Some days you’re trying new things, others you stop to enjoy the view, and thenthere are the days you stumble on the trail and your biggest accomplishment is just picking yourself up and continuing on...
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At RC Field Days, we’re all about getting outside and having fun. We’ve met a lot of great folks over the last year and spent more hours than we can count laughing and cheering others on along the trail. So as we approach our first anniversary, we wanted to plan something special.
We figured, what better way to celebrate a year of RC shenanigans, than to encourage a day filled with them? With this in mind, we created an event designed to be fun and highlight some of our courses with a few curve balls thrown in. Can you tell we’re pretty excited about our first-ever Anniversary Competition?
Here’s the deal, we don’t want this to be your average RC competition. Sure, there will be challenges that will test your rig and your ability as a driver, but this event is also focused on what we love about RCs… the sense of community and enjoying your time outdoors.
While we won’t be giving all the secrets away before the event, I can share a few…
Plan on three diverse courses. No rig will be perfectly set up for all three, helping to level the playing field a bit and spread some of the prize money out. We will announce the best overall for the day, but each course will also have a payout for first and second place in each class.
Come ready to cheer along. We love watching people stick a line or make a climb that we’ve struggled with. With this in mind, the courses will have spectating areas – they will not be closed.
We encourage families to get involved in the hobby. We created a special youth competition for this reason. The youth competition will utilize two short courses not involved in the main competition. Expect to see some kids enjoying themselves, whether running an RC on a course near the competition, jumping on the trampoline, or hanging around the rope swing.
Consider this your official invite. Get your crawler ready and join us to help celebrate a year of fun at the farmstead.
Ready to pre-register and lock in your spot?
Anniversary Competition Pre-Registration
Take advantage of the pre-registration special. $15 per driver-rig combination. Registration will be $20 the day of the event.
Tennessee is full great places to run RCs. Whether you are into racing, bashing, crawling, or scale trail drives, there are plenty of options around. We are often asked about good places to take RCs out, especially during the week and for those who are just getting into the hobby. Whether you are new to RCs or are just looking for new places to go, check out some local favorites below.
Note: This list was compiled from our own experience and those of regular visitors to RC Field Days.
* Burgess Falls, Sparta, TN – short hike with multiple waterfalls. Take the stairs down to the top of the big falls at the end for flat rock creek and water crawling. There is a short side hike with bluff overlooks and additional trails behind the playground area.
* Cedars of Lebanon State Park, Lebanon, TN – check out the trails behind the nature center and the creek bed in between the camp grounds and playground.
Chickasaw Trace Park, Columbia, TN – this park has both a radio control flight field and a well designed radio control car track.
* Jim Warren Park, Franklin, TN – popular youth sports fields, but you can also find trails and boulders.
Music City RC, Nashville, TN – Nashville’s only indoor RC track, located within Music City Indoor Karting around back.
* Narrows of the Harpeth, Kingston Springs, TN – There are three hiking trails that start near the park entrance. The bluff overlook trail includes a steep ascent to a narrow bluff offering hikers a panoramic view of the Harpeth Valley. A half-mile trail along the backside of the limestone bluff leads to a small waterfall and the site of one of the oldest man-made tunnels in existence today.
* Old Hickory Dam – the dam is popular, but there are also small rocky areas at many of the boat access sites and public recreation areas like Rockland Recreation Area, Sanders Ferry Park, Shutes Branch Recreation Area, Lock 4 Park at the mouth of East Station Camp Creek, and Little Cedar Creek Recreation Area.
* Percy Priest Lake Trails – While you can crawl around the lakeshore and by the dam, it’s also worth checking out Hamilton Creek Recreation Area and the Twin Forks Horse Trail that runs along the shoreline from Walter Hill Dam to Nice’s Mill Recreation Area.
RC Field Days, Smyrna, TN – Outdoor RC courses with a mix of natural surface, rock trails, and man-made obstacles. Crawling and bashing areas. Open the first full weekend of the month plus special events.
* Rock Island State Park, Sparta, TN – this heavily visited State Park has plenty of rock features and waterfalls. Best visited in the off season to avoid crowds.
RRW Krawlzone, Sevierville, TN – while not in our greater Middle Tennessee area, this one is worth checking out when visiting East Tennessee! They are open Wednesday through Sunday plus special events.
