So I recently ran into a long lost love of mine. She's truly a beauty. Possibly the one that got away too soon. As all boaters fail in attempts to verbally describe their love of the river, so it is that the words escape my tongue for the love we shared. She had her kinks to be sure. Every day I would have to touch her just right to get her to open and sometimes I had to pet her to turn her on, but she always came around. And crucial to winning the heart of any boater, she was extremely low maintenance. She reveled in being ridden hard all day then being put away wet and dirty. We shared epic sunsets on the Baja coast and found rivers from Wyoming to Arizona and across the country to North Carolina and West Virginia. Once, during a Gore lap, she was even stolen from me by another man, but found her way back even if a little worse for wear. Her name was El Toro Rojo - The Red Bull.
Not one of her finest moments.... Notice that we had to unload everything and then find rocks to pave the road Roman style for the truck to get out. Thanks E-town!
Here's an old school photo of C.Mo loading an inner tube so we could impress some ladies on the Filter Plant!
As many of you may know, I have a colorful driving record. So after rolling a Tacoma loaded to the hilt full of beer to bribe some Alta ski patrollers in the Utah desert during a blizzard, I found myself in need of a new rig. Sure enough, like lots of my very best friends in life, I found her on Mountainbuzz
. A rafter was selling her with just under 100,000K. 1996 manual Xtra cab 4-cylinder Toyota Tacoma. Or a 'Yota Taco in the parlance of our times. She came fully tricked out with an Alpine stereo, 4" lift and monster BF Goodrich tires! Even had the topper, roof rack and a custom made padded bed/shelf on the inside. I became the second generation boater to own her.
She only ever got stuck twice and a Southeastern boy was driving here. Sure was a beautiful day to be buried at the South Mineral Creek road.
We had loads of fun together. She made it to the North Fork of the Crystal - no small feet. Clarks Fork Box, Embudo, Crystal Gorge, and countless other putins were no match.
Real men rock pink boats on their monster rig!
After all of the years of fun we had together, her broken AC finally forced me to shed her from my life as I moved to Texas. But like all good kayaking ladies, there was another bro waiting eagerly to pick her up. And so it was that after selling the ole Truckster to my buddy Paulie we parted ways.
Loading boats or discussing "Good touch/Bad touch" scenarios at the North Fork of the Payette takeout?
However, she has been surprisingly easy to keep up with and met me for a Labor Day weekend at the North Fork of the Payette last year. She even brought me a boat all the way to Idaho from Colorado!
Upper Gauley get-in with full fall colors in effect.
Over the last year, Paulie moved to New Zealand for some graduate level kayaking work. He passed El Toro Rojo onto a true whitewater connoisseur, Tango. I have received random text photo reports of the Truckster being at kayaking hot spots from Bailey to Stone Bridge and all places Colorado between with even some Minnesota hucking.
Pretty amazing when the fall foliage can out color a group of rafters...
Tango even rallied the truck out for Gauley season! It was hella good to see the both of them. And even though Tango's never been there, El Toro Rojo knows the way to the Green putin, so fire 'er up! So good to spend time with close kayaking friends on a beautiful river....
Represent for CO and the CKS Squad!
So always remember to show your rig some loving. Oh, the places you'll go. As the fourth generation of boater to own her, Tango's got El Toro up to 230,000 hard earned shuttle miles with no signs of stopping any time soon!
Russell Fork fall boating on the way to your flavor hole for consumption next time.....