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The Best of Four Wheeler Adventures and Exploration

Posted in Features on April 30, 2016
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Photographers: Four Wheeler Archives

Randomly point anywhere on the globe and it’s highly likely Four Wheeler has been there at least once during our five-plus decades. We’ve retraced historic routes, traversed where few have gone before, and met the natives, even the ones in our own backyard. Here are some of our favorite trips.

“Hill Humpers Hollow,” Mar. ’62
Four Wheeler’s first-ever event coverage was of the Hill Humpers Hollow at Superstition Mountain in southeastern California. We thought it was pretty extreme, and in 1962, it probably was, “with cars that are tuned for hillclimbing with V-8 engines, low-pressure tires, limited-slip differentials, it seems logical that this hill would be an easy mark. It just isn’t so … If anybody has conquered the king of Hill Humpers Hollow, it wasn’t easy.”

“Idaho FWD Run!,” Dec./Jan. ’62/’63
Simply put, exploring the backcountry of Idaho: “Wildlife, rugged terrain and pioneer relics such as this blown safe, highlighted Idaho run.”

“Four Wheeling in India,” Mar. ’66
The wheelers had driven over the Rajpath from Kathmandu Valley to Nepal’s lower lands. “Not many four wheelers will ever switch from their rigs to an elephant or have the opportunity to drive a road 72 miles long with no stretch of straightaway longer than 100 feet or count 3,600 switchbacks in 72 miles, but that’s four wheeling in India.”

“European Caravan,” Sept. ’66
In short, it was a Jeep caravan plus Jeep club in Czechoslovakia. It was sponsored by Kaiser Jeep to highlight the product line and international trade with Eastern Europe. “Working with the US Department of Commerce, the company sponsored a 2,000-mile demonstration tour through Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Rumania, and Bulgaria,” and featured Jeeps manufactured in Argentina, Brazil, India, Israel, and the United States. “The Czech four-wheelers drive Jeeps that were abandoned by U.S. troops during World War II. They have been completely restored so that many have a new look.”

“Four Wheeling the New Baja Road,” Mar. ’74
This unique opportunity involved traveling the new Highway 1 in Baja California, Mexico. “Certainly Baja California, the 1,000-mile long peninsula which is the western extremity of our sister Republic to the south, is one of the last stands for four-wheeling enjoyment.” The article was the first chapter of a book being written for “Four Wheeler Publishing Company” and would focus on what to expect along the new paved highway, like how to buy gas.

“Pole to Pole Expedition,” Feb. ’79
Going tip to tip of the western hemisphere included this from the author: “In certain countries, foreigners are automatically suspected of subversion, and I seem to have the knack of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Only a month before, when I’d applied for our wedding license, I’d spent three hours in jail, charged with ‘possession of the face of a terrorist’”!

“Mad Dog & Englishmen,” Feb. ’85
This piece in a nutshell: “A desert-loving Englishman tackles the world’s largest desert in 4WD—not once but twice—alone across 2,500 miles of trackless sand.”

“Riverboat Gambler,” Mar. ’85
So, Everette Jasmer asked the Coast Guard, “Do I need a permit or license to drive my truck down the Mississippi river?” Now, cut to this article in which USA-1, a 1/2-ton Chevy pickup with 66-inch Goodyear monster tires and a blown 540ci Can-Am Chevy engine took two hours to go 3 miles because, “there wasn’t enough fuel for the final 8 miles.” The slow driving also made the engine run hot.

“Ghost Town Adventure,” May ’87
Central Nevad, and “52 four wheelers in 26 Dodge 4x4s pass through something that had not likely ever occurred before in the town’s 124-year history.” Leading the group was the man, myth, and legend, off-road racer Rod Hall.

“Arctic Trek,” Sept. ’00
Extreme wheeling in Iceland, or: “Welcome to Iceland—this is the worst winter we’ve had in 15 years.” This is what went down when a Toyota Hilux pickup with 38-inch rubber was paired with the Icelandic highlands, the area around Hekla, and an active volcano that had erupted the week before.

“The Outer Edge: So Close Yet So Far Away,” Jan. ’01
The code of the Turtle Expedition was, “Don’t take the trip. Let the trip take you.” For more than 40 years, the home-on-wheels has taken what’s likely to be your dream road trips, everywhere from Europe to North America, and shared them in this magazine. The jaunt was of the Canadian variety–Vancouver Island’s West Coast. When you revisit it for a read, make the drinking game the word “salmon.” This was perhaps the only Four Wheeler adventure story to ever mention valet parking.

“Operation Overlord: Jeeping the Normandy Battlefield,” June ‘02
Exploring WWII’s battleground in a Jeep. “It was not at all difficult to imagine it morphing from a black Wrangler into an olive-drab MB.” The trip went to Bastagone in Belgium, areas between Omaha and Gold Beaches in France, and more.

“Prowling Patagonia,” July ‘03
This was about driving 11 Land Rovers across the Andes and then to the tip of Tierra del Fuego, the southernmost land in the world. What readers learned: “Flat tires are so common in the developing world that even small towns have tire shops.”

“From Tennessee to Guatemala,” Oct. ’04
Aka traveling with archaeologists to a dig site. The 3,500-mile pilgrimage from Vanderbilt University campus in Tennessee to the jungles of Guatemala involved a ’03 Toyota XtraCab 4x4. “What the Guatemalan jungle covered in 1,500 years the Vanderbilt University archaeologies, led by Dr. Francisco Estrada-Belli, are uncovering one small stone and tablespoon of dirt at a time.”

“Great Sand Dunes National Park,” Jan. ’05
Part of the series surrounding the EarthRoamer involved roaming and four-wheeling the parts of Earth located in national parks. This was Great Sand Dunes National Park.

“Out in Africa,” June ’05
The Jeep Liberty debut took us to Africa to drive the unavailable-in-North America 2.8L diesel model through Zambia, Namibia, and Botswana.

“Long Hauling Short Supply,” Feb. ’06
Four Wheeler staffer Jimmy Nyland drove his ’80 Peterbilt 359 semitractor trailer, loaded with 12,000 pounds of pet food, to Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. It was a 4,000-mile goodwill trip from California, which he did in 12 days, breaking down once and using 657 gallons of diesel fuel. Other things also happened.

“Scenic RX4 World Tour,” May ’06
The World Tour series appeared with some regularity in Four Wheeler. It was about four years traveling (mostly) off-road around the world in a Renault Scenic RX4, ultimately covering 22,000 miles, including Australia, Paris, and Yucatan. This story was the Indonesia trip, featuring the Kawah Idjen volcano. Within its crater is the “most acidic lake in the world.”

“Sakhaun Adventure,” Jan. ’07
Four wheeling in Russia in an Izusu Bighorn (that’s a Trooper) with a 2.8L diesel. Xорошо!

“Colorado Highway,” Jan. ’15
This was billed as “Recreating Land Rover’s Great Divide Expedition because Four Wheeler redid the 1989 Land Rover Great Divide, after being there 25 years prior when Land Rover first took Range Rovers on a 1,000-mile trip over the hardest part of the Continental Divide.”

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