As far back as I can remember I had an urge to explore strange new places and wander off into the unknown. My grandfather had homesteaded 5 acres of desert land back in the 1950s (this doesn't make me old), way back when it was considered the middle of nowhere. Travel to this same area today takes about an hour and a half, but back then it was about a three- to four-hour journey, considering the 55-mph speed limit and conservative elderly gentleman taking his time. The long drive was well worth it to a young kid who just couldn't get enough; the memories and experiences I had out there are numerous and priceless.
I don't think as many kids these days experience the great outdoors as the kids of 30 or 40 years ago. All children should have the opportunity to experience some form of outdoor adventure at least a few times a year. The same goes for adults: Leaving the daily grind behind can be quite refreshing and relieve a hell of a lot of stress. My personal observations tell me I don't see as many people camping as much as I used to see. I think there are many reasons for this, not the least of which are a tough economy and high fuel prices.
I have received numerous e-mails from potential outdoor enthusiasts wanting to know which vehicle would best suit theirs and their family's travel needs. To complicate this question, those who write me often throw in the mix that they are a one- or two-car family. Until recently, it was difficult to advise these families on a vehicle that would best fit their needs.
Today, there are a few sport utility vehicles out there, such as the '07 Jeep Wrangler JK, that are perfect for family adventure. The new four-door Jeep JK has only been out for a few months now and we are finding that it is a great vehicle for a small one- or two-car family or a guy in need of a very capable vehicle (Rubicon) with a lot of interior space. Personally, I like the new Jeep. It's roomy, the back seats are easily accessible (great for families with young children), and it has a removable three-piece top. Every vehicle has its pros and cons, but in most cases it comes down to personal preference and/or brand loyalty.
We are excited to introduce to you 4 Wheel Drive & Sport Utility magazine's new '07 Jeep JK. Just to make our acquisition of the Jeep even more exciting, we flew to Detroit, picked up the Wrangler from Chrysler, and then drove it 2,482 miles back home. You can read about the trip on page 32.
Without a doubt, this vehicle opens the door to families who have always wanted a Jeep. It is not only functional as an everyday driver; the Rubicon version of the JK is extremely capable off-highway.
We are hoping this vehicle and others like it bring more families to the trail and get them more in tune with the Great Outdoors. This in turn (it's a long shot, but we hope) may get more people involved in land rights issues and help us fight against the closure of our public lands. If you think about it, trails not only lead from point A to point B, they provide meaningful, long-lasting, and exciting experiences for us all.Happy Trails.