In one way or another, our 4x4 lifestyle is an active one. Whether we’re in the shop fabbing up a four-link suspension or out on the trail conquering that last mud pit, we keep in constant movement. There are a lot of sedentary hobbies that some people enjoy, such as jigsaw puzzles, but for the most part we keep moving. That’s why I get itchy feet and fingers when I’m stuck without a 4x4 or a wrench for a weekend or when I’m stuck in an airport. Oh sure, there are lots of virtual wheeling games on the computer, and a good book of adventure travel is great to delve into as well. But the fact is that life’s too short not to go wheeling, so I try to go at least once a month.
This month’s wheeling trip for me was to the Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival in Butler, Pennsylvania. Since I live on the left coast, I had to fly east to smell the dust and dirt of the rich PA farmland. I don’t have the pocketbook to airfreight one of my Jeeps to the event, so I had to enjoy the fact that last year I had driven my ’43 stock jeep to the event from Arizona via the Rubicon Trail. In this case I figured I would at least trail-ride with someone as a copilot, which is a heck of a lot better than one of those sedentary hobbies I mentioned. I don’t have to drive; I just need to get out and be wheeling, regardless of whether it’s my rig or if I’m even driving. Alas, I ran out of time while covering the event and didn’t make it to the trails due to massive rain showers—I had missed my chance to chuck the muck.
But all was not lost. My next stop was Suwanee, Georgia, to visit Omix-Ada, the largest Jeep parts manufacturer and supplier in the world, which was celebrating its 20th birthday. While the Bantam event was incredibly cool, wandering down massive 4x4 warehouse aisles full of parts and pieces for every jeep imaginable is also a blast. It’s sort of like being in the shop with a wrench, poking through boxes and bins for that special part you need to have.
That’s when I found that special something in the far corner of the warehouse: a completely stock ’67 Jeep CJ-6 with 14,000 miles on it. It was the company’s birthday present to itself, and I got to take it out and wheel it between bouts of rain. While it wasn’t a hardcore run, the very fact that I was wheeling a near-new Jeep from the ’60s was enough to get my wheeling fix for the month. Remember, life’s too short not to wheel!