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Sockless Superstar
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Re: Congratulations to Apexbasher: January's Member of the Month


Congratulations to Matt Hughes (AKA Apexbasher): FJCruiserForum's Member of the Month for January!​



Muddygrrl: Why did you buy your FJ?

Apexbasher: At the time I was planning on a move to San Diego with the Navy. I wanted a vehicle with some serious off-road credentials that I could pack up the wife and dog and take out into the desert for an extended weekend of Geocaching. It had to be able to do this with less than $5000 of additional modifications. The FJ won due to Toyota’s offroad heritage and quality.


Muddygrrl: What does your FJ do for you? How has it affected your life?

Apexbasher: First and foremost, it (Bessie) provides me daily transportation for work and such. Secondly it has become a true recreational vehicle, with many of my weekend activities centered on its ability to get me to places I might not be able to get to with an average vehicle.



Muddygrrl: What will your FJ look like years from now?

Apexbasher: About like this, but with perhaps a bit more pin-striping.


Muddygrrl: What will you look back on and remember most?

Apexbasher: I will admit that I had some “buyer’s remorse” when I first purchased my FJ. I had taken it out immediately and gotten it horrendously stuck, then the wrecker crew who came to help me just kept slamming it’s apparent lack of offroad capability, and appearance. I was really afraid that I had made a mistake. But then the magic started happening, starting with me actually READING the danged owners manual and learning about ATRAC, 4H and 4L, Rear Differential Lock. It opened my eyes a bit. Then I started digging through FJCruiserForums.Com and all the pieces started to fall in place. Armed with my new knowledge I returned to the same area that had defeated my FJ before, this time making the right choices at the right times, and the FJ was brilliant! Why will I remember this? Because this very same trip I came across the guy who had rescued me with a wrecker, but this time him and his Jeep were stuck in the same muck and I got him out using my ugly FJ.



Muddygrrl: How & why do you participate on the Forum?

Apexbasher: My main interests in the Forum are two fold. 1) FJ information- everything from technical help to ideas for mods to make my FJ more useful to me. And 2) social interaction- believe it or not, as an instructor at a command with at least 4,000 students at any time, it is hard to go out in this small town and NOT end up side by side with one of my students. It’s crazy; you cannot throw a brick in the town and not hit one of them. So I have become a bit of a homebody, especially considering that my wife lives 368.4 miles away in Jacksonville, Florida. So I have really enjoyed hanging out with the good folks I have found here at FJCruiserForums.com. The fact of the matter is that the people here are the friendliest, most helpful, most accommodating, and most welcoming online community I have ever seen. That has been reason enough for me to keep coming back for the last two years!


Muddygrrl: What has the forum done for you and what can the forum learn from you?

Apexbasher: Many others have heard me mention this while we sit around the campfire after a long day on the trail, but I hope not to bore them by saying this again for the masses: All my life (at least the first 38 years) I had a preconception of the offroading crowd as mainly a group of good ‘ol boys out in the muck with ridiculously lifted pickups and superswampers tearing the place apart with no regard for personal property, decorum, safety, or the environment. My eyes have been opened, largely by the fine folks of this forum (and a few others I visit). Yes the above group DOES exist, but they are NOT the standard. What I have encountered instead have been a bunch of folks out on the trail taking care of each other and having fun in the safest manner possible. Good folks who want to enjoy the outdoors and wish to do it in a way that is responsible, so we can ensure we’ll be welcome back in the future. I’m a firm believer in Tread Lightly! and can attest to the fact that it opens doors for outdoor recreation. We are beginning to see the fruits of such campaigns here in Florida where we have the Dept. of Wildlife Management, The Nature Conservancy, and others, actually working together to open lands for managed OHV use.



Muddygrrl: What is your favorite trail/trip?

