History of Fourth of July

Fourth of JulyWe all know why we celebrate Fourth of July, but it’s always good to brush up on some Fourth of July history.

On July 4th, 1776, there were thirteen colonies lead by England. Those colonies were made up of current New England States and some southeastern states.

Conflicts had been surging between England and the colonies for a year by the time they all met for the Continental Congress in Philadelphia in the summer of 1776.

On June 7th, Richard Henry Lee proposed a resolution. His famous words were the start of the drafting of the Declaration of Independence. He said, “Resolved: That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.”

So, nearly a month later, on July 1st, the Continental Congress reconvened with a Declaration drafted by our Founding Fathers. After revisions, the Declaration of Independence was signed on the 4th of July, supported by nine out of thirteen colonies.

And that, folks, is why we have barbecues and fireworks. Now go celebrate!

Classic Toyota Corolla Debuts for a Great Race

Classic Toyota Corolla

Toyota celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

There aren’t many things better than a classic version of your favorite car, except maybe your favorite classic cars in an amazing race—which is exactly what Toyota did. The classic Toyota Corolla debuted at the Great Race.

The Great Race is a long-distance endurance competition, with the starting line in Northern California. It goes all the way to Moline, Illinois, with more than 130 vintage cars participating in the race.

It’s perfect timing for the Corolla, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. The classic Toyota Corolla that will be debuting is the first-generation 1970 sedan.

“When Toyota first introduced Corolla in 1966, it became a worldwide overnight success not just because of its quality and style, but also because it allowed so many to pursue their personal adventures and create memories in their car,” said John Meyers, Vehicle Marketing and Communications National Manager.

Ever driver and navigator will have specific instructions that indicate their turns, speed changes, and when they stop and start.

The classic Corolla will make its journey from San Rafael, California, all the way through Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, South Dakota, and Iowa. If the Corolla’s rally team wins, they’ll get a large eagle trophy and a check for $50,000.

So let’s cross our fingers for that classic Corolla!

Father’s Day Automotive Gifts: Show Dad You Care

Father’s Day automotive giftsMother’s Day is past and Father’s Day is right around the corner. That means it is time to start thinking of Father’s Day automotive gifts in order to show your dad how much you really care. From the basic tools to some truly unique presents, we have a list of some of the top gifts you should get your dad for this Father’s Day.

According to AutoZone, one of the best things you can buy for your dad is something he can use for his hobbies. If he loves fixing cars and other things, help him expand his tools. Garage storage kits are great for disorganized dads, while a new jack, jack stands, rolling chairs, and creepers are also great. Whatever helps to make his hobby more enjoyable is bound to be a good gift.

Odds are your dad likes professional sports. Why not let him show his support on the road? Consider merchandise like steering wheel covers, hitch covers, floor mats, and decals that showcase his favorite team.

Has your dad always dreamed of driving on a track? Consider buying him sessions on a professional track. You may have to pay a little more for this gift, but it is definitely worth it. Services like Xtreme Xperience locate and set-up driving scenarios for you using real supercars, racetracks, and professional instruction.

These are just some of the possibilities for this Father’s Day. The best gift is something from the heart, something only you can know about your dad.

Man Drives a Million-Mile Toyota Tundra: Unparalleled Durability

million-mile Toyota TundraHow far will you drive in your Toyota? Believe it or not, a North Dakota man recently drove his Toyota Tundra a whopping 1 million miles—talk about durability. Not only did the owner of this million-mile Toyota Tundra get incredible bang for his buck, but Toyota also bought him a new truck in order to celebrate this momentous occasion.

According to Toyota, the model was a 2007 Toyota Tundra. It was the first of its kind, assembled exclusively in San Antonio, TX with a high-quality powertrain and chassis. The man, Victor Sheppard, averages 125,000 miles per year for his job, driving from North Dakota to work in Wyoming and Virginia. The model still has the original engine, transmission, and paint job.

“My truck looks great, and, except for a few little dents, it’s almost like new,” said Sheppard. “Even the seats look just as they were when I bought it. They’re not as clean, of course, but they’re not busted or worn out.”

