Conversations with Big Rich

Returning from his long road of Recovery, Kevin Carey, in Episode 42

January 21, 2021 Guest Kevin Carey Season 1 Episode 42
Conversations with Big Rich
Returning from his long road of Recovery, Kevin Carey, in Episode 42
Conversations with Big Rich
Returning from his long road of Recovery, Kevin Carey, in Episode 42
Jan 21, 2021 Season 1 Episode 42
Guest Kevin Carey

Not quite a return from the dead, but close, too damn close.  Our guest today, Kevin Carey, suffered a hemorrhagic stroke in December of 2017. He’s had a long road of recovery, but the future is bright. Kevin shares his history of wheeling, the Rubicon, and military life with us on this episode of Conversations with Big Rich. 

5:20 – part of the BMX craze

7:59 – Protecting the big names, Schwarzkopf, Martin

10:34 –Understanding vehicle dynamics started from investigating accidents

14:00 – the start of private security consulting

15:52 – he makes me uncomfortable driving

17:34 –notorious Pirates

19:51 – world champions

23:46 – wheeling with Veterans 

27:51 –the Rubicon Trail is well cared for

32:09 –the Powertank connection

36:20 –I went to sleep and I never woke up

52:56 – What do I get for doing this?

58:53 – It’s not about mud flying, it’s about emotional interaction

We want to thank our sponsors Maxxis Tires and 4Low Magazine. 

Be sure to listen on your favorite podcast app.


Support the show (

Show Notes Transcript

Not quite a return from the dead, but close, too damn close.  Our guest today, Kevin Carey, suffered a hemorrhagic stroke in December of 2017. He’s had a long road of recovery, but the future is bright. Kevin shares his history of wheeling, the Rubicon, and military life with us on this episode of Conversations with Big Rich. 

5:20 – part of the BMX craze

7:59 – Protecting the big names, Schwarzkopf, Martin

10:34 –Understanding vehicle dynamics started from investigating accidents

14:00 – the start of private security consulting

15:52 – he makes me uncomfortable driving

17:34 –notorious Pirates

19:51 – world champions

23:46 – wheeling with Veterans 

27:51 –the Rubicon Trail is well cared for

32:09 –the Powertank connection

36:20 –I went to sleep and I never woke up

52:56 – What do I get for doing this?

58:53 – It’s not about mud flying, it’s about emotional interaction

We want to thank our sponsors Maxxis Tires and 4Low Magazine. 

Be sure to listen on your favorite podcast app.


Support the show (

Welcome to the Big Rich show, this podcast will focus on conversations with friends and acquaintances within the four wheel drive industry. Many of the people that I will be interviewing, you may know the name, you may know some of the history, but let's get in depth with these people and find out what truly makes them a four wheel drive enthusiast. So now's the time to sit back, grab a cold one and enjoy our conversation. Whether you're crawling the Red Rocks of MOAB or hauling your toys to the trail Maxxis has the tires you can trust for performance and durability.


Four wheels or two Maxxis tires are the choice of champions, because they know that whether for work or play for fun or competition, Maxiss tires deliver. Choose Maxxis tread victoriously.


Why should you read 4Low magazine, because 4Low magazine is about your lifestyle, the Four-Wheel Drive adventure lifestyle that we all enjoy, rock crawling, trail riding, event coverage, vehicle builds and do it yourself tech all in a beautifully presented package. You won't find 4Low on a newsstand rack. So subscribe today and have it delivered to you.

 [00:01:20.530] - Big Rich Klein

On today's episode of Conversations with Big Rich, we have Kevin Carey. Kevin is a past president of Pirates of the Rubicon. He was a big influence in Wheeling when I got back to Placerville, California, after being in Utah.

And he's worked with land use groups and veteran groups, been a competitor. So we're going to talk to Kevin about his early days and where he's at now. So, Kevin, thank you for coming on board and sharing your life history with us and our listeners.

[00:01:54.430] - Kevin Carey
Oh, thanks, Rich. It's good to talk to you.

 [00:01:56.500] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah. So let's let's get started right from the beginning. Where did you grow up?

[00:02:03.190] - Kevin Carey

Well, I'll make it as quick as I can, so I'll. Quickness is not a necessary thing. Yeah. I was born in 1968 in the I was born in the Bay Area. And my dad and mom lived at that time in Oakland and my dad worked in San Francisco shortly after that, a couple of years after I was born, we moved up to Westwood, California, which a lot of your listeners probably don't know where that's at Lake Almanor and Westwood.


And my dad, after being a stockbroker, decided he wanted to build houses. So we went up there and did that until I was a young teenager. So we lived up there and he owned a small bowling alley in Westwood. And Lake Almanor is really pretty up there, but I got to go back and visit. So that kind of that's where I grew up as a young kid. And then once I was in my very, very early teens, you know, 12, 13, they sold that bowling alley.

And my dad decided that it was a good idea for the whole family to move to Alaska. So Alaska, yeah, to Anchorage. And because we owned the bowling alley, my dad found a place he could get a job up there, and so we drove in my dad's three quarter ton surburban up through California all the way through Canada on the Alcan Highway. Nice. And went to Anchorage, Alaska, and lived there for about a year. And then we return to the Bay Area and my dad got a job again and we bought a house in San Leandro. 

[00:03:43.200] - Big Rich Klein

So when he was up in Alaska, did he work the pipeline?

 [00:03:47.160] - Kevin Carey

No, he did. And he was working on managing a bowling alley. Oh, OK. of all things in Anchorage, you know, so did that. Then we move back to the Bay Area. My dad got back in business, stocks and bonds and we bought a nice house in San Leandro, which is right next to Oakland. Right. And and San Leandro at the time was really nice town.


