It's rare when i devote an entire editorial to myself, as i don't think that's what the magazine should be, much less the 4xForward. I'm not a particularly outgoing guy by nature, but in this position it comes with the territory. I actually enjoy meeting wheelers around the nation and around the world, and it always makes me smile when they relate this or that story about what they did, built, drove, stuck, wrecked, or repaired. I enjoy it because more than likely in my past wheeling career I've done the same thing, and can truly relate.
In fact that's what I just came back from-a wonderful wheeling trip in the middle of New Hampshire. A week prior I had no real plans to go to the Granite State, but circumstances dictated that I would have my gallbladder (and stones) removed suddenly for the betterment of my health. However, this minor side trip to my favorite local hospital (I can identify the different ER rooms from what cut, stitch, infection, or other reason I had for being there) caused a great upheaval of travel plans, as a few days out of my schedule throws the entire summer into chaos. But as I was scheduled to hit Boston that week for a Dodge Durango Hybrid ride and drive, I figured that seeing friends and doing some wheeling in the area just might be in order.
Circumstance and happenstance are closely related, and for some reason I craigs-listed "Jeepster" in New Hampshire the night before my flight. Interestingly enough, a local 4x4 shop, Broken Road Off Road, happened to be selling one, and after a quick phone conversation with Andy Parker we had settled on a price, in addition to a trailride that weekend. Needless to say, the Jeepster is now mine (although still in a garage far from mine), and a truly magnificent trailride was had by all, especially me. In fact, I was honored to drive a bone-stock '50 CJ-3A Jeep that Carl Lively and I unstuck an exhaust valve on the night before over pizza and drinks.
And as the wheeling stories were told on the trail, I thought back on my first wheeling screw-up. It was when my dad first taught me to drive a Jeep. I had attacked a steep hill, and as the engine started to bog down in First gear, I shifted straight up into Reverse, which I thought was a granny gear. Oops. Dad became more than slightly animated, and I swear he used some German words his dad must have muttered when giving him his first driving lessons. Of course the Jeep stalled and I had to learn to back down a precarious slope. That's when I realized that while I hadn't mistakenly shifted this trip, I did stall on a hill and had to back down. I then realized that it was 40 years ago to the day that the Reverse incident happened, and 40 years later I was still driving a '50 CJ-3A with green paint, military tires, and incredible patina. It just doesn't get better than wheeling all that time in those Jeeps. That's a milestone I hope to see in another 40 years, and not another gallstone.