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April 2011 4xForward

Posted in Features on April 1, 2011
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Photographers: David FreiburgerRick Péwé

One of the reasons I have this job is because I love wheeling. It's really as simple as that. It's also why I stick with it, enjoy it, and rarely complain about it. Hey, everyone knows I have the best job in the world-in fact, people tell me that all the time. Yes, I still have to travel, take the photos, write the story, and organize the book, but yes, I do have the best job in the world. But there is plenty that goes on behind the scenes. My latest escapade took me across the nation to cover an event that never happened, so I improvised and developed a plan, one that set up a boatload of coincidences that turned out perfectly.

After driving the Ultimate Adventure CJ-17 300 miles from SoCal to Las Vegas for the SEMA show, I had to fly to Newark, New Jersey. From there I waited out three weather-canceled flights to my Buffalo connection. Rather than wait all night in Newark International I rented a car and drove to Buffalo in the pouring rain. I made the 400 miles just in time for another two flights to be canceled. By this time the event had been called off, so I made some calls and tried to figure out how to salvage the rest of the trip.

In the end I drove 600 more miles to Rocky Mountain Terrain Park ( in Carthage, Maine, in a rented Nissan Altima. Owner John Steele had left a Tracker on the side of the road so I wouldn't get my rental car stuck, and I showed up for a great afternoon of wheeling. Luckily the members of the Maine 4x4 Club ( were on hand for a trail ride, and we bashed, slogged, and wheeled the park until way after dark. Best of all, club member Matt Barrows let me drive his Jeep about 100 feet up the trail, which is what this trip was all about. Yes, I have the best job in the world, and finding this park, the owner, and a local club to wheel with makes it that much better.

Once I got back home, I started adding up the time, miles, and money spent on getting the event coverage on the other side of the country in just five days. It came out well worth it from a business standpoint, but for me personally it reminded me of the MasterCard commercial. It goes something like this:

2,300 road miles: Grueling
5,200 air miles: Tiring
10 walking miles: Healthy
100 feet trail driving: Priceless
Yes, I have the best job in the world.

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