* Winding Stairs Park, Lafayette, TN – plan on elevation changes and stairs on the way back to the vertical cascades.
*Our state and local parks are easily accessible and do not charge for entry, but they are not designed as an RC park. While RCs are generally tolerated at state and local parks, be responsible and respectful.
Be aware of flying discs in disc golf areas and be prepared to yield to mountain bikers, equestrians, and others on trails. Minimize damage to plant growth, especially after heavy rains.
When visiting State Parks, policy generally allows for the use of portable electric, and other, engines in developed and public use areasas long asnatural resources are not impaired and that no undue interference with public enjoyment of the park area will result.
Some parks, especially during their busiest seasons, lump RCs in with skateboards, segways, scooters, and “like recreational equipment.” These items are prohibited except in locations designated by the Park Manager by the posting of appropriate signs.
As we approach the end of 2021, we can’t help but look back on the year. And what a year it has been! New Years Day 2021 we had the crazy idea to open RC Field Days on our farmstead in Smyrna, Tennessee. Not knowing what the reception would be (or if people would enjoy the same trails and challenges that we did) we spent our weekends clearing roots, trimming branches, and moving rocks.
We launched in February 2021 with just four courses and have continually opened new areas and added obstacles throughout the year. As we wrap up 2021, we now have a dozen different areas to explore:
Property Line Trail (full 1/2 mile loop coming Spring 2022)
1/24 Scale Trail
Route 21 Rocks
New Work Area (official name coming soon)
We’ve hosted holiday-themed special events, scavenger hunts, and had a blast with our RocktoberFest Night Crawl and Bonfire. Best of all, we’ve met some really awesome folks in the local community.
If you haven’t been out yet, we invite you join us at RC Field Days in 2022! We are taking New Year’s weekend off to spend time with our family, but if January presents us with a fairly nice weekend, we’ll open for those who don’t mind some cold weather crawling. We will reopen for our normal first full weekend of the month Open Crawl schedule in February.
Ready for the big news? We’ve been asked a few times about hosting competitions. While it just wasn’t in the cards for this year, we’re planning an RC Field Days Anniversary Competition in February to celebrate a year of fun at the Farmstead. We’ll be sharing all the details soon, but plan on a couple of classes and three courses for the day (the Rock Wall, the Boneyard, and one set in our newest area). Each course will be timed individually with set penalties if you need assistance to flip back over during your run. Prizes will be awarded for the lowest time on each course and a grand prize for the lowest combined time of the day in each division.
Bounty Hill is definitely a local favorite. But if you’ve read some of our blog posts, you may remember that when we started creating RC Field Days it was all about the rocks.
You see, we started with a Losi Nightcrawler. With surprising suspension travel and stability, they’re a ton of fun on the rocks. It only made sense to create trails that would play to those strengths and challenge us as drivers.
But as we began to build on the idea of a family-friendly RC park for our local community, we had to think about more variety. We saw the popularity of bashers at our local hobby shop and saw the excitement around the new Axial Ryft. So when we received a special request to create a hill climb for rock bouncers, we jumped at the opportunity. Who doesn’t love a hill climb?
The real challenge was how to create it. Topsoil is a premium on our cedar glade property and creating a hill large enough to be fun was going to take a lot of material.
In the end, we mixed some large boulders and old tires into the base of the hill to help provide some bulk and support. We knew erosion would change the dynamics of the hill with use, but pulling the top layer of soil off and exposing rock or rubber would only add to the challenge.
The Many Faces of Bounty Hill
There are multiple approaches to Bounty Hill. The “front face” is what you see first when you walk up from the check in area. It faces east and has some gnarly lines.
Not quite ready to start there? Try the north side (the side facing the rope swing) – while loose, it’s not as tall as the front face.
Have a scale truck or rock crawler that may not have as much speed? Follow the top line of the Rock Wall Challenge. You will approach Bounty Hill from the south for the shortest path to the top. Once you’ve conquered that, try the back (west side) of the hill. The back face has some large exposed rocks mid-way up the climb that really help traction.
While the original request had come from the perspective of rock bouncers, Bounty Hill has proven to be a welcome challenge for a wide variety of rigs. We’ve sent our ARRMA Granite up the front face alongside a Traxxas Slash on more than one occasion and watched a Redcat Shredder launch off the top earlier this month.
