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March 2011 Mailbag: Letters to the Editor

Posted in Features on March 1, 2011
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Legal Ohio Wheelin'
I admire your major effort this month to help Jeepers find legal places to go wheeling. It is something all of us need to know so all of us can promote legal locations.

I was perusing your pages in the Oct. '10 issue and found an error in "Off-Road Parks." You have a location listed on page 47 of legal places to wheel. I have wheeled there myself and later found out that I was trespassing. The location is called Wellsville Trails. There is a dedicated bunch that would love to make it legal (as would I), but it isn't. They even made a Web page for it that makes it look like a legit site. When you set foot on the property, you are wheeling without the owner's consent. The owner is very lax about enforcing his boundaries and one can wheel all day without being bothered. There is even a campground with a couple acres that charges a $10 "toll" for entry to the entire location. On the safety side of things, there is very limited access for rescue to get in and there is no patrol by local law enforcement. This opens up huge safety risks to wheeling there. It is common for rigs to be looted and torched when left unattended if they break down.

There are other places in Ohio to wheel legally that are not listed. These include Stillwell Stompers (stillwellstompers.com), Jeepskool (jeepskool.com), Yankee Lake (trucknight.com), and Mud Ranch. There are several local clubs that hold regular events such as Tire Town (tiretown.org), Erie Shores Jeeps (erieshoresjeeps.com ), and Hall of Fame 4x4 (hof4x4.com).
Bob Sears
Via email

One-Man Rant
In regards to the Trail Head in the Oct. '10 issue, I agree with you. Our politicians want to take more of our rights and as much of our money as they can. When you have an Ivy League education you can sell the hype (when TV and newspapers re-affirm your opinion) to the public to make your opinion/agenda seem like the answer to the fabricated facts. These career politicians have not had a real job in many years and need to get a job with the same benefits and health care that we have. Like you, I have discovered that most of the government propaganda is opinion/agenda, not true facts. In my opinion, all incumbents (of any party) who have held public office for more than three terms are part of the problem and should be voted out. It's sad that our politicians lose common sense after a few terms in office.

I've enjoyed Jp for years. It's helped keep my '72 Commando going, but I have concerns that the EPA will outlaw our older vehicles in the name of the environment because they want to and they can!
Joe
Via email

Switch Seat
I am 50 years old. I just had spinal surgery where three discs were fused together. With that in mind, if you were me, which seats would you buy, MasterCraft, Corbeau, or Bestop? Price isn't the issue; seats are cheaper than buying a new Wrangler. My lower back and hips thank you.
David Schmidt
Via email

I would definitely find a local 4x4 shop that carries the seats you are interested in so you can sit in them yourself. I am a huge fan of suspension seats like those from Mastercraft, PRP, and others. They provide a lot of really good support and they are very comfortable. However, that extra support and comfort can come at a cost. Sometimes they are difficult to get in and out of. I'm not sure how bad your condition is, but maybe you should see if you can find someone with a Jeep similar to yours with the seats you are looking at, just to see if you can get in and out easily. Personally, I would rather be really comfortable while I'm sitting in my Jeep. I don't worry about the inconvenience of getting in and out. I like the PRP Premier Series high backs and the Mastercraft Original, however there are other models available that may work better for you. I like the taller bolsters that typically only come on the race seats like the Mastercraft Original, 3G, ProSeat, Pro4, and Taylor Made. Hope that helps.

Vintage Input
Great article ("Can They Outlaw Your Jeep," Oct. '10). My first Rubicon trip was in 1968 and my first trip to the desert in a Jeep was in 1964, so I have been at this almost as long as dirt has been around. I have seen many areas and roads closed over the years. Last year when I went to the Rubicon and saw the 75-plus trailers at each end of the trail with rigs that were definitely there to do more than just drive the road, and the hundreds of thousands of dollars in lifts, tires, axles, and you name it, I wondered if the 4x4 magazines that make a living by vendor advertising and by showing photos of Jeeps perched precariously on some rock slab ever consider their contribution to public opinion against the off-road crowd and the closures of areas to 4x4 traffic. Certainly magazines can't monitor the bad judgment of those who disregard good common sense when wheeling in the back country, but they should do everything they can to promote public awareness of the road closure consequences of that bad judgment. Keep it up.
Walt Mikolajcik
Fairfield, CA

Wheel Responsibly
I read Cappa's Oct. '10 Trail Head editorial and he forgot to mention one group, irresponsible off-roaders. I own land out in the country and 20 years ago we left it pretty much open. Today any ass with a 4x4 or ATV thinks it's his personal off-road park, quite often while in crop. We all close our property and actively keep it closed.

Add to that I had a "friend" that came back from Colorado bragging about how he and his friends were tearing up the tundra at 10,000-feet on their motorcycles (yes it was "had a friend," he never understood why I got so hot).

