More From Gopher Dunes
Last month we told you about the many cheap wheeling ideas we saw at the Gopher Dunes mud bog ("The Budget-Built Truck"), but we felt that there was more excitement from that event that didn't get mentioned, so here is even more mud-bogging mania.
The Gopher Dunes is a 200-acre off-road park just a few hours northeast of Detroit and a few hours west of Buffalo, New York, near Woodstock, Ontario, Canada. Started as a motocross facility, the park soon began hosting mud bog events, and the weekend we attended there were nearly 400 trucks and 4x4s getting dirty at the 10th annual Fall 4x4 Mud Fest. Along with the wheelers were about 1,600 spectators, and one happy couple even got married in the mud. If you're looking for some dirty fun and your 4x4 resides anywhere close to Lake Erie, then check out www.gopherdunes.com for the schedule of '09 mud fests.
Tammy and Nick Zavitz from St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada, tied the knot in their respective tow straps deep in the middle of the main Gopher Dunes mud pit. The bride was dressed in white, with knee-high rubber boots, while the groom and his men were decked out in tuxedo T-shirts and camo ball caps. There wasn't a dry eye in the place when the minister pronounced them man and wife and a trio of quad riders pulled up in front of the Trans Am on a truck chassis and sprayed the newlyweds with mud rather than rice.
Why is it that when you take your '88-'98 Chevy truck out in the rocks the IFS explodes, but they seem content to wheel all day long in the mud? This era truck is a great starting point for a mud truck-they're dirt cheap, come with a fuel-injected V-8 (though not the most powerful V-8s, and are pretty reliable), and if you get tired of replacing steering rod ends and IFS bits, there are numerous kits out there to solid-axle them.
We started talking to this guy while we were in line at the concession stand getting another cheeseburger. He had some story about some wicked race motor in his truck. it all sounded a little far-fetched since most of the wheelers at the mud hole were closer to rotten than racer. But when we saw Drew Outhouse yes, that's his name) hit the hole in his rowdy 3/4-ton, we were mighty impressed. Outhouse had done some really neat upgrades, like ditching the alternator for two big semi batteries in the bed. He says the alternator sapped too much power. He also has stripped the bed to just the sheetmetal sides and framerails, made the whole front body flip forward to clear the tires, and somehow can keep the front iFs and rear semifloating 14-bolt alive with less weight.