20 worst-case scenarios from the readerhood
It's been said that unstuck wheelers are all alike, and every stuck wheeler is stuck in his own way. And nothing proves the point better than the plights of the 20 unfortunate souls profiled here. And while we can't do anything about their hydrolocked engines, their busted axles, their bent sheetmetal and ugly wrecker's bills, we do feel their pain. So everyone featured in this month's issue gets a complimentary box of Four Wheeler swag for his efforts. And one lucky (sort of, we guess) winner takes our Grand Stuck Prize this month, a Warn 9.5ti winch.
If you didn't win this time, don't despair. A few months from now, we'll be doing it all over again, with another Worst Stuck contest later in the year. We'll be giving away a $2,000 gift certificate from 4Wheel Parts Wholesalers then, so if you want a chance to win, check out the contest rules on page 53, then send in your entries.
Whether rollin' in the States or abroad with Sam's wheelers, northern California resident Ryan Zimmerman knows his way around a Worst Stuck. Ryan's '86 Toyota, pictured here, got a little hoppy on a dozer-bermed mountain trail, took a dip on its side, and was pulled back up by a buddy, proving the merits of tie-down straps as well as a winch. Halfway around the world in South Korea, tank pilot Ryan found himself in a simulated battle, and learned firsthand why "tanks don't go where cattails grow." It eventually took an M88 Hercules to pull out the Abrams. For his great photos (high-rez: hint, hint), a winning attitude, and for his service to America, we're proud to send Ryan our Grand Prize: a Warn 9.5ti winch.
William Sanchez, hometown unknown, in his own words: "Well, the water level was only to the tires when I attempted to cross and forgot to lock the hubs. Got stuck, and then it started to rain just south of us really hard, and the little wash got a bit more water. It took four Jeeps with winches to pull me out once the water level came down. Needs new interior, bumpers, and gauges."
William Billman of Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, was out on a winter trail ride in the West Virginia mountains, when he and his posse came across some iced-over mudholes. The first one was traversed without incident, but when attempting to cross the next one, Bill soon learned that a Cherokee XJ does a poor imitation of a Mackinaw ice-breaker. Recovery of the body-deep Jeep took some 30 minutes, with the CJ in the background providing winching duty.
We always like it when Friends of Stuck Wheelers submit photos of their buddies' misfortunes, and Rob Hottes sent this one our way. Rob's pal Glen Vellely, whose rig is shown here mired in forest muck, runs an '80 Chevy with a built 350, 44-inch Gumbos, and has "waded across streams and plowed through cornfields" with it. This time, however, nature won out, and Rob and Glen quickly realized the benefits of a winch when wheeling the forests of their native Connecticut.
Paul Teigrob of Bellingham, Washington, was out for a leisurely day of trail-riding with friends at Walker Valley ORV Park when his 4Runner got a little too sideways while attempting to power through some ruts. The Toyota went onto its side, required three guys to flip it back on its 38-inch Boggers, and had to be winched out to keep going. "Since that day I've come to realize the importance of tying down everything hard and heavy inside the vehicle," Paul says, and we couldn't agree more.
Hailing from deep in the Everglades, Kenneth "Hershey" Morgan really knows how to get stuck big-time, noting that he's needed to be yanked out of the Florida gumbo by a hovercraft, among other rigs. On the occasion pictured here, Hershey and buddies were out exploring the infamous Compound outside of Palm Bay when they came upon some sweet-looking mud. The '88 Toyota running a 3-inch body lift and 35 Maxxises dove in ... and while there's no "before" photo here, the "after" photo lets you know, as Hershey admits, "it was deeper than it looked."