Winter is around the corner, and everyone has a different way of dealing with it. Some folks park their 4x4 to protect it from the rain, snow, and salt spray and use the downtime for projects in their garage or shop. Others hitch their wheeler to the back of the motorhome and head to warmer climates. In the Southwest, winter actually awakens the trails as more and more people hit the desert in winter versus the scorching heat of summer. Then there are those wheelers up north who have been waiting all summer to get their rigs back up in the powdery white stuff that falls from the sky and makes their trails a winter wonderland. Of course, most of you don’t care and keep wheeling and wrenching like it’s any other time of the year.
I grew up in the Northeast, where snow and foul weather make you happy for a 4x4 (especially one with a good heater) in the winter, but sorry that the salt they spray on the roads is simultaneously eating away at your pride and joy. I got tired of the cold and moved south as a youngster and have since zigzagged across the country to where I am now, California. It’s getting to be winter here but nothing frosty like the upper half of our nation sees, just chilly, perfect for sweatshirts and work coats while wheeling. Maybe a little rain too.
I’m excited to hit the trail this winter. Though I’m thin-blooded from the long-lasting Southwest summers, I’m actually looking forward to winter wheeling—and even snow. This past year I visited Iceland on a Range Rover trip for the new Discovery, and the massive snowy terrain was so awesome I can’t wait to return. I want to drift around corners into powdery drifts, enjoy the warmth of my floorboards and firewall as the V-8 screams (compared to dreading that same sheetmetal frying on a summer trail), and drop down into a boulder-strewn canyon to escape the wind and enjoy some technical obstacles. I even splurged and ordered seat heaters for my latest wheeler, just to make it that much more fun on wild winter wheelin’ weekends. I’m sure I’ll miss my summer days of cruising to town with the top down, but just remember that without a frigid winter we wouldn’t appreciate how nice summer can be. Plus, with the right winter jacket you can leave the top down year-round.