's Tire Sling Tire Swing

How to Make a Tire Swing: Don’s “Tire Sling”

Between Travis’s “Comfort Lounger”, Matt’s “Tire Fighter”, and Don’s “Tire Sling”, Don may have hit the fun factor right on the nose.  Climb into Don’s Tire Sling and you will find yourself spinning, swinging, throwing your weight back and hanging on for a super fun ride.   Don’s Tire Sling is simple to make, light weight and its unique design invites your friends and family to try it out.

What you will need: Materials: (1) Large tire, (1) Small 1/4″ rope ~ 5′ long, (1) Large wooden dowel (a wooden shovel handle would work too).  Tools: Safety glasses, Utility knife, Electric drill and a drill bit the size of your wooden dowel or shovel handle.

Don selected a used 275/50R20 for his Tire Sling.  The large diameter would yield an opening that is easy to climb in and out of and its wide 275mm width would make for a wide comfortable seat as well.

Steps to Make Don’s Tire Sling:

  • First, Don used his utility knife to carefully cut and remove both of the tire’s sidewalls.


  • He then pinched the tread together to designate a top and drilled a small (1/4″) pilot hole and then a larger hole (1″) for his handle.


  • Next, he cut his shovel handle to the desired length (about 2 feet) and pushed it through the holes he had drilled. (This took some force and leverage)

TireSling_8Handle installation for Don's Tire Sling Tire Swing

  • Don then secured the handle in place with rope and attached some birthday ribbons to the ends of the handles for some added flare. (bicycle handlebar tassels would also work great for this.)


  • Don next spiced his “Tire Sling” up with some patriotic paint.

 0731132046aPainting the Tire Sling Tire Swing

  • Last, he suspended the swing from a tree branch by looping a tie down strap (a strong rope would work well too) through the top loop of the tread and….   Wallah! He was ready for some fun!

Don's Tire Sling Tire Swing