Destined to be the largest annual gathering of Land Rovers and their crazy owners is The Land Rover WILDS Safari hosted by Green Oval Guild of Columbus Ohio, Miami Valley Land Rover of Dayton Ohio, Midwestern Auto Group of Dublin Ohio, and of course, Trailhead 4x4. The 2007 event was the first of what we all hope to be a long lasting and enjoyable event. The turnout was amazing with easily 100 Land Rovers of all ages converging in one place for some 4x4 action, instruction, and recreation. The 2008, 2009 events were every bit as good with an even bigger turnout, more raffle prizes, and way cool T-shirts! Start planning now for 2010!!!!
Another highlight to the weekend was the excellent instruction offered by Bill Burke of Bill Burke 4 Wheeling America. Here is a nice shot of his well traveled 1995 defender 90. While nobody but Bill knows for sure what all has been done to the truck, we can tell you that the gear list is long and impressive, and happens to include a set of Trailhead 4x4 Oil Cooler lines! It is absolutely amazing what Bill can cram into his D90, and what's even more amazing is he knows EXACTLY where everything is right down to that spare 20 amp fuse you can never find but are sure you packed! Come and watch his gear demo and you'll be amazed!
Here is a good example if the interesting and unique Land Rover brought to this event. The opportunity to talk with this many other Rover owners and enthusiasts doesn't come along very often.
That's alot of lights. 11 total forward facing white lights!?!?!?!? Laugh now, but if you stick around for the night run, you'll want to be right by this guy.
This is Ohio right? Some of the amazing pictures and memories you take home from this event will leave you wondering. So this is what Bill was talking about when he mentioned not following too closely on convoy unless you really like the gritty taste of dust.
Ok, we all get to stop for a bit, dust off, and sit in on a quick 4x4 101 class put on by Bill Burke. His demonstrations and teachings are very good, and everyone from the most seasoned veterans to the the first timer off road will gain from his classes.
This IS still OHIO, right????? You have to live it to believe it. The view you get from on top of your Rover after climbing to the high point on the off road course is spectacular. Are you SURE this is Ohio?
Bill is pleased with his students. Adopting his driving techniques will bring out abilities you never knew your Rover had.
Just gotta check once more to be sure........this is OHIO??????
While at The Wilds, you must treat yourself to a tour of the animal park. There are many different species of animals in open paddock that are captivating to watch.
You didn't think that the Land Rover mascot would be left out did you? These White Rhinos are not to be missed, and yes, they are right here in Ohio. You have to see it all to believe it. If all this looks good to you, feel free to contact us here at Trailhead 4x4 for more info.
One of Trailhead's summer excursions off the pavement even brought out the Volvo C303. With it's 35" tires and dual differential locks, this truck never even broke a sweat.
Water crossings are one of the most fun and also the most challenging parts of 4 wheeling. This crossing was deemed safe as we can see the bottom, and determined there were no dangerous hidden obstacles involved.
It gets deeper toward the middle, but you just have to keep moving, and keep your bow wave ahead of you.
With 3 feet of clearance, there really isn't much technique to wading in a C303, but you still have to observe the same rules.
We came looking for rocks and this trail did not disappoint. With good spotters and carefull driving, this obstacle was easily cleared. The rock sliders are good insurance, but not needed this time.
Just bump the rear wheel up and over and we're on to the next ledge.
With locking front and rear differentials to make up for less suspension travel, Ross in his C303 had no trouble at all with this climb.
This section of trail was deceptively deep. Even though the water is only bumper height here, keep in mind that the bumper height on Ross's Volvo is about 3 feet!
Ok, it's really Nebraska, but we're on our way to Colorado. A spur of the moment trip to A-Basin for some snowboarding found us caught in some nasty ice on interstate 80. There is about 2 inches of solid ice covering the ground, and we had collected about a 3/16" shell on the Rover by this time. Traffic was moving about 10 -15 MPH for what seemed like eternity. The semi behind the Rover is hopelessly stuck, just spinning the drive wheels on the ice, while his trailer tires are frozen to the ground!
Well, we did make it out of Nebraska and got a good day of riding in at A-Basin. Any time I go over Loveland Pass, I just can't help but stop at the top and get out and look around. The view is spectacular! It was really cold though so I wasn't out long, and there is a 24 hour drive ahead to get home.
Imogene pass is without a doubt a wonderfull 4x4 experience. The scenery is spactacular and the mining ruins are captivating when you think about the terrain that was crossed to bring all those supplies up there! This crossing of Imogene pass was on the return trip to Ohio after the 2008 Land Rover National Rally in Moab Utah.
Engineer Pass, part of the Alpine Loop trail, was next on the list, and provided better skies than we had earlier in the day on top of Imogene. By this time, we're very interested in finding a campsite near Lake City and getting some dinner on the stove!
Great Sand Dunes National Park is a little known part of Colorado that should be included on the agenda of any tour out west. These are the largest dunes in North America. The combination of altitude and soft sand makes for some difficult hiking!
Medano Pass Road was actually our ticket out of Great Sand Dunes park, however, entry to the park is allowed along this road as well. This was a great wind down trail, easy for any 4x4, and very scenic.
We just happened to run Medano Pass Road again on our 2009 West Pack Tour. Kelly deftly maneuvers our Range Rover through one of the numerous water crossings along this route.
