The happy drone of BFG Krawlers slapping the pavement and the rumble of dual exhaust from a healthy V-8 can only mean one thing: We’re going wheeling! The pavement part is usually a prelude to the dirt since, sadly, I don’t live next to a 4x4 area anymore, but that just makes a good excuse for a road trip. And if you’ve read this magazine for a while, you know I enjoy a road trip almost as much as going wheeling. Even the packing and loading of the rig and spec’ing out the road route becomes almost ritualistic in an enjoyable way, a building of excitement that hopefully culminates in memories of the entire expedition, not just the location. But with every different vehicle I wheel, a new set of challenges and experiences evolves, especially since I have so many vehicles.
Last year I made a New Year’s resolution to wheel every month, and I’ve been pretty darn successful. This year I decided that I would wheel different 4x4s in my fleet each month, instead of the same one or two I usually take. That’s actually a big proposal because if I did the math correctly I could wheel once a month for two years and never drive the same rig twice. I’d have to buy a set of tires and a battery or two to get them all functional of course, but that comes with the territory. This year I’ve started with an old favorite that’s been under a tarp for about five years, my M38-A1, so it’s a great vehicle to start my monthly wheelathon.
Way back when, about the turn of the century (2000 for you young folks), I built up this Jeep for our Ultimate Adventure 2001. The idea was to show how to build a rig in your backyard without a garage, all from standard off-the-shelf parts. The Jeep started as a rusted-out hulk with a good title, and I replaced nearly everything but the tub. We chronicled the whole build in the Jan.-Dec. ’01 issues. I wheeled it to Canada and back, used it in the 2002 Ultimate Adventure, and took it on a few short and happy wheeling trips in between. Lucky for me it only took a bit of fresh gas, a few squirts of lube here and there, and remembering what all the unmarked switches and gizmos do. It’s a fine start to the wheeling year, like a new project (even though it’s old).
Even if you only have one 4x4 instead of a stable of dilapidated jeeps like me, try switching it up and wheel something new or setting a goal to wheel every month, week, or day if possible, or maybe a different trail or obstacle every time you’re out in the dirt. You’ll be glad you did!