And that's where I went to middle school and then went to high school and graduated from there. So, you know, then the whole a whole nother part of my life story starts, you know.

 [00:04:21.780] - Big Rich Klein

So when was your first exposure to the vehicles? We won't necessarily get right into Off-Road, but

 [00:04:29.220] - Kevin Carey

it was when I was young, my dad was always into Porsches and mostly Lotuses. So I noticed he was really into those kind of sports cars and used to autocross. So he had a couple of Lotus Europa's, which are really cool cars. And then we had older cars, 56 Packard, 56 Tbird he bought my mom. So we always had a lot of vehicles around the fact my first car was a 1958 army I bought from a neighbor across the street from my house in his garage, that's.

Yeah. Yeah.

[00:05:07.100] - Big Rich Klein
So in high school in San Leandro, did you did you participate in sports or were you more of a social club member or just kind of did your own thing?

[00:05:20.490] - Kevin Carey

I had kind of all of the above, and I'm into sports, but it didn't rule my life and I was really into BMX riding and freestyle BMX riding. So, I mean, like half pipes and quarter pipes and skate parks on a BMX bike. So I had a lot of really high end BMX bikes at the time.


And there used to be a club group of riders called The Curbdogs, and they were in the Bay Area in San Francisco. There is a couple of skater guys that were hanging out this, too. And Joey Lopes and just another bigger names in the back in the day doing that kind of stuff. So I got into that and, you know, I did that until I got that Karmann Ghia and then all my, you know, started working on cars and that kind of took over.


[00:06:13.020] - Big Rich Klein

It's amazing how with some people getting that first car and being able to drive kind of changes their life and the the things that they did growing up.



I'm the same way my first vehicle was a 54 Volkswagen Bug. And as soon as I got my driver's license, I was at that time, I was in a ski club going from the Bay Area up to Squaw Valley every weekend.



And that was the end of the ski club. It was really the end of pretty much everything organized, including scouts and everything, because, man, I was I was like wind in my hair, got freedom, you know?



And a lot of us, a lot of us in this industry, you know, the same thing happened. So that's that's interesting.



So then what was your first what was your first off road vehicle?


[00:07:12.840] - Kevin Carey

Well, my first off road vehicle was a 1985 4Runner.


[00:07:20.020] - Big Rich Klein

When what year did that come in? Oh, geez, away later on, later. OK, then let's come back to that.


[00:07:27.160] - Kevin Carey

Yeah. So when I was in high school, I joined the I joined the army and that was nineteen eighty eight and then immediately went to basic training and advanced training and became a military police officer in the army. And I got deployed to Desert Shield and Desert Storm, so I went over to Iraq and we took prisoners of war and I did some traffic accidents even happened.



And in wartime, you know.



Right. So did that a bunch of other details along that time in the Gulf War was, you know, to be a bodyguard for the name of you, Steve Martin, and General Schwarzkopf who was the commanding general for the Gulf troops over there. So that was that was pretty awesome to do that.


[00:08:21.710] - Big Rich Klein

Well, I know General Schwarzkopf, Steve Martin, the comedian. Yes.


[00:08:28.070] - Kevin Carey

OK, yeah. Steve Martin came over with his wife and. With the USO to entertain the troops you know. So wild and crazy guy he is, man, he's my favorite comedian. So I was honored to get to work with him. You know, that's really cool.


[00:08:49.810] - Big Rich Klein

Yeah. So tell me some of the things that happened over there, say, with, you know, with them or, you know, what what kind of experiences were that? You don't have to get into the really hard core or anything.


[00:09:04.140] - Kevin Carey

You know, it's basically our job at the time was to be an escort and just escort them. So when I went to Desert Shield, when we left, I was at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, the 101st Airborne Division.



So I was already air assault and airborne qualified, which in the military that's that's really unique and cool, and I escorted, me and a private. And I escorted that I was in charge of escort , like I think it was almost four million dollars over to the Gulf in cash. So did that, you know, even when we go to war, we need money, right? So. So did that and then hooked back up my unit and we stayed there for about nine and a half months, ten months and we took, you know, thousands and thousands of prisoners of war and.



And during brutal war time, during you know, when it was quieter time, we'd still have all these prisoners and evaluate if they could be interviewed and give us more intel and pass them along to the intel people so, you know. That was a long, long time ago, and I'm proud that I did it and but while, you know, I just it's it's hard to think back over all that time, you know? Right.


[00:10:26.860] - Big Rich Klein

So so you were in you were where was that? Meaning that you were military police?


[00:10:34.240] - Kevin Carey

I was I was military police qualified. That was my job in the Army. In the army. Everybody has a job right a mechanic, a cook. So, yeah, I was a military police officer, you know, OK, specifically a traffic accident investigator, which kind of was one of the the first things that got me into understanding vehicles. Right. If that makes any sense. Vehicle dynamics and all of those things, weight and speed and crushed bang theory of metal, that those things all come in to traffic accidents.



And then I got with that. I got to understand vehicles very well. You know, it makes sense. Yeah. So then how long did you spend in the military?



I had a total of nine years. So after Desert Storm, I came home. Oh, jeez, that's 1992 when I joined the reserves. In Hayward, California, where I was living and stayed in the reserves for eight years total, so I have about nine years and in total of 10 years in the military. That's awesome.



Thank you for your service. Oh, you're welcome.



I'm proud to do so from the military. And you get out of there. What did you what did you step into?



Did you step into law enforcement or and, you know, that was all that was always the thought that I would write. So I went to college and took courses in administration of justice. And during that time when I started taking those courses, I was able to get a job. And in Hayward, for a company that was doing cabling, cabling, being cabling at the time was, you know, simple but becoming more complicated, and that was cabling for phone systems, for computers, for computer printers.



