4-Wheel & Off-Road welcomes letters to the editor. Letters must include an address or a telephone number so the sender can be verified. Once verified, your name may be withheld at your request. Letters published in this magazine reflect othe opinions of the writers, and we reserve the right to edit letters for clarity, brevity, or other purposes. Due to the large volume of mail we receive, we regret that we cannot reply to unpublished letters or return photos. Digital photos must measure no less than 1600 x 1200 pixels (or two megapixels) and be saved as a TIFF, an EPS, or a maximum-quality JPEG file.
4-Wheel & Off-Road
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Reader: I enjoy your magazine and look forward every month to the next exciting and informative issue. I am especially looking forward to your articles on the "Cheap Little Boxes" (July '07), as I am the owner of a '94 GMC S-15 Jimmy, 4x4, two-door, 4.3 "W" CPI engine, and auto trans. My little rig has been very enjoyable for all 148,000 miles and is still running strong. I just wanted to point out the box style was '83-'94 not '93. The trucks changed in '94 but the Blazer/Jimmy changed in '95. Again keep up the great job.
Editor: Thanks for the insight, David. It is a bit tricky when looking at split years that GM pulled! Our next series will be to examine the Bronco II/Ranger series, so stay tuned for Ford info too!
Reader: I have been thoroughly enjoying Drew Hardin's series of articles looking back on the magazine's 30-year history. Seeing the names of the past editors and staffers has been a trip down memory lane for me. I remember reading Tom Bezzi's guest editorial, the first look at the Scorpion, and who could forget the American Gladiators? However, I ran across one error in the June '07 issue's timeline. It cites January or February of '00 as the first time that the magazine covered a rockcrawling competition. Not true. The first coverage of a rockcrawling competition appears in the Apr. '99 issue in an article titled "Only a Matter of Time." This article also happens to cover the first rockcrawling competition ever held, which was in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and not Farmington. I know because I was there and the story carries my byline.
That story will always be one of my favorites because it was the start of something really big, and you could sense it even while the event was happening. Leafing through the article also reveals many of the names still in rockcrawling today, including the Campbells, the Curries, Sam Patton, and Randy Ellis. Though the Goodyear series eventually morphed into the dominant rockcrawling sanctioning body, it was not the originator.
Most of today's scoring methods, including the use of gates, points deductions for things like stopping and reversing course, and cumulative scoring over two days, were started at this event. Promoter Bob Hazel was responsible for the scoring system and putting on the first competition. He later started the ProRock series. With competitive rockcrawling/racing such a huge part of the off-road world today, I felt it was important to set the record straight as the Farmington event is often incorrectly cited as the first rockcrawling competition.
Thanks again for the great series of articles and I am proud to have been a small part of the magazine's history.
Former staffer and all around nice guy
Editor: Drew Hardin Replies:
Trent, I sincerely apologize for the oversight. My mistake, pure and simple. And you're absolutely right, we should correct the mistake. Consider it done. (Ed.-Not only that, I wrote about it while editor of Jp magazine in "King of the Rocks," May '99). This was also the trip where former 4WOR editor David Freiburger and I drove a stock M715 from L.A. to Las Cruces and back, just one of many hairy D.E.D. tours. Check out the July '99 issue for the "M715 Road Test."
Reader: My compliments to Tech Editor Fred Williams on the "Best Beaters" article (July '07). Many people overlook the low-buck stuff in favor of the big names, round headlights, or just more common vehicles. I do think that he missed an obvious one, especially considering he has a Samurai. Did you guys consider the Geo Tracker/Suzuki Sidekick family? They are available cheap everywhere, have peppy little fuel-injected four-cylinders that also sip gas, body-on-frame construction, and coil springs all around. The front IFS actually has decent travel when new, the drivetrain is overbuilt for the size of the vehicle, and are really a hidden gem. Oh yeah, they're a bit bigger than a Sami so you have more interior room for comfort but still much smaller than other similar vehicles. Mine sits on 31s and has some stuff I wouldn't have done to it, but I bought it this way for a still ridiculously low price. I have a friend who has three of them and probably doesn't have a grand into all of them and will soon combine those three into a small-tire, good-mileage, get-him-to-work-and-back-in-all-conditions daily driver and a 4-inch lifted, 31-inch-tired off-road toy. They're cheap and available with a decent and expanding aftermarket for them. Thanks for a great magazine guys.
Editor: We didn't include the Sami or its brethren mainly because they are so well known that the prices on the whole have shot up more than the other vehicles we listed. You are correct in what you note, but we're trying to ignore the Sami market so we can finally afford our own three!
(Ed. Note: We received a variety of responses to my "Your Carbon Footprint" editorial in the June '07 issue.)
