The whoops issue of 4-Wheel & Off-Road is always a hot seller, maybe because carnage sells, or maybe we all like to imagine the worst-case scenario. I always try to expect disaster but plan on success. The reason I think this way is to prepare myself for when trouble shows up. The way I see it, the challenge of fixing or recovering a stuck 4x4 is the same as the challenge of surmounting a steep climbing, twisting through a technical boulder field, or crossing a muddy swamp. It’s all part of the fun, but it’s also a mental game.
For example, if it’s five hours before Christmas dinner and mom is expecting me, and on my way to the local food mart to grab more dinner rolls because my weird cousins just called and announced they’d be joining us, I decide to take a short detour through a dirt road near town for the fun of it, then I better expect disaster. In all likelihood a tire will fall off, a tree branch buried in a mud pit will punch a hole in the radiator, or a rock will destroy a driveshaft. Or all three.
At this point I could freak out and expect nothing but coal from Mom in my stocking, or I could laugh it off, remain calm, come up with some hodgepodge MacGyver fix, and roll up to the house with the truck battered and muddy but Mom happy because the rolls arrived before the kinfolk. Or shortly after the kinfolk. Or shortly before midnight. Or just as the sun comes up. No matter what, Mom will still love me, and all will make a great story.
The fact is the whoops issue should be a reminder of what can go wrong, a reminder to invest in a safe rollcage and always buckle up. And a reminder that even if your pride-and-joy 4x4 is upside-down under water and on fire (don’t ask me how), at the very least get a dozen good photos of it before you drag it home so you can be in next year’s Whoops issue!