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Wheeling Chokecherry Canyon

Posted in Events on June 1, 2010 Comment (0)
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Wheeling Chokecherry Canyon

Let's set the scene: It was a Saturday in New Mexico in August, smack in the middle of a heat wave that featured daily temperatures around 100 degrees. Let's go wheeling out in the desert! On the face of it, going wheeling at 5,600 feet of elevation under a bright sun in the northern mountains of New Mexico doesn't sound like a good idea. But if you are like us, and within miles of a famous wheeling spot, you wouldn't sit around on your duff either. You'd get some Jeeps together, lock it in 4-Low, and go.

Those were the circumstances that took us out to Chokecherry Canyon on this bright summer day. We had heard everything from "It is just like Las Cruces, New Mexico," to "Well, it has slickrock just like Moab, Utah." The reality of it is somewhere in the middle. The rocks do offer great traction and there are some great climbs, but it really is its own kind of place. We ran Lower Rim and RJ's Trail and had a blast. If you ever find yourself in the northwest corner of New Mexico, you should check it out.

A "blast from the past" is the best way to describe Dewey Gent's '93 Wrangler. He has been wheeling this Jeep in this basic configuration for over a decade now, and we really dug the well-done decade-old swapped-in parts. Under the hood is a '97 5.7L Chevy V-8, still bolted to the 4L60E transmission that was mated to it originally. An NP241 was used out of a '93 Chevy to send power out to the 1995-vintage Currie 9-inch axles with 4.88 gears and ARB Air Lockers. A home-built coil conversion provides enough room to run a set of 35x12.50R15 BFG MTs on 15x12 inch wheels. Old-school tubular nerf bars have done their share of protecting the rockers with similar vintage front and rear 2x4-inch square tube bumpers protecting the front and rear.
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