Saturday, (and for that matter, the last three days) was a beautiful day!! Mid-seventies, blue sky, very light wind if any, and a perfect opportunity to ride.
I had spent the morning doing things for the wife, like buying her a new washing machine, a new wet-vac, taking her grocery shopping...etc..
A friend of mine, an earlier model Wrangler owner, and a veteran of the mountain trail with motorized vehicles, asked me if I would help him lift his hard top off his vehicle.
After we completed the task, (all of 15 minutes to take of the hard top and install the soft top, as you know), he offered to show me a mountain trail that he deemed a "good beginner's trail" and I accepted.
With the doors off, and the top down, we left his home for a trail that had 3 seperate, hard-bottomed mud/water locations, lots of fair-sized rocks and trees to driver over, a 30º incline with rocks, some sharp turns and lots of GREAT views overlooking miles and miles of land!!
This trail is not "registered" (if you will), but is known to the locals, and I had my first experience at navigating a trail such as this, (without breaking anything that I know of), and learning the real potential capabilities of my 2008 Wrangler X.
So, what did I learn, (aside from the fun level of doing something like this):
A) I appreciate the motto "leave it as you found it"
B) Views from places you wouldn't normally see, are really
C) The "Wrangler" had more to give me than I asked it for
D) It's always a good idea (and we did this) to stop just
before a major obstacle and plan your route through.
E) There is an annoying clicking sound that comes through
loud and clear when you HAVE to use your clutch in 4-low.
F) Never use your clutch (and I didn't) when going through
G) Try to "never use your clutch" anyway, so that you retain
control (I used it going BACK down the 30º and I wish I
H) It is possible to go through a fairly difficult obstacle course
without breaking anything, as long as you take the right
path and go SLOW!!
I) Leave room between you and the driver ahead of you, so
that the driver ahead has time to get through the obstacle
(I did this) and so that you have time to observe his/her
method of attack of the obstacle (it's amazing what you
can learn if you watch someone else do it first).
J) The mud and branch marks on my vehicle now make it a
"Jeep" and not just a rugged-looking SUV.
K) The new Wranglers have still retained the stability, traction
and power they are famous for, since WWII.
L) "Spotters" are a WONDERFUL asset!
All in all, as you can see, I learned some great lessons.....and had a great ride ta boot!!
I'm sure that many of you have done more difficult rides than the one I took yesterday, (even the fella I was with said he was taking it easy on me, for my first mountain ride), but if you are ever in Connecticut, I'd be happy to introduce you to the ride I took, and I think you'd agree that it is a challenging trail and has GREAT views at the TOP!!
Many thanks to my friend of thirty-plus years, "Dana" for introducing me to the world of trail riding with a 4-wheel drive!
I am proudly wearing the mud on the Wrangler and don't think I'll wash it off for a while.