The trip was officially due to start with a 12:00 noon check-in on Saturday July 17th at the Rock Port Off-Road Park in Rockport, Illinois. We had to be there for tech inspection, (35-inch tires, roll cage, safety gear, etc) registration (Tim Hardy and his mangled Samurai was late, again) and an excellent Bar-B-Que put on by the two River's Jeep Club. Of course at 1AM Thursday morning July 15th the entire staff of 4-Wheel & Off Road was sitting in the parking lot of a Burbank, California burger joint, trying to figure out who was awake enough for the 2000 mile drive ahead of us. Jerrod Jones was taking his newly exo-caged 5K-XJ project Cherokee with tech editor David Kennedy riding Shot-Gun, while Editor Pewe and Feature editor Fred Williams were gonna give this years Ultimate Tacoma project it's first freeway miles since completion on the road to the event. Situation Normal.