Bounty Hill is one of those obstacles that’s constantly evolving. Rigs dig holes, the rain washes loose dirt, and on occasion we add a new scoop or two of fill over the top. Rock crawlers, rock racers, bashers, short course trucks, monster trucks, stock vehicles, competition rigs, and everything in-between are welcome.
Looking for an extra challenge? Just add water. We’re happy to wet Bounty Hill by request, but be forewarned – it’s a whole different animal.
We want to see the local RC community grow… and more importantly, for folks to come out and have a good time. Have a special request? Something you’d like to see? Let’s chat the next time you’re out. We’re always open to new ideas!
RC Field Days started out of a family hobby discovered during the 2020 quarantine, but it has become so much more. Our Open Crawl weekends are something we look forward to – a chance to connect with friends, appreciate the outdoors, and meet new folks who enjoy challenging themselves.
We opened for our first Open Crawl in February 2021 with the goal of creating a unique outdoor recreation spot. We love where we live and wanted to share a small piece of that with others while providing a place where families like ours would feel welcome and encouraged to grow their skills in the RC world.
In the six months since then, RC Field Days has helped celebrate holidays, birthdays, and even had the privilege of being part of a honeymoon. We’ve welcomed families, lone rangers, crawling groups, those brand new to the sport and competition rigs. (And while I love seeing the diversity of crawlers, it’s the people that make RC Field Days great.)
No matter the time of year, we like to find ways to get outside and have fun. On frigid February weekends, we have the bonfire going to warm up between trails. In the heat of the summer we spend more time on our wooded courses, enjoying the shade and cooler temperatures. Around here running RCs is an adventure for all seasons.
Every Open Crawl is different. It’s not just because we’re always moving rocks and making new lines – there’s a social aspect to the weekend. There’s room to roam, but the opportunity to run with others if you choose. And more often than not, if you’re running the Route 21 Rocks, the Rock Wall Challenge, or Bounty Hill, someone will meander over to watch, run with you, or celebrate when you stick a tough line.
RC Field Days is still an extension of our hobby. We are open the first full weekend of each month and the occasional special event. The limited schedule allows our family to preserve time to work on Farmstead projects, visit extended family, and take the occasional trip. Whether you live just down the road or travel across state lines to try new trails, we truly appreciate every person who comes out, shares part of their story, and enjoys some time exploring the courses at our Farmstead… if you haven’t made a trip out yet, we look forward to seeing you soon!
Have you heard the saying that you can’t pour from an empty cup? Well, this weekend I was able to refill my cup a little. I carved out time to indulge in a conference that fuels my passions. The weather turned out perfect, despite the sunburn on my neck reminding me today that a wide-brimmed hat would have been advisable…. (Anyone else get their first burn of the year this past weekend?)
I don’t think it’s a secret, but being more sustainable on our farmstead is one of those topics that really resonates with me. I’m a huge proponent of encouraging families to reconnect with the natural world around them. To learn more about the unique environments in which they live, embrace the diversity of native plant and animal life, and reconnect with the food they use to nourish and enrich their lives.
A good friend invited me, so there was the added bonus of spending time together and sharing ideas, hopes, goals for our own farmsteads. It was one of those events where you can’t help but be present and fully engrossed. I left feeling revitalized, with a renewed dedication to goals I had put on hold as life has gotten in the way lately.
I want to share something, though, that has been weighing on me lately.Consider it a confession, of sorts.
A speaker Saturday asked how many people there “live in the country.” I raised my hand, thinking about the fresh asparagus, radishes, and sugar snap peas I relish every spring from our early gardens and envisioned summer evenings on our front porch, listening to the sounds of our farmstead after the work of the day is done. I added notes to my mental to-do list about how we need to get the tractor out and blade the hill on our gravel drive again after the last heavy rain, how the pond levee is still leaking, and that we need to start processing some of our downed trees to keep our woodstove going this winter. I thought about how our livestock guardian dogs protected our goats from a bobcat earlier in the week and the wild turkeys that come in to stare at our domestic birds.
But then I looked over at my friend, who has a very similar property. Her eyebrows went up, almost questioning… or was I just imaging that? In that moment, I remembered that technically our farm is squarely set in a rapidly growing suburban area. Based on address alone, you would never consider us living in the country.
