Reader: I enjoyed your Death Valley articles very much ("Three Days in the Valley," Aug. and Sept. '06). In all my years there, I've never made it to Lippencott Mine Road, always for one strange reason or another. But I've been to the Racetrack many times. In fact, one cold spring morning, my friends and I were lucky enough to get some video that I think is the only existing footage in the world. If you want to see how the rocks move, check it out-it's only about a minute long: www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1hoiHvOeGc
Editor: Death Valley trail leader Sean Holman replies: Trying to give me the creeps, boss?
Reader: How is it that narrowing a vehicle helps approach and departure angles ("Narrow Minded," Aug. '06)? It seems to me that only shortening the vehicle would have this effect, unless you always approach obstacles at an angle.
Editor: Ken Brubaker replies: One of the basic "rules" of 'wheeling is to always place one tire at a time on an obstacle. Thus, approaching obstacles at an angle is standard operating procedure. Ever try to climb a foot-high ledge straight-on? Difficult, huh? Now try it by approaching at an angle. You'll find the results much more pleasant and far less taxing on your rig. With this said, narrowing does indeed aid in approach and departure angles because it eliminates the mass which often ends up stuffed into obstacles on angled approaches and the resulting angled departure.
Reader: I was wondering if you guys would have access to old Four Wheeler magazines. My brother and I lead backpacking trips into the Inyo Mountains, and we recently saw a photocopy of an article from your September '76 issue regarding a trip report that included an old mining camp named Beveridge. The article was written by a man named Russ Leadabrand.My brother and I have been to Beveridge several times and are putting together a binder/book (not to be published, due to trying to keep the area off the tourist radar screen) for fellow enthusiasts of the Inyos. Would you please let me know if you have this issue archived, and how would I get a copy?
Reader: I was going through my old Suzuki LJ stuff and found an old membership application for a Suzuki 4x4 Brute Club when I noticed it read that they held a meeting and that "an editor from the Four Wheeler magazine taking pictures for a future article." This was possibly back in the '70s, maybe the '80s. The club was located in Iowa.
My question is: Did you do this article? If so, what issue was it in? And do you still have a copy I could buy? If not, do you still have the pics? I would like to buy them if possible.
Editor: Alas, guys, these old magazines are no longer available. We do have copies (i.e., one) of every Four Wheeler ever published, which we guard like the Crown Jewels of England-and sorry, they're not available for loans. As this magazine has gone through several ownership changes and relocations in its lifetime, a lot of original artwork has been lost or misplaced, and any original layouts that were composed (with glue and rollers) before we became fully computerized-in 1990-are long gone by now.
However, with Primedia's recent acquisition of Automotive.com (and its human resources), we may soon have the opportunity-and the manpower-to start archiving some of these old articles on the Internet. They might only be scans of old, cruddy-looking magazine pages, but they would certainly be legible, and no doubt entertaining. We've already started to archive articles going back over the last five to ten years. Obviously, that in itself is going to take time, but once we're done with that assignment, we may be able to start working on older materials. Log onto fourwheeler.com from time to time to see how we're progressing.