Category Archives: Pix & Vids

Snow Wheelin’

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Let it be known that I love snow. A fresh snowfall makes even the most drab locations look amazing! Luckily for me, my local off-road park got dumped on the week leading up to this last wheeling trip. With wind chill at a balmy 4 degrees below zero, we set out to break ground on the fresh snow.

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Wheeling anything but green trails quickly proved futile, as you can see below. I was the first to break out the winch to pull myself back up this short hill climb. There was simply no room to get a running start at the bottom of the hill and once on the incline, there was no traction to be had. Little did I know that was just the start of our winching for the day. Everyone’s (mine included) winches got quite the workout today.

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I won’t bore you with hours of trail details and winching, but needless to say it was an amazing day of wheeling and recovery. Only one trail break (an LJ sheared off a good chunk of their front U-joint) makes for a killer day in the woods.

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Day Trip!

It’s been a quiet few months with regards to mods or doing much of anything Jeep related so getting out for even a little day trip this past weekend was very welcome!  The terrain wasn’t very challenging, but the cool temps and long mountain views were well worth the trip.

Mountain

Muddy

No more for me, I’m stuffed!

As a result of this run, I realized that it might be time to upgrade to a 3/4 stubby bumper to give my tires a little more space.  So much so that I’ll even go all Chandler Bing on you… Could my tire BE any more stuffed?  The limiting factors currently are the gussets on the inside of the bumper b/c I think I’ve got a little more uptravel left to give.  Regardless, this is one fun pic and this trail was an absolute blast!

Stuffed

Red Cloud Off Road

My buddies and I made a day trip out to the new Red Cloud Off Road park just south of DC to see if there was enough terrain to make a weekend out of it and do a little general recon.  What we found was a great little park with super nice folks, but unfortunately, not a lot of land for the kind of trails that we are used to at bigger parks like Rausch Creek.  There’s deff a very cool winding creek to drive up (my favorite). The down side to a small park is that just about every turn is a TIGHT A$$ turn. There was one trail that we went on that was nothing but a long tree slalom where even two door Wranglers were doing more than their share of 3 point turns.  My quick take is for a YJ/CJ/TJ there could be some fun navigation since they all have such tight turning circles, but for anything longer this park is a bit snug.

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Car Camping

JK+Rack+CoolersTo put it mildly, Jeeps and the great outdoors go hand in hand.  So it should come as no surprise that I spent last weekend in the mountains doing a little camping, hiking, and Jeeping.  I had everything packed & stacked in the garage ready to go until I got a message from a buddy asking me if I had space for two more.  “Ummmm… yes?”

Actually, I didn’t but where there’s a will there’s a way.  And the way to make it happen on a budget is to pick up this hitch rack from Harbor Freight.  If you had a coupon on the 4th of July Weekend, you could have snagged it for the seriously bargain price of only $52.50!  The rack itself is pretty  solid, and incredibly simple to assemble.  Four large bolts & 4 smalls bolts (don’t over tighten!) is all it takes.  If you have an over sized spare sticking out a little bit like I do, you should also consider investing in a hitch extender.  With out it, my coolers would have had to fit under my spare tire which (as you can see in the pic) just ain’t happening.  The down side is pushing out the rack further is going to add a little play in the hitch, so make sure you have some ratchet straps to tighten things down.

All loaded up, I headed into the mountains and very quickly learned the difference between scooting around town with an empty Jeep and climbing long 5-9% grades with a Jeep full of people, gear, food, beverages, ice & coolers.  With that kind of weight on board, heavier 35″ tires, and hills my 4.10 gears were simply not enough to keep speeds with out flogging the 3.6L Pentastar.  So instead of giving it a thrashing, I worked the gears the best I could and ended up in the slow lane up most of those grades.

JK+Rack+RiverNear camp, I had some fun in the river, but didn’t stay long as the water level was a bit low and the river bed was made up of small slippery rocks.  It’s a good thing I didn’t play too long in the river because as it turns out someone called Fish & Wild Life to complain about a Jeep in the water!  Seriously?  I was in there for 5 effing minutes with the land owners permission.  Sheesh.  I know there are some great trails around, but the lack of a wheelin’ buddy and any knowledge about the area kept me close to camp for a nice laid back weekend.

After spending several days with a heavy load of people and their stuff, new gears and big brake kits have just climbed to the very top of my to-do list. Since I enjoy the mountains and I like bringing folks with me, the Jeep can’t keep breathing this hard at every hill.  For better or worse, new gears are coming.