And this is where my conundrum lies. Does “country” have to mean rural? Let’s talk about the dichotomy.
While my husband and I both grew up in much more rural areas (his hometown had a population of 114 in the last census), we are far from rural these days. We have five feed stores and dozens of grocery options within a 30-ish minute drive. I’m 22 miles from the nearest international airport and have the address of a small city (home to roughly 50,000 people) on the outskirts of one of the top 25 most populated cities in the US. There is no denying the convenience – and traffic – in this area.
But that doesn’t tell the full story, does it? Our address doesn’t tell you that we raise cattle, hogs, goats, turkeys, and chickens for our family and others. Looking on a map you’d probably be surprised that we harvest deer on our property or that we dehydrate, can, freeze, and otherwise preserve hundreds of pounds of local fruits and vegetables each year.
Our zip code doesn’t clue you in that we prefer to make things from scratch… pie crusts and biscuits get made fresh, we bake our own bread, and have even started making yogurt. It doesn’t take into account that we (okay, my husband) rebuilt our 55 year old tractor in our home shop or that we like to keep traditional skills alive with our kids by doing things like making mullein stalk torches, black walnut ink, and turkey feather quills.
No where does it share that we forage wild plants, grow the majority of our own herbs, make our own teas, tinctures, and salves, or that our newest vehicle is a 7 year old diesel truck for hauling livestock feed and towing our trailers. It has nearly 200,000 miles on it, but that’s nothing compared to my Excursion. It has seen two decades and 487,000 miles (and climbing). As close as we are to the city, no one told the internet providers because “high speed” internet was limited to Hughes Net satellite and cell phone hot spots until 2020.
We don’t fit the common image of a suburban family. So I ask again, does “living in the country” have to mean rural?
I’m in a few groups where a concerning trend comes up a couple times a year. There seems to be a general consensus that people who live in areas that are closer to larger urban centers are somehow less country or less capable of farming and homesteading.
Thankfully, I see the fallacy in that mindset on a daily basis… not only on our own farmstead, but in so many others who are spurring the incredible resurgence and popularity of the homesteading lifestyle.
This weekend I drove through some truly rural areas. There were miles where we wouldn’t see any fields growing crops, livestock, gardens, or even any fruit-bearing trees. I’m not judging, but reminding folks that just living in a rural area doesn’t automatically mean everyone farms or homesteads.
Forget your zip code, to me living in the country is a mindset.
My husband likes to say everyone wants to be country until it’s time to do country things. Because, let’s face it, it can be a lot of work. Let’s stop shaming people because they may have an urban or suburban homestead and start celebrating the fact that they are taking more control over their local food systems. Let’s provide mentorship and support andrecognize that we can all do country things, even in areas that may not (from the outside) look like the romanticized version of a farm.
Go forth and prosper friends, whatever your zip code. And if you ever need a word of encouragement in your homesteading or farming journey, drop us a line. FarrowFamilyFarmstead@gmail.com or find us on Facebook.
Hobbies are a wonderful thing. No matter how stressful life gets or how full your calendar, they are there… patiently waiting for you to carve some time out for yourself. No need to spend time researching something new or reserving tickets and making plans for an afternoon diversion, just grab your gear and fall into that familiar rhythm.
RCs are one of those hobbies. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve talked to lately that said they’re getting back into RCs after a few year (or decade) hiatus. Sure, battery technology has come a long way over the past few decades, but one of the great things about the hobby is that whether it’s been a few weeks- or a few years- just dust your equipment off, check your batteries, and you’re ready to go.
One of my favorite parts of running an RC car is that it’s an immersive experience. Forget work, your grocery list, and all those projects waiting at home.In those moments, all that matters is the trail or rock ahead of you. Which line is best? Can I make that corner without backing up? What kind of air can I get off that jump? How much speed will you need to get over that rise? Can you manage that off-camber section without rolling? There’s something surprisingly relaxing about not worrying about anything but what you’re doing in that moment. It doesn’t hurt that the sun is usually shining and you’re surrounded by fresh air and nature.
