Wheel While You Can
Well, I finally did it. I actually went wheeling the other day, and man was that a good feeling! You may think I get to wheel all the time in this job, but the opposite is true. No matter what, the feeling is the same getting back in the dirt and especially with a Dirt Every Day rig.
If you've never heard of a DED tour, just search for it on our website, 4wheeloffroad.com. The idea started over 10 years ago when Hot Rod editor David Freiburger and I drove my dad's bone-stock restored WWII jeep from Phoenix to Fairbanks, Alaska, camping all the way. I then drove it back to Seattle with Ned Bacon, and then I soloed the poor girl back to Phoenix. The whole tour took about a month and was probably the best trip ever, especially since most of it was on dirt, hence the name Dirt Every Day.
Over the years David and I came up with alternate DED tours as well as mini DEDs . Of course the "DED" also comes from the fact that we almost die every trip, which is understandable considering some of the rolling stock we use and the places we go. Our most recent trip was somewhat the same, but it was a blast. It only lasted the lesser part of an afternoon, but considering we were actually in the desert doing land speed racing in David's Camaro, we were pretty lucky.
We simply unhooked Pete's Jeep off the back of my motorhome in the desolate El Mirage area and pointed the Jeep into the unknown until we found a great trail. Of course we violated most of the rules of off-roading, such as not letting people know where we were going, traveling alone, and wearing sandals and shorts in a hostile environment where no one would come looking for us. In other words, it was a great time just to be wheeling for a simple afternoon. Pete's Jeep was a survivor of "El DED del Diablo," June '04, so after some basic rehashes of the Jeep that you'll read about next month, it was in fine shape for a break-in cruise through the desert in November.
And even though it was just a scant four-hour trip, it still reminded me that you have to wheel when you can. I love it and will do more while I still can, and so should you. Our trails are being taken away at record rates, and the chances we have today may not be there tomorrow. As for me, I'm going to do more DED tours and wheel the wee out of myself-we only get one life, so we might as well make the most of it while we can. I'll be writing about more DEDs in the future, so keep reading!