Could you imagine spending your summer vacation traveling across the country stopping at four-wheeling parks, meeting new people, and tearing up the dirt? Jared Morgan is doing just that. Most who read this magazine are serious about 'wheeling, but Jared is one of those people who takes it to another level. His passion for the sport combined with the love of his Nissan Xterra has transformed into a nationwide quest spanning more than 10,000 miles throughout the U.S. and Canada called Destination Xterra.
Destination Xterra is a convoy of Nissan vehicles led through 10 North American cities in search of fun, adventure, and new experiences. Each stop consists of a two-day event that has been previously set up so that the event's potential is maximized. The first day is a show-'n'-shine-type event where local Nissan owners can come out and see highly modified vehicles on display and also join in the growing Nissan community of enthusiasts. The DX Team typically holds this event at a local Nissan dealership, sponsor headquarters, or fabrication shop catering to Nissan vehicles. The following day is all about four-wheeling. Led by a local Nissan Xterra club, Jared and the rest of the DX team hit the trails for some time in the dirt.
When we first learned about this event, we were very excited to see that not only did it consist of time on the trails but also a devotion to trail safety and etiquette. One of the major partners on this journey is Tread Lightly!, a non-profit organization dedicated to respect for the environment and keeping the trails clean. During each event there is a contest held to see which vehicle can collect the most amount of trail trash throughout the day. The winner at each location receives a reward given out by current sponsor companies and promoters. On top of all that, a representative from Tread Lightly! attends many of the stops along the way to give instructional lessons to enthusiasts about how to preserve trails and be safe on adventures. Working with groups such as this can help to dispel the perception of the reckless, destructive off-roader.
During each weekend, Jared and his team are shooting photographs and video that is quickly submitted to a team member back in New Jersey for quick upload to their Web site. There you can see what happened at certain events, see videos of one-on-one interviews with sponsors and four-wheelers, watch the route calendar, and check out DX team vehicles. Plus there's a section where any Nissan Xterra owner can login and upload information and pictures of their vehicle from all over the country. Currently, there are hundreds of vehicles on the Web site, and it's growing quickly with each destination. You can also watch video of products being installed by a professional shop on the DX Team Xterra.
After hearing all about this, we had to make a trip to visit the next stop and see for ourselves just what the community of Nissan owners and Team DX were made of. Our weekend adventure included a stop with the Southwestern Xterra Club. The club is made up of more than 100 members, with the majority being in the Dallas area. Each month, the club holds an event of some kind - either a day of 'wheeling or club meeting event where members can swap stories of the monster rock that got away. We headed into the Barnwell Mountain recreation area in Gilmer, Texas, for a little dirt, a bunch of sun, and just enough mud to keep the carwash happy.
Aside from the heat and humidity on the day, this trip was a success. Our doubts about the capabilities of the Xterra were dispelled. The community of Nissan enthusiasts is growing quickly because of people like Jared and the DX Team. Nissan, are you listening? For more information on Destination Xterra, visit their Web site at www.destinationxterra.com.