Naturally, Sheppard had regular service—in fact, he logged a total of 117 dealership visits. Regular maintenance was vital to his success, Sheppard claims, illustrating the many reasons you should bring your car to the dealership for tune-ups and regular service. This million-mile Toyota Tundra proves just how durable Toyota models really are.

Toyota Setsuna Concept Constructed Entirely Out of Wood

As the world’s top-selling auto maker, Toyota has a lot of wiggle room when it comes to experimenting with different concepts and ideas, and the Toyota Setsuna concept car is no different. The brand showed off the concept at Milan Design Week in mid-April, which is constructed entirely of wood and designed to last several generations. However, as outlandish as it seems, the Setsuna is an ode to Toyota’s origins in Japanese culture.

First of all, the Setsuna is designed to have the appearance of a small two-seat roadster, but is built out of Japan-native species of cedar and birch wood using traditional Japanese carpentry techniques. Even if the concept doesn’t strike you as a very good vehicle, it’s still a remarkable work of craftmanship. Additionally, the Setsuna was envisioned by Toyota concept artists as a family heirloom; the wood may change appearance and warp over time depending on weather conditions and other environmental conditions, but the concept is intended to be passed down to subsequent generations and last up to 100 years.

Because wood changes over time, Toyota decided to incorporate that idea into the concept. The word Setsuna even means “moment,” reflecting that the Setsuna will, over the course of generations, come to represent the memories and experiences of a particular family.

Toyota’s press release even elaborated on this idea, stating, “With the Setsuna concept, Toyota is expressing the notion that, as a family accrues time and experiences together with their car, lovingly caring for it and passing it on to the next generation, that car will acquire a new type of value that only the members of that family can appreciate.”

While the Toyota Setsuna concept marks the first time a vehicle has been made out of wood, it’s far from the first heirloom car. There are plenty of vehicles that have been passed down from parent to child in the modern US, with the deeply-ingrained culture surrounding muscle cars and at-home garage modifications. The Setsuna debuted in Milan on April 12th.

Toyota Sharing Hydrogen Fuel Patents With Other Auto Makers

Hydrogen fuel patentsAfter the release of the Toyota Mirai last year, Toyota is still pushing for the auto industry to stir up interest in the concept of hydrogen fuel, which the brand regards as being significantly better and more innovative than current hybrid and electric systems. As a result, Toyota has released over 5,600 hydrogen fuel patents to the public in order to try and encourage other auto makers to create a more hydrogen-friendly society. Their reasoning? In order for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles to flourish, everybody needs to be in on it.

The announcement comes to light amid media conflict regarding the rivalry between the upcoming Tesla model and the Chevy Bolt, which are said to be some of the most advanced models in their segment. However, modern electric cars have Prius-creator Takeshi Uchiyamada to thank for the great strides in innovation and success green cars have taken in recent decades — but nowadays Uchiyamada is for fuel cell vehicles, not EVs. He believes that hydrogen fuel has the most potential for long-term use and emissions reduction, but hydrogen can only become successful if the infrastructure of the auto industry changes.

That’s because the lack of attention hydrogen fuel is getting — for example, the Mirai itself has only sold 100 units this year so far — is due to a lack of refueling stations. Toyota’s goal in sharing their technology with other auto makers is to make the same waves the electric car and hybrid market did years ago, and encourage several eco-friendly cities in the US to begin installing fuel stations for hydrogen vehicles.

Will Toyota’s strategy of releasing thousands of hydrogen fuel patents to the public work? Maybe — the Mirai, which is only available currently in California, can be refueled in three minutes, is a zero-emissions vehicle, and gets 300 miles, a range that no current electric cars can reach. However, Toyota has proven itself a leader in green energy and innovation for decades, so if anyone can do it, Toyota can.

Fun Attractions Off The Beaten Path In Tennessee

off the beaten path in tennesseeYou’ve been to all of the mainstream attractions. Now visit all of the crazy, weird and strange attractions off the beaten path in Tennessee!

