Carl Shirts sent in this pic of his Jeep Cherokee stuck in a water hole near his home in Burlington, Iowa. Carl, who'd only purchased the XJ three days earlier, had wheeled through the same obstacle the previous day with no problems, so gathering his camera to capture some images, he headed back to the same spot, and ... soon it was time to call his brother for a retrieval using his GMC truck. The pickup got stuck as well, so a wrecker was dispatched to the scene, and an hour and a half and $107 later, Carl's ride was freed again. "If anyone ever asks, 'How much trouble can you get in a stock Jeep?' just show them my pics," Carl says. We're happy to oblige.
From Camp Fallujah, International Police Advisor Jason Havlik tells it all: "While on a night mission in Saqlawiyah, Iraq, our driver got a little too far to the right on a narrow road and put our HMMWV into a deep ditch. Being a civilian-and therefore technically not allowed to drive the vehicle-I pleaded with the sergeant to allow me to do so and guaranteed him that my off-road experience would be of value. Two busted tow straps later (due to them not being rated for the weight of an armored HMMWV), I was not quite ready to call it quits. Two hours later, with the help of a front-end loader, I safely got the vehicle out to the happy applause of the Army team who didn't want to have to call on the Marines to come to their rescue, and we continued on with our mission."
Admittedly "green" to four-wheeling at the time this photo was taken, Ryan Carpenter learned quickly what happens when your Chevy truck loses its power-steering belt during a deer-hunting trip in Hancock, Vermont: "I soon realized the 38.5-inch tires don't steer very well without power steering," resulting in a collision with a log that snapped both driver-side ball joints and "bent my axleshafts all to hell." With nightfall setting in, Ryan and buddies had to abandon the rig, hiking two miles in the snow to catch a ride home before returning the next day to affect repairs. With the aid of a winch from a friend's CJ, Ryan's truck was soon freed and home safely. He sums up his experience for other newbies out there: "Lesson learned: Examining the path you travel is worth a lot more than the cost of replacing parts."
Amy Parise of Worcester, Massachusetts, sent us this photo of an unidentified wheeler (at an unidentified location) proving that "XJs do not make good boats. He made it to the middle of the water before he got stuck so people had to swim out to him to hook him up to the winch line. Thank goodness for the winch or he would have still been there."
It took three hours and a Ford Super Duty to extract Josiah Jackson's Wrangler from this stuck, hence the nighttime photo. Josiah was en route to a Virginia mud pit (or maybe already in it?) when his rear end sank in the muck to the bumpers. During the recovery, the Jeep's exhaust pipe broke in two places, and before he could fix it, the "friendly police in Virginia Beach" handed him a $60 citation. "Needless to say," Josiah says, "I won't be going back to that spot."