And that's when this network cabling was being designed and developed in our time frame. Right. So high speed, high speed cabling do could handle a quarter of the speeds we have now or even less. But it was the preamble for what we're doing in fiber optics and we installed fiber optics everywhere. So I became a manager over time and. And started running these projects that I was working on as a newbie. I got my younger brother involved in it, his best friend from San Leandro and working in San Francisco to San Jose at Intel to it could be Microsoft.



It could be any of these. You know, software companies you might know about now or have gone away, but we were working in their buildings for a long, long time in the day, you know. Awesome.



So did you finally get your degree or did you know? I I was I'm very close. I'm still close now. I did. And over the course of that time, four years, you know, I was really good at what I was doing. But I got my brother involved and his friend and they became leaders and became young managers. And I kind of veered away and got in because I was military police. I kind of got into and out of business or in the business.



Now it's called access control. So I got into access control, which is how you get in and out of buildings and card readers and motion detection and cameras. And it's very specific, technical way to reform security for corporate businesses. Right. Right. And I got into that and I never went back to voice data, even though I knew it. I just somehow got into that line of work and never looked back. Over the course of all that time, became a consultant and started to write my own specifications and run projects for customers that were brand new to the close of this project.



So that's what I did for a long time and became a consultant and a technical writer. And that's what I did for, you know, 25 years and now I'm now retired. But, yeah, I was it was a lot of fun. And I got to travel the country and work in places that are just awesome. I work in Washington, D.C., I've worked for Amtrak police department, drove and flown all over this country many, many times doing that type of work.


[00:15:06.780] - Big Rich Klein

Excellent. That's sounds like a really good base for getting out and and experiencing yet and seeing the world for sure. Absolutely. So from that point, I know you're retired now from that. But how did how did that all evolve living down in the Bay Area end up getting into Off-Road?


[00:15:30.240] - Kevin Carey

So we'd be doing those projects in the Bay Area? My older brother, Scott Carey, he was in to four wheeling and he had a CJ7. And my dad got into it and had a little CJ5 and lived up in Yuba City. So my parents had moved to. So, you know, my dad's like, you should come up and do this once a while. My older brother is like, oh, you should come with me.



I love my older brother, but he makes me uncomfortable driving. So my dad really got into it, just really went head over heels with those little CJ5. And so we went wheeling Jeeps with them for a couple of years. And I've decided, you know, I'm like, I want something bigger. And my brother like, well, you know, some people at that time, he's like a few people, you know, four wheel these Toyotas.



But, you know, they're not very reliable. Whatever, that's a lie because it is probably the most reliable off-road vehicle. And I'll come back around to that. And so that was my first four wheeler and I started to modify it over time with the simple spring lifts and fighting, steering and gearing. And at the time, they didn't even have crossover steering for these vehicles developed yet. So, you know, you put limited slips. There's no ARB's then, Detroit. Lockers were developed, but not for Toyotas yet.



So. Yeah, I was just kind of learning curve and come on of meet them to go to the Rubicon and I started spending more and more time around up here, you know. So then that all morphed into becoming a member of Pirates of the Rubicon. Yeah, so when I met my ex-wife, now Marin's mom, I met her in Folsom when I was living up there and working in. We moved to the Bay area and I worked for a while, we got married and had our daughter, Marin. Marin's now 19



And worked down there, and I still had that 4runner, so I'd work on that go four wheeling once in a while. When I come up, I started to meet people four Wheeling and I met the pirates and, you know, and would come up and meet them. And and they were very notorious at the time, you know, Rich, very notorious. So we would, you know. Once I was a prospect and I got approved and you had to run your initiation to get in the club through little sluice box at the time was incredibly difficult to get through.



It's like a little hammer section and had to run that blindfolded and have a spotter in the passenger seat. I wouldn't say that you were forced to be inebriated, but you were. And so that's how I passed that and I got into pirates. And then over the course of 10 years, you know, just four wheeled, four wheeled. And Lance Clifford, who started Pirate four by four Dotcom as a chat room for our club, that that exploded over time with development at the Internet and ads and in marketing into a business for Lance, right?



Yep. So I helped him with some of it. He had help from others for Eric Linker, Camo. And, you know, the club was still the club. And I became the president for a couple of years. And I finally I talked with Lance and I just decided Lance had already decided. And Bob Roggy had decided, you know what? I'm going to get out of the club because I love four wheeling, but I'm tired of the dynamics and, you know, being in a club.



Right. Right. And my daughter wanted to get her out four wheeling too. So anyway, I resigned from the club and of course, they're still all my friends and I have stickers and stuff and they want and they want me to stickers on my rig. You know, I'm, I don't know. Yeah. So that really started my drive in the four lane, which is strange for me because I've never really been a gearhead or Motorhead, but I love technical driving and over that course of time doing that four wheeling I got into because Lance was involved and I get into competitions spotting.



Right. Yep. And and did that for four or five years with a couple of different drivers and most notably Jeff Mello. And we, I was just telling my fiance. You know, we took the world championship in Las Vegas in front of the convention center. I think I made, you know, seventeen thousand dollars rockcrawling that year. You know, go out and compete for a week and come back at first cash and, you know, not Lance, but Jeff and I would, you know, split the winnings, right?



Yeah. he'd keep all the product winnings but we'd split the cash winnings. And so it helped build up my rig a little bit that really got me out and about. And I got to be introduced to a lot of people and travel a lot of places to compete. So that was kind of fun, a lot of fun.



