Do you ever come across relics from previous off-roaders when you are off road? I sometimes do—some relics dropped as recently as the year before, and some older than the internal combustion engine itself. The old relics are always very cool to find (and leave for the next guy to find); they help me assemble a small glimpse into what life may have been like when off-road trails weren't taken for pleasure but as a necessity for finding your way out West.
Compared to those forerunners, we look like sissies. Losing cell phone reception scares us. We whine when the air conditioning stops working, or when we have to get out and actually use a winch to keep going. Do you know what a settler would have done for a winch in the front of his/her wagon?!
Imagine trying some of your favorite trails in a four-wheeled, no-wheel-drive wagon that only has horsepower—a real honest, one- or two-horse power. Sometimes, a day's progress could only be measured in feet, as these original off-roaders were the trail cutters, too. Rocks, trees, mountains—you name it, somehow they had to get around it.
Even a well-traveled trail offered perils that could be fatal when riding on steel-clad wheels being towed by a couple horses. I'm sure you've heard this before: Not all the settlers, cowboys, and other migrants made it out West—a lot of them were never seen again.
So, the next time you're sitting in a truck feeling a little bored, uncomfortable, hot, tired, or beaten, remember how good you have it!
You may have noticed a few changes in your OFF-ROAD magazine this month. Don't worry—we think it's for the better! We'll still be right on topic, covering go-fast vehicles and fullsize trucks, but in a little cleaner package that will bring you more of what you want to see.