At first it sounded a bit hokey. I mean really, I have a local club I wheel with. I’ve got friends with Jeeps (and Toyotas – Gerone). so why drive across the state to go offroading? Go to one, you’ll discover the answer – ACCESS.
Sure you can go to your local off-road park, friend’s deer-lease, or unincorporated county field with a creek bed. But who besides an organized, national sponsor can get you into Palo-freakin-Duro canyon. It’s the second largest crack in the Earth’s crust in the continental US. It’s amazing. The first 9-minute ride down the tiny little trail 1,000 feet to the canyon floor leaves you with white knukles and a cramping break pedal calf. Then you realize as you look back over your shoulder that one slip, miscalculation, would have sent you (and possibly another Jeep) hurdling off a cliff to certain death. You don’t get that in your backyard.
I’ve taken some time to pull the photos I have available together, and without much thought to rhyme or reason I’ll be throwing them up here in some kind of photo gallery (scaled down to save my upload space of course). It may take me another couple weeks to caption them all, If I can remember what what was going on at that moment while I was trying not to slip off the edge of the trail into another footnote on the disclaimer.
The best part – the ZombieWRANGLER handled it like a champ. To all you nay-sayers bashing the 2.5L 4-cyl Jeep with stock open Dana 30/35 axles and 31″ tires, well Nanny-Nanny-Boo-Boo. I wasn’t in the green easy group. I tackled places where JK’s with thousands of $$ in hardware got hung up. My one incident of needing help – sandy hill with ruts that exceeded my ground clearance. AND – I eventually made it (after getting pulled back down the hill). There is a photo of it somewhere in here, my fat ass is leaning out the door that I couldn’t open all the way because the rut was too deep. But a second run with the hammer down (and the license-plate holding drop hitch on the front bumper that acted like a plow removed) and I cleared it. Nothing else slowed me down. Hills, river crossings, boulders, the 9-minute climb in 4-Lo back up the canyon wall (Twice), not even the porcupine that tried to attack us was a match for the ZombieWRANGLER. We passed the broken-down husks of super modified Jeeps. Vapor locked, axles broken, running boards ripped from the chassis, and still I plodded on at 7 MPH. Like the tortoise.
I’m looking forward to another Jeep Jamboree now. I’d have liked to have had the A/C fixed to make the 6+ hour commute more comfortable. I’d have liked to have pulled a trailer that I could have left locked up at the hotel to save from carrying the doors, and all the gear up from a topless, unsecured Jeep each night. I’d like to lose 50 lbs so I don’t struggle so much to get in and out of the Jeep. I also would rather have not gotten a ticked in Hall County for doing 83 in a 75 zone while passing a slow-ass-semi, but that’s another accomplishment I can flaunt to all those 4-banger-bashers – for the record that was back seat out – fully loaded with an extra set of half doors and all our junk for a 4-day trip – 83MPH, and I wasn’t even to the floor yet. O, and I’d have really liked to not have gotten stuck for an hour on US287 on the way home because of a grass fire alongside the highway, but stuff happens. Enjoy the pictures. And a special hello to all the great folks I met on the trail and at the awesome meals prepared for us at the Figure 3 – Cowboy Morning ranch.