So name the drivers that you spotted for besides Mello. Jeff Mello, Bob Standage, remember that name? Oh, yes. Oh, yes. I spotted for Bob Standage too, for another world championship and his spotter at the time ended up taking the wheel. And I spotted him and we got another first that year somewhere. I can't remember. Unfortunately, all my all my trophies are lost. A moving company lost all of my trophies. Oh, that's so remember those big trophies, rich, that were big polished plastic?



Yep, very tall. So, yeah, all those went away, which is a shame. Yeah. Spot it for Bob and for Jeff. Did you spot for Jody.



Yes. Thank you for bringing up his name. Yeah. For Jody Everding. Yeah, sure did. So Jody and I became champs too in a modified class for thirty sevens. Yeah. So Jody Everding and I went from zero to hero in that car of his and I think at the time the last year we were competing. He had the rowdiest motor rock crawling, I think he had 540 horsepower. Yeah, that Brodack or something.



It was ridiculous. Yeah, we ended up racing it in  King of the Hammers, you know.


[00:21:56.910] - Big Rich Klein

Yeah, I remember that car up in. In Goldendale, Washington, trying to get their crack and just creating the biggest dust storm ever. Yeah, he was just in that throttle, it seemed like for like five minutes.


[00:22:13.730] - Kevin Carey

Yeah. I don't think that people had seen a motor like that rock crawling.


[00:22:17.840] - Big Rich Klein

I don't think they had either. I mean, there were some close ones, like some of the Campbell Cadillac motors and stuff early in the day, but nothing, nothing built like that one.


[00:22:28.700] - Kevin Carey

It was insane and kind of uncontrollable for rock crawling.


[00:22:33.310] - Big Rich Klein

OK, so let's let's talk a little bit about the Rubicon and the pirates and the you know, you mentioned, you know, being pretty notorious at the time. I remember. Yeah, I remember that. That's right. Around two thousand is when I moved back to the end of 2000 is when I moved back to Placerville area. But I had met Roggy and Lance through the competitions and they'd stayed at my house in Cedar City. And so when I came back, I just fell in with you guys, not as a as a club member or anything like that, but just somebody that hung out and and went on some of the trips and some good times.


[00:23:19.160] - Kevin Carey

There was some good. Yeah, for sure. Good times was early days especially. Yeah. You know, we'd have our our initiation inside, you know, on the Rubicon, you know, historically through the little sluice box, high noon, you know, and you're blindfolded and we do our club runs in the Rubicon and have a lot of fun and we do, you know, a spectator event, you know, once a year everybody could come.



But other than that, it was really a club run and, you know, club members and their wives and no children were allowed to come. And you're not supposed to bring animals. There was a you know, I don't know, all these rules the Pirates had at the time, through the course of all of those years. I started wheeling with veterans more and which I'm a combat veteran. Right. So I ran into a few people that a guy from Florida, Jason Hadwick, and he said, you know, I'm doing this Wheelers for the Wounded thing and I want to come to the you know, we are the ones we talked to because I wanted to four wheel the Rubicon.



I'm like, well, have you ever been there , he's like no Well tell you what you know, because, I mean, our both combat soldiers. And I said, you know, why don't you let me plan your help. You plan your trip to the Rubicon. You know, I'm aligned with this club and at the time was kind of getting out of the pirates, but not as much with them. And so I helped him organize and plan his first Wheelers for the Wounded trip on the Rubicon and got veterans arranged here and aligned



And that was a long time ago, man, that was, you know, 12 years ago now, so. That went on for years, and then I formed the Wheelers for the Wounded of California, which blossomed into Wheelers for the Wounded of Nevada formed a nonprofit with a handful of people, Eric Smaltz and Art Crofts, whose Brian Crofts father. Yep. And a few other people. And so had done that for, you know, 12, 12 years and had events every year.



And we took hundreds and hundreds of veterans up to the Rubicon Trail every year and fed them breakfast, lunch and dinner and gave them the experience of rockcrawling. Right. That's excellent. Yeah, it's been a lot of fun and a lot a lot of good times for a lot of good people. And we've lost a lot of those veterans now and not a lot of them, but handfuls of them because they're Korean War, Vietnam and even some Afghanistan and Iraq vets



That's because of cancer and some other exposure to, you know, chemicals and other things. So I was glad we did that. And Wheelers for the wounded. It is not functional like it was. But there's still groups of people that Simon Habour takes veterans up to the Rubicon and we have money that was left over in the organization. And so Eric helps funnel some of that money, like to sign them so that they can pull off a weekend of four wheeling and not as significant as we used to do.



But it still shows veterans a great weekend and lets them go camping and driving for a little bit, you know? So, yeah, that's where that's at.



Did you get involved with friends of the Rubicon? I know that the club did big cleanups. I was involved in a few that we did. And the Friends of the Rubicon developed the, you know, four wheelers on the trail. And that was the preamble to the Rubicon Trail Foundation. Right. So which I'm a founder on the Rubicon Trail Foundation and also the Friends of the Rubicon. But so those organizations or groups of people were started to help protect the Rubicon Trail, more so than the pirates like we used to do on our big cleanups, because we do a cleanup every year and get hundreds and hundreds of people out there.



And really do a great cleanup, but, you know, as always, I won't say always the more more the concern to some people at the time was more partying and less cleanup. So we really, really wanted to concentrate on the cleanup and. So that's how these friends of the Rubicon, Rubicon Trail foundation was started. Got it. Friends of the Rubicon, if they're still around it, it's news to me on the Rubicon Trail Foundation is around.



I resigned as a director a long time ago, and I don't hear much from them. They bought some property on the Rubicon with donation money they had. And I've never even been there. And I'm a founding director. But but the the Eldorado County has really stepped up to the plate to take care of the trail, and it's taken a long time. Vicki Sanders is in charge of that. Manages the Rubicon Trail for the Eldorado County. She's really taken over and done a wonderful job now.



