The family that bashes together, stays together

As I’ve clearly stated before, monster trucks are undeniably awesome!  Period.  Last year, I introduced my wife to the greatness that is Monster Jam.  She enjoyed it so much, she was eager to go again this year…and even brought friends with her! 

On a side note: I have a ton of random hobbies to try to keep me mentally stimulated.  I like working out, riding my motorcycle, playing the guitar, playing with my dog, messing with aquariums, painting, etc etc etc.  Having said that, going beyond my passion for life-size monster trucks is my love of radio control cars (or more appropriately, you guessed it, monster trucks).  Now I feel the need to explain myself a little bit.  I’m not talking about “remote-controlled” cars, where the vehicle is attached to the controller by a cord.  I’m talking about “radio” controlled, where the vehicle is operated wirelessly by a radio signal from a transmitter.  I am also not referring to a toy car that you can pick up off the shelf at your local neighborhood department store.  What I’m talking about is a 1/10 scale model that is over a foot long and will literally do 30+ miles per hour!

Since my latest Monster Jam adventure, I have strongly felt the desire to break out my R/C truck and do some serious “bashing.”  Bashing is an R/C term that simply means to drive around for fun, as opposed to actually racing – whether it be in an empty parking lot, jumping over street curbs, or setting up ramps and obstacles in your backyard.  The only problem with that, is my truck has been broken for the last few years since the last jump I took and didn’t let off the throttle when I landed (don’t do that), and I just haven’t taken the time or money to repair it.  When it first happened, I replaced the transmission, but that didn’t solve it so I gave up and let the truck sit, imagining that one day I’d get it taken care of. 

Finally, that time came.  I dropped it off at the local hobby shop (it’s like an auto shop for R/C vehicles), and waited for the phone call.  I was told it would probably be at least a week.  Turns out, it was 1 day.  I got a call the very next day claiming that there was nothing wrong with my truck!  I went to pick it up, tested it before I walked out (just to satisfy my curiosity), stocked up on battery packs, and headed straight home.  Once the weekend rolled around, the anticipation had been building and had rubbed off on my wife – I think she was almost as anxious and excited as I was.  I set up a large piece of wood to cover a set of stairs on our deck in order to serve as a de facto ramp, turned on the transmitter and receiver, and let her rip!  At this point, I turned the wheel to avoid crashing and the truck immediately began cutting donuts, which sent my dog running for cover.  I let off the throttle, lined up the truck, and went straight for the ramp down to the ground.  The truck cleared the stairs without touching the board, but since the truck wasn’t completely straight when it launched it corkscrewed in mid-air, landed on its top, and completed a barrel roll by resting on its tires.  I mashed the throttle, and the truck roared across our backyard at close to 25 mph.  It ran like a dream.  In no time at all, I had drained the first battery pack, so I crawled back up the ramp to the deck and put in the first backup.  My wife was amazed at the performance of my “little toy.”  (Although I had advised her that it was indeed no “toy.”) 

I picked right up where I left off with the last battery pack.  I jumped it off the deck, pulling almost an identical manuever from the first time (totally on accident), but this time, I was ready to try the ramp as it was intended.  I lined the truck up with the jump at the bottom of the stairs, but unfortunately the space in our backyard is somewhat limited.  I got as much of a running start as I could, and the truck flew through the air coming to a rest on the far side of the deck.  (Luckily, this time I remembered to let off the throttle before the truck landed, so I spared the drive train a lot of unnecessary strain and probable breakdown.)  At this point, I could tell it was time to hand over the radio to my wife.  After a quick crash course over the controls, she lightly pulled on the throttle control and got the truck rolling.  After seeing it run wide open, she was cautious to get a feel for it before letting loose.  She proved to be a fast study, and before long she was chasing our dog all over the back yard…and they both loved every minute of it!

Following our first bashing experience together and seeing how much fun we all had, it was only natural to form the thought that a second truck would double our fun.  With her birthday on the horizon and Easter right around the corner, I put my efforts into a massive online search for an adequate truck.  She definitely didn’t need a truck as powerful (and expensive) as mine, but I wanted to find something that would be fast, capable, and affordable.  It didn’t take long before I stumbled across 2 different, very beginner, entry-level trucks.  After some research and comparisons, I found her truck…and I was excited!  I could not believe the quality of this truck with such a bargain basement price tag.  Turns out, the brand (ECX – formerly Electrix RC) is a spin off of Team Losi r/c products, with both being manufactured by Horizon Hobbies.  Think of it as ECX being the Old Navy to Team Losi’s GAP.  The truck is a hobby level vehicle, which means that it’s not a toy, which means that it will be somewhat comparable to what I run. 

The truck showed up on our doorstep 2 days after I ordered it, and it was waiting much more patiently than I was!  I carried it in, put it on the table and waited as calmly as I could for my wife to get home and unwrap her VERY early present.  The little monster looks great.  The first thing I ntoiced though, was the almost invisible tiny front bumper.  How in the world can you make a BEGINNER r/c monster truck, capable of speeds over 20 mph, and not have a substantial front bumper.  Not only was this thing too small to actually cover and protect anything, but it didn’t even stick out further than the front wheels!  Basically, the brunt of the force from anything this truck runs into will be placed squarely on the front tires…not a good design idea.  Needless to say, I immediately ordered an upgrade for the front bumper to hopefully help it last a little longer from the punishment it will undoubtedly be put through.

Next up, is to build some obstacles that I can put out in our backyard to make our racing/bashing a little more fun and realistic.  I will post more on my progress with that as it comes.  For now, I will leave you with this:

Jealous much? Mini monsters - ready for some bashing.

Thank you, that is all.

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