One of my buddies and fellow co-worker has been a Wrangler enthusiast for a while now, and he was excited that I managed to pick up a Wrangler of my own.
I have a lot of prior experience with 4x4's, in fact I haven't gone without a full-size 4x4 since 1996, LOL.
However, this is my first less-than-full-size 4x4 as well as my first Jeep, and I wanted to see what it could do. I'd owned it for about a month already, and spent a lot of time tinkering with it and getting it ready for off-road use. Frankly, I put more stock in my own rating versus Jeep's "Trail Rating", because I'm the sucker who's got to spend the night in the cold desert if something goes wrong.
So, having passed my poke & prod tests, I called up my buddy and suggested he take me 4x4ing. I wanted to do a shakedown run to establish a baseline for the Wrangler's off-road competency. He suggested Florence Junction, and I agreed. I was in for a bit of a shock because the trails had degraded a lot in the 10 years since I last played there. I fondly recall I dented the rocker panel on my new 2000 Ram 1500 4x4, at the 1999 Jeep Jamboree. My truck had less than 400 miles on it. I hadn't even made the first payment yet. Ah, memories... and why I buy used now.
I wouldn't touch these trails with a full-size stockish 4x4 truck now.
We had a good time, took some piccys, completed the Box Canyon and Martinez Cabin trails.
On the way out we ran across a Rubicon driver who'd run into some hard luck.
Pics and video links are below:
(Buddy's is the pine, mine is the lime.)
Part of the Canyon.
A creek bed with some rocks.
A hill I briefly parked on. The angle was higher than the piccy reflects.
A rock ledge.
On top of the ledge.
A little action video: 2012-01-31_13-34-56_552 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
Flexy. He was rocking a little, LOL.
Two green Wranglers.
On our way out from the trails, we came across a Rubi driver down on his luck.
Smartazz buddy taking a picture of me taking a picture of the stuck Rubicon we rolled across.
A short video of the Rubi recovery: 2012-01-31_13-50-25_194 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
**Note, I think in contemporary times it's perfectly acceptable to photo-document stuck victims prior to extracting them. Unless of course injury is present.**
Hell, yes I gotta get a picture of this. I thought he was showing off, "Look at me, I'm parking on 2-wheels
". Nope, he'd just torpedoed a 5-foot deep revine at the edge of the roadway. Luckily the Rubi driver was wearing a seatbelt and escaped cratering the windshield with his noggin. It woulda been a dusty day to land a chopper out there, as well as an expensive airlift.
I had just purchased a $9.99 receiver hitch d-ring and tow strap at Harbor Freight the day prior. So I hooked my hardware up to the Rubicon and let my buddy pull him out of the ravine.
The driver was very appreciative for the assistance. He noted that traffic is light on the trails at noon on Tuesday, which was a true statement.
All in all I had a good fun day. I don't know how often I'll push the little Jeep that hard, but I got a good idea of it's capabilities. It fits almost anywhere, and makes short work of pretty nasty obstacles, especially considering it's only got a minimal lift and 31" tires. The engine is a bit undertorque at idle, but the low range of the 6-speed transmission drops speed pretty well even if I'm on the throttle a bit.
No body damage. Though I think I bent my tie-rod or drag bar a bit. The steering wheel center was off by about 15°. I had to make a small adjustment in the garage to re-center it the following day.
Finally, the best bit of a day 4x4ing. This was my fuel gauge after 100 miles on the highway and 6 hours off road.
Enjoy and tread lightly.