So the Rubicon Trail is well cared for, managed and and can be enjoyed by almost everybody, you know.



Yeah, I'd like to say protected, at least for our rights to be able to use it. Yeah.



So, you know, your listeners probably don't know what the Rubicon, like many, you know, trails across the United States, was threatened to be close because it's, you know, it's desolation and wilderness with very few spots in the United States. Have this type of terrain, let alone a road going through it, right? Yep. So through efforts of many, many volunteers, not just these organizations, Rubicon trails open and and it's a county road and it's functioning like it always should have been functioning.



And and I'm really proud that it's still open, you know. It's like thirty it's like thirty four miles from my kitchen table, I'm sitting at right now. Yeah, excellent.


[00:29:24.380] - Big Rich Klein

Yeah. Let's talk about your adventure in offRoad. You started off with that forerunner and you've moved into that's that's the vehicle I believe that you had when I met you.


[00:29:38.090] - Kevin Carey

Yeah, I had that vehicle for a long time. You're exactly right.


[00:29:42.770] - Big Rich Klein

One of the things I'm going to regress here a little bit, I think the first time that I really, truly remember interacting with you was out above a little sluice box.


[00:29:53.750] - Big Rich Klein

Yeah, we were. Yeah, it was a trip into spider backside, a spider. And I was in that 53  M38 A-1 CJ five. Yeah. on like thirty threes I think I had at the time.



And you know you guys all were running forty, forty fours, you know, boggers, swampers, whatever.



And I can remember coming up this hill I was behind you and everybody stopped while I was on the hill. So I got like five feet from the top of the hill and that old carburetor on that odd fire, v six Buick that was in that in that jeep decided that if it if it I could have just kept moving, I'd have been fine. Right. And at one point you turned around and looked at me and you're still behind me. And I said, yeah, but it stalled and I couldn't get it restarted because, you know, I just started in gear and it would it would move its way up the hill.



But so you put it I think I pulled we pulled the winch cable out off of the Jeep and hooked it to you. And then you pulled me the last five feet up the top of the hill. But I remember that on the way out, you kept going.



You're still there. You're still there because you guys drive over all the big rocks.



And I had to drive like, you know, I had to pick my line.


[00:31:13.790] - Kevin Carey

And the other thing, you just I didn't remember that. And he said it. So I do remember all that. And it brings me to the point of thinking about all the the different levels of builds that we go through on vehicles. Right. And that 4runner saw a lot of different builds, a lot of different levels. And, you know, to the point where I put Dana 60s under it, front and rear, and had it linked and, you know, the crazy, crazy stuff and which was supposed to be cool at the time.



But I guess it's all an experience. Right. So I'll tell you something really, really ironic is that that was an eighty five 4runner, at the time I was one of the very first people, one of the first maybe two or three that ever bought a power tank from Steve Sasaki from PowerTank.



Right. Yeah. Now I had an eighty five four and at the time and I met Steve in San Jose and went to his house and bought this Powertank, my friends were like What the hells this power tank. why don't you just get a York, you know, get this great compressor and I'm like no this is the future and I'm getting this and Steve had an eighty 4runner. Yeah. So long story short is and we'll get into some things that have happened to me, but I saw Steve in, in Utah, at Trail hero this year and hadn't talked to him in a while and goes, you know, how are you been.



I said, I'm good. You know, I sold this or that. And and so we end up talking about his 4runner. Well. I just went and bought that 4runner two months ago, so it's sitting out in my garage his 1985 4runner SR5, like mine on thirty fives and beadlocks and, you know, 200 to one transfer cases and air lockers. And it just it's cool to go as far as I've gone with Jeeps and V8's and 60s and all this stuff and Toyotas and then come back to where I started.



Yep. Which I think is I really, I like that story because it's my story and and I love driving this 4runner. It's beautiful to look at.



And it's 35 years old now, so I wish I was thirty five. Now it is thirty five. Oh right. Yeah. Yeah. No you're not 35 either but no, no no one.


[00:33:43.510] - Big Rich Klein

When I interviewed Steve, we, we talked about the first time that I met him was up on the Rubicon. I was with Roggy. And I'm not sure who else was with us, and we came across Steve with that truck and the red.



Yep, the red forerunner and he had the I want to see he had the canvas top on it then maybe not like but I remember seeing the power tank that he had and I was like, OK, what is this all about, you know.



Yeah. Right. And had to find out. And you know, now I'm the owner of a number of power tanks and got them perfectly mounted in the Jeep and in the Raptor and. You know, in the semi truck, so their great option for people for for airing up and down and running tools and everything, they are a great option.


[00:34:33.330] - Kevin Carey

But beyond that, Steve is a really good man. Oh, and just a great person. And so, you know, this 4runner, as you can imagine, is its power tank set up crazy? So even the air lockers run off of the very small power tank. Which is really, really cool. So that's a piece of history, it is a piece of history. And when I was a trial hero, Rich Klein, little rich, I think that word got around her is a pretty big event now, you know, and we got around that.



I was talking to Steven, you know, was talking about his 4runner. Well, Rich, as some other competitors and notable rock crawlers, went over to Rich and went over to Steve and said, you need to see Kevin your 4runner  Well, Kevin offered to buy me a long, long, long time ago for 13 grand. And so I went back inside to talk to Steve again, said it's great seeing he goes, Hey, man, you've got to come down to the.



I'm like, what? So anyway, I'm sure is all those people helped me. Arranged with Steve to come look at this and buy it. So now I have it. That's awesome. Yeah, and there's a story that leads up to that.



