Bob Marley Edition Expedition?
Is it true?
Is Ford really introducing a Bob Marley Edition of its fullsize SUV? Well, no, but what a premise, huh? The real story began when a Chicago couple purchased a '99 Ford Expedition from Hertz Rental Company then found that the windows only went down halfway. Thinking it a mechanical problem, they brought it to a local dealer to have it checked out. As it turned out, however, it wasn't the windows causing the problem. It was the 49.3 pounds of marijuana stuffed in the doors, keeping the windows from going down.
Once the stash was discovered, mechanics called the police and continued to pull out bag after bag of grass wrapped in large bundles layered with newspaper and grease and covered in sticky tape, all of which virtually masked the scent of the marijuana. Side impact beams had been removed to clear the way for the hefty load, and side panels were replaced to hide it. Though several of the packages were wrapped in San Diego newspapers dating back to March 2000, it's unknown where or when the drugs were hidden in the SUV or how many people may have rented it before it was sold to the Chicago couple.
Apparently, transporting drugs in rental vehicles is rather common since traffickers won't lose their own vehicle if drugs are discovered. Rental vehicles are normally returned to the rental company, so if the heat's bearing down, traffickers will simply abandon the vehicle and take the loss as better than going to jail. This particular loss amounted to $25,000. Although the Chicago couple was initially traumatized by the event, Hertz made good on the deal by offering up a more expensive 2000 Ford Expedition as a replacement.
Inaugural Jack Waldron Memorial Desert Clean-Up
As many may know, John "Jack" Waldron served as a BLM Ranger in the Barstow, California, area of the Mojave Desert for many years. He worked diligently at seeing that the desert, particularly the Stoddard Valley OHV area, was used and not abused by all. He worked with the desert racers and enthusiasts to maintain the area and represented the BLM at races and off-road events. On March 24, after months of organizing and many phone calls to both vendors and volunteers, a plan to honor this great man became a reality. More than 225 off-road racers, families, and friends of Jack Waldron traveled to the Stoddard Valley OHV area to help in the Inaugural Jack Waldron Memorial Desert Clean-Up.
The weather was beautiful, and the people were all ready to go to work and dedicate a memorial that was built for Jack. Before the event got underway, volunteers enjoyed danishes and coffee supplied by the Outlet Center Carls Jr., Barstow Station Bakery, and Starbucks. Thanks to Don Cunningham of the local Boy Scouts for helping to serve the breakfast. Don also cooked hot dogs for the volunteers and served sodas and water provided by Terrible Herbst Motorsports and Hiway Beverage.
One of the areas the cleanup would concentrate on was a spot just south of Barstow College because it seemed to be a favorite spot for the locals to dump trash; it's easily accessible from the highway. There were also plans to do some grading along a portion of Hodge Road, which used to serve as a section of the old racecourse. However, rather unfortunately, the tractor that had been donated by Buena Park United Rentals was destroyed by vandals during the previous night, with more than $7,000 worth of damage. Not allowing the loss to overshadow the reason they were there, volunteers labored at the cleanup while Donald Harper and his son Daniel worked on building a concrete memorial in honor of our friend Jack. Funding for the memorial plaque came from Whit Courtenay, McKenzie Off Road, Sal Fish of SCORE, S&S Motorsports, and Cannon CPA. A special thanks goes to them for their contributions.