Apexbasher: That’s an easy one. The 2008 FJ Summit was a high point for me. Starting with a tremendously BORING trip from Pensacola to Moab, Utah. But once there it was immediately apparent that I was in for a great week! Moab was a blast with all the good folks from the Smokey Mountain Cruisers. All I have to say is “14 FJs going through Hell’s Revenge until WAY into the night”. Get some. Then the Summit itself was such a treat. Great trails like Alpine Loop and Black Bear. Great town of Ouray. Camping out at the KOA with Pirate and Co. And all the awesome people of the FJCruiserForums gathered together for a huge three day ****tail party. I even made the trip home to Pensacola not suck so much by routing myself down through White Sands, NM and across to Roswell for a UFO fix.


Muddygrrl: Where or what is your most desired adventure/excursion?

Apexbasher: Toughy. I would REALLY like to finish the Appalacian Trail. Seriously, I only got about 60 miles of it done before an injury ended my trip. But as far as an FJ related expedition? Kokopeli, Mojave, Pan Am, to name a few. I want it all. When do we start?


Muddygrrl: How do you expect your mods to benefit you?

Apexbasher: I am a firm believer in form following function, just look at my motorcycle and you can see that. If it doesn’t make the vehicle perform better, more capable, more useable, then it ain’t on there. That being said, I traded in a luxury SUV for the FJ and there were a few items I had grown to love that would have to be fitted to the FJ. The list is short but notable; maplights, navigation, homelink. I’m not big on bling, so you won’t find any of that on Bessie. My mods are there to make my FJ more usable, for both daily and recreational purposes. I am trying to add capability, durability, and safety. I want to be able to throw a dart at the map and have confidence that Bessie can get me there safely.


Muddygrrl: What is your favorite modification to date?

Apexbasher: Tough one. I REALLY like my navigation system. But I also REALLY like my bumper mounted bottle opener. Then again it could be the ARB bumper and winch (man that thing has saved the day SOOOOOOO many times). OH! Maybe the rock rails! Forget it, I just like that way everything works so well together. That’s it!


Muddygrrl: What mod would you not do again?

Apexbasher: I have two, kinda. First, it turns out that my wife hates the passenger armrest I got her (for her birthday, hehehe). But I tossed the blank that was replaced by the armrest, so now she’s stuck with it. The second one I would just do differently. Steel wheels were a mistake, IMO. The wheels alone weigh 37 lbs a piece. Add that to the 305/70-16 tires and you are talking some SERIOUS gas mileage robbing weight. I should have waited a bit and sprung for some cast aluminum, but I was impatient.



Muddygrrl: What are your future plans for the FJ?

Apexbasher: I am pretty much done with my mod bug. You might say the fever has broke. I’m very happy with what Bessie can do now. New aluminum wheels will eventually find their way onto her, but that is not a high priority.


Muddygrrl: What other recreation do you enjoy?

Apexbasher: I’m an avid Geocacher, motorcyclist, surfer, hiker, camper, and occasional golfer.



Muddygrrl: Who are you in real life?

Apexbasher: I am a U.S. NAVY Aircrew Survival Equipmentman First Class, currently an instructor at NAS Pensacola. I’ve been in the service since 1995. Before that I was gainfully employed as a Certified Picture Framer (PPFA). I used to race motorcycles as well, but got poor fast because it turned out I wasn’t as good as I had hoped. I am married to the most brilliant woman I have ever met. Maryellen and I have no children, but instead a super-cool rottie named Sambo.



Muddygrrl: What was the best day of your life?

Apexbasher: Marrying my sweetheart. At least I think so. Problem is I don’t really remember it very well… But people tell me they have never seen me happier!


Muddygrrl: What is the most unusual thing about you?

Apexbasher: Jeez, where do I start? Well, most people seem to think I am incredibly funny. I guess you could say that the most unusual thing about me is my sense of humor: I don’t think I have one. But I have a very fine sense of sarcasm, and use it often. Sarcasm is my release mechanism.


Muddygrrl: What is your favorite music? What CD’s are in your player right now?