So that. People don't go well, that's you know, you just bought a vehicle. Well. December 6th, in twenty seventeen, I came home from Yosemite where I was a security consultant, still owned the security business. And I came home here and I rented a room to a guy disco, and he was, you know, disco. Oh yeah, Tim Webster yeah. And so I went in my house and I was really tired at the time. I was having constant headaches.



I went to sleep. And I never woke up. So what happened is when I went to sleep, I had a haemorrhagic stroke, so there's a main artery under the top of your skull cap. When I went to sleep. I had a stroke, a hemorrhagic stroke, and mine exploded from blood pressure being extremely high. So flooded my brain with blood. So over the course of that time, it's hard to put this all together for people to understand, but I'll just take the simplest account over the course of that time.



I survived that, which is quite rare. Survivor haemorrhagic stroke. What's even rarer is to not be completely crippled or partially crippled from that from brain damage. Right. I don't have any of those things. What I have is I have short term memory loss. So while that's better and I take a lot of notes, that's just the way it is. But if you saw me in person, which many of your listeners probably you'd never know that I had one, let alone survive.



Right. So I only say that because I'm. I convinced myself every day that this is actually happened and it just it blows my mind. And so here I am at 51 and I'm retired and I walk around the front.



So, yeah, so that's that's my story. My daughter's I think she's great and I'm retired on some money I had. And I even got Social Security disability because of what happened to me. So, like I said, you would never know. Let's let's let's talk, if you don't mind. I know it's really personal about that. The stroke and and how. I remember hearing, in fact, I think it was Roggy that told me that you'd had the stroke and Tim at the time was your roommate.



Yeah, they were in a room. Yeah, and he did. Did he find did he find that you were unconscious and wouldn't wake or how did you know this gal here at the time Deb ok.



And she came in and found me, you know, gross or not, that's what happened, throwing up in my shoes on the floor. So I was having the stroke and she told Tim and Tim called the ambulance and they came very close to a couple fire departments her. So they came and took me to Placerville. And, you know, they sedated me. And then they life flighted me down to UC Davis and then they put me in a coma for 24 days.



So that helps the brain reduce swelling and pressure. They drilled four holes in my head and put four tubes in my head and two wires in the center of my skull to my brain to put power to your brain, to let your brain know this is not supposed to happen. You're supposed to get power signals here and there. And, you know, be alive. So while that all sounds crazy, it is crazy as it sounds, and I'm I'm very lucky to be here in the capacity that I am and I'm just very lucky to be.



It's a miracle to me. And my fiancee doesn't like hearing that sometimes because miracles are very strong word. But I've seen miracles in my life and I'm just I'm one of them, you know, so. Right. So your prayers and be good to people in your whole life and be a good person and treat people right. And, you know, things can happen that are unimaginable, you know. Right.



So they you know, they raise some money for me in Georgetown at the hotel one night. And it's the biggest party they've ever had to date at the Georgetown Hotel. That's something it really is. And, you know, they had another function for me, a King of the Hammers, which I've done a few times and raise the money for. I'm grateful for all of that so much. But I'm you know, I'm. I'm equally grateful to family and friends who were here for me, you know, it must be I look at my situation, it must be quite odd to think about what's happened to me.



If you the same if you see me today, Rich, and we go to lunch, you leave to be like, wow, you got to start having a great time, which is completely the truth, but. It's just a real blessing. That's what I mean, you know, absolutely, and that's one of the things that that I like about our community, the rock crawling enthusiasts. Yeah. Whether they're trail wheelers or they're they're racers or competitors and rock crawling business owners or whatever.



Here's this like big umbrella over all of us, and there's that tendency to reach out and try to help when one of us has an issue. And it's really the truth. Yeah, and it's good to see, especially the people that are, you know, there's there's some that are that are under that umbrella that, you know, are on the fringe of that umbrella because of, you know, maybe they're the way they. They've always presented themselves, you know, they're around, but there's others that that have been true and those are the ones that are that everybody, you know, looks out for.



So, yeah, well, I got looked out for and I'm very grateful. And from veterans to friends to family, you know you and you know everybody. So I'm just and, you know, another small miracle for me is that, you know, most people don't survive. What happened with that happen to me or their you know, their crippled from it, like I said. I had my driver's license back. I'm retired very early. I don't have a lot of money and I don't really need a lot of money.



I got vehicles and I have some money in the bank, so. And I'm getting married next June, which is another miracle, right? Yeah, by the way, congratulations on that. Thanks.



You know. Arlene is wonderful, I met her at of all places in Georgetown, at the Georgetown. Well, and that's where the last time I saw you and met Arlene as well. Oh, yes.



Shelley and I, we're we're we're having lunch there. Yeah. And. Maybe dinner and you guys came in and joined us outside on the patio for a few minutes, so.



OK, well, good. It was that when Bob was. No, not Bob. Was that when Lance was there and Larry McRae?



No, it was I think, Bob, we were waiting to meet Bob and Paula. OK, yeah.



See, that's that that just goes back to what I said earlier. You know, some people might say, well, why can't he remember that? Because that's my short my short term memory loss. Right. Right. So it is true and it is a disability. But that's OK. I'm alive. I don't limp and I'm OK anyway. So, you know, all this crazy stuff happens. And and what I was going to say is that, you know, people go about their lives and this and that and pay the bills and run around and raising families and all that.



But, you know, it's it's it's healthy to to slow down sometimes sit down and. Breathe out and relax for a few minutes and take your stress away if you can, because, you know, life can change. In just a matter of minutes and me going to sleep and not waking up for over a year and mentally is a big thing. I've never talked to anybody that's happened to have met people that had strokes, but really not not like mine ever.



And my dad died of a stroke, massive stroke. My mom's had one. So there's high blood pressure problems in my family. So now mine is controlled and I'm just very fortunate. Yeah, very fortunate.



So I'm going to be interviewing later today. Yeah. A guy on the East Coast and a Doug Bigelow. Yep.



And I'm going to say hello. Yeah. I love Doug and I lived with Doug for a while and I said now, yeah, that's what I was going to bring up, that you were working out there doing your your cabling, is that correct? I was doing security work. Security work and still. I got divorced and. I was finding my way and. I got I met some people on a cable on a security project that my company was doing for Amtrak, I'm at a company called Booz Allen Hamilton doing that work as a contract for them in Washington, D.C. So I drove to Maryland and moved some of my stuff and ended up living there for a year.



And that's where I started hanging out with with Bigelow. And he's a great man and got an awesome family. And so that's that's where I met Doug. And I've been friends with him ever since, you know. Awesome.



Did you get a chance to wheel the East when you were out there? Yeah, we did.



We did. I went with Doug many times. I had a JK at the time for J. Not super crazy set up but set up enough. And we went to Rausch Creek and a couple of times and you know, it's a lot different on the East Coast than it is on the West Coast with public lands and four wheeling and private property. And it's mostly private property people 4 wheel on back there. Yes. So like Rausch Creek, you know, the Rubicon would be something that just doesn't exist on the East Coast, you know.






And pretty much anything west or east of the Rockies.



Yeah. Is that you're. Yeah, you're right. You're right. And, you know, I never thought I'd be into something as long as I am with this rock crawling stuff. But, you know, it is fun and I enjoy rock crawling and being technical about it and. You know, I've never been a desert racer and I don't mind going fast, used to love going fast and sports cars, I had nice to autocross and do some stuff, but I love going up in the mountains and, you know, having a cold beverage and enjoying the quietness of, you know, some place like the Rubicon or Fordyce.



It's pretty nice.


[00:47:15.820] - Big Rich Klein

It's a way for a lot of us that can't access the great outdoors any other way. It's like my days backpacking are well behind me. You know, not just because of my size, but because my knees are trashed. You know, those kind of things. And so it is a great way to get out in and be out there. You know, it's not all about just driving over the rocks, although that's that's a very fun part of the experience.



And it's also getting out there, you know, and just being around nothing.


[00:47:51.040] - Kevin Carey

Yeah, I know I put in a different context because I guess I've been overseas and, you know, the first place I served in the Army was in was in South Korea for the Olympics in 1988. And so I've seen a lot of countries and communist countries in the Middle East and back here and the Gulf War and all this crap. And I come back here and I can go to the Rubicon, I can sit down at the beer tree and.



Be absolutely quiet by myself, and it really gives you a moment to appreciate. Our freedom and appreciate a quiet moment and think about the important things in your life, you know, and so and trust me, I've had more time to think about those things because of what happened to me, you know? So excellent. It sounds crazy, but that's that's just the God's honest truth, right? So, yeah. So what is besides marriage? Yeah.



What is next for Kevin? Are you. Is there anything that that you that you want to experience that you haven't had a chance to yet or, you know, what's what's out there? You know, I miss work, right? I just I really do. I, I miss work. I work so hard for so, so long and traveled so much. I think I'm going to you know, I plan on taking a job with, you know, Sheriff D'Augistini, don't you?



Yeah. So he came the sheriff El Dorado County here came to him and his wife came and helped actually serve veterans food on wheelers for the wounded for a couple of years. Nice. He knew he had heard what happened to me after we kind of folded up, Wheelers for the wounded over the last couple of years. And so he reached out to me and told me that when I'm ready, I can come do some work for the El Dorado County Sheriff's Department with their Veterans Veterans Affairs group.



Right. Because they hire veterans. So I'm really looking forward to your question. I'm really looking forward to exploring that and doing that. That's great to hear. Yeah, I just believe good things happen if you're a good person, so treat people right and you just never know what can happen. Absolutely. Absolutely.



So I'm looking forward to doing that and doing some more wheeling this summer. And I have a beautiful six acres here in Garden Valley, which is right below Georgetown. Did you ever come to my house? You know, I have not been OK. Well, it's an older house and but it's beautiful. Six acres. There's a creek in the backyard. I can rock crawl right in my backyard. So and so I got that stuff to do and I got quads and, you know, a little truck and of course, my 4runner.



So I'll stay busy. I'm going to burn some brush today because I see it. I'm looking out my back window at five acres right now, gardening. And then I you go do that.



Well, we'll we'll let you go do that here shortly. So is there anything that. This this question I'm going to ask you to ask and come up with a question for me if you have one, it Fred Williams started this when I said, OK, is there anything we haven't talked about that you want to talk about? And he said, no, but I want to ask you a question.



So why is there such a good, good friend of mine is a good man. He is a great guy. Great guy. Yeah.



So is there anything that you any question that you would have for me that you think the listeners would like to to hear about?



This is probably a good roundabout question. So the competitors, fans, manufacturers, everything would like to know because I don't I don't hear talked about very often, especially with everything that's going on with covid. Scott, where is the next five year future for competitive rock crawling? Is it done? Is it become king of the hammers oriented which I raced into, or will there be competitive rock crawling know like probably like they're never used to be. But is that going to stay around?



What's the biggest tool? People have to help them continue doing it? I mean. Right, organizations that might help. I have faith and very few of them. Because it comes down to membership and money and I'm more about action and how can we get this done with the lowest amount of money possible, you know? Well, that, you know, I want to drive I want to pull people's heartstrings to make them think about the things they're going to do voluntarily, not the things are going to get paid for.



And it frustrates me more than anything to hear people. What do I get for doing this? You know what? You don't get anything for doing this. You get to be able to take your daughter like my daughter Marin. The car in the front driveway right now, our little wrangler, T.J., over there on thirtyfives and beadlocks. And, you know, she's been four wheeling the Rubicon for years and years and started out when she was a little kid that could barely walk on the ground at all.



So she gets to enjoy it. What are people going to do? What are they prepared to do to ensure that? Everybody else can keep four wheeling or enjoying the outdoors, because I don't see a lot of it. I want to see more of it, you know. Yeah, I agree. I'll answer that in a couple of different ways. First, competitive rock crawling and up with my company. We rock. We still have a three or four year plan.



You know, I'm good. I turned 63 in March, so I've been doing this now 20 plus years. And it's it's wearing on the body and, you know, just doing just Shelley and I doing most of it, it's, you know, it's it's physically demanding. Plus the travel. So, you know, we eventually I hope that that there's somebody. And I think I've been talking to somebody that will will take over WE Rock when it's appropriate.



Yeah, and and carry it on, and so I hope that happens as far as the recreational side of it, I truly see the formula that's on the East Coast. Eventually making its way farther west, and that's private property, private parks, because we all know that, that there's certain people out there for some reason absolutely hate motorized recreation. Now they you and that, you know, they'll do anything they can to stop it, especially on public lands.



And so. As a as a collective group, I believe that we all need to work to save our public lands. And at an in your house level, that's where, you know, either spending some time writing letters, getting behind a cause locally to keep an area open, getting with your congressman or congresswoman and especially those that have more of a liberal agenda to understand that. You know, these big money making environmental groups are not really there for the people, they're there for the money where our support or our lifestyle is about people and it's about family.



Yes. It's about, you know, groups of people enjoying something that they do together. And it's we need to we need to make make our politicians that make the decisions for us on public lands. Understand that. And, yeah, you know, the manufacturers need to get behind that.



They needed to get behind it forever for. So, you know, I look I look at our our sport and other sports are like a motorcycle. Whatever quads. I don't care. I got a motorcycle out here in the quad and all kinds of stuff. You know, I see a bunch of fancy commercials with shiny shots and then jumping and mud playing everywhere and stuff. I've never seen a creative commercial that says, you know, here we are on our new quads are here we are in our Jeep Wrangler.



And then somebody just to turn to the camera and say, you know, we're only here because we have public lands that are open. And these public lands are open because of this and that and because of the work that we're doing as a corporation to ensure it stays open so you can enjoy this vehicle and how capable it has with Electric Locker's front and rear four to one transfer case. Nobody understands what not nobody rarely few people understand what those why those vehicles have that capability and they never get to see it being used in a normal commercial.



Right. And so why manufacturers won't look at that aspect of marketing and use it to their advantage. I just don't understand, because you and I, with our experience, could film a better commercial on the Rubicon than they could with their million dollar budget. I agree. So. And I think I think what it boils down to, and it's it's a I think it's a skewed vision and that's they're afraid they're going to lose sales if they show people having a normal good time.



You know, a group of people out on a regular trail ride, you know, doesn't even have to be, you know, like on a four day or, you know, parts of the Rubicon, it could just be a dirt road and it would be you know, they don't show that because I believe that they think that they may lose a sale or two because somebody that's against motorized recreation will say, you know what, I'm not going to buy that vehicle because of that one commercial.



Yeah, yeah, well, that's that's sad and that will be the undoing because, you know, why why isn't there a commercials where I'm sitting out in my front yard and I got it soap bucket you look down, there's a rag and there's my daughter Marin, and she's washing her jeep standing next to me. You know, it's not about mud flying. It's about it's about interaction and emotional interaction with with what you're doing and who you're doing it with.



And those products can bring that to your life. Then, you know, those manufacturers should be selling what their products can bring to people's lives beyond, you know, you understand them saying, oh, yeah. Oh, absolutely. I you know, sexy sells and that's not very sexy. Go. I'm sorry. It's just not that I wish it was so. Yeah, I agree. Yeah. Well well, you know what is a good question speaking.



It is a good question. Speaking of WE Rock, you know, I always come help you. I understand that OBL I'll fly out there. I'll do whatever you know. Kevin, can you come work in Arizona this weekend? Sure, I'll come work. It's cheap for you and it's fun for me.



I will absolutely keep that in mind. We get once the season starts, we get in. I get into such a, I don't know, a groove or a mindset where it's just, you know, living in that particular moment and not seeing, you know, all of all of that. So going into it and new area every other week or so, it's it's all about, OK, you know, what do I need to do? What do I need to get set up?



And I don't I don't always think that way. So thank you for the reminder.



You know, I'm I'm I'm a. I know what I'm talking about a little bit when it comes to courses, cones and time and reverses and all these types of things, and and I love it because I am a competitor by nature. So I think being competitive in and learning to follow just some simple rules and win and be a winner is the best life lessons. Right? I agree. And we're doing that. You're doing that every time you have an event.



Yeah. So keep at it. I appreciate it. Thank you. And again, thank you so much for coming on board with conversations with Big Rich and you opening up your personal life to. To everybody out there in the four wheel drive industry and yeah, I wish you and your future wife a awesome life and you know, I will see you. The next time I come in to Northern California, I will come by and visit for sure.



Yeah, we'll hook up for sure. And I look forward to seeing you. And you're, of course, always welcome here.



So I appreciate that, Kevin. Right. Thank you, my friend. All right. You too. Bye bye. If you enjoy these podcasts, please give us a rating, share some feedback with us via Facebook or Instagram and share our link among your friends who might be like minded. Well, that brings this episode to an end. You enjoyed it. We'll catch you next week with conversations with Big Rich. Thank you very much.