From @Toyota: Behind the Wheel Over 80 events visited. Tens of thousands of miles traveled. More fun wheelin' than could ever be imagined. And now it's the end of the trail for the Toyota Trail Teams' third season. It's been a long haul for the 15 members of the Toyota Trail Teams. This crew first came together for training in early February in the Southern California desert. The drivers spent that first week improving their off-roading technique with legendary four-wheeling expert Bill Burke. It was also a great time to get reacquainted with returning members and meet the new guys on the team. With training over, the teams headed out on their nine-month expedition to hit the steepest slopes and the most intense trails across the country. East Coast Trail Team lead driver Will Bobbitt couldn't wait to get to his first event at Stratton Mountain Resort in Vermont. Wheelin' in the snow for three weeks got Will's season off to a great start. "I saw lots of neat areas and new terrain, and we all met lots of new people, some who came back multiple times to drive our obstacle course. Stratton definitely exceeded my expectations." Throughout the year, the Toyota Trail Teams joined up with Toyota Land Cruiser Association (TLCA) and Toyota Territory Off-Roaders Association (TTORA) clubs at their favorite trailheads across the country, including Black Mountain Off-Road Adventure Park, Upper Tellico OHV and, of course, the Rubicon Trail. The TLCA's 20th annual Rubithon was a special moment for Central Trail Team lead driver Brian "Woody" Swearingen. Woody helped lead the event's first-ever FJ Cruiser-only run across the Rubicon. He noted afterwards, "It was an honor to lead that run. The trip as a whole was an amazingly good time." As lead drivers, Will and Woody had lots of responsibilities out on the trail. From scouting to spotting to offering on-the-fly instruction, they were always working hard to make sure everyone was safe and enjoying themselves. When your stated goal is to wheel the toughest trails around, you can be sure there'll be some tricky situations. Take, for example, Beasley Bash 2008 in Blairsville, Georgia. The Central Trail Team and participants were finishing up an extraordinary day of off-roading. One final ravine stood between them and their campsite BBQ dinner. To Woody's surprise, getting all the rigs through this ravine was one of the tightest stretches the team had faced all year. As Woody described it, "The ravine was really hairy and tight. We were winching almost every vehicle. We were patient and chose our lines carefully. FJ Cruisers, Tacomas, 80 Series -- they all made it through cleanly. It was fun, but it was tough." The Toyota Trail Teams' lead drivers had the added responsibility this year of planning and leading their own expeditions. To no surprise, Will and Woody had some of their best times of the year on their respective runs. Will designed an expedition run through North Carolina's Outer Banks. He especially liked the feeling of having to be extremely prepared. Once the group crossed to the first island on a ferry, they were on their own with what they'd brought. Isolation was its own perk. "Because we were able to go out on an uninhabited island, we were able to drive and enjoy it for what it was. We had a relaxing and peaceful event," Will said. Woody had been fortunate enough to lead an expedition over Kokopelli's Trail and the Continental Divide last year. It was such a success, and demand was so great, that he planned the same run this year. There really is something about traveling out to the middle of nowhere. As Woody said, "On Kokopelli's Trail, you just can't imagine the number of stars that are out there. You lose the city lights. You really feel like you're the only person out there." Over the course of a season, trails and events are great for making memories, but it's really about all the people you meet who you look forward to seeing on the trails again. Wheelin' nonstop for a year reminded Woody of just how tight-knit the Toyota 4x4 community is. As he said, "There's so many people I have as friends now. And it really means a lot to have these people who come from all over the country to say, 'We want to run with the Toyota Trail Teams.'" There is one bright spot to the 2008 Toyota Trail Teams' season coming to an end. It means Will, Woody and the rest of the team are now making plans to be at your favorite trailheads in 2009. Keep in touch with them by clicking the "More information" link below to visit the Toyota Trail Teams Web site. Until then, happy trails.