X-10 Nuclear Reactor – Oak Ridge

This reactor was the second artificial nuclear reactor ever built in the world. It was constructed as part of the infamous Manhattan Project during WWII. Now it’s the oldest one in the world. Before 9/11, anyone could drive up, but these days, you have to take a bus tour.

World’s Shortest Highway Tunnel – Shady Valley

Back in the early 1900s, a lumber company in Shady Valley, Tennessee wanted to create a shortcut to town. Their answer was to blow a giant a hole in Backbone Rock. The result is the world’s shortest highway tunnel and you can drive through it today—just head south down Highway 133 from the Virginia border.

Mud Island – Memphis

Ever pined to walk the lower thousand miles of the Mississippi River? Mud Island gives you your chance…in a way. It features an attraction called Riverwalk, which is a 2,000-foot scale model of the actual river. Kick your shoes off and wade to your heart’s desire!


A vast, 13-story high work of industrial art, Mindfield comes from the mind of one Billy Trip. It looks like a dense electrical substation…sort of. Visit Brownsville and you can’t miss it—it’s right in the middle of downtown!

How To Jump Start A Car

how to jump start a carIt must be a universal law that your battery always dies at the most inopportune time. While we can’t necessarily make it a convenient experience, we can certainly be prepared! Here’s how to jump start a car

The first step is to always keep jumper cables in your vehicle! Not only will this make it easier for you when your vehicle dies, you can also help return the favor when someone else is in need.

  1. Try to park nose-to-nose and then turn both vehicles off.
  2. Take one end of the cables and clip the red clip to the positive terminal of the dead battery.
  3. Attach the opposing red clip to the positive terminal of the “good” battery.
  4. Attach a black clip to the negative terminal of the “good” battery.
  5. Attach the opposing black clip to an unpainted metal surface inside your engine bay (effectively grounding it).

Start your vehicle. Most of the time, this is all it takes. If not, start the vehicle with the good battery and let it run for a few minutes. Then try your vehicle again. If that doesn’t work, your battery needs replacing.

Toyota Family Learning Program Supports School and Literacy Program

Toyota Family LearningEncouraging education and learning in the Plano, Texas area, the Toyota Family Learning program recently provided some life-changing solutions for a range of families. Toyota teamed with the National Center for Families to unveil the Plano Family Literacy School and Sigler Elementary, where more than 200 parents and children have been enrolled.

The Toyota Family Learning program is funded by a $175,000 grant from Toyota, distributed over the course of 3 years. The school and literacy center are designed to give both adults and children opportunities to practice English, better enabling them to become a part of the community.

“Toyota Family Learning makes an impact that will be seen and felt for decades to come,” said Sharon Darling, president and founder of NCFL. “As parents and children are elevated through education and technology training, they realize they can make a difference in their own lives, as well as the community.”

Plano is actually the eleventh community to become part of Toyota Family Learning. Four other cities will be revealed later this year—part of a whopping $10 million commitment over 6 years.

Toyota Ventures into Satellite Connectivity Technology in New Concept

Satellite connectivity technologyAfter the Consumer Electronics Show and North American International Auto Show happened one right after the other in January, Toyota got the opportunity to show off their latest foray into the realm of cutting-edge technology. The brand used a Mirai as the base for their satellite research vehicle, a concept which employs the use of newly emerging satellite connectivity technology as a means for Toyota to research the potential uses of the feature in modern automobiles.

Toyota met with various companies around the globe during their initial pursuit of satellite tech, and eventually partnered with Kymeta, an up and coming company that focused efforts on the development of a “flat antennae” that does not require a curved dish to to send and receive signals. Kymeta has over 8,000 miles of road-testing done for its tech, and Toyota happily invested in the company with the end goal of being able to utilize the flat antennae in future vehicles.

The Mirai-based research vehicle sports the flat antennae as a panel on its roof. Inside, the interior has been customized to include black leather seats and a rear seat entertainment system.

The main benefit of satellite connectivity technology would be the ability to send and receive large amounts of data quickly. Toyota believes this could cover everything from sharing information between vehicles to maintaining a stable connection in emergency situations.