Reader: Thank you so much for enlightening me on my role as a citizen of planet Earth. I can now go on happily through my existence free from guilt or being conscience of anything outside of my personal world. What idiot dreamed up carbon footprint? Probably somebody with a background in science. Ever hear of it? As a four-wheeler and a human being, I am equally offended. Please place me on the list of those that will never pick up your magazine again, except for next month to see if you have the guts to print this.
Stuart (declined to give last name)
Editor: Say what? Your response shows you didn't read the editorial. The point is that paying for carbon credits supposedly absolves you from wrong, and I believe that, in and of itself, is wrong! You must care about our environment. Do you want to wheel through a toxic waste dump or a nicely restored strip mine area? Scientist never dreamed up carbon credits; that's from those who want to get rich off the backs of well meaning but poorly informed individuals. Read on.
Reader: I have been a long-time reader, but I feel Rick Pw is idiotic in most everything he says in "Your Carbon Footprint." I understand that you all are very fearful for the health of your magazine, and with good reason. SUV and truck sales are way down, and 4x4 trucks are losing out to the new sporty high-mileage cars. Hell, as soon as gas hits $10 a gallon, which it will, Moab will go back to...well, being Moab instead of Disneyland for arrested development adults. Rick Pw's fears are all too transparent. Poor guy. But I must say, Rick is right about one thing. Why waste trees on paper? Please cancel my subscription.
Editor: I'm glad you think I'm an idiot. It appears that you too have failed to read the editorial as a whole, and only concern yourself with excerpts. Poor guy. The health of the magazine has nothing to do with the editorial, and furthermore, our sales are up. And 4x4 truck sales are not losing out to sporty high-mileage cars; why would you buy one with high mileage anyway? Gas will hit $10 a gallon, but what does that mean? When gas was cheap the average wage was far less as well, so that argument also has nothing to do with the editorial. Finally, how does Moab and kids relate either? And yes, I passed your subscription cancellation request to our subscriber services department.
Reader: I've never felt compelled to write to your magazine until I read this month's 4xForward. I have always felt that you have done a great job of promoting the ideas of Tread Lightly! and environmental consciousness, but this month you blew it and let your true colors show. I will agree that the "carbon footprint" idea is radical and probably not practical for you and me who enjoy the sport of off-roading, but that doesn't mean we can't strive to reduce our impact on the environment. [Absolutely correct. We should always strive to show our best side and teach others-Ed.] 4-Wheel & Off-Road should be a leader in calling for environmental responsibility and instead I think you have just written a blank check for the bad apples of our sport to do their worst because according to you, the earth will "take care of any indiscretions long after we are wiped off the face of it." [I agree and believe we are the leader, but bad apples will always do their own thing-Ed.] Seriously? So it's OK to leave the oil from a busted pan on the trail now? [No way, as you surely realize we always promote trail cleanup. Even though a mess won't be around in a million years, I sure don't need to step in yours today.-Ed.] And as to your point that CO2 is actually good for the environment, so spew all we want; well, a lot of things are good in measured doses. People can die from ingesting too much water, you can kill fish by filling their bowl with milk. [Incorrect; I never suggested that we spew all we want. I was stating that believers of this mindless drivel of carbon credits believe they can spew to their hearts content because they paid for their filth to some company which may or may not plant a tree. We should strive to minimize our waste in any shape or form.-Ed.] You also state that greenhouse gases are thought by "some" to be connected to global warming. Would those "some" be the hundreds of climatologists from 113 countries, including the U.S., that just released a report at the beginning of February that says that man is "very likely" responsible for the abnormal warming of the earth? [Exactly my point. It is only a theory, and the only theory that the popular media and politicians even consider. It's popular so jump on the bandwagon.-Ed.] Even Bush has agreed we're responsible. [And that's a good thing?-Ed.] Through my anger I had to laugh when you said: "I'd feel better standing next to a diesel smokestack than the rearend of a team of oxen any day." That's just stupid. [Really? Have you done it? I have.-Ed.] The cards are on the table, and I think I really found the "brainwashed and shallow-minded" bluffer. Enjoy your harmless smog in SoCal and I'll keep enjoying your awesome mag.
Editor: Thanks for enjoying the mag, and thank you for writing a letter that at least we can have an intelligent discussion on, even though we may disagree.
Editor: Well, guys, I'm sorry you took the editorial the wrong way. As an aside, the letters ran 100 to 1 agreeing with me, with 10 percent of the agreeing parties being off track, as opposed to 80 percent of the negative letters not being able to complete a cognitive sentence or stay on track. Yes, I think that environmentally inane people who do not research the issues and don't think for themselves but instead follow the Pied Piper are doing themselves and this world a disservice. I've been an environmental activist and scientist for over 40 years, and have always put proper care of the environment in the forefront of all wheeling activities. No, I'm not an anti-access "greenie," but I do believe in taking care of the world for ourselves and future generations. We don't need to save the world, we simply need to take care of it, and save it from ourselves.