Monday, September 29, 2014


A product review

A traveling buddy and fellow Church of the Open Road parishioner, John, proves that one needn’t own and tour on a motorcycle in order to be a Church of the Open Road believer.  His 2012 Toyota 4-Runner is a most able vehicle for exploration. 

Rugged and sophisticated, it eats up the old railroad grade of the Central Pacific in Utah…

…it creeps to the trailhead leading to the Von Schmidt marker in northeastern California…

…it doesn’t spook the wild horses in a remote Nevada desert…

…it whisks along any given US highway or Interstate at breakneck speed returning 22.5 miles per gallon…

…and it looks darned refined outside the Martin Hotel in Winnemucca while we’re inside enjoying a Basque dinner.

Equipped with GPS, we’ve been lost in the thing and we’ve always found our way back.

One of the last body-on-frame (truck-based) vehicles of its class, we did not use the ‘Runner to tear across a trackless landscape.  But both of us felt that in low-range, four-wheel drive, the vehicle would take us into and out of almost any small arroyo or washout to the other side where our desired rutted route would take up again.

The interior has more than enough room to ferry a couple of week’s worth of gear…

…or twenty four-one gallon cases of olive oil across several states – which we did as a part of our latest adventure.

In two extended adventures, each covering over 1500 miles of back country track and interstate slab, John’s 2012 Toyota 4-Runner (in the “Limited” trim level) proved both sturdy and rugged and quiet and smooth. 

Were  “the Church” not so enamored with two-wheeled motoring, the 4-Runner might become its vehicle of choice for exploring the vast reaches of the West as well as taking the Church Lady out on the town.


Note:  All photographs depict the vehicle on mapped and established – if rustic – roads and byways.  The Church of the Open Road does not sanction off-road sojourns across our delicate western landscape either on a motorcycle or in “a cage.”

© 2014
Church of the Open Road Press

1 comment:

  1. I think the folks @ Toyota owe you a stipend for such a nicely written/illustrated endorsement of the 4 Runner. & our mutual friend John is a great traveling companion. BB