Editor’s note: Thomas Kruger’s WRX has already made an appearance on the Garage before, but he’s not limiting his passion to the tarmac. Kruger tapped into the burgeoning off-road Subaru community when he built his overland Outback and helped organize one of the largest Subaru gatherings the West Coast has ever seen.
SubieFest is the biggest Subaru event of the year for me and the Subaru community west of the Rockies. This event brings together all walks of life from across the community, from off-roaders who have tweaked their machines for the high desert; to the unsuspecting, safe, family car; to the rally-inspired, boxer-powered supercars that we’re all familiar with.
This year was so big for the Subaru off-road community that we had to set up an independent location outside of the event for those traveling from as far as Washington to meet up and prepare! Organizing this part of the event was a tremendous amount of fun for me, as it provided a chance for a lot of us who have only known each other from forums, Facebook, and Instagram to finally meet in person.
I found myself talking to some of the most humble and down-to-earth enthusiasts who have taken budget builds to a whole other level. They live and breathe for the experience of dust in their face, and the challenge of ripping out and replacing a torn axle in the middle of a desert convoy.
This gathering of off-road Subarus created our own corridor through Gorman OHV Hungry Valley. We spent days looking for mud and water to splash in when we weren't exploring the trails. I brought my overland Subaru Outback (complete with rooftop tent, awning, and BFGoodrich® Mud-Terrain T/A KM2 tires on VTX wheels) to help represent MtnRoo, which is the leading off-road Subaru community.
Leading a mile-and-a-half-long convoy of MtnRoo Subarus down Interstate 5 South to SubieFest was one of the greatest moments of my life, and staging my Outback and inviting spectators to join me for refreshments is what made the day truly special. I got to hear about unique adventures that each person’s Subaru has taken them on, or how they want to build their Subarus to join us on trails only Jeeps and Toyotas dare travel.
For this event, I also got to help bridge the Crawford Performance debut their GK2 Gymkhana Exhaust on my built “RexSTi.” Even with the performance gains from their platform, I still wasn't able to break traction from the BFGoodrich® g-Force Rival S tires that are on my STi.
My heart rate never dropped during the entire weekend. It was packed with so much of what I love and live for. I was living my dream of being a part of something greater than myself, and sharing it with those who traveled far and wide. That’s what makes me so passionate: the Subaru community is so rich in culture and its commitment to share with those around them. To be a part of that is truly a blessing worth paying forward.
Follow Thomas's Subaru builds on Instagram at @tkruger7.