Trail Closures are wreaking havoc on four-wheelers nationwide, but you don't need to just sit idle while misinformed miscreants try to shut down our public lands. You should write letters to government officials, support trail organizations, and get out and wheel while you still can.
In the Southeast a group of guys who used to frequent the Tellico four-wheeling area were in a bind when Tellico was shut down due to the influence of local fishermen (that's another story), so they contacted a landowner near their hometown and devised a plan. The landowner was having difficulty selling property on a particularly rough area of terrain. Rather than let it sit idle, the group of off-roaders offered to lease the land from him for a few years. This secured them a place to go romping, and the landowner could actually make some return on his investment in this dismal real estate market. The group of renters all pitched in a certain amount, were given keys to the property, and in return agreed to keep an eye on the land.
We can't reveal where this property is, but that's not really the point. We want you do the same in your hometown! It takes some time, insurance, and a bit of change, but divide that up amongst 10 or 15 friends and it's not too bad. The best part is that you have a secure place to wheel and can enjoy your favorite past time hassle-free.
If it looks familiar it's because this TJ was on our 2009 Ultimate Adventure with Chris Durham behind the wheel. The new owner, Patrick Cox, decided that this Durham Motorsports-built Jeep could outperform his old Land Rover and had to have it. After this photo we can only imagine how bad it must have been in his old Rover!
The secret wheeling spot has plenty of good rockcrawling and obstacles tough enough to send some rigs over on their lids and others home on the end of a tow strap. Duane Hall's 4.0L YJ put on a good show but was one of those unlucky few that got towed home.
The 300 acres of property that the guys rented has everything from rocks and mud to steep loose hillclimbs. Jason McConnell's '88 YJ has a wheelbase stretched 10 inches, a healthy 360 V-8 under the hood, and Detroit locked 60s front and rear.
Straddling big V-notches is a fun challenge when an inch left or right will drop you in the notch, and Chris Durham shows us how in his new LO-LITL Jeep. Outfitted with a supercharged four-cylinder from an SRT4 Dodge Neon, lightweight Ford 9-inch axles, no suspension lift, and 37-inch Goodyears, this Jeep exemplifies "light is might."
If anyone ever tells you that you can't have fun in a budget-built beater truck, you just laugh in his face. While most of the crew were driving some very well built vehicles, Jay Howard wasn't scared of the skinny pedal in his '84 Toyota. He has a 4.3L Chevy V-6 under the hood, a 700R4 auto behind that, and then it's pretty much stock. The rear diff is welded, and a coilover front suspension is homebuilt. Howard recommends ignoring any strange noises and just having fun.
Brad Styles was in one of the many Jeep YJs playing in the dirt that day. His jeep is built dirt simple with a 4.0L straight six, a 904 automatic, and a Dana 300 transfer case. The tried-and-true 60 and 14-bolt axles are stuffed with Detroits and 4.56 gears and slung under leaf springs. Krawler tires do rubber duty wrapped around 17-inch Hummer H2 wheels.
Kevin "Moose" Nalley brought out his LS1-powered Jeep to play in the rain and rocks. The silver Jeep Scrambler sits on a rectangular tube chassis with leaf springs all around, front and rear Dana 60s, and BFG Krawler tires. Moose built the Jeep over a year's worth of Wednesday nights at his auto shop.
Corby Philips, Warn's eastern regional sales manager, was out just trying to find a reason to get stuck and show off his winches. Unfortunately for him, his well-built Jeep Unlimited took a beating and didn't require any winching all day.
Clemson 4-Wheel Center had just delivered this newly built '05 Jeep Unlimited to David Evans, so our day in the hills was its maiden voyage. We all held our breath as the new owner lined up at a particularly rough obstacle that had been sending drivers back down the hill with busted parts. You can only imagine the smile on Evans' face when his freshly finished Jeep shot right up in one try.