Apexbasher: I have found my musical tastes growing as I get older. But I am a rocker, through and through. You can catch all sorts of things emanating from my speakers; Pink Floyd, Joan Osborne, Coldplay, Gorilaz, Jimi Hendrix, Rage against the Machine, Hubastank, Thompson Twins, Sting, Saga, Harry Connick Jr., and the list goes on. My CD player in the FJ currently has Tool-Lateralus.


Muddygrrl: What is your favorite food?

Apexbasher: I have really taken a liking to Thai food these last few years. I love the use of sweet basil, lime juice, coconut milk, lighter sauces, etc. These are old flavor presented in a fresh way. --Actually—scratch all that. Thai comes in second after SUSHI!


Muddygrrl: Did you have a previous vehicle that was as fun as your FJ?

Apexbasher: Yes, but for different reasons. I traded in my Volkswagen Touareg V8 for the FJ. The T-reg was such a sweet ride, though. I felt like a million bucks whenever I climbed into her. All the luxury, heaps of power, great handling on road, and very capable when the pavement ended as well. I have some very fond memories in that thing. (Stop me before I start waxing nostalgic.)


Muddygrrl: You are about to take off for Iraq for an undetermined amount of time. What are your thoughts as you prepare to go?

Apexbasher: Well, not sure exactly where I will be going at this point. There are many things going on right now and where I will ultimately end up is kinda up in the air right now. I have a lot of preparations to complete still. I am moving back to Jacksonville before leaving, so there’s one thing. Then I have to get a lengthy “honey-do” done before I leave. Things to check off my own list: new passport, update will, power of attorney for wifey, etc. I am blessed with a very independent wife who can handle the separation well. She has the hardest job in the world, Navy Wife, and seems to handle it with aplumb.



Muddygrrl: Florida is a relatively flat state. Where do you go to wheel on a fairly regular basis?

Apexbasher: Eglin Air Force Base. It is HUGE and 280,000 acres of it is an semi-public nature reservation manages for recreational use. It has the second largest natural Long Leaf Pine forrest in the world, numerous spring fed creeks and rivers, diverse wildlife including deer, black bear, alligators, Army Rangers, etc. Decent elevation changes abound, and very little mud. What we have instead are frame twisting wash outs and off-camber trails. And it is all sand. Soft sand, hard sand, dry sand, wet sand, white sand, orange sand, red sand, sand, sand, sand. Welcome to Florida.


Muddygrrl: Recently MrsApexBasher signed onto the forum. How do you feel about that and how do you expect it to affect how you spend your time on the forum? (Ha ha!)

Apexbasher: Why she chooses to haunt me here, I do not know. It seems like when ever we encounter each other here the thread always ends with us telling each other how bad the other’s taste in music is! That fact of the matter is I adore Maryellen. Mi casa es su casa, chica.


Muddygrrl: How did you and your wife meet? How long have you been together/married?

Apexbasher: Curious story. I was living with a married couple during the winter of 92-93. We had this crazy New Years party with dozens of guests that ended abruptly when said married couple got into a knock down drag out argument over….Thin Mints….yep. I closed the door behind the last guest 30 minutes later and went to my room. I got this novel idea to jump on the computer and go to a chat room on AOL (remember when AOL had only a dozen, or so, chat rooms and only half a dozen people in each one?) and see who was in California and on line at 3am Eastern time, and obviously an ABSOLUTE loser! (Flame away, I was in a crappy mood). Just as I was poking fun at my third or fourth victim I got a PM from somebody asking me if I was really from Delaware. Turns out she was doing the exact same thing! Four months later we met for the first time near her home in New Jersey while I was on a trip to New York. And we married on January 1st, 1997, the fifth anniversary of the night we met while poking fun at Californians.


Muddygrrl: What is the funniest thing about you that she'd reveal that you wouldn't necessarily think to let us know?

Apexbasher: MrsApexbasher thinks my taste in music stinks. But then again, who currently has the Spice Girls in her car CD player? Hmm?


Muddygrrl: (And finally, my favorite!)
I, (we) state your name….

