Right around the time that this issue hits the newsstand, we'll be saddling up our rides and getting ready to head out to Moab, Utah, for a week at the annual Easter Jeep Safari. It's still a near-mandatory event for us, but the current state of the economy has left us wondering what attendance will be like this year. Moab typically attracts wheelers from across the country, some of whom travel hundreds of miles to spend a week or more sampling Moab's smorgasbord of slickrock. But trips like Moab can be expensive (even if you camp instead of renting a hotel room), and the farther you have to travel, the more costly it can get. Come to think of it, building a rig for wheeling can be an expensive hobby in itself, what with the cost of wheels and tires, suspension kits, and lockers typically running into the thousands of dollars. And, oh yeah, let's not forget fuel, either.
So in a related vein, we'd like to know: Are you wheeling as often as you used to these days, or a bit less often now? Have you postponed any purchases of parts (tires, wheels, lift kits, etc.), or are you still investing in your rig as much as usual?
For those of you who typically take some time away from work each year to attend a big event such as Easter Jeep Safari, All-4-Fun Week, or Jeepers Jamboree, will you still be going, or saving a little money and staying closer to home this year?
Drop us a line and let us know your personal tales and tips for surviving the recession. For ourselves, we'll be economizing a bit this year, but we'll be at Moab all the same-and thankfully, we've got a small army of capable contributors around the country who'll pitch in over the coming months to help keep us in touch with the coolest events, races, and trail rides across the U.S.
One thing you'll surely be seeing more of in the coming months in these pages: the "driveway upgrades" that are the subject of this month's magazine. What you won't be seeing as much are some of the high-dollar "dream" rigs that we've built up in past issues. This month, for instance, we begin a new project series: "Long-Range Clunker," featuring a high-mileage Dodge pickup that one of our staffers acquired recently for the princely sum of $500 and which he intends to turn into a solid work-and-tow rig without breaking the bank. Similarly, we're also showcasing a dozen basic installs that the average wheeler can do himself, in his own garage, in a matter of hours, and on a reasonable budget. And this month's cover rig, while sporting a number of very cool mods under its sparkling Toyota sheetmetal, is a fine example of a reader-built trail machine that was assembled largely from junkyard parts.
Back to the subject of big wheeling events, however; one in particular that has literally come out of nowhere in the last couple of years to become a must-see for those of us in the Southwest is King of The Hammers, the nonpareil desert run/rockcrawl competition at Johnson Valley, California. We're planning to be there in a big way this year-competing as well as clicking our cameras-and we'll have lots of coverage in next month's issue.