Adversity builds character, so goes the old saw. If that's the case, then Four Wheeler readers are a pretty unimpeachable group-at least, if the snafus and stucks shown on these pages are any indication of the adversity you suffer. A few months back, we asked you for your best (or worst) stuck photos, and you responded with plenty of pics and anguished laments-and yeah, a few chuckles, too.
Now for the payoff: everyone who sent in a photo featured here will receive a complimentary box of exclusive FW swag, and one lucky Grand Prize winner takes home (OK, we're mailing it to him) gift certificates worth $2,000 from 4-Wheel Parts Wholesalers. Thanks to all who sent in your entries this time, and for those of you who'd like to enter our latest contest, check out page 48 for all the details.
It didn't happen on a trail-but you know this had to be ugly anyway, and Dave Manning confirms it. Dave was driving home from the grocery store on I-15 near his home in North Salt Lake, Utah, when a vehicle swerved suddenly in front of him. Trying to avoid a collision at 65 mph, he lost control and rolled his Jeep three times-across the highway, off the shoulder, and nearly into the path of an oncoming freight train before ending up in a drainage ditch, a few feet shy of the tracks. The Jeep was totaled, but thankfully Dave was able to walk away from the wreck unscathed: "I was wearing my seatbelt and received only a few cuts and bruises." For surviving a near-death experience-and reminding us again that safety really does come first-we're happy to award Dave our $2,000 shopping spree from 4-Wheel Parts. Happy shopping, Dave. You've earned it.
Here's a Worst Stuck from 1968, sent by Craig Philpott of Angwin, California. Craig's dad Edward (seen in the white T-shirt) ran a road grader in Farmington, New Mexico, back then, and he was routinely sent to retrieve stuck vehicles from Chaco Wash during the rainy season. Here, a Navajo farmer's pickup truck got bogged down in the wash, where rainwater and silty soil combine to form a type of quicksand. In this case, however, Ed's recovery attempt failed, and the patient ... well, it sat for a week. Craig explains: "By the time [the floodwaters receded], there was only a tiny corner of the vehicle's roof showing from the wash bottom. The pickup was dug out completely by hand."
After a day spent wheeling at Silver Lake in Michigan, Doug Wine was running some donuts on the flat top of a steep dune. He got a little too close to the lip of the dune, got sideways and slid down a steep sand embankment before ending up solidly wedged between two trees. Doug explains the rescue: "After about a half hour of digging and listening to spectators' comments like, 'What a moron', and 'What kind of idiot would do something like that?', a fellow duner came along and winched my rear end around enough that I could get myself out." With only $900 in damage to the rear quarter panels, Doug considers himself a lucky man indeed.
Goleta, California, resident Kristofer Troeger enjoys wheeling at the Pismo Dunes, and he sent along this photo of his '72 Bronco on the receiving end of a "sand bath" administered by a buddy's Jeep. "All day I was roosting him whenever he got stuck," Kris explains, "and then I got myself stuck while sidehilling a dune. As soon as I saw him backing up to the edge of the dune, I ran out of my Bronco, leaving my then-girlfriend in the passenger seat to get the full brunt of the blast!" Kris soon got unstuck, courtesy of a tow strap, and drove away under his own power. And the girlfriend? Well shucks, lets hear it for confirmed bachelorhood.
Andrew Turner relates a tale of true perseverance-a muddy mess that took two months to solve. It all started when Andrew and his brother decided to build a trail on their father's property in Jewett, Ohio. One spot on the trail, fed by an underground stream, was muddy, "but nothing our open-diff trucks couldn't handle." Andrew's Bronco was the first victim, and with no tractor access or room for another vehicle to make a clean pull, they resorted to hand-winching. No luck, however, and running out of time, the brothers abandoned the Bronco for a month. When they returned, they took turns getting each other's trucks stuck, then unstuck, then getting Andrew's truck stuck again. Another month later, Andrew was able to jack up his truck with a Hi-Lift to a point where he could be safely pulled out, waterlogged diffs and all. "I think I'll wait for a powered winch before I try it again," he reflects.