Don't tag me as part of the problem because I close my land. I belong to the Blue Ribbon Coalition, the United 4 Wheel Drive Association, and the Red Rock 4-Wheelers among other groups. I write to congress, the Forest Service, and the Department of the Interior in support of greater access to public land, but it's hard with these types working against us.
Jim Parsons
Via email

Boneheadedest?
Your Oct. '10 Trail Head editorial was the boneheadedest I think I've ever read. So are we readers to understand that environmentalists are elitists who live in opulent 4,000-square-foot houses built over previously undeveloped areas? Where do off-road enthusiasts live? Inner-city slums on the other side of the tracks?

Human populations grow. Free time and personal resources grow. More people turn to the outdoors for all kinds of recreational activities. There are conflicts between them. Everybody has to drive further to pursue their activities and no category of outdoor enthusiasts is completely immune to increasing restrictions and regulations. Unfortunately we off-road enthusiasts leave ourselves a little more vulnerable than most because, well, we leave tracks. All you have to do is fly over a heavily used desert area to see what causes some people to get so upset.

If you really want to preserve the sport, Cappa, I would think you would be taking a leadership position in promoting responsible use instead of whining about the good ol' days

All houses are built on previously undeveloped areas, by the way.
Dave Brown
Pagosa Springs, CO

Democrat Dilemma
I'm an old liberal democrat who moved from Colorado to Arizona a few years ago. I've been enjoying Jp for eight or more years and have been a subscriber for six or so. I love the humor, information that I put to good use, and just plain fun features. I read the Oct. '10 Trail Head and wanted to tell you a little story to reinforce your editorial.

Even though I'm a liberal and do many things to help preserve our environment, I have this evil streak. I love to take my slightly noisy, mildly-built-but-capable '00 TJ exploring. This daily driver/weekend warrior conquers some surprising obstacles and yet gets slightly better than original mileage, thanks to advice from-you guessed it, Jp magazine. I never create my own trails or leave any trash and I always close the gates behind me.

When I first arrived in Arizona I discovered a neat little trail near my home that is part of the Great Western Trail, which was envisioned to traverse as much as possible of the Rocky Mountains from Canada to Mexico. This little bit of trail that I discovered covers some scenic ranch country, a historic mining site, and a historically significant old ranch. It's a very pleasant two-hour trip with some interesting and very pretty side roads.

A couple of years ago I took the trail from near my home to its end, where it runs into a highway a few miles south of my home, only to find that a subdivision had sprung up. No problem, I thought, just quietly pass through the new neighborhood on the way to the highway. Not so fast, old Jeeper! I ran into a little guardhouse with one of those mechanical, card-operated gates attached, and who knows how many miles of fence on either side. I drove around for quite some time looking for a way out to the highway and couldn't find an outlet. Finally, in fear of being late for dinner, I cut through the fence near the gate and used the Jeep's capabilities to get around the man-made obstacle.

What makes me especially angry is the idea that some rich folks blocked off outside access to the trail yet left access for themselves, even though they don't own the trail, even though the trail has been a right of way for literally more than a hundred years. Who the hell do these people think they are?

What we need is just one more law, one that says some trails cannot be blocked off for the private use of people who, for whatever reason, think it's OK to deprive others of pleasures that they have been enjoying for far longer than the newcomers.

After several attempts, I found a convoluted way around the evil subdivision full of overly air-conditioned snobs who don't want others to be able to enjoy what they think they should now be able to enjoy exclusively. Everyone reading Jp knows these people are wrong and perhaps many of us will contact our legislators in an effort to right these kinds of wrongs. Enough is enough, you rich, politically incorrect snobs!
Harley Armentrout
Via email

Mini-Me
John, in the various pictures of you posted online, a question has emerged. My friends all think you are 4 feet tall. I however think you are at least 5 feet tall. Could you help us sort this out?
Corey Kruchkowski
Canada

Sorry Corey, you and your friends are gonna need some glasses. I'm actually 5-foot 11-inches.

Montana Wheelin'
In "Trails of Dreams" (Oct. '10), Cappa wrote: "Montana: There has to be wheeling there. How come I've never been?"

Boy, are you missing out on some sweet trails. Here is a pic of Goose Lake Jeep trail. Just outside of Cooke City, Montana, up LuLu Pass. This trail is a boulder field with water crossings and lots of little lakes. The only downfall is the tons of mosquitoes! We have an '08 four-door Rubicon with a 4-inch Rough Country lift. We don't have quite enough for the tires and wheels yet, though. We enjoy the company of our friends, even if we have to pull them all the up the trail.
Steph Sedler
Via email

Write Us!
Got a question or comment about Jp magazine or the village idiots at the helm? Drop us a line. Don't forget to include your full name and where you're from or we'll make fun of you. Actually, we may make fun of you anyway. Keep it short and to the point or we'll hack and chop your letter as we please. We get a lot of mail, but we read every letter. Unfortunately, we can't print or personally answer every request. We're too busy surfing the Internet on the company dime. Digital images should be no less than 1,600x1,200 pixels (or 2 megapixels) and should be saved as a TIFF, an EPS, or a maximum-quality JPEG file.

Write to:
Jp Magazine, Editor
831 S. Douglas St.
El Segundo, CA 90245
E-mail to: john.cappa@jpmagazine.com

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