The "Letter of the Month" author will be sent one of Four Wheeler's highly prized license plates. So be sure to include your full name and address when you write Four Wheeler at:
Four Wheeler Magazine
6420 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Reader: I'm currently on my second tour of duty in Iraq, and in my off time I dream of building a rockcrawling, four-wheelin' Suzuki Samurai (even though my home station is in Kansas), buying a new set of 33-inch mud tires to replace my 32s (they only have 5,000 miles on them, but 33s would look cooler), and reading your magazine cover to cover. You magazine rocks! But I do have a few suggestions:
To the readers: Quit complaining! If you don't like the way Four Wheeler of the Year turns out, grab a marker and change the ratings to suit you. (Who honestly was going to buy a Jeep Rubicon but bought a Volkswagen instead because it placed higher?) And for those of you who think the magazine doesn't show enough Fords, Chevys, Toyotas, Scouts, or whatever, I say build one and get it featured! Remember, for every $50,000 rock rig, there might be a $10 trick you can use if you look hard enough.
About land closures: They will keep happening unless we use some common sense! I read an article recently about a 4x4 club that had a trail ride the opening weekend of elk-hunting season. It was perfectly legal, but was it smart? All it did was tarnish the reputation of four-wheelers. When you have hunters wanting land closures, something is definitely wrong. All I'm saying is, use your head because when I return to the states, I want to drive on mountain trails, rockcrawl at Moab, and even do a little elk huntin'!
Sgt. Charles Maley
Camp Prosperity, Iraq
P.S. Would 250 dinars cover a subscription? (Just kidding-it's only worth about a penny.) A Four Wheeler license plate would look cool on a 5-ton wrecker!
Editor: Bribery will get you everywhere, especially when it comes in the form of a crisp new bank note with Saddam's smiling visage on it. A batch of plates is on its way to you and your buddies at Camp Prosperity. Here's hoping we see you at Moab next spring.
Reader: Just read Sean Holman's "The Mojave Road" (Aug. '05). It's good to see that Shane Casad of Bilstein was able to get out and play with the stuff he designs. Let's hope being out on a trail for three days with the staff and the new H1 Alpha convinces Shane and Bilstein to start producing shocks for the Hummer H1. No one produces a good bolt-on rebuildable shock for the H1. Maybe he'll get real creative and make a coilover with remote reservoirs, so more of us can use our rigs for what they were designed for (without having to replace our shocks every 6 months).
Thanks for including photos and stories that include the Hummer H1. As owners, many of us feel left out of most other 4x4 magazines.
Editor: We've forwarded your thoughts to Shane and the boys at Bilstein. We're not sure how quickly you might see a shock that's custom-tuned for your H1-it would be a rather specialized application-but thanks for sharing your ideas with us all the same.
Reader: Did you guys really blow it in your "Mojave Road" story when you wrote: "Joshua trees grow nowhere else in the world outside of California's Mojave Desert." Drive about 15 minutes north of Wickenburg, Arizona, on State Highway 93. You will find yourself in an Arizona Joshua tree forest. Do your research before you print stuff like this.
Editor: Technically speaking, you're right. The Mojave Desert, while primarily located in California, also spills over into small sections of Nevada and Arizona. But it's also true that Joshua trees grow nowhere else in the world but the Mojave. Thanks for the correction, and have a nice day.
Reader: In the July '05 issue, you started the 5.7 Hemi-into-TJ series and said you'd continue with certain parts of the project in the next issue. In August, you decided to break your word to your readers and instead go with some axle swap-disappointing, but not a real credibility-breaker. But in the September issue, I can't find a word about the rest of the project!
Like the news media, your word is your main asset, and your arrogance toward your customers is disgusting. We're paying for this promised information, and you're giving us nothing-except maybe the back of your hand.
Editor: Ask anyone who's ever built a serious trail machine from the ground up, and he's likely to tell you how his project took a lot more time, cost a lot more money, took a lot more unexpected detours, and caused a lot more migraines than he'd ever expected. And unfortunately, that's how it sometimes works for us. Sometimes, parts we've ordered don't show up in time for us to complete an installation for our next issue. Or parts are missing from a kit that we've ordered. Or we end up receiving the wrong parts altogether. Or maybe something goes awry in the installation that we don't catch until later, and we have to go back to Square 1 and start over. And sometimes, given the nature of our work, we have to drop what we're doing altogether to cover more pressing assignments. But since you asked, we'll have the next installment of the Teal-J Hemi swap in next month's issue. This time, for sure.
Reader: I live in Illinois, right across the river from St. Louis. I know Missouri is packed full of four-wheeling sites, but I can't find any info on locations. There's nowhere to go in my area, and I'm not into taking out local farmers' crops just to have some fun. I was wondering if you could give me a few locations of Missouri four-wheel parks and any costs?
Editor: One Missouri park we know of that's reasonably close is SayersBrook Bison Ranch (888/854-4499, www.sayersbrook.com) near Potosi, about 90 minutes south of St. Louis. A great off-road park in your own state that isn't much farther than that is Rockport, near Pittsfield (217/437-5337, www.rorp.com). You might also check the Illinois Four Wheel Drive Association (630/612-1141, www.ilfwda.org) for more resources in your area.