Apexbasher: I, Matthew G. Hughes, am a United States Sailor.
I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America and I will obey the orders of those appointed over me.
I represent the fighting spirit of the Navy and all who have gone before me to defend freedom and democracy around the world.
I proudly serve my country’s Navy combat team with Honor, Courage and Commitment.
I am committed to excellence and the fair treatment of all.
(The Sailor Creed)

 

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Premium Member
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Re: Congratulations to Apexbasher: January's Member of the Month

Wow Matt, A new Bessie and M.O.M. all in the same week. Congrats :bigthumb:
 

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Kajun Kim
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Re: Congratulations to Apexbasher: January's Member of the Month

Congrats Matt!!!!!!!! You are such a cool guy and I really love the way you talk about Maryellen. That is some GOOOOOOODDDDDD stuff.

BTW, beautiful Rottie. I had 2 a long time ago and my male looked alot like Sambo. They were such good dogs, just SO big!!!
 

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Re: Congratulations to Apexbasher: January's Member of the Month

congrats!
 

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Re: Congratulations to Apexbasher: January's Member of the Month

I can clue everyone in on why he doesn't remember our wedding day....

If I remember correctly there was a bit of a pub crawl the night before that I was not envited to attend, for some reason. Hm. Then the morning of the Best Day of my life he fell down the stairs of his parents house before leaving for the church, giving himself a fine fat lip and swollen noggin! And wasn't that I slight limp I sensed as we walked away from the alter? Yes, I think it was!

Hence the loss of memory, and the wedding album full of pictures of him looking and feeling his very finest.

Congratulations on Member of the Month, honey!

:rofl:
 

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Premium Member
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Re: Congratulations to Apexbasher: January's Member of the Month

I can clue everyone in on why he doesn't remember our wedding day....

If I remember correctly there was a bit of a pub crawl the night before that I was not envited to attend, for some reason. Hm. Then the morning of the Best Day of my life he fell down the stairs of his parents house before leaving for the church, giving himself a fine fat lip and swollen noggin! And wasn't that I slight limp I sensed as we walked away from the alter? Yes, I think it was!

Hence the loss of memory, and the wedding album full of pictures of him looking and feeling his very finest.

Congratulations on Member of the Month, honey!

:rofl:
:lol: Oh man, I think I picked the wrong half to make M.O.M. :lol:

Maryellen, you're a lucky (and very forgiving) woman! ;)

M
 

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fka fatbrat40
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Re: Congratulations to Apexbasher: January's Member of the Month

Matt that is way cool info about you thanks for sharing and congrats on being the member of the month
thanks for serving out country
 

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2,797 Posts
Re: Congratulations to Apexbasher: January's Member of the Month

Thank You all! This was fun for me. And what an honor as well. This website has, what now, 25,000 members(?), and somehow I am the Member of the Month for January. It's like I hit the lottery. I am so stoked.

I hope everybody has a better understanding of what makes me tick. I'm just a guy, really.

Oh, and don't pay attention to ANYTHING my wife says about me. She has a heart of ice and, OBVIOUSLY, a hazy memory to boot. I'd also like to point out that she did NOT deny my "Spice Girls" comment.

:flamed:

Ooooo, the truth hurts, don't it, honey?:rofl:
 

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Emeritus Moderator
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Re: Congratulations to Apexbasher: January's Member of the Month

Congrats Matt :cheers:

Mike
 

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Re: Congratulations to Apexbasher: January's Member of the Month

Oh, and don't pay attention to ANYTHING my wife says about me. She has a heart of ice and, OBVIOUSLY, a hazy memory to boot. I'd also like to point out that she did NOT deny my "Spice Girls" comment.

:flamed:

Ooooo, the truth hurts, don't it, honey?:rofl:
:rofl: Oh Matt. We all know that's YOUR CD.

Just wait til you return from the Sandbox. :up_to_something:
We'll have her modding out the FJ like nobody's business!!

M
 

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Re: Congratulations to Apexbasher: January's Member of the Month

Congratulations, Matt. I once worked in Range Ops for the big E; the reservation is almost as big as Rhode Island with a water range that butts up against Tampa's. Big-big.
 
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