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Goodbye Phil Howell & Kevin Blumer - Off-Road Notes

Posted in Features on January 1, 2008
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It's been over three years since Kevin Blumer and I came on board Off-Road magazine. Since then, we've had a great time photographing and writing about some of the best vehicles in the sport of off-roading and bringing you off-road destinations where you can explore, recreate, or compete. As they always do, though, things change. This is my last issue as editor-in-chief and Kevin's last issue as assistant editor of Off-Road. We're off to 4 Wheel Drive & Sport Utility magazine as part of a series of transfers at Source Interlink Media (formerly Primedia) aimed at getting square and round pegs into their respective square and round holes. 4 Wheel Drive & Sport Utility magazine was my baby for many years, so I'm excited to return.

I always thought that I was too old a dog to learn new tricks, but I've been taught a bit here at Off-Road from suspension experts and readers like you. At the slow speeds we traveled in trail riding and rockcrawling, shock damping wasn't much of an issue. At the high speeds experienced in desert racing or prerunning, it becomes a very large issue. I plan to take the knowledge gained here about shock tuning and take it to 4WD&SU to show readers that they can not only crawl but also haul off-road. Air or hydraulic bumpstops, link suspension designs, and other quality parts that prerunners and racers take for granted are gradually finding their way into the slower side of our sport. There's no rule that says a vehicle that can rockcrawl or trail ride can't also cover long distances off-road speedily. It will be interesting to see what projects happen at 4WD&SU in the near future.

So, I bid you adieu and say thanks for a great ride!

Now, Kevin wants to say a few words:

To those who may think they'll never see me in Off-Road again: The reports of my disappearance are greatly exaggerated! I've got a project to finish. Project TrailRunner, my '92 Ranger 4x4 has been dragging on since late '04, and I've set myself a goal to have it finished within a year from now. I'll be documenting my progress in Off-Road's pages as Project TrailRunner progresses. If I have my way, you'll continue to see my byline in Off-Road even beyond Project TrailRunner.

I've thoroughly enjoyed my stay as a full-time staffer at Off-Road. Going fast in the dirt whether on two wheels or four has always been, and will continue to be, a passion for me. Working for Off-Road, I've had the chance to prerun and race in Baja and in the Mojave multiple times. I've ridden in trucks ranging from Stock Full to full-on Trophy Trucks. (I'll never forget flying 157 feet through the night sky at Laughlin with Travis Coyne in 2005, a distance that took top Laughlin Leap honors that year.) I've also had the chance to experience the dirt at a mellower pace during trail rides in Moab, Johnson Valley, and the San Bernardino Mountains. I've found that casually exploring the off-road world can be just as fun (and more relaxing) as competition. If I had to pick one word to encapsulate what I love about off-roading, that word would be adventure. Fast or slow, I really enjoy discovering what's around the next bend, rise, or twist in the trail.

Maybe we'll meet sometime, somewhere in the middle of nowhere.

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