Can I let you in on a little secret? My favorite part of our Open Crawl Weekends is seeing folks enjoy driving their rigs. Hearing kids giggle when a basher flies through the air, watching the excitement as someone finally sticks a line they’ve been trying for the last 20 minutes, the cheers when someone conquers Bounty Hill…. Those moments fill my heart with joy. I genuinely enjoy seeing people spend time outside forgetting all the worries we all carry around on a daily basis, even if it is just for a few hours at a time. And I love that the RC community is truly that- a community. It doesn’t matter if you’re running a fully customized rig or an Amazon daily deal, we’ve met some great folks who are happy to talk rigs, trails, and the adventures they’ve had with RCs.
When you’re ready to spend a few hours outside with your rig, join us the first full weekend of the month at RC Field Days. We have rentals available if you’re new to the sport and want to try out a few different styles of crawlers before you invest in your own and a variety of trails to test everyone – from novices to competition level drivers. Let’s spend some time outdoors.
At first glance, our Cedar Barrens is like many other nature trails around middle Tennessee. What you may not realize is that you’re actually enjoying a small piece of one of the rarest ecosystems in the world: the glade/barrens ecosystem.
Cedar glades are natural openings where you may see exposed bedrock, most often limestone, or areas covered by small plants and only a thin layer of soil. They can be a frustration when you’re trying to put in a fence or a garden, but we have learned to love them.
We have our own gravelly glade tucked into a wooded area on a different part of the property that we manage for wildlife. While you won’t be running RCs there, our Cedar Barrens trail takes you through one zone in the ecosystem: the barrens forest.
The barrens forest, usually a mix of red-cedar, blue ash, hackberry, elm, hickory, and Shumard and chinquapin oak, is dominated by red-cedars at the glade perimeter. Sounds familiar, huh? Take a look around the next time you’re out and find some of the tree markers we’ve added along the trail.
Right now Cedar Barrens dead ends at an area that will open later this year: the Property Line Trail. It’s more than just an access trail though. Especially for those newer to the sport, it is a great place to build some confidence on a natural surface trail and test yourself on rocks that are a bit less intimidating than the Rock Wall Challenge.
There are some surprising climbs and technical areas if you look for them. Plus, there are natural jumps hidden in plain sight!
Interested in learning more about the Glade-Barrens Ecosystem? Check out some fun facts below:
Every hobby has an origin story. Ours starts during a year most of us aren’t likely to forget…. 2020. Let’s set the stage because this isn’t your typical quarantine story.
Mid August. The days were long, but life around us was still curtailed. Enter one electric blue Losi Nightcrawler.
The pandemic shifted some of our daily routines, but life on the farmstead didn’t change much. Chores still needed to be done, the garden tended, and animals cared for. And when the weather was nice, we more than likely had the grill or smoker going. It was one of those nights when we really started looking at our rock retaining wall in a different light.
It had been built out of necessity – the rocks came from this hillside when we carved out a spot for the house. Our goats enjoyed climbing it when they grazed the area, but otherwise, we rarely thought much about it. This wasn’t the first property with a cedar glade we’ve lived on (more about that in an upcoming post), so we were used to the look of exposed rock. On this particular night though, with a new RC in hand, we realized the challenge was right here in front of us. We didn’t need to head to another park, we had a course in our backyard.
Finding the first line was the hardest part. Rocks can be deceptive and coming from full sized (1:1) rigs, we had a learning curve driving from a distance. We weren’t deterred. A few small tweaks to ease the initial approach angle and we had a short crawl that looped up from the ground, through a handful of seriously off-camber pitches, over the top of a few boulders, and back down a twisting descent.
Elation. You know the feeling – the one you got the first time you stuck a line you weren’t sure you could make. And that was it. That’s when we knew.
The Rock Wall Challenge was born.
Over the next few weeks, we move rocks and tripled the length. We kept adjusting until we had lines where we knew we could make the climb, even if it was only one out of every few tries. This was an area to hone our skills and learn our rig.
While we created a trail across the entire rock wall, we also incorporated multiple entry/exit points to add some variety. These shorter spurs include some gnarly hill climbs that really tested our ability to control our rigs.
Fast forward a few months and the idea of RC Field Days was born. We shifted more rocks to bring the total length to nearly 100 feet and got the rock hammer out to widen a few areas for rigs with full bodies. Spoiler alert: we have another expansion in the works that will add 15-20 more feet of obstacles!
Ready to challenge yourself? Come by and find your favorite line. Oh, and while you’re here, check out some of our other courses too.