Around 4 p.m., the memorial was dedicated with about 100 people in attendance, including some of Jack's family from as far away as New Jersey and Texas. Family, friends, and coworkers shared memories of Jack before heading over to the Slash X Cafe for a free spaghetti dinner provided by Dave and the crew at Slash X. A raffle got underway, with prizes donated by many of the vendors in the off-road industry, including: Goodyear, Total Chaos Fabrications, Baja Racing Products, PCI Race Radios, Mendeola Racing, Haul Ass Race Gear, Dave Folts Transmissions, Center Line Wheels, KarTek, BFGoodrich, Off Road Advertiser, Donahoe Racing, Fat Performance, WebCam, Auto Center Sign Pros, Mojave Desert Racing, Inland Prerunners, Racedesert.com, Baja Shops, Quality Truck & Auto, German Auto, Mastercraft Race Products, Dirt Pilot Magazine, Parkhouse Tires, Premier Racing Products, WR Trans, Beard Racing Seats, C.L. Bryant/KR Distributing, Straight Line Wheel, F&L, Racers Only Motorsports Design, Lothringer Engineering, Mike Dill Racing, Jimco, Trackside Photo, Dirt Bagz, Fuel Safe, Transaxle Engineering, TDP Motorsports, Sway-A-Way, Race Ready Products, Camco Fabrications, King Off Road Racing Shocks, Dusty Tires, Blazers Racing Videos, Hals Radiator Shop, and Bonfire. Thanks to Desert Disposal for the use of the dumpster, Desert Dispatch for helping to advertise the event, the Hiway station 98 & 99 FM, and Service Rock of Barstow for donating the concrete for the memorial.
Before the raffle, the BLM offered a few words of appreciation for the volunteers and presented a special award to Bill Markel for organizing the event. Later in the evening, Team Cocktail Racing's band wailed out some tunes for the crowd.
All in all, it was a good time and more than 86 tons of trash and four car bodies were collected, leaving the Stoddard Valley OHV area a much cleaner place to enjoy, demonstrating the OHV enthusiasts' desire to preserve the environment. The next event will take place on March 23, 2002. Once again, thanks to everyone who helped both with donations and in making our desert a better place
Mercedes-Benz G-Class gets U.S. LaunchWith the success of its M-Class sport utility, Mercedes-Benz has decided to launch its more rugged G500 sport utility in the U.S. this fall. The 5.0L V-8 G-Class is a limited-production vehicle; only 1,000 to 2,000 units will be offered to the U.S. market annually.
Manufactured at a facility in Graz, Austria, the G-Class features rigid axles in the front and rear in addition to longitudinal and transverse links with coil springs and gas shocks at all four corners. A power-assisted recirculating-ball steering system and four-wheel disc brakes with ABS control the 7.5x18 alloy wheels wrapped with 265/60R18 tires. Torque is distributed through front, center, and rear differentials featuring mechanical locks and an electronic five-speed adaptive automatic transmission with Touch Shift and a full-time four-wheel-drive system, which includes electronically controlled Hi and Low ranges. The Low range is also fully synchronized and can be engaged on the fly at speeds as high as 15 mph.
Standard interior amenities include a full leather interior with burl walnut trim, a wood/leather steering wheel, power windows, 10-way electrically adjustable front seats with memory, front and rear heated seats, and an onboard GPS navigation system featuring a large integrated display on the center console. Rub strips and rocker panels help to protect the exterior, and a number of safety features, such as the Tele Aid system, provide emergency services at the touch of a button. Better mortgage the house though, because base price of the 2002-model G500 is set at $72,500.
Three Coolest Things We Found in MoabDuring a break from snapping photos and 'wheeling around the trails in Moab this year, we wandered into GearHeads Outdoor Store to buy a Clif Bar. Being the gearheads we are, we were quickly consumed by its offerings and started piling up all the things we needed on the counter. About that time, store owner, Greg Kennedy, offered to show us the three coolest things he had to offer. Always eager to add to our collection of outdoor survival knick-knacks, we took him up on it. Needless to say, we're now proud owners of the three coolest things in the store, such as the LazerBrite flashlight, the Trangia Westwind stove, and the Striker Survival Tool. We're also so pleased with our purchases, we couldn't help but show 'em off, so be sure and check out the following photos and captions detailing each tool's coolness. To pick up some cool tools of your own, check out GearHead's Web sites at www.lazorbrite.com and www.survivaltools.net, or call (888) 740-4327.