2009 also took us to Black Bear Pass. Here we are decending the infamous stair steps down into Telluride.
this switchback on Black Bear Pass Road is considered by many to be the scariest and most difficult part of the trail. A good spotter and a cool head makes quick and easy work of this turn. We were told my more than a few people that a 100" wheelbase was just too long for this turn, but as it tuns out there was ample room to complete the obstacle with only 2 shifts into reverse.
What do people do with $95,000 4x4's? They drive them up and over Immogene pass 9 days after purchace! This proud new G55 owner knows exactly what the truck was built for, and is wasting no time enjoying every feature this vehicle has to offer!
While driving Engineer Pass, we crossed paths witht he support crew of the Colorado 500 motorcycle charity ride. Support was provided by the very enthusiastic staff of Land Rover Roaring Fork. So many Land Rover dealerships these days are very apathetic about the past and present Rover products, it's very encouraging to see participation like this on a dealership level. (usually it's just nutcases like us that are into Rovers this much!)
Both of these support vehicles are restored Defender 130's. Again, it's great to see enthusiastic owners taking time out of their own busy scedule and donating it to support events like the Colorado 500.
Trailhead 4x4 was fortunate enough to be able to attend the 2008 Land Rover National Rally in Moab Utah. Traveling through Sand Flats Recreation Area, Canyonlands and Arches National Parks, and surrounding backcountry areas is awe inspiring. The next few pictures is only a small look into this amazing area.
The first trail we ran once in Moab was called Fins 'N Things. THis trail is moderately difficult, and takes you up and down seemingly impossibly steep sections of slickrock. Fortunately traction here is nearly unlimited, and allows controlled descents and makes climbing what seem like walls possible.
Klondike Bluffs was next on the agenda. There are petrified dinosaur tracks along this trail! All obstacles along this trail are passable by stock 4x4's untill you try to cross over in to Salt Valley at the end of the trail. This takes you into Arches National Park where you can view arches such as "Eye of the Whale" along one of the 4x4 trails.
Another trail we had the pleasure of running was Strike Ravine. This trail was considserably harder, however, with a spotter like Bill Burke pointing out all the trouble spots, we were sucessfull. Later in the day we also tackled Green Day, part of Area BFE. Next time, locking differentials are in order.
Our destination after leaving Moab was Needles district of Canyonlands. Our planned route was Lockhart Basin, via hurrah pass. This is just the start to an epic day of 4x4 travel.
After crossing Hurrah Pass, the trail splits with one way leading to Chicken Corners, the other to the start of Lockhart basin trail. Once you turn up Lockhart Basin the business starts immediately! The most difficult part of the trail is about 1.5 miles long, and it will test you for sure. We reeled out the winch cable 3 times during this stretch, and put the rock sliders to good use more than once!
Finally after almost 60 miles of low - range desert travel , we arrive at Hamburger Rock campground. The Therm-A-Rest feels great that night, and the clear sky reveals an incredible display of stars.
Needles District of Canyonlands offers numerous 4x4 trails which allow access to very remote areas of the park. The most wekk known trail is Elephant Hill which provides access to the Devils Kitchen area. Elephant Hill is a technically difficult trail which not only requires numerous multi-point turns, but also requires you to reverse down a short section on the back side of the hill.
This where the green river dumps into the Colorado river. The point at which they converge is called the confluence.
You will encounter many interesting obstacles along this trail, one of them being this narrow corridor leaving you with just under 8 feet of clearance. Those scrapes on the wall do contain paint, don't get too comfortable with 8 feet of space!
Southington Hunt Club was host to the first of a series of Land Rover gatherings that Trailhead 4x4 organizes locally. Here's Mark in his "new" LWB Range Rover climbing one of the many challenging obstacles on the trails.
Testing out the Rovertym long travel suspension on a steep descent. Good thing for spotters, Roxy lets me know we're clear on the right rear corner!
Water crossings are always fun, and Rovers love to play in the water! Just keep moving, it's the key to success.
There are multiple new rock crawl sections on the property, and here we are trying one of them out. While it may not look sttep in the picture, it is, and many of the rocks are loose, making steady throttle even more important.
And so ends another day off Road in the Land Rovers. If you are interested in getting off road with Trailhead 4x4 don't hesitate to call the shop and ask about upcoming events and trailrides. It's a great time!
Painted Rock ORV park near Zanesville Ohio offers a great day of fun with over 200 Acres of trails, "playpen" and camping area. Here is a brand new 2007 Toyota FJ cruiser owner making use of a great day and a great truck!
After a day of slogging through the mud at Painted Rock, we decided to make use of the rest of the sunny day and travel the twisty backroads of southern Ohio and visit the Big Muskie strip mine area. The picture shows the last remaining piece of the Bucyrus - Erie Machine named Big Muskie, the 240 cubic yard bucket. You could park 2 Range Rovers inside the bucket with ease.
One place I don't recommend Off-Road travel is Iraq. It's hot, hostile, and actually not that much fun. The Hummer was neat for a while, but I really couldn't wait to get back to my Range Rover!
Here's another reason not to venture off the pavement in Iraq. Broken water mains make quick sand underneath the surface. When your truck weighs 120,000 lbs, not even 52 inch tires and 8 wheel drive will help you much!