Letters To The Editor
Editor’s Note: If you want to say or ask something, email Unloaded at firstname.lastname@example.org or write:
Unloaded, OFF-ROAD Magazine
1733 Alton Parkway, Ste. 100
Irvine, CA 92606
Remember, we’re giving away swag every month to the author of our favorite letter. Be sure to include your address, so we know where to send your goods. Thanks!
Letters of the Month
Everyone who wrote in really took some time to recall how they came to be off-road junkies. Therefore, we’re hooking up our published letter writers not only with some genuine OFF-ROAD shirts, license plates, and stickers, but also with a DVD copy of Mud, Trucks, & Beer: Story of the Yankee Rebels to get you in the mood to go and get down and dirty. You can find the DVD at www.trucknight.com or you can write into OFFROAD for stickers and plates at Jerrod.email@example.com
In the July 2011 issue, we asked you to tell us how you got into off-roading. Funnily enough, a lot of the stories weren’t too different. Sure, everyone had his own tale to tell, but it seems that most of us got bit by the 4x4 bug early on and were never quite able to shake it—no matter how much time, money, jobs, or women it cost us!
START ’EM YOUNG
My love for off-roading comes from my childhood. I distinctly remember driving to local state and national parks in my dad’s bright red ’86 F-150 4x4 on the way to camping weekends. While listening to cassette tapes of Judas Priest and Autograph, Dad would drive us down the dirt roads and trails to our destination. Even though we were going camping and fishing, my favorite part was always getting there. Getting out to engage the hubs in shin-deep mud became a memorable past time.
In high school I worked with a man from California who introduced me to prerunners. Being in Wyoming, it was something I had never heard of but quickly began to love. I soon bought my fi rst truck, and started driving off-road as fast as it would go. After Dust to Glory came out (which I watched alone in the theater), I started making random trips after school or on my days off to anywhere with trails or dirt roads where I could quench my thirst for dirty speed.
Off-roading is a wonderful sport. I hope more people can enjoy it in the future. Thanks guys for doing such great work on an incredible magazine. I love reading it every month!
IN THE SANDBOX
Some of my earliest memories are of playing with Hot Wheels, being fascinated with monster trucks, hauling loads of sand with my Tonka Trucks, and helping my dad work on his F-150. I remember as a small boy going out to work on my dad’s truck and thinking it was just the coolest thing to hand him wrenches and to get my hands dirty.
This, of course, all culminated when I was turning 16 and had saved up enough money to buy my dad’s old truck. It was at this very moment that I felt proud and excited to be an owner of a 4x4. The fi rst thing I did (well, just after I purchased my fi rst set of 31x10.50R15 mud-terrain tires) was hit the local seasonal roads and two tracks of my native northern Michigan.
As we have all experienced, one stuck and broken part lead to another; the fi nal result being a continuous build-up of lift, rims, bigger tires, engine/trans rebuilds, and of course the most important thing of all— knowing that this was something more than just a hobby. It was in my blood.
I read all of my OFF-ROAD magazines front to back, always thinking about what I want to do next to my offroad truck (’91 K5), my wife’s Jeep (’04 WJ), or my daily driver (’06 Mega Cab).
Off-roading is something that is just a part of me. I honestly cannot explain it. If I am having a bad day all it takes is a quick spin in my K5, slinging some mud, to settle me down and make realize again that it is the small things in life that mean the most.
As for what got me into off-roading, nothing specifi cally stands out. Off-roading was in me even before I knew what it was, and the fact is that I love working with my hands and am a tried and true gear-head who cannot get enough of the off-road lifestyle!
VEHICLE PERFORMANCE ENGINEER
My experience with four-wheeldrive trucks started in 1984. I grew up in the Chicago suburbs, so off-road adventures were few and far between. Anything with 4WD in that area did (and still does) command a premium price. In order for a “po-boy” like myself to be able to afford one of these trucks, I had to get creative.
I was on the bid list for buying vehicles from Commonwealth Edison (our electric supplier) for some time when I fi nally won a ’73 Chevy K20 with a pair of the heaviest-duty axles I have ever owned. The truck was little more than junk, but I was now in the four-wheeling family. Not fully realizing what I had, I regretfully sold the truck two years later!
A year after (1987), I bought a ’69 F-100 with factory 4WD. With its Armstrong steering, and four-wheel (nonpower) drum brakes, you had better have your “A game” on to drive this truck. After 24 years of misadventures (I’ve nearly died twice in this truck), I am still proud to have it in my fleet.
Now I live in the foothills of the Ozark mountains where I have hundreds of miles of gravels roads at my disposal. Because of where I live, my list has grown to include more Fords, Chevys, 19 FSJs (including parts cars), and one CJ5. So, as you can tell, once the bug has bitten, it’s hard to cure (if you would ever want to).
RONALD A. POKRACKI
MARBLE HILL, MISSOURI