Operation 2 Wheel Freedom
Mission II : 2018
Mission II. When presented with challenges people all react differently. Some step to the side or cut and run and some step up. What you do when faced with an issue speaks to dedication and character, riding a bike is a consent test of your grit and love, Mission II was no different.
Forecast Alarming. Do you ever find yourself looking at the weather forecast and wanting to make a call to someone to ask for a weather favor?? Like any event MII was perfect on paper and in theory but, was not without its own set of unique challenges. Weather was the biggest factor on this trip, the forecast called for 0% precipitation and 100% chance of wind!! We were seeing a consistent wind 20-30mph and gusts in upwards of 50 mph, this had us all biting our nails to the bone.
As most of us know a little wind is nice to keep the dust off the trail in the desert but, 30-50 mph is a bummer wave! Especially when trying to have an event, pop up tents, rooftop tents, camp fires, and hang time, wind makes it pretty much impossible to do perfectly. When you settle in for the long haul and realize that you can’t change the circumstances you can just change how you think about it that makes all the difference. We hunkered down, everyone that came in early for the event had such a positive vibe and outlook that really was the difference maker!
Set Up. Early Friday morning all able bodies from the brands start to land at base camp. First to roll in is the FMF family in the Camburg Toyota Tundra, flyng the camp freedom symbol in a truck built out and ready for anything. Serious FOMO on this rig. After posting up the tables, chairs and our shade we look up to see a moto mirage…NOPE! It’s the amazing folks Husqvarna pulling up with a slew of fresh demos to set up.
After high fives and hugs are exchanged everyone pitched in to set up the bikes for the vets that would be coming in later in the eve. 2 of the members from VeteransBack40 came in early to lock arms and set the tone that they weren’t just a charity, they came to put in work and help make this event amazing with all the attendees in mind. What do we do in the desert when camps all good to go and ready for the big occasion?….we rip! Headed out with a small group to scout and be sure everything was going to be golden for the next day’s happenings. Some solid trails and one come off, that landed one of closest rippers HeavyEnduro in the ER the same night from 10pm-3am. Only took em’ 10 hrs. to realize that the pain of the crash wasn’t going away with Tylenol. After coming back to camp we were greeted by more WIND and a ton more familiar faces showing up. Lots of pack support with a heartfelt cast of regular joe’s and jane’s pitching in to make an remarkable weekend happen. Anya, Even, Hime & Hobbs the dirt force is strong with these trail jedi’s, ya’ll rule!!!
First in, last out. Friday night the culmination of all the planning comes to a head…our troops & vets begin to arrive. Every time a new person rolled in to camp they were met with a 50cc escort, smile and a thank you leading them into camp like their own personal moto-cade. As the crowd began to grow you could feel in the air something unique was unfolding. Just then the sky begins to do a dance that many called the most incredible sunset they’d ever seen. Believe the quote of it all was Vanessa “That sunset made me feel like I was falling into outer-space”. People running back and forth to each side of the camp to gaze on the vastness of the desert valley with the sun and clouds unanimously joining forces to blow-minds and melt-hearts. It was a fleeting moment that led us into darkness. Insert BajaDesigns the scientist of lighthing as they wander into camp late in their Toyota Tundra in to set up some mood lighting and make the dirt glow. The perfect time to come together around the camp fire to begin the dialogue process. Have you ever noticed that camp fires create instantaneous connections? Try to sit by a fire without anything but flames and conversation and see what occurs. Before the end of the night we already had more commonalities and stories than we knew what to do with and we hadn’t even jumped on 2-wheels yet!. Lights out.
Roll Call. 7am the coffee is on, the breakfast burritos are cooking and everyone is anxiously waking up and walking around camp ready to move. We take some time to sit together and eat sharing stories of places we’ve been, people we’ve met and our excitement for this moment. Everyone is already smiling. Insert the custom made goodie bags here. Stoke level goes thru the roof as each of the vets and special attendees break into a bag built custom for them, even says their name on the badge attached.
Bags and raffle included but not limited to; hats and goggles from Deus, moto gloves from Biltwell, Seatconcepts threw in codes and promo seats for raffle, IMS discounts and a tank won in the raffle, Giantloop straps cozies and custom MII mojavi’s in raffle, FMF apparel swag and a chance to win a brand new pipe, Stance socks and undies, TecColorCraft custom MII sticker pack, NitroMousse raffle items, BajaDesigns donated a light for the raffle too, AHM hooked up discounts and services on bikes, FasstCO added a set of incredible bars for raffle, of course WLFenduro MII tees / Recon jersey / cap, and as if the bikes weren’t enough Husky brought race worn gear from their off-road team, jerseys and helmets for raffle!! Each of these amazing brands contributed more than their fair share to make these service men and women feel special and appreciated. Now that everyone is freshly kitted up, we roll!!
Seat Time. The ride initially was set up for 2 roller coaster journey’s. A 20-mile warm up loop and another 50-mile main loop. As with all good group runs plans alter just a bit. We rolled our for the warm up right a 930 and ended up with such a good pace and flow we got thru about 27 miles, more than what we planned.
This was filled with all the desert fun, whoops, technical up hills, sketchy rocks, and one of the best sand washes this side of the Mississippi! With legs warm and bellies empty we stopped back at base camp to fill up on taco’s and replenish on water. We got a chance to hear more about the VeteransBack40 and Warfighermade organizations and what they contribute to vets on a daily basis. We even got a chance to chat and ride with Jesse Williamson from Warfigher-Made the first double amputee to finish the Baja 1000! With everyone fueled back up and inspired to ride we broke off into 2 squads, Alpha and Bravo. Alpha would do another 20+ miles and the Bravo team set out to hit a 50-mile burner. Both squads went out and got thru their challenges as one unit, not one person was left behind and each leg was completed thru, persevering and assisting each-other in the thickest of situations.
Mission II. Complete. Operation 2-wheel Freedom’s Mission have and always be simple, to say THANK YOU to our service men and women for what they’ve done and continue to do. The wind rattled us but couldn’t shake us from sticking to our guns and seeing an amazing experience thru. Like any good ride, it was filled with dirt smiles, a few busted bike parts, sore bodies and at the end of it all we went FURTHER TOGETHER.
At its core it Is a 2017 Husqvarna FE350. Adapted to stay ready.
It all started as a concept, to have a bike built out by some of the best brands in the industry for a special purpose of serving vets at Operation 2-wheel Freedom; MISSION II hosted on 4/6/18. We envisioned a trail assistance bike that could get in and out of anything we threw at it. Insert a Husky and you have a rig that is just that, ready for anything! The bike was to be the lead and follow trail bike as its main purpose was to show the vets WLF and the industry cares deeply for them and respects their service more than they know.
As well as shredding the trail it was also showcasing the products. The Recon also would live as an excitement piece, once the vets found out that that a ton of the parts on the actual bike were going to be raffled off to them, they were beaming! With each passing individual the bike become a clear frontrunner for inspiration to all that touched it. Each person had a favorite part and thoughts on the bike, some were writing down notes on all of it to go home and start a Recon of their own!
The Heart of the Parts. When it comes down to the parts each of the following were mindful and custom, hand crafted for this rig. With all the bells and whistles it became clear that this bike stood for more than just a pretty showpiece. It shows when people BRAND TOGETHER they can create something inspirational and unique.
Tank you. The uniqueness of the tactical green IMS Products tank was one that many frothed over. Scott and Chris from IMS jumped at the MII bike idea. The green tank was something that they’ve done in the past but wasn’t a full production color. They had it colored up, hand made in the USA and delivered within a week. They also attended the event to lock arms and ride ruts with some of our nation’s finest.
45 years of American Power. FMF Racing fitted the bike with a Factory 4.1 RCT Titanium Andodized SL w/ Carbon cap to make the Husky rule from low end to high. Big D and Lil D have been making products here in the USA since 73’ and are always down to support riding of any type. They love the community and just being on bikes, FMF = Family Means Family because these guys are always there for you!! (it actually means Flying Machine Factory). Not only did they hook up the Recon they also brought their Camp Freedom Toyota Tundra to keep the stoke high at base camp.
Behind Bars. If you haven’t heard of Fasst Company look em’ up, your arms will thank you! Jason and the team make everything here right in the beautiful state of Utah. They dialed in the bike with a proper set of bars and even laser etched the WLF logo’s along with the American flag to commemorate the event.
Beacon of Light. Baja Designs literally have served the US armed forces for years, working closely with the military on their light needs in the field. So when it came to the Recon they already had it wired. Custom powder coating in sand to blend in with the surroundings make the bike pop. Even an added S2 sport aux light for when you need to look down on the trail to find the penny you dropped at midnight! Scientist of Lighting is an understatement.
Never Fall Flat. NitroMousse saves everyone. The design of the Mousse bibs makes it to where the Recon can go further and scout longer without worry of a pinched flat and lost ride time. Their product is one of the best innovations in off road riding and we thank them for their support of Mission II.
Tag it and bag it. When it comes to packing all that you need Giant Loop is pretty much your personal trail valet. They customized 2 beautiful sets of Mojavi saddle bags with Mission II badges to commemorate the event. Harold made sure these were hand finished and landed just in time for the event and everyone was chomping at the bit to get a set!
Stay Guarded. When it comes to protection on the trail you want something Bullet proof when talking about radiators. Isnt it fitting the boys Bullet Proof Designs are named exactly after what they do. The aerospace aluminum guards will outlive any on the planet and keep the bike protected as long as it needs it. Coated to match the Baja Light covers as well it blends into it surroundings and stays fortified.
Graphically pleasing. There are a few people around that never say no. Blake and the crew Tec Color Craft are those people. Not only do they not say no to supporting our vets and doing the Recon beautification but they also made all our MII sticker sheets and continue to produce all of our WLF stickers. When you need something done and done perfect, lean on Tec Color Craft. They nail it every time and are the best in the biz!
Cadillac seat on a rocket ship. When you visit the sew house of Seat Concepts and learn that their team has been in the cover biz for the better half of 30 years you know you are getting a quality product. Plus, to see it all hand made here in the states is incredible!! Scott and his team have time and time again amazed us with their ability to think out of the box and keep people comfortable, seat time doesn’t have to hurt! Custom is an understatement for the MII seat. They took military fabrics and inlayed a veclro addition to house our MII WLF flag patch. Everyone said “whoa…that seat!!”
Get it together people! Last but not least AHM Factory Services made the Recon come to life! Justin and Brandon are pretty much the people you would trust you kids with, 2 wheel and 2 legs. They take their time and make sure to properly curate and fit the parts to not only the bike but also the rider. They rule in a shop and wreck shop on the trail! Thanks for taking care of us!
Thanks again to all the brands and people that were involved to make this a reality. WLF and these brands that made this bike and whole O2WF: Mission II event possible respect and care deeply for our active and non-active military. Thank you for your service.