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Off-Road Rabbit Hole

What’s outside your internet box?

Terriers are incredible little dogs that are synonymous with tenacity. When they latch on to something they feistily hang on for dear life, never backing down and never letting go. But it's that same trait that often gets terriers into trouble, especially when they get a long-eared, cotton-tailed rodent in their sights. A terrier will chase a rabbit all over creation: through underbrush, across open field, into thorny thicket, and down into its burrow. But as the rabbit escapes deeper and deeper into its underground lair, the terrier doesn't know enough to back off. It claws ever forward into the depths as the walls constrict around it, ultimately pinning it motionless and unable to escape. And that's exactly what often happens to me when I visit the internet.

I'm old enough that I remember a world without microwaves, cable TV, home computers, cell phones, and yes, even internet. Don't get me wrong. By no means am I bemoaning the technological A-bomb that's been continually exploding the past several decades, irradiating us with information of any shape, sort, or size. Anybody who has ever had to cough up enough salient facts to fill a college paper using an outdated volume of Funk & Wagnalls New Encyclopedias knows what a wonder drug the internet is. And by no means am I trying to compose an underhanded dig to imply life was somehow better before smart phones and other forms or technology. Anybody who has had to split a Word document in two because it wouldn't fit on a single 180-KB floppy disc would could never whine about having over 500 gigs of storage on a pocket-sized wonder machine and unlimited cloud storage at their fingertips.

However, if I'm being honest I gotta admit that if I'm not careful my internet experience is not too dissimilar than that of a little terrier. Often, once I go down the internet rabbit hole I get lost in a matrix of increasingly enticing portals that drag me deeper into stuff I never knew I had an interest in. I'll jump on the ol' computer to see how long you need to cook a pork roast, and the next thing you know I'm on YouTube.com watching videos of brass-era race cars belching fire out of open exhaust ports and sliding around a track on tires so skinny they'd make a motorcycle blush. Or I run in from the garage to check the schematic for an NP231 and I get sucked into an listings for an early 1960s Gibson ES-335 guitar on Reverb.com. A search for "how much chlorine to add to your swimming pool," and before long I'm off the deep end following a restoration thread on a British lorry of some sort or another at HMVF.co.uk. And on and on.

It seems no matter what your kick, there's a place out there in internet land that's gonna cater to you. There's no challenge finding something to engage your interest, but it can be challenging to find good content in a sea of flotsam. So here's my two-part question to you. As an off-road 4x4 enthusiast, when you go down your rabbit hole, what is the family-friendly diversion that's most interesting to you no matter what the subject matter? And secondly, what site do you trust to give you the best information without bias and misinformation? Hit me at christian_hazel@motortrend.com with "Off-Road Rabbit Hole" in the subject and be sure to include a couple images of your rig if you have one. I'll share the good ones at fourwheeler.com. Who knows, your story may just wind up being somebody else's diversionary guilty pleasure!