I’m back! There were so many things I wanted to cram into my first editorial here at 4-Wheel & Off-Road. I wanted to craft every word like a plaid-shirt-wearing hipster tweaks and adjusts every hair in his perfectly manicured beard. Not that I’m a hipster. Or like hipsters. OK, now all I can think of is unicycles and craft beer. Damn hipsters.
Back on topic, Hazel. After 14 years of separation I’m back at the place where my career as an automotive journalist began . . . and I couldn’t be happier about it. I’ve been reading this publication since the late 1980s. I was fortunate enough to get hired here in 1999 just in time for the first three Ultimate Adventures and to be part of some really cool stories. I left to go play Jeep at our sister publication Jp, and for the last couple years I was the editor of our other sister publication, Four Wheeler. But to me 4WOR versus Four Wheeler has always been a Coke or Pepsi, Camaro or Mustang, or paper or plastic debate: Neither is bad, but you just inherently gravitate towards one or the other. Me, I’m 4WOR to the core.
I think you’ll like what’s in store for 4WOR under my reign of terror. Now that the editorial yoke of oppression has been lifted from Fred’s neck and placed on mine, he’ll be freer to pursue all those entertaining things that only he can pull off. You’ll be seeing some increasingly cool Fredventures coming to 4WOR and episodes of Dirt Every Day. I’m convinced Verne Simons is some kind of rain man genius savant when it comes to off-roading (10 minutes to Wapner, definitely 246 toothpicks). Give him some fabrication tools and the stuff he comes up with is as spectacularly unique as he. And of course, I don’t just sit on an ivory throne tossing down thunderbolts of commands to the staff. I’m a real grease-under-the-fingernails, grinding-dust-up-my-nose kind of guy who builds his own stuff in the driveway or garage and prefers beat-up, trail-worn stuff that works to shiny, big-budget, unrealistic show trucks.
Speaking of work, right now I’m sitting in my hotel room in Truckee, California, trying to bang out this column so I can go downstairs and get a driver’s meeting going before we hit our final trail day on Ultimate Adventure 2016. So let’s just say I’m incredibly happy to be back. It has been a long time